Life is a funny thing. Some days it goes well. Everything is sunshine, rainbows, and kitty cats.
Then some days life takes a sharp left turn into the raging storm that sweeps you off the bridge and into the choppy waters of uncertainty where you’re stuck between an alligator and a swarm of jellyfish.
And let’s face it, one alligator in the water with you is one alligator too many.
Lately, my life has felt like it has more alligators than it has rainbows and more raging storms than calm little afternoon rain showers.
Not to mention, I haven’t had a good hair day in over a month. ;)
You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with romance.
But here’s the thing – real life happens in the middle of the mess. Romance doesn’t only happen when everything is coming up roses. It’s just as likely to happen when our life is falling apart than it is when our life is looking like solid gold.
I don’t generally pick on books – especially not within the realm of romance – but I will say that one of my pet peeves is when a book equates the happily-ever-after of its characters to everything in life going well. There are so many books out there where the heroine’s life is a big, fat mess until she meets the right guy. Then he sweeps her off her feet, showers her with priceless gifts and words of praise, and suddenly she’s the CEO of a major corporation (even though she dropped out of college after one year) with the world at her feet. Her happily-ever-after is tied to having met the perfect man and how he transformed her life from that big, fat mess into a world where everything goes right all the time and she can never do wrong.
Back before I was married, I used to say that I didn’t need a perfect man – I just needed the man who was perfect for me. (Which is code for “the man God has for me.”)
So, while I like a happily-ever-after as much as the next gal, I have to say, I tend to like my happily-ever-afters to have a touch of realism in them.
If your life looks like a plate of moo goo gai pan that’s been spilled on the restaurant floor before you meet Mr. Right, then it’s probably still going to look like a spilled plate of moo goo gai pan after you’ve met him. And even if you get that sticky spill cleaned up, being in love is no guarantee that you’re not going to dump the wontons the next day, or that your egg rolls won’t explode in the deep fat fryer because you wrapped them too tight.
Life is messy, and it’s not romance’s job to change that. Romance is about falling in love – and staying in love – in the midst of all the mess.
Perfection will come someday, but it won’t be in this lifetime.
So I guess, in conclusion, I’d like to say that romance is about finding the sunshine, rainbows, and kitty cats while you’re swimming in the stormy waters with the alligators and jelly fish.
Which, now that I think about it, doesn’t sound like a fabulous selling point for our genre.
Maybe I should sugar coat it a bit.
Rarely do good romances involve alligators or jellyfish.
How’s that? More optimistic? Ha. I think I’ll start putting that on my book covers…not.
Happy reading everyone! And whether you enjoy a perfect-life happily-ever-after or a rubber-meets-the-road happily-ever-after, I hope your day today is filled with a book you love and a great friend to share it with.