As usual, I digress, but for a cause. I was just chatting with some other writers, who write romance. I am not against romantic stories, I just have a very strange notion of what constitutes romance. Its not a rich good looking guy and an insipid woman yearning to find herself if the money is right. And as I was thinking about romance, one of my favorite songs began playing.
"I'll always remember the song they were playing, the first time we danced and I knew. As we swayed to the music and held to each other, I fell in love with you. Can I have this dance, for the rest of my life? Would you be my partner every night? When we're together it feels so right. Can I have this dance for the rest of my life?"
Maybe that's why I have different notion of what constitutes romance, because I enjoyed the pleasure of having the dance of my life. My husband passed on before me, not so surprising considering the age difference. Yep, that's us, and yes I was really young when we married. It wasn't even a May-December romance, more like January-December. But obviously, it didn't matter too much.
We didn't start out with much, actually we had pretty close to nothing. A little pup that came with my husband, and an old cabover semi, were all we could claim as possessions. But we had something else, something that managed to overcome our personal problems, our financial ones, the daily grind of survival, the pitfalls that come with trying to build a future and melding two personalities into one relationship. We had respect for one another, enough to be conscious of what we said to one another and how we said it. Too many never realize if you expect another to bend to your will without respecting their needs, then you're pretty much doomed from the start.
But there was one other huge thing that pulled us through every rough spot, all the disasters and tragedies -- we had the gift of laughter. Those random pictures aren't rarities. They are the way we lived all the time. Even when everything seemed as if it was crashing down around us, we knew we had one another through it all. And we knew the time would come, when our circumstances improved, that we would find something humorous in it. We shared the laughs. There were times, something occurred, or we had an old picture, and it would spark such memories that we literally would be breathless with laughter, tears streaming down our cheeks. I still recall those moments, but I cannot always recall the incidents that might have inspired it.
Perhaps starting with nothing, and never having much, meant we never had to point fingers at one another. Or maybe it was the age difference. For my husband it was a second chance at life, an opportunity to try new things, to never feel it was too late to make a change. In spite of his age, until a ruptured aortic aneurysm dealt the blow leading to the end, he never once claimed frailness or tiredness because of his age. And he never showed a moment of it. For me, I was blessed with a man who believed in me. He taught me so much, and if he didn't know what I wanted to learn, he was right behind me, encouraging me to pursue whatever I wanted. We cherished and fulfilled each other.
Not that we didn't disagree, but we learned that was okay too. Or that we didn't get angry with one another, but we knew that was temporary. We never went to bed without saying, "I love you," even if, perhaps, under our breaths we were grumbling, "I love you even if you are an obstinate fool." I was fortunate, I had the opportunity to tell my husband at least 9125 times, that I loved him.
So pardon me if I can't write fantastic romances about the gorgeous, muscle-bound stud, hiding his wealth so that he can appear common, and the misunderstood, abused and neglected woman in need of this manly man to fulfill her. I just don't find anything romantic in that. Pretty men worry me, because I often figure if they must spend that much time on beautifying themselves, they probably aren't going to have much to spare for me. Primping in front of a mirror, worried about my perfection, wondering if I need a nip and tuck, spending big bucks so I can impress others in a slinky dress means I probably neglected to improve my mind and failed to notice someone else in need.
To me romance comes when we can look at one another and not even notice the faults. It means believing in one another, caring about others, and never failing to remind one another that they are better together than they could ever be singly. But if the general public really wants to read how romance grows until it fills the world with laughter, compassion and strength, then they might not be able to wait on the big publishers to give them a taste of it. It doesn't fit within the guidelines so it doesn't even get a passing glance from agents. They would rather pander to the generic, routine, the pointless and unrealistic form of romance, because they are convinced the reading public could never enjoy a story about how a two people can become one bright shining light, even with imperfect bodies and miniscule bank accounts.
Unfortunately, I only know one kind of romance, and that is the kind that springs from real love. And if anyone can look at those pictures above and doubt that it was idyllic, romantic relationship that never dimmed, then perhaps there isn't a place for my kind of romance writing against the current value system. I would share my vision, but I don't know if those who wield the influence are right. Maybe there is no place for true, inspiring romance. I wish I had the answer, because I know a great romantic love story...