The usual saying goes a little differently: “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” or its opposing sentiment, “Familiarity breeds contempt” but writers are always on the lookout for a different way of seeing the everyday.
To make our work fresh and unique, we scour our brains for ways of saying
what ultimately is the same truth — the truth that has been told by our
predecessors from the first instance that one human spoke to another member of
the cave-dwelling group about an experience they would all need to understand to
In tales of romance, the element of survival may not seem quite as drastic as
how to wrangle with a saber-tooth tiger or avoid eating those poisonous berries
that look so delicious. But the human heart — technically a mere symbol of the
miasma of emotions we cope with every day — can cause the most dire of
consequences to arise from what some consider trivial events.
Falling in love, for many of us, is one of the moments in our lives that
carries with it all the elements of human drama: comedic and tragic. Romantic
love is not for the faint of heart nor is it in any way limited by circumstance.
Each couple experiencing the wonder of finding the one-in-six-billion person who
is their perfect match can testify to the miraculous phenomenon — that
overwhelming elation of supreme good fortune. The ultimate “I can’t believe this
has happened to me” moment.
Along with that elation comes the doubt — “This can’t be happening to me - I
don’t deserve this - This can’t be love” — when you wish you’d never met this
Although Romance, as a genre, is often denigrated as “fluff,” “trivial,”
“inconsequential,” most of this criticism comes from a misplaced sense of
intellectual superiority. When I entered the Creative Writing Program at my
university, I did so with the objective of writing “important” novels. I took
classes in every aspect of writing the meaningful short story to the
construction of the meaningful novel.
Try as I did, I wrote …“and they lived happily ever after.” The optimistic
ending is in my nature, probably a result of my childhood spent in reading the
classic fairy tales of world literature but more probably related to my “cup half
full,” “walking on sunshine” point of view.
“Important” novels are those that drag the reader into a downward spiral of
misery and hardship. “Frivolous” books lift readers up, provide “the air beneath
I know which I’d rather write and read. Life is hard, why make it harder?
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Reading Romance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Labels: #fallinginlove, fairy tales, Happily Ever After, Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Nights Before: The Novel, Romance Novels, This Can't Be Love
Leigh is the author of Wait a Lonely Lifetime, Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls, the serial novel by installment, Nights Before and Pavane for Miss Marcher, both set in her native Maine. Leigh also writes Welsh Medieval Romance under the pen name, Lily Dewaruile.