I know I’ve been quiet on RR this week, and haven’t even been visiting Go Fug Yourself or orlandobloomfiles.com. That’s because I’ve been deep in Writing Land, finishing the “Muses” WIP (rough draft done!!! Now in the ‘smoothing out’ phase). But even if you’ve been buried in a dark cave as I have, it can’t have escaped your notice that Valentine’s Day is coming up next week. When I went to Target to stock up on Choxie bars and Hello Kitty notebooks, I found the aisles full of heart-shaped candy boxes, heart-shaped pendants, and stuffed gorillas that sing “Wild Thing” when you press their paws.
I like the Big V Day as much as the next romance writer. After all, this is the time of year when newspapers, libraries, and bookstores come out of the woodwork wanting to do features on our books! Plus I love chocolate. And pink.
But (and maybe this is sour grapes, since I recently broke up with someone and it’s just me, Choxie, and Romeo and Juliet this year? Nah, can’t be that!) so much of this ‘manufactured romance’ seems the antithesis of real, true, personal romance. The prix-fixe dinners at fancy restaurants and mass-produced diamond chip hearts–they’re all sort of one-size-fits-all. What could mean real romance? What could be ultra-special?
A love letter, of course! Here are a few selections from some historical favorites for a bit of inspiration (courtesy of the book Love Letters, ed. Antonia Fraser):
From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Sophie, comtesse d’Houdetot: “Come, Sophie…why should I spare you, whilst you rob me of reason, of honor, and life? Ah, much less cruel would you have been, if you had driven a dagger into my heart, instead of the fateful weapon which kills me! When you deigned to be mine, I was more than a man; since you have driven me from you, I am the least of mortals.”
Franz Liszt to Marie d’Agoult: “My heart overflows with emotion and joy! I do not know what heavenly languor, what infinite pleasure permeates it and burns me up. It is as if I had never loved!!! Tell me whence these uncanny disturbances spring, these inexpressible foretatstes of delight, these divine tremors of love. Oh! all this can only spring from you, sister, angel, woman, Marie!”
Robert Schumann to Clara Schumann: “I should like to call you by all the endearing epithets, and yet I can find no lovelier word than the simple word ‘dear.’ My dear one, then, I have wept for joy to think that you are mine, and often wonder if I deserve you. What would I not do for love of you, my own Clara!”
John Keats to Fanny Brawne: “You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish? My dear girl, I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you the more I have lov’d. In every way–even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.”
Lord Byron to Lady Caroline Lamb: “I was and am yours freely and most entirely, to obey, to honor, love–and fly with you when, where, and how you yourself might and may determine”
Lord Byron to Teresa Guiccoli: “I love you and you love me–at least, you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation. But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you”
Napoleon to Josephine: “I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart!”
So, who are some of your favorite historical lovers? Anyone have any big plans for Valentine’s Day? Any suggestions for ways I could avoid the agonies of Internet dating??
And be sure and join us next Saturday, when Barbara Metzger will be joining us here for an RR interview!
Amanda, I don’t have any favorite historical lovers, but I sure can relate to the hazards of internet dating…in a moment of insanity I just signed-up (again) for Match.com (just for a month, though, so some common sense must have been at work, too)–you have had the same experience, I take it, that I have had so far: to end-up congratulating myself for remaining single?! I have not even expected any of these men to be a “Mr. Darcy”–just a likeable, dateable guy–no luck so far…
Have you thought of “Table for Two”, or “It’s Just Lunch”? I have been somewhat intrigued by the whole concept of a personal dating service/headhunter (:)), but have not found the fees palatable at this point…:)
I’m not sure we have an “It’s Just Lunch” here, but if we did I like the “low pressure” concept. My experience with Match.com was, um, less than fun (maybe I could write a chick lit comedy about it!). Definitely no Mr. Darcy. I ended up one date with a guy who had lied about his age and was 69 years old! And another who had to breathe into a breathalyzer to start his car. And just the thought of speed dating makes me break out in hives! Ahhh, good times. 🙂
I’m so sorry to read about your Internet dating woes and that you recently broke up with someone.
Enforced expression of love has never been high on my list of favorites; luckily my husband feels likewise. So our Valentine’s Day plans are usually nil.
Lord Byron was mighty restrained in those two examples you gave.
On another note, my daughter, like you, is delighted with the entire world gone pink. Target is her favorite place to visit as an after-school activity.
BTW, do you guys have a “Hello Kitty” store near you? On the rare occasions we go to the mall, I avoid the general area for fear of being stuck there for hours. 🙂
Oh, Amanda and Lisa, I am so sorry the dating world has not yet been kind to you.
I knew a woman who went to a match maker years ago, before online dating services. She was in her 40’s and the man she married was wealthy. Her friends were, as you can imagine, shocked.
Re: love letters. There is one written by, I think, a Quaker wife to her husband during the Civil War which is one of the sexiest letters I’ve ever seen. Naturally I can’t find it for you, though
My fabulous ex-brother-in-law signed up for internet dating. A god time was had by no one. May I suggest the more traditional approaches of trying to join a new class or a new social club or volunteering for a cause you care about? I met my beloved working at an animal shelter- I was a volunteer and he was a caretaker. Love of animals and their welfare is bedrock to us. We’ll probably do something for dinner for V-day.
I *hate* pink.
I love Antonia Fraser’s Love Letters book and have a personal story about it. Many years ago (before I ever thought I might write romance), my husband Michael’s bookstore had just expanded from a hole-in-the wall to a slightly bigger hole-in-the-wall and publishers’ representatives were offering freebies for the first time. Michael’s choice (to everyone’s surprise) was the Love Letters book. Which he then quietly put away — only taking it up again some 20 or so years later when I needed to write a set of love letters in The Bookseller’s Daughter. Whereupon he handed it to me and said, “I knew you’d be needing this sometime.”
Happy Valentine’s Day.