Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Novel Love

I’m trying to shift my daily schedule, already full, to accommodate novel-writing again. In my experience, working on a novel, especially first-draft work, requires blocks of time daily. For too long now, I haven’t given myself these blocks of time, but now I feel I must find a way to carve them out.

As with so much I write, I’m dealing here with love/passion/obsession (that spectrum) between men and women. I’m looking at marriages and relationships of earlier generations in my family in a hunt for truth and meaning among all the warfare.

Somewhere in our culture is embodied the notion that people who love each other, once they’ve found each other, will live happily ever after. But the truth of the matter is that people can love each other tremendously and yet be unable to get together, or once together, stay together.

A man who doesn’t like intense emotion, who’s pretty much a hermit, who likes routines and structure and is afraid of commitment, can find himself mesmerized by an intensely emotional woman, who’s the life of the party, spontaneous and idiosyncratic, who commits deeply—and she with him.

These two very different people will love in quite different ways, even if they love equally deeply. And even the deepest, most intense love may not always be enough to bridge the difference between such polar opposites.

Each may try to express love in a way that the other doesn’t understand as love. Each one may crawl away from the encounter, hurt, believing the other broke his or her heart. It is so hard to break out of the boundaries that define us in order to make true connection with other people at the deepest levels—especially for men and women.

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