My coffee table clutter has been reduced to two magazines – National Geographic and hubby’s Cycling – plus three or four or five romance novels. What my teenaged sons like to call ‘Mom’s sex books’.
Please art departments – I beg you, pull up her bodice and button his shirt!
But every day I click online and read my favorite blogs on digital publishing news, womens’ magazines, and celebrity gossip.
Oh yeah…and Facebook of course.
On my home page one day was an aerial photograph of a heart shaped clearing in the midst of thousands of trees. A family secret for years, until a hot air balloonist snapped the picture and now it’s online for the world to see – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2173055/A-real-labour-love-Devoted-farmer-creates-heart-shaped-meadow-planting-thousands-oak-trees-tribute-late-wife.html
I couldn’t resist. I clicked to read more.
There was a fifteen year old photograph of the man who planted the trees, smiling, his head bent down to his wife’s. She beams for the camera, though she has dark circles under her eyes. His eyes are contemplative, his smile is gentle.
Below that is a black and white photo from 1962 and they’re holding hands. He’s looking at her with that look… that unmistakable, irrepressible look of love. Anyone with eyes can see he’s a goner – head over heels, completely lost his heart and soul to the pretty, smiling woman next to him.
The caption says she died one year after the picture was taken. Sudden heart failure.
I have my own photograph. We stood in the white sand of a windy Gulf Coast beach one July. The sun was low enough so we didn’t have to squint and he held the camera high, pressed his stubbled jaw against mine, and took the picture. I look giddy from vacation liquor and vacation sex … or maybe it was his hand on a particularly ticklish spot. He looks serious and content.
First time I saw that look time thirty-two years ago, I ran. Now here I was, swimming in the love in those ocean blue eyes.
The article continues: “I came up with the idea of creating a heart in the clearing of the field after Janet died.” Thousands of oak trees surround a heart pointing to her birthplace. “It is a lovely and lasting tribute to her which will be here for years.”
Possibly, with care, it will be here forever.
I read another article that day, on Why Smart Women Read Romance Novels http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-browning-walker/romance-novels-smart-women_b_1660308.html?utm_hp_ref=tw. The author writes romance, and the commenters… don’t. Decrying the genre as porn and unworthy of their time and effort, they tear down those who read it as desiring fulfillment of rape fantasies, of being stuck in a rut of smut.
Full disclaimer here: I read and write romance novels in the hopes of publishing one day.
No… that isn’t quite right….
I inhale romance novels. I live and breathe and study them, and then I try my damndest to express in words what it’s like to bask in the love of a man who believes in your dreams…supports your children, even if they’re not his own… allows the goofiest of his pictures to be posted online…drives miles out of his way just to be in the same city as you… endures years of therapy, medicine, and ugly hospital gowns because it’s the closest he can come to bearing your pain…,
… or plants thousands of saplings to frame a still exposed and aching heart that can only be seen from the heavens.
There isn’t a romance novel yet written that comes close to the real thing.
But if you read romance, you’d already know that.