"I sat there with [Fiona], we sat there we two, and I said, "How I wish we had something to do!" Cat In the Hat, by Dr. Seuss
I listened to Judy Garland sing "If I Love Again" youtu.be/PSpeoqznlSQ yesterday, and grabbed my husband, swaying to the music, hiding that I was fighting tears. Happy tears. Me and Mike are heading on thirty years married soon, it's his birthday, so thoughts of what life would be like without him (for whatever reason...if I'd never met him, or if I'd lost him through serendipity) hit me hard as Judy framed my feelings so eloquently. Loving someone this much is not for pussies.
I was watching Outlander this week, and the hero said to the "virgin" he'd just schtupped, "No, this isn't love. It's something else. Something you could get from any other man." Then he went on to say what he thought love was, and it got me to thinking. I've heard my whole life that romantic love, and the "other" kind of love were stages of a relationship, but now I don't believe that trope. I agree with Diana Gabaldon. They're two different things, and if you're lucky, you'll achieve them with the same partner, but one is easier to find then the other.
For a reason. One is found. One is built.
Romantic love is a mixture of timing, pheromones, grooming, and genetic and geographical lottery. Throw in a whole bunch of projecting attributes that your partner may or may not truly possess, and boom. It can be euphoric...if you're lucky. Short lived, if you're not. Don't get me wrong. I'm a romance writer. Romantic love is where I live and breathe daily. I love it. MGM Musicals flow in my veins. My heart beats to Judy in The Pirate singing Mack the Black https://youtu.be/cAP7e6ObI7c. It feels good, like a drug that's good for you, and there's no hangover but ecstasy. But like Judy after her last, long note singing Macoco, eventually, we all need to breathe.
That breathing is the other kind of love. The kind of love that is built.
It's regular, old, boring to all others but the couple. A daily-grind kind of love, spiced with "romance." It requires thought, integrity, and valuing another for the totality of their strengths and flaws. It requires events and opinions to grow, and a daily acceptance, maybe even a surrender to it. It's why people say marriage is hard, when what is really hard is the self-discipline required not to fuck this relationship up by being a douche. But people do it, keep it, suppress their inner douche because it's worth it.
"Boring" love is like compound interest in a 401k. It may not be flashy, but it lasts and grows, and feeds you until your dying day.
Husband got hurt at work and has a bum arm, can't lift it past his shoulder. Sucks, yeah, but enough about him. I have to mow.
Nearly DIED today. Well, not really, but when you start assuring yourself that the "dead man's switch" will turn the mower off before it runs over your unconscious body, yeah, thoughts of death color a woman's flights of fancy.
It got me to thinking of my Aunt Isabel. (Well, she was my mom's aunt.) Her "favorite aunt" is how I was raised thinking of her, and I've heard so many kind stories of her that I feel as if they were my memories. She'd lived through most of the 1900s; the wars, the depression, the recessions, suffragette, Jim Crow, the "Roaring 20s," the "Beat Generation," and Watergate. She'd died when I was less than seven, and in fact, I don't remember her at all.
I do remember the call my mom received when Isabel died. We were in Somerville, Massachusetts, in the kitchen of a second-floor apartment we'd rented from a great Italian-American family with tons of kids. My mom was on a wall phone, next to the refrigerator, the type that couldn't be opened from inside, so are only found in museums now. I remember her leaning against the wall next to the phone, her eyes squeezed tight, her face pinched with pain. My father was home, so it was after work, and he hovered. So, it's true that I don't remember Isabel, but I remember how my mother suffered upon hearing of her passing.
Why, you might ask, was I thinking of "favorite Aunt Isabel" whilst mowing? There's a story in the family about Isabel cleaning windows on her second-floor apartment. (She and her sister, Marion, owned the house, and rented out the first floor.) Isabel liked her windows clean, and back in the day, windows didn't move any way but up or down, so if you wanted a second or third-floor window clean, you had to be a bit of a daredevil. Aunt Isabel must have been, because TWICE she had to be rescued after sitting on a window's casement, two stories up, when the top window slammed and then trapped her fingers. TWICE she was found hanging off the house by her knees and fingers, two stories up, unconscious. Did I mention this happened two stories up, and TWICE?
I suppose being run over by your own mower whilst unconscious might top that story, but mower safety regulation being what they are, I'm relegated to admitting sea salt and Kool-aide saved me from my "cut-grass-scented" flirtation with oblivion. Just doesn't have the same pizzazz, and fails the legend test.
So, here's to you, Aunt Isabel. I'm thinking of you, and long may your legend rein.
I wrote myself a note last night, reminding myself to delete all the F bombs in my manuscript before submitting it to my editor. When I woke, searched the book, found 30 times I used f**k, and tried to find an alternate word that had the same meaning. There is no alternative, folks. If you write f**k, it's because f**k is what you mean. So...yeah. F**k is in my latest book 30 times. "Climax," "orgasm," and sex scenes, are in there, too. If you're a child, you've snuck this book from your parents' room, and reading f**k isn't probably what you'll being focusing on, and, not incidentally, I'm not your mother. We're all adults here, right?
I got gastritis again. My belly. It's my Achilles Heel. Comes from not venting enough, I think, though my husband called me "belligerent" last night, so maybe I just have a bad belly. Anyhoo, there I was, watching "Hidden Figures," enjoying all those women doing math (which I am incapable of, having the affliction of dyslexia) and getting my "lay in bed, feeling sorry for myself, so watching a good movie" vibe on. And who should arrive in my darkened room, asking if she could look at my bookshelves to pick a book? *And The Angels Sang* My youngest daughter. Now, looking for a good book to read is one of my favorite things to do, and her quiet, tentative request had the power to drag me from my death bed to help a fellow reader in need. By the time she'd found "The Stand" (her reading tastes run toward the hubby's horror genre,) I had found Jo Clayton's the "Moongather" series. I have all three books. I don't remember anything about them, except how I "felt" when I read them, and that was when they were first released. Goodreads says May of 1982! I'd just turned seventeen and thought MGM musicals were "goals" rather than propaganda for a patriarchal society (I digress.) Now, I'm working on my final read through for book 3 in my "Secret Agent" series for Kensington, and I only have room enough in my head for one obsession at a time, so I stacked my three dusty, yellowing books on my bedside, and told my daughter, "they're next," patting them, as if they were long suffering pets awaiting my attention. Only to discover "said daughter" had already left the room, was on her bed, reading Stephen King. *sighs* I still have no idea how long I sifted through my books, trying to find a "non-romance" that a fourteen year old girl might enjoy. However, the rush I got reacquainting myself with my "keeper shelves" sent me to the computer and I'm back working on my final read through. What a life. #IAmSoBlessed
Addendum: I had to go into the other room to ask my husband what the word was that he'd called me last night, because I wanted to add it to my post. He said, "Lovely?" I said, "no." He said, "beautiful?" I said, "no. It was funny. Remember? When I said, 'Are you ignoring me because you want me to STFU? And you said...'" "Oh," he said. "The word was belligerent." lol www.goodreads.com/book/show/515111.Moongather
I live for the HEA and am constantly striving to improve my craft. Social media is the only place I connect with my peeps, so I rely on it for feedback about writing and the writing life.