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Archive for September, 2009

A Literary Coincidence

A Literary Coincidence

An interesting literary coincidence; if you believe in coincidence. Personally I have always believed that there is no such thing as coincidence, but I could be mistaken. I frequently am.

On Wednesday night I outlined and began writing a short story, ‘Holly, The Path Not Taken.’ I’m writing it for an upcoming Christmas anthology by Noble Romance.

Much of the story is set in the late sixties. In order to help strike that tone I included three distinct references to a popular folk song from that era. Here’s the first.

I turn on my laptop, jack it into the car stereo and start streaming Pandora. The first song up is ‘The Cruel War’ by Peter, Paul and Mary. I feel the tears welling up in my eyes, rolling down my cheeks. Well, it is a sad song; it was a cruel war.

On Thursday afternoon I turned on the news and learned that Mary Travers, the woman who sang the song, died at age 72. As I said, it’s an interesting literary coincidence; if you believe in coincidence. I don’t. Do you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Mary Allin Travers

May her soul rest in peace

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Defining Romance

First, let me mention that my first novel, Absinthe Eyes & Other Lies, will be released by Noble Romance Publishing on Monday, September 7th. It’s dark, edgy and brutally erotic. It’s a romance that spans the ages in the space of 95 pages.

AEyesBanner

To read an excerpt, blurb or see what other authors have to say about this book, check out the Noble Expressions blog:

http://nobleexpressions.wordpress.com/

I’ll be talking more about my book once it has been released. For now, I must admit that I’m as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I don’t know what to expect. I need a distraction. So, on to the topic of my first blog:

Defining Romance

In Literature and in Modern Society

As a writer, I feel that I have achieved romance when I’ve established that hero and heroine couldn’t imagine life without one another; or keep their hands off each other. That’s my opinion. It’s subjective. There are other opinions.

Recently a fellow author, Bryl Tyne, received a rather mixed review on his short story Best Unspoken. In the reviewer’s opinion it was hot, but it was not romance. He was less than pleased with that appraisal of his work, and understandably so. It was, at best, a back-handed compliment.

I can relate. I’m in the middle of a short story, Gunmetal Blue. I have become painfully aware that you can only pack so much romance into a short story and still leave room for solid plot and steamy sexual encounters.

I hope that this was the ‘flaw’ the reviewer saw in Bryl’s story. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if that opinion didn’t transcend defining romance in literature. Was it reflective of the way modern society views same sex couples and coupling? Do we still believe that such unions are strictly a matter of physical gratification? Do we labor under the delusion that two men, or two women, can’t really love one another the way a man and a woman do?

I grew up in an America where homosexuality was the ultimate taboo. It was grounds for denial of employment, housing, insurance, even the right to adopt. Over the years, our attitude to a great many things slowly changed. It seemed that attitudes toward gays changed more gradually than others.

Even during the height of the activist era, many of us found it difficult to embrace the cause of gay rights. It was risky. If you stood up for black rights, or women’s rights no one would accuse you of being black or being a woman. But if you stood up for gay rights, you risked being branded with the scarlet Q. Lord knows, you couldn’t afford that.

That was then, and we’ve come a long way since then. We like to think that we have matured into a more tolerant society. Still, every four years the uber-conservatives roll out the gay marriage issue and it becomes a referendum on how we view romance in modern society.

A curious anomaly always springs to life in the polls. Most Americans don’t think there’s anything wrong with gay relationships. Most Americans don’t think that gays should be allowed to marry. Isn’t marriage a logical culmination of love and romance? In denying gays the right to marry, aren’t we saying that their unions aren’t real love, that they don’t meet the criteria for true romance?

We’re a tolerant society, but that particular issue seems to stretch the limits of our tolerance.

As a writer of dark fantasy I’m always on the prowl for disturbing words. I think tolerance is a very disturbing word. I tolerate the tropical storms that plague south Florida six months each year. If I could make them go away, I would. I tolerate my neighbor’s loud music. If it wasn’t illegal I’d go next door and shove that damned stereo where the sun doesn’t shine.

Tolerance isn’t acceptance. It’s not even an adequate substitute. As a society we’ve come a long way. We’ve got a long way left to go.

Just a thought; and a mildly inebriated one, as it were.

Y’all have a nice day. Thanks for stopping by, and do drop in again.

grbretz

Delightfully Disturbing Daydreams

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