When I first decided to write this month’s blog, I was thinking about the mass shooting that took place in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, at around 2:00 am. As a gay man who spent twenty-seven years in law enforcement, I have lots of feelings about what occurred that night; the innocent people who lost their life, and the pain and suffering that extends 100x out from all those affected. I also know all too well the massive job that the FBI and local law enforcement has in keeping our Country safe.
So you ask, what does any of this have to do with why I write romance? Well let me tell you. Romance is sweet, romance is about trust and it’s an intentional way of preserving what is left within me from living in the harshness of today’s world.
To write romance, because of who I am, I have to dig deep within me to build a character, a heartfelt scene, a believable story. I can tell you, coming from a career where only the facts mattered, this is tough to do for three hundred pages. Ah, all the more reason to do it, to intentionally put myself in a vulnerable place via other people, my characters.
Is love worth the risk my characters have to ask themselves? To know that coming out, they could lose everything they have worked for, the knowledge that by choosing love, there is a real chance they could get hurt, their heart broken, but yet still be willing to jump at the chance. Is this not what we all may have to ask ourselves in this one life that we get?
Romance is about the heart fluttering, the feeling that another moment away from that other person, you feel that you just might die. Now I am not talking about the mushy stuff our mother’s may have read, but real relationship issues, dealing with a moral dilemma that is often surrounded with dishonesty, hurt, risk, and most importantly real love that could be worth it all in the end.
My mother and father were married for forty years prior to my father passing away. His absence left my mother with a life-size hole in her heart, a sense of confusion on how she was to live without him. Questions asked by the heart, but can only be answered by the brain. These two body parts couldn’t be more different, like oil and water, the odd couple, they have no choice but to work together and figure it out.
During their marriage I often asked myself what in the hell did they see in each other that made their relationship endure over time? As an adult I once worked up the nerve to ask my mother what it was that she loved about dad so much. Her answer, “you will never see him as I see him. The life he came from, the emotional scars that no one has ever seen, to read his quietness when he is hurting, full of sorrow, or being scared. His unconditional love that he gives unknowingly, that is why I loved your father.”
Romance. It’s so much more than rescuing the damsel in distress, a cheesy love scene, or a bunch of powdery fluffy words. It’s about life, what we all want… To be loved and to be in love.