“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love,” wrote Albert Einstein. Beyond that, the emotional affliction called, “love,” remains a mystery and a debate. Is is chemical, spiritual, biological or of a divine source? What is known is that it is the source of all greatness, all evil, all happiness and all despair even as it remains elusive to a single explanation.
It might be fair to say that without our capacity to experience love and our desire to understand it, no story may ever have been written. It seems silly that we require a genre called romance—after all, what story doesn’t begin with “he or she loved this thing most and thus the journey began.”
The “thing” is so many things—people, animals, gods, places, fame, fortune…sometimes just life itself. There can be no universal agreement on the topic. No final definition as to “what” true love means, or what is worthy of such affection or how such affection should be demonstrated. In matters of love we can only build on examples and draw from them a version that “feels” right…to us.
In the absence of a firm understanding, we still recognize it and we still desire to see it in action. Even a horror writer knows that central to the terror is the fear of some beloved thing lost. It appears that for humans love found and love lost share an equal if not different emotional charge. Our thirst for the endless possibilities, combinations, and outcomes is one never satiated. Perhaps the reason is as Orson Welles wrote: “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”
But Mr. Welles’ explanation rings with the sound of despair rather than the hope and completeness Love seems to offer. There is a sense in his words that we might actually be separated from love, that it isn’t all around us, when in fact love is possibly the most abundant of life’s options, if one chooses it to be.
My work is not as devoted to the topic as others. Not because I am a horror writer, but because “love” is a foregone conclusion in my work—“of course there is love. Of course that love is the foundation of the story.” Beyond that, I prefer to explore the strength of it, the things we will sacrifice for it, and how it gives the courage to do what must be done. For me love is like all things—it is a verb. It has meaning when in action, it is never perfect, and it is never a destination but forever a journey. Perhaps to be a horror writer one must first and foremost be a romantic.
Of course, my writing passion is not without its poetic side. I asked my wife to marry me…in a poem. For what writer isn’t at one time driven to romantic verse or to examine love with his words? And what lover won’t look beyond the flowery, symbolic proclamations and hear only beautiful mastery?
I won’t share the “will you marry me” poem because that is a private thing meant for only two. But even a horror writer such as I can look back into the endless journals and find those times when I had direct things to say on the subject. Here is one I can share with only mild embarrassment.
To traverse the night sky on slivers of moonlight,
To fall gently into the outstretched arms of trust and friendship,
To hear the winds whisper happiness softly on the trees
To know, for one moment, the warmth and depth of another’s soul.
It is this, which makes the lonely journey worthwhile–And it is this that I call Love.
Categories: A to Z Blog Challenge