This post is about luuurrrvve.Forgive me for the spazzy post because this has way more to do with writing than with reading, and for the past few days I've been wrestling some reading-to-writing feelings and whether or not I should even express them.
Basically, what happened is a friend of mine read this book - the whole purpose of the book is to be a love story - and we were talking about it the other day. Specifically, she and I had kind of a problem with the love presented in the book. A little bit of context may be necessary, so pretty much, it's one of those books where two kids meet, and you know that it's like a 'true love from childhood' thing, like they're destined to be together and whatnot. But they go their separate ways, and...here's where it got hard for my pal to go along with the story...supposedly the guy's still in love with the childhood crush, always has been, and yet he still manages to get a new girlfriend to crush on (and etc.) in the process. For us, love...as in fictional story, can't-quite-cut-it-in-real-life-so-that's-why-we-read- "true love"...is pretty exclusive. Can't quite get on board with the character's declarations if he's gettin with someone else.
The point is, lately I've really been wondering how much of what I take in, as a reader, influences what I create as a writer. I've read some pretty amazing stories in the last couple years, but for every genuinely magical story, every sweet, endearing, my-definition-of-romantic love story, there have been at least 2 or 3 that were not so endearing. Believe me, I totally understand that every writer feels drawn and inspired in their own way, and I'm counting on that. But what's a little unsettling to me, from a writing point of view, is how I'm starting to second-guess my own ability as a storyteller because my love stories don't match up with the "usual treatment."
Almost every author I've read in the last 2 years has written a love story (considering that it's even a part of the plot in the first place) that's different - somehow - from my own. And that's fine for them, because those are their stories, not mine, and if they have the freedom to write what they want, so should I, theoretically. But then I was talking with my friend about this latest book of hers, and it made me wonder,
If everybody's doing it differently...maybe I am the one who's wrong. If my picture of "love" is obviously so different from most authors out there, that means that I've got it wrong, right?
But is there even a "right" and a "wrong" when it comes to creating a love story?
Can there be more than one kind of 'love' (and just to clarify, I'm not talking about sibling love, parental love, platonic love...I'm talking about, like, romantic and beyond kind).
Whoever says there's power in books knows what they're talking about. But for me, sometimes that power is unsettling, because it only reminds me how different my stories are and how counter-cultural my characters' personalities are. And lately that's made me really wonder...
Though this post is just meant to throw my thoughts out into the void, I want to also appeal to both the writers and the avid readers out there and ask if you've ever come up against this same issue before, or if you have any thoughts on what is, in all likelihood, a very abstract-leaning and rambling post :)