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!