It is difficult to write honestly about love, especially romantic love. Anger and hate are so much easier to delve into because they’re action oriented. Love makes us vulnerable, yet if we want to explore its mysteries we must give in to it. Perhaps that is why I have often skirted the issue. This is different than writing about sex. As Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, “Sex is the consolation you have when you don’t have love.” The point is debatable, of course, but I believe you understand what I mean. Sex without love simply creates physically intimate strangers.
Writing about love often spills over to sentimentality. John Updike observed, “Youth is a kind of currency, people fawn over it.” It’s the fawning that threatens to become sentimental or an advertisement for youth. In The Wastelanders I write about young love, yet it’s young love with an edge. It grows from the passion of Joey and Si-Ting, the warrior-priest and the mystical time witch, legends in the making. If you were lucky enough to have had that passion when you were young you understand. And let’s face it, we’re all legends when we’re twenty-something, filled with confidence and fire, confusion and doubt.
While we are a youth oriented society, sometimes the most satisfying love comes when we get a little older. Bernie and Rachel represent that in my novel. Both have been knocked around by life and are wary about getting close to another person. Then things happen, the barriers begin to fall and they discover the passion is there for them, too. Think of Michael Douglass in Romancing the Stone: “I’ve never been anyone’s best time before.” Love rediscovered rather than unrequited.
I guess in my older middle age I’d rather take a chance and write about love and fail than to continue skirting the subject. Not the silly love song type, but edgier, though once in a while there has to be a little delightful decadence like slipping into the city and enjoying tapas on a Monday afternoon or relishing a Sunday brunch with a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries and champagne with fresh ripe pomegranate seeds. After all, even Persephone only spent part of the year in hell.