On the Subject of Love – on Valentine’s Day


I guess love is a pretty topical subject, considering the date. Normally it’s something I steer away from in my writing – at least, as a main storyline. But it creeps in because it’s nearly impossible to write believable, well-rounded characters without them either being in, or thinking about, a love relationship of some kind.

Does that mean I’m about to get all shmaltzy on you? Nope. Not any time soon. But it is interesting to look at how the concept of ‘love’ influences our culture, and many of the arts. After all, storytelling is an artform, and therefore love is relevant to my writing, as a reflection of the culture my characters live in, even though I don’t write ‘romance’ as such.

I tend to explore many kinds of ‘love’ relationships in my stories, whether romantic or not. Like the platonic love between family members, or between friends. I have also written of the feelings connected with romantic love – the first heady rush of new love, attraction, and/or lust; the strengthening and/or weakening of bonds as lovers encounter various trials and tribulations; the soul mate depths; and the decay, breakup, and bitterness of love ending.

Much that I have personally experienced goes into my writing (and, to be fair, quite a bit I haven’t, but like to think I can imagine). What is life, after all, without those sweet, poignant moments; the deep contentment of trust and friendship a relationship is built on; the times of enjoying each other’s company; of having shared goals and dreams?

And also, sadly, the flipside – the discontentment of being bored or unhappy in a relationship; the breaking of that precious trust; the bitterness of betrayal, of bonds severed; the unbearable emptiness and desolation of losing the love you had hoped would last forever; or the drive to hurt the one who hurt you out of a deep, relentless bitterness born of a broken heart.

Of course, it all sounds so melodramatic when laid out in such terms, but this is the stuff that fuels us, and also the art that we create, the stories we tell. How many poems have been written on the theme of love? How many songs? How many books, movies, and TV shows explore these experiences as their main focus? How many of us, in our secret heart of hearts, yearn for all the ideals promised in these artforms, and desperately try to avoid the not-so-ideal?

Although I don’t write ‘romance’, I do try to write my characters realistically. Which means I give my characters these universal feelings and experiences, which motivate them in the decisions they make and therefore drive the plot of my stories. Love can be a powerful force for both good and evil. And especially on a day like today, we can let love guide us to be the best we can for our nearest and dearest, so that all our stories have a happily ever after.

Keep a smile on your dial until next time, and peace and love in your heart

From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse

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