This article first appeared on my website in a blog post published on February 15, 2016, which can be found here. I’m reproducing it as a page because I think it deserves it. Yesterday, St. Valentine’s Day, is billed as the most love-filled, romantic day of the year, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that this article is about romance.
In the article Porn or Erotic Writing, I mention that I’m both “a romantic and a dreamer.” I discussed the latter in last week’s Fantasy blog post, so it makes perfect sense, to me at least, to follow that with this one, regardless of the time of year.
Just as we did in both of those pieces, let’s start by looking at the dictionary definition of romantic according to Merriam Webster…
of, relating to, or involving love between two people : making someone think of love : suitable for romance : thinking about love and doing and saying things to show that you love someone
In addition to what I’ve already said about the timing of this post, romantic is mentioned in the related words section of the definition of dreamer that we discussed last week. To use a favorite analogy of mine, the two go hand in hand, like lovers, if you will, and I’ll say more about that in a little while.
Let’s now look at some of the definitions of both the title subject and something that goes hand in hand with it…
Love and romance
to feel great affection for (someone) : to feel love for (someone) : to feel sexual or romantic love for (someone) : to like or desire (something) very much : to take great pleasure in (something)
a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious : a love story especially in the form of a novel : a class of such literature something (as an extravagant story or account) that lacks basis in fact : an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity : love affair
Of course, there are literally countless definitions of love, so I admit that I’ve been very selective here, in referencing those that are relevant to both me and my writing.
Love is, itself, the most precious gift that anyone can give another. The gift of love, is, I believe, absolutely priceless.
For me, personally, the expression of love is much, much more than three little words. While it is, undoubtedly, beyond delightful to hear my husband say “I love you,” and for me to tell him the same, it is not the be all and end all. Far from it. I’m being totally honest when I say that we rarely say those words to each other. In truth, we don’t need to say them. Why? Because we both prefer to show each other how we feel.
Actions speak louder than words
One of the first things you’re taught as a writer is “show, don’t tell.” And it’s something that goes far beyond writing for me. It’s a principle, perhaps even a mantra, that I both write and live by.
There are infinite ways in which me and my husband show each other how much we love one another. Some are more obvious than others, including making love; the absolute connection of body, mind, heart and soul… a kiss, no matter how passionate… an embrace… holding hands (yes, I said I’d mention it again)… a tender touch… an adoring glance.
Others are perhaps less obvious, but just as important and today’s technological world plays its part… checking our preferred messaging app, but not saying anything, therefore indicating, thanks to the “last seen” notification, that you’re being thought of. It might be hard to believe, but I’m being totally honest, as always, when I say that more often than not we both check the app either at the exact same time, or a split second later. At other times it might be a quick message, if only to say “hi” or ask how the other is doing.
Aside from technology, it can be doing something that the other needed to do, or doing something unexpected. The possibilities truly are endless.
Like many topics I’ve discussed in these articles, my personal thinking is also reflected in my stories. In Serendipity, while their love and affection for each other, as well as their attraction, is evident pretty much from the beginning, only once does Sam actually tell Kate he loves her. And even then the phrase isn’t limited to just three words. Instead, referring to an aspect of her personality, he tells her “I love you for it.” Similarly, much later in the story, Kate says the same to Sam. Both of them prefer to show each other how they feel, instead of telling.
What does being romantic mean to me?
Most importantly it is not restricted, as I alluded to in my opening paragraph, to just one day a year. For me, for us and indeed in essence for the characters I create in the stories I write, it is a way of life.
That said, it’s not all hearts and flowers and doesn’t need to involve bought gifts. As I said earlier, for me, the gift of love is absolutely priceless. Spending any amount of time with my husband, is, for me, romantic in itself. That might sound like cliched nonsense, but in a world as crazy and stressed as the one we live in, it’s true. And I can assure you that he feels the same.
I, personally, feel that everything I mentioned in the section above, not only shows our love for each other, but they are also romantic. Yes, we do love the more traditional aspects of romance, such as candlelit dinners. But for us it isn’t just the meal itself that is romantic or indeed sensual. Actually preparing and cooking it together is too. In truth, it doesn’t matter what we’re making, it could be prime steak, or breakfast for dinner, the key ingredient is that we’re making it together. And that, for us, is what romance is about.
What does being romantic mean to you?
Do you agree with what I’ve said here? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know by leaving a comment on the original post. Thank you.