By E.D. Vaughn
Romances take the readers on a journey of love. With endless possibilities, the genre captures my heart every time I read and write. Ok, if anyone has read my stuff, I have a thing for all those furry creatures that go bump in the night. The pull of true mates and the ultimate love is too great.
But, what happens following the happily ever after? A decade later? Is so-and-so now in jail for subsequently hitting her dude with a baseball bat for consistently being an overbearing ass? Or has life settled? Is that spark still burning or has the light gone out?
For some reason, the aspect of happily ever after has been bombarding my mind lately. I’m flipping past the last page wondering where the rest of the story went. May have something to do with the life altering changes continually popping up in my path.
There has to be something more than luck, right? A friend of mine still gets that goofy grin on her face every time her husband walks into the room, and they’ve been together since they were in their late teens (over twenty years). Heck, even my parents hold hands when they go anywhere together, so because of these examples (and others), I know romance and love can sustain longer than a few months or years.
I’d always considered myself a hopeful (and yes, hopeless) romantic. I think I loved love since I’ve been little. (No, I never got told fairy tales growing up.) Over the last few years, I found my stories have shifted -haha, no pun intended- to have more of an edge. Older stories even have darker layers edited in. Honestly, there are several I’ve started where the poor werewolf finds his mate in time to watch her get ripped to shreds in a gruesome fight scene. Obviously, those stories don’t go anywhere. I know these dead-end, bloody tales stem from personal life blowing up in my face, don’t need a psych evaluation to understand.
In an attempt to overrule my jaded bias, I’ve tried to break down stories and ideas to the simplest form. The lust factor I easily understand, daily actually. I live on flexing muscles with every venture to the gym. If I didn’t love working out so much I’d think I was addicted to the scenery. *sigh*
Anyways, I lost my train of thought. Let me try to pull my mind back to the topic at hand. Yep, mind dives right back to the gym and wanting to tackle a few guys. Which proves a point that establishing a physical attraction can be easy. That sexual spark pulls two people together but doesn’t always lead to a lasting relationship. If I go entirely on the lust end then I have a good short erotic but not a romance novel.
The idea of switching gears in my writing has crossed my mind, but I’m stubborn. I want romance, dang it! I can switch genre or stop writing altogether, but neither option is suitable in the long run. Have to throw some spicy stuff around sometimes.
With each sudden left turn into oncoming life-traffic, an uneasy feeling of being a hack -for writing romance. Half the time I feel as though I’m holding on by my nails to the ideals that have always rung true. I heard dozens of times, those that can’t do, teach… and I suddenly depressed myself. I grew up with every family member being a part of the education system and no. I never wanted to do the later and have zero aspirations to venture down that trail; besides, there are too many things I’m still learning.
Pondering at the blank screen on Word, trying to figure out what to write for the blog left me with an idea that I’m going to attempt (after much struggle). Taking a step back. Hardly romantic, I know.
Cringing at the idea had me quickly questioning my sanity. Reading older posts for inspiration left me feeling inadequate. Not something I like admitting. The other authors on HAG are amazing and I feel blessed to be apart of such a great project, but the idea of taking a step back didn’t leave me horrified.
Sudden weight lifted. Heck, even this blog came together… sort of. May still read like a jumbled mess, but logical to the spider webs of my brain. We all want to find a happily ever after in one form or another. As my marriage fell apart, I clung to the idea of romance and the happy ending in the time ahead. I’d always pictured great epic love as something we find along a sometimes-twisted journey. I already have the second part down!
Finding myself seems to be the first step, though. Being told for years that stress and being in a cold climate made my body discombobulated never convinced me. I mean, come on, I’ve known my body a lot longer than the idiot blowing me off. Something always seemed off, and in an attempt to keep going I threw myself into writing. A part of me is found on the pages and am in awe. But lately, I’m having trouble focusing.
Staring at blank screens is never easy, especially to someone that constantly has ideas of characters and literally fifty stories to edit. Following through had been part of my everyday existence until I looked around the filled table of papers and seat covers folded on the coffee table.
Everything came to a screeching halt over the last few days. Pending MRIs have a way of refocusing wants and needs. Where’s the romance in that? I refuse to ponder the what-ifs until all the information is in front of me. Smelling the roses on the way out the door brings a smile to my face. Finding joy in the few things that actually mean something makes color pop and the taste of chai that much better. Stopping to take that deep breath instead of running at a sprint from sun up to sun down allows for little things to mean something again. I will vacuum out the Jeep-Jeep and get those seat covers on after posting this! My poor characters Robyn and Sampson will stop arguing at some point. Then the romance will be flying, and probably clothes.
Taking the time though means I can focus more. May not be romantic but the goal still remains the same. That elusive happily ever after will come for all of us –in fiction and real life. When I can settle and let some of the other stuff go, I will map out the rest of my stories. In the meantime, I’ll be reading everyone else’s and enjoying every moment.
E.D. has been writing and talking to imaginary friends since infancy. Once she discovered pencils and paper, a whole new world opened up. Unfortunately, the stick figures weren’t considered great artistic talent and she switched to writing. Now, if not on the computer turning her fingers to nubs typing a new story, she’s out hiking, jogging, taking photographs, or lazing around with her teenager watching movies. And she’s never without her faithful hobbit (a.k.a. Humphrey the Corgi) who has followed her everywhere, even Alaska.