A houseful of people all weekend. All people I like, too, so that was good. A lot of work got done, a new mailbox was installed, and there was much foodening.
Last night I dreamt I was on a battleship. I had a turtle as a pet, and I had to speak to Admiral Nimitz. Unfortunately, every door I tried to get me to the bridge led somewhere else, and I had to stop every few steps to help someone or another, or make a decision for them. WonderWoman and I talked a lot this weekend about being the person called upon to make constant decisions and keep the peace, and how it becomes a reflex. Food for thought all over that.
I’m a little piqued today by people writing to chide me for not having Emma and Archibald “in a relationship.” They are in a relationship–it’s called a friendship, and neither of them are interested in each other romantically. Why is this even a thing? Because I’m a female writer? Because there’s no other reason for a guy and a girl to hang out together? Because I’ve written romance before? It seems like there’s either too much or not enough romance in any book I write, and I just wonder about why people pick that to complain about. Sometimes it’s a part of the story, sometimes it’s not–just like in life.
The complaints tend to come in waves every two or three months, and I’m not quite sure what to think about that.
There’s this whole glorification of “romantic” love in our culture. We’re addicted to the idea, the emotional jolt. 99% of our songs, most of our movies, a good chunk of our books, commercials, TV shows, all these things we consume, hing on different permutations of this “romantic” thing. It’s a fascinating cultural conversation to watch, but it’s so insidious–like the endless daily messages directed at women to be thinner/sexier/less threatening/more hairless in certain spots. It becomes reflexive, and feeds on itself over and over again, amplifying each time.
Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but sometimes the constant banging on the “you have to ‘love’ someone” gong is overwhelming and a little terrifying. My fairy-tale YAs all have that component, because it’s in the original tales, but Bannon & Clare? Not so much, because it doesn’t serve the story. Emma is involved elsewhere and Archibald, well, he’s not wired for romantic love. Their relationship is full of other things, and while it does contain a particular type of love it’s definitely not the type I suspect a lot of readers are expecting.
I do know I’m not going to be shoehorning those sorts of relationships everywhere, in every book, just because. It’s an important part of life, and stories, but it’s not the only thing in either.