[personal profile] floorpigeon
It is my ambition to write a normal-- yet epic-- romantic relationship sometime. Like, a romance-- not the beginning and not the end, but like, a love story that is epic and yet believable. It was my ambition back when I tried to write 'One Good Reason' (my first H/D attempt, back before I even read the books), and it's my ambition in a broader sense still-- but that was the first time I thought it sucked that I could read so many romances and yet never write one except in the 'poetic fragments of an angsty affair' sort of way.

The thing is to reach that pinnacle where relationships feel epic yet believable.
    I mean, simply to be believable, I'd just go for realism, right? Meet-up, chemistry/attraction, awkward dancing around (which I do well), some initial angst, 'established relationship'-- but that's where I'm afraid it gets boring. So I write all this messed up angst, which is boring in its own way. That's sort of why I still haven't finished my epic Death Eater!Draco. I mean, I have the middle and the end, but it's hard to write a beginning because I want it to be plausible for a relationship and yet what they have in that novella is anything but a healthy relationship. So what seems suited is actually a messy hormonal fling, but it gets old writing those all the time. I don't know! This is why I used to admire writers who could be pretty OOC but so well-versed in making love palpable. I feel like I lack that ability; I'm more suited to making angst palpable, but that's so passe.

It's such a subjective thing, of course-- I mean, I thought Ivy, Aja & Amalin & Cassie Claire (even) could do that well in H/D fandom, but plenty of people would disagree. Probably only Aspen!Cassie wrote fic where the characters felt both IC and 'in love' in that 'now I believe it' sort of way, maybe because she definitely wrote shipper fic in the sense that it was rarely about how they got together. I can't think of anyone who wrote get-together fic both believable romantically and IC... partly because I think that link-up is just so subjective. So maybe it's pointless to deconstruct what it takes in a general sense-- how can you make love both realistic and epic? Maybe it's just that it always takes a leap of imagination to add them up. Like, you can go back and say like, 'Shakespeare did it' or 'Hugo did it', but that's not 100%, especially in the realism dept.

Ultimately, I think that the definition of 'genius' may be this very ability to write something that convinces most people most of the time, and yet reveals a marriage between an epic and emotional realism in characterization. It's very hard 'cause humans aren't mythic in reality, and yet on some level we are. If you portray humanity over-precisely in terms of realism in limitations, you lose the universal entirely, I think, and ultimately the fiction is disposable except as a source of pleasure for some. If you are too lofty, you risk losing all connection to the everyday, and your writing is irrelevant. So perhaps my inability to write my ultimate 'One Good Reason' romance is that I have all this baggage attached to the idea of what I want to communicate. And, I mean, even though Aja (for instance) 'did it' for me, I'm aware this is largely 'cause we spoke the same romantic language.

The more frustrating thing is that I struggle so much in speaking it-- my own 'language'. At my most idealistic and expansive, that's probably when I'm most blocked-- I reach a certain height and get vertigo; even success becomes scary. I don't know, it sort of blows up out of control in terms of scope, detail, etc (epicness!). But then I reached the other extreme, and gave up on my romanticism and wrote pretty dark stuff, which wasn't much more 'realistic' and yet satisfied me the way one scratches an itch; really, it was just reactionary to everything wrong I saw around me and my own naivete. I had wanted to say so much, but ended up saying nearly nothing. People used to praise me for being IC, though, ironically. I was just failing in taking risks, though this was probably unclear to anyone but me-- and not even me. Risk, in this sense, is writing things that are truly difficult to make believable for me (ie, healthy H/D) and invite 'failure' to some degree, but are thus worth writing.

In part, I wonder if writing healthy relationships requires being in one, or just being a certain kind of person, or having lots of life experience, or what have you. But all that sounds like excuses. Besides, let's be honest: I wouldn't beat myself up even if my only achievement is to write something like 'Wuthering Heights' (and I'm more experienced than Emily Bronte, at least). The trick (I think) is to put all your heart into it, not just half-measures-- and at the same time, being brave and seeing people as clearly as you can bear. I want to read that, so I want to write that: if we could finally grow up, if we could fly freely as Peter Pan even in adulthood-- what would that look like? What would that be? Who can we become, and who are we, really, anyway? What does 'change' mean, anyway?

I used to think I could write H/D epics about how love can change you, but my problem was that I couldn't admit I didn't know what change meant, regardless of love. What does it mean to change? I could only barely imagine. Then, later, I told myself it meant to 'grow up' and stop being an idiot/prejudiced, but that was just being flippant, though I think that's a part of it.

Maybe it's not love I want to write about, then. Really, I want to create a vision of change that isn't a defeat. How can someone become freer by living, without fear, without ossification and aging into complacency? What role do romantic or simply human bonds of love play in this process? 'How can love renew us', yes, but ultimately I just want to know how we can be renewed, no matter what. Not to never grow old physically, but to never surrender mentally.

I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] cellia about this last entry-- Harry being Dursleyfied by the end of the HP books-- and that's exactly it, yeah. He grew up, and like with most people, it was a disappointment, a loss of potential. A defeat.

But what are our other options, as human beings?

Does it become easier for Harry to be free if he's queer, if he's not an Auror, if he's not with Ginny? Really? Why should that be true? (No, I think it may be, but I also think it's an unexamined assumption people make about outsider status individuals/relationships, too; plus, it's a dead-end-- if you can only be free while you're excluded, that's pretty hopeless for the rest of humanity).

So this is why I can't write love-stories. There's all this philosophical baggage-- while at the same time, I remain convinced it's really the simplest thing in the world: Spock's 'simple feeling'. That simple feeling, so elusive as to be a myth.
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the one who stumbled

January 2015

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