Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day: What is love?

There was love in a hay field in The Taker, too.
Valentine's Day, that most peculiar of holidays. The day we celebrate the idea of being in love. 

I have said that The Taker is an anti-romance. One of the reasons I wrote it is because I was horrified by the way our culture overemphasizes the importance to being in a relationship. Young people are pressured to be paired off with someone before they even know what it means to love. I had young nieces planning their dream weddings, down to the designer dress and the perfect place to have the reception, without spending one-thousandth the amount of thought put towards the kind of person they would marry. I saw women turning themselves inside out to hang on to indifferent men. The price of giving your heart can often be high--few loves will never go untested. Love is a precious thing but we try to mass-produce it, stamp it out in red and hot pink plastic instead of gold, make it ubiquitous. 

Well, saying that sort of thing is like pinning a target to your back. Some people get it, but most accuse you of being a sour, joyless old thing. So once a year, I like to remind people that it's a writer's job to tell the truths of the world and that I am hardly alone in my view of love:

If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.
--Ernest Hemingway

Often it is just the most deserving people who cannot help loving those that destroy them.
--Herman Hesse, Gertrude

Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will.

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. 
--CS Lewis

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
--Fodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamozov

This month in 2012: my Italian book tour. A writer's career is a fickle thing, but they can never take this away from me. 

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