I’d like to open with a poem. Employing, fairly and collectively, the classic Romantic movement technique of using nature metaphors.
Love. Ah. Sweet, sweet love. I compare thee to a mango. Rare and beautiful you are, smelling kind of nice and with a little plastic white sticker on your skin. Thou cometh in thine own season, surprising in thine own serendipity, I see thee at the shops and I’m like. “Whoah. Mangoes! I’d forgotten about mangoes completely!”
But ah mangoes, like love thou hast a bitter side. When I peel open sensuously and slowly thine soft tender skin, and begin to suck your internal juices, I am displeased. For thou art oft bitter, unripe like an… unripe mango, or thou flesh has turned rotten and distorted to sickly mush. And I cast thee away, thou repelleth me, eyes a-water and thoughts cast asunder, I wander listless, and spellcast to my room, leaning over the bed with the pillow on my face, gazing down at my phone, contemplating whether I should call you, or throw my body, lifeless into the raging sea.
Yet as much as the pain of mango lost haunts me, I still yearn for it. Yearn for the perfect idyllic mango, like the forbidden fruit pressed in front of me, I waltz on, dreary eyed and deathly, searching for that one mango, perfect in both taste and texture, that I can live and love forever.
Now I’ll begin. Today is Valentine’s Day. I’ve just gotten home from school, which has temporarily been flooded with sentimentality and reddish paraphernalia, and am, surprise suprise, feeling decidedly cynical about the whole affair. Perhaps it’s because I am bereft and alone <SADFACE>, perhaps it’s because of my nonsensical political opinions and “core values”. Whatever it is, it’s made me question what love is. Hopefully I will have answered this by the end of the article, because I haven’t got any coherent ideas about it right now. Also I’ll try and answer the blog question itself.
At school I’m studying idealised love and how ideas concerning love have changed over time. We’re comparing Elizabeth Barret Browning’s collection of sonnets to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. We’re not even halfway in yet, but it’s already quite interesting to observe the changes in perspective and interpretation that have occurred in the century or so between the two works. Shit yeah. That’s going into my essay.
Which brings this inexorably back to myself. The types of fiction I write aren’t usually disposed to romance. Maybe it’s paying homage to my own dismal lovelife, or maybe it’s just my inherent pessimism, but my characters seem to be either stuck lingering in a past relationship, or aspiring in a cute, almost futile way to a goal they see as almost unattainable. My stories tend to be kind of depressing, but I find love, rather than romance, can be used as a good way to provide a hopeful, more meaningful ending, or provide a sort of melancholic centrepoint that the entire narrative can revolve around.
Romance I see drastically different. Farcically. As soon as someone mentions Romance I think of, knights in shining armour, long haired chicks in castles, and the word ‘thou’. The other most prominent thought that comes to my mind is that peculiar kind of pulp fiction. You know those books, the covers of which mainly feature some sort of busty wench lying prostrate on a bed, with the rugged masculine, yet sensitive figure of a sailor named Dirk (or Hank) standing in front of her, legs spread, and collared shirt half unbuttoned. Those sorts of thoughts come to my mind quite often. In fact they probably tie with thoughts relating to food and alien death rays. Zeeooowww.
I once considered writing pulp fiction romance for Mills and Boone. I had the skills. Most high school English students do. All you need is a tenuous sort of plot, detailed imagery in certain scenes, and a literary hessian bag from which to pluck and scatter certain cliches at random intervals. Having no sense of taste or naffity also helps. Especially in the dialogue section. Unfortunately that career didn’t take off. And instead I’m writing science fiction for internet magazines and dodging N-Awards like Han Solo in a firefight.
Anecdotes and digressions aside me and Romance have a love hate relationship. Telling the positive side of romance is boring and no fun at all. I know you were all like “A socialist got the Valentine’s Day spot? Let’s hear his rabid rant!” And let me say I am never one to disappoint much, and I like a a good man as much as the next rant. So here’s one I prepared earlier.
“Comrades! Romance is counter revolutionary! Romance comes from the medieval era, along with self flagellation, burning things and Morris Dancing; that’s guilt by association if I ever saw it. Romance goes hand in hand with the outdated concept of chivalry. Chivalry is bad because knights did it and knights are scary. Also I can’t be bothered opening doors for every person happening to posses a particular style of genitalia and mammary glands anyway. Chivalry is symptomatic of the systematic deeply pervasive , divisive and perverted school of thought which dominates the patriarchal protectionist society we find ourselves infortunate enough to live in. Every time someone hands a chick a jacket a small feminist dies dramatically inside me. Equality starts with letting women open doors themselves and ends with a ‘y’!”
“Also commodification! Romance in its heart is merely a dream. A kind of pathetic soppy annoying dream that emphasises emotional connection over libido. So in other words a bad dream. Severely lacking in the orgy department, depressingly dry and without surreal mish-mashed composites of childhood memories overlain with subtle references to long running psychological issues. But not only is this dream kind of stupid. It’s been bought out, corporatised by large multinational corporations whose only goal is world domination and the destruction and pollution of all things pure, holy and crass.
“Valentine’s Day, the abominable disgusting day on which I write is the centrepiece of the unholy transformation that Romance has undergone, from feudal feminine wankery to corporatised feminine wankery. ‘My love I give thee a card, with paper looted from Indonesian rainforests, where armless orangutans wander, crying through a wasteland! And a forty dollar rose! Marked up by a well known florist chain with branches across the Western world, but with flowers grown as cash crops in land where much needed food could be grown to feed a starving populace. Pah!’
“So Comrades! Romance is immoral and sullied by the non existent devil! All ye who venerate it are capitalistic feudal devil spawn and while die in the pits of atheist Hades. Repent! Recite Karl Marx thrice a day and pray facing north to the Kremlin and ye shall be forgiven! Long live the inexorable Revolution!”
So there. Are you happy now? I ranted. I confessed my desire to become a pulp fiction hack. I admitted how abysmal my love life was. I’ve written a couple of paragraphs for my mid course English essay and generally embarrassed myself. And after all that I still have no idea what love is.
Thank you. And Happy Valentine’s Day
Teens Can Write Too! February Blog Chain
February 5– http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com –Novel Journeys
February 6– http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com –Lily’s Notes in the Margins
February 7– http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com –Kirsten Writes!
February 8– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish
February 9– http://delorfinde.wordpress.com –A Farewell to Sanity
February 10– http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com –The Word Asylum
February 11– http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com –From My Head
February 12– http://estherstar1996.wordpress.com –Esther Victoria1996
February 13– http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com –Embracing Insanity
February 14– http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com –Red Herring Online
February 15– http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com –Go Teen Writers (Honorary Participant)
February 16– http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com –This Page Intentionally Left Blank
February 17– http://oyeahwrite.wordpress.com –Oh Yeah, Write!
February 18– http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com –The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
February 19– http://herestous.wordpress.com –Here’s To Us
February 20– http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)