romancing the heart

Today was supposed to be calm, but rain shook out of the sky, and cold crept up from the white floor of the world, and I was left wondering why we ever try to do more than simply open our doors to Life and see what it has brought us in this moment, and then the next moment ... why we don't fall in love over and again with the magic that continually unfolds?

My current bedtime novel is by Julia Quinn. She is the only romance writer I read. I like her books because they are funny, engaging, and simply good-natured. This probably makes them sound like light entertainment, but I personally believe there's a lot of rich value to be gained from simple good-naturedness. Reading about one of Julia's Bridgerton heroes, or about her lovely and complex heroines, lightens my spirit and gives me a warm feeling towards the world. That's a real blessing. Besides, Julia includes a fair bit of darkness in most of her stories - cruelty, grief, realistic worries. Somehow, though, it makes the charm even more heartening. I think it's nice though to see troubled spirits healed by love, villains overcome by goodness and decency.

And I realise here I am once again being apologetic for liking niceness, sweetness, romance, charm - as if an intelligent woman can not embrace delight; as if it's more sophisticated to take hold of thorns rather than soft pink roses. The feminine in literature has been mocked since its inception. And infact I was going to write about something else in this post - about how Life is full of delight. But I thought it sounded too saccharine. Which is sad, don't you think? Life really is delightful. Love is beautiful. Laughing with each other, finding ways to draw close to each other, wishing for happily ever after - these are things most of us want in our own real lives. So why do we deride the practice of writing about them, reading them?

And why do we not stand at our doors every morning and luxuriate in the romance Life offers us? Imagine going through your day with delight.



18 comments:

  1. For me it's not that these women are weak which bothers me (ok, I hate movies where the females scream at everything and twist their ankles), it's why they were soft, insipid and boring: They were made to be. They didn't get a choice. They were breeding stock, not persons.

    "Life really is delightful. Love is beautiful. Laughing with each other, finding ways to draw close to each other, wishing for happily ever after - these are things most of us want in our own real lives"

    Absolutely. Without shame or excuse. In fact it's very silly to ignore and negate this side in us. And I'm tired of stereotypes, it should be possible to be a romantic badass too, no questions asked. So stop apologizing already! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must confess, I think we have our wires crossed? I'm not sure which weak women you mean?

      You are definitely right about stereotypes! I think perhaps in our books and media it's easier to create one-dimensional ideas about people, but if you spend any time talking to a real person you'll see we're all complex, interesting, unstereotypical. :-)

      Delete
  2. I was talking about weak women in romance literature (of which I haven't read much), to which I thought you were referring. Granted, you said soft and good natured which isn't the same! My mind probably went on to Brontë and the like which is the only type I know (and never really enjoyed).

    So yes, I got a little carried away and into the past. ;-)

    One of my pet peeves is being patronized, really makes me grow fangs, claws (and warts just out of spite).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is of course another stereotype that romance novels are insipid. And written in poor language for slightly daft people. (one of which you're obviously not)

      Delete
    2. Oh, I hate being patronised too, it sets me off instantly.

      I *thought* you meant women characters in literature, and see where I wasn't clear in what I wrote. I meant the mood of Julia's books is good-natured - there's nothing grim and shadowed about them, they're basically cheerful and uplifting. I absolutely agree with you about weak women in literature - although I think weak-spirited characters are interesting, I don't like the way female characters are weakly written, so often insipid, as you said, and boring. I've been realising lately just how deeply misogynistic our culture still is, and it infuriates me.

      Delete
    3. Yeah, I didn't read your post properly, I went off on a tangent instead. Need more coffee in me before writing anything.

      Delete
    4. Well, I have to say, so many romance novels I've attempted to read are indeed insipid, which is why Julia Quinn is the only one I bother to read now. I've given up trying the rest! But I know there's an online community called Dumb Books for Smart Bitches or something like that, and they revel in romance novels. I'm sure there are some brilliantly written romances out there. Its not really fair of me to class them all as bad, since I've read plenty of insipid fantasy novels, sci fi, etc. :-)

      Delete
    5. And tangents are wonderful! Thank you so much for your comment and the conversation :-)

      Delete
    6. :) always a pleasure chatting with you. It's what makes the internet/blogland interesting to me, the two way communication.

      Blogspot has me picking out images of surfboards now before I'm allowed to post something. ;-)

      Delete
  3. Lovely as always. I also feel beauty is not valued, that feminine qualities are not valued much in the world we live in. I wish they were :) And I wish women could be heroes in a feminine way lol. I'm not sure if I'm making sense. But often women are made to be like men, but I'd like to see a soft heroine who uses her intuition, her dreams even, even if she carries a sword.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I've written so much about this over the years. I feel very strongly about it.

      Delete
  4. R and I are having a long Sunday morning in bed listening to BBC Classic radio Beethoven's moonlight sonata, and he just turned to me and talked about some of the wonderfully, lovely and successful things happening in our lives right now, and I must say we're luxuriating in the delight and looking forward to our day...and our future days. Nothing at all wrong with that, or with admitting it, or with looking for any spec of delightful beauty in every moment and nothing wrong with shouting about it from every mountain top so everyone can hear it. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, the delight of things to do, things given to us ... so beautiful. I was intending to write about the delight of silvereyes returning to the garden after winter, and light falling on flowers in the windowsill, and the whispering sound of the sea at the edge of the neighbourhood ... I just looked up from my desk that afternoon and saw that life wasn't a struggle out there, it was a constant rejoicing (which is probably not how the birds feel about it, but it just seemed that way to me - delight, magic, a gift constantly opening.)

      Delete
  5. I very rarely read specific romantic novels although many novels that I do read have a romantic element to them. Everyone reads for different reasons don't they - for me i like to think that I will discover something about myself that the writer has unintentionally found a key to. I guess that losing yourself and finding yourself at the same time is what reading books is all about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so interesting. I don't think I've ever considered why I read, I guess I just read because reading can be done. Sometimes I want the comfort of a beloved story. Sometimes I want to learn something. Sometimes reading is about resting. Sometimes its about connecting with the world. Mostly though its simply that books and reading are as much a part of life as food and sweeping the floor.

      Delete
  6. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Julia Quinn a few years ago at a writing conference I attended She is a warm, gracious person.

    The other day something reminded me that "the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" (Thomas Hobbes); and on that day, I felt this most acutely. But today is a new day, and so with courage in my heart, I take up your words as my own prayer: "Life really is delightful. Love is beautiful. Laughing with each other, finding ways to draw close to each other, wishing for happily ever after - these are things most of us want in our own real lives." Amen

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and photographs. ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry you felt that way, even for a day. I have to say, even through my darkest times, I've always believed that life is a gift. It's an experience to help our souls grow and take shape. I believe life is full of blessings - maybe not what we think blessings ought to be, like a new car or perfect health or a great promotion, but opportunities to love. To give love to others, to receive it - even just a smile in the street or a long-distance prayer.

      It's at the heart of my religion that life is not solitary, we are all bound together - we are all limbs if you like of the body of Life, all part of the Beloved.

      As for life being short - I guess that depends on your definition of time, and how you dwell in it. A day can seem to last forever. A moment may be all we need.

      ((Hugs)) and best wishes to you my dear friend.

      Delete