As a writer, you know you are doing something incredibly right when you get comments, positive or negative, offering your characters relationship advice. I will be the first to admit…if my relationship is as convoluted as the plot of one of my novels, it is time for a very long fucking talk about where this thing is going or not. You see I believe in transparency…open and more than simple honest communication. I believe if you want or need something, then you should ask that of your partner.
But the truth is that type of relationship makes for a shitty story line…where is the tension? the sexual angst? the climax? Well, I can always climax, but in this case I mean the conflict, resolution and climax of writing. That requires mystery, misunderstandings, and secrets. Lots of them too. It may be no way to live your life, but it is what makes for a good novel, movie or television show.
I mean the book would be over before it even began if a tough fisherman and über Dom like Sven said, “Kirsten, you are really getting under my skin. Making me feel things, want things that I never thought I would. And I really don’t know how to handle all this. Help me, please.” And come on, folks…how many macho male types you know that are willing to be vulnerable? Oh, trust me…it does happen and when it does, ladies, NEVER fucking let that one go…and make damned sure you meet his needs.
But the sad truth is that in our modern, fucked up world, the reason that so many people offer characters in a book relationship advice is…they have been there themselves. It takes true courage to step out of those head games…rules for dating…and being an honest, genuine person. You risk rejection. But I go back to the words of my favorite author, Dr. Seuss…
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
One of the advantages of those fifty years that I was complaining about is that I am wise enough to know…if you do not dare, then you can never truly win the big prize. And the biggest prize of all is loving and being loved by someone that accepts you as you are, communicates with you transparently and is as committed to making things work as you are.
In books or in real life it sometimes takes a while to find that person…and to get to that point. The saddest thing for me as a writer is that is where most romances end…with the words…and they lived Happily Ever After. The truth is that no one gets happy…ever after.
There will always be ups and downs…and the biggest story is not falling in love but the hard ass decision to STAY in love. That takes a commitment every fucking day that your partner is not your enemy…circumstances and the world are. It takes the decision to see all the wonderful things about him or her that first attracted you and not all those stupid little (or even big) ones like toothpaste caps and dirty socks. And most of all, it takes that transparency to tell him or her what you are thinking, feeling and need/want…not just expecting them to know because they are psychic. In other words, the hardest work and best story is only found after the words…The End.
Hmmm…from now on all my stories will finish with the words…The Beginning.