Can you write a love story if you have never been in love? You don’t want to be waxing lyrical about flutters and aches without any certainty on the subject. My hunch is that falling in love hurts. I think that it is terrifying. I love things and some people, but I have never been in love. Most times I think I’ve got it and I start to think that maybe I can write something like the great love stories that I’ve read but I stop myself each time. Because I know about being afraid, I know what it is to truly see red in anger, I get shame, and possibly even hatred but love eludes me.
I am unprepared and it is not for me or for the people who will never read this story that I torture myself with the possibilities, it is for the characters. They will know true love and heartbreak and that is it.
It is ridiculous to me that I have a story in my head, I know what it will be about, and I know how it starts but I cannot write it. It is not a block and I literally have nothing else going on. I am not some tortured artist or have any grandiose ideas about what I am going to do. Yet even as one part of myself laughs at my indecision, another shrinks away from the blank page. The former is losing it’s mind from weeks of minimal reading or writing and the latter is still healing from the last big project that’s gathering metaphorical dust in my hard drive.
We have taken the scenic route but here we are anyway. Yes, one of the reasons I will not start is because I am unsure of my ability to communicate what I have in my head. However, I am also haunted by the ghosts of manuscripts’ past. If this is funny go ahead and laugh, I’m chuckling right now. There are many, many years of rejection to come. It is not the rejection specifically that’s messing with my mind but the way it changes how I look at my work.
I keep and read everything that I write. Everything but the stuff I send away and get a polite, electronic, no. This is stuff that I worked hard for, loved, and dedicated myself to for months at a time. Before I sent them off I felt that they were the best I had ever done. Rejection stains and changes them. I do not want it to but there you go.
So I want to be authentic for me and for the characters that I will fall in love. I want to be rejection-proof. I want to love it the same way before and after.