Before my country-music-worthy heart break, I was never depressed. I’d spend my time daydreaming about a future wife and how we’d meet. Sometimes they were action packed daydreams and sometimes they were mundane (the beautiful sort of mundane). Listening to songs by Enya* intensified the feelings and I’d spend entire road trips in a state of excitement, anticipating the future. It’s been eight years since I last spoke to she-who-will-not-be-named and I’ve never daydreamed since…until today (dun, dun, dunnnnnn).
I was sitting on the front porch this evening (before the mosquitoes came out) watching life roll by. My neighborhood has become a haven for newly weds and they were out in force. Walking hand in hand, pushing their strollers. To make matters worse, a pair of cardinals flew onto the lawn, flirting and fluttering, happy with their courtship (if their chirps were any clue). Even the trees are waking up to each other – my car’s covered with the result. I felt my loneliness and without any prompting, my ol’ creative gears starting grinding. A few Nicholas Sparks-worthy scenarios played out in my mind.
Ahhh, Nicholas Sparks…a wonderful segue into my point:
Sparks moved to New Bern NC and made himself at home. Many of his novels are set in the Tidewater region amongst my people and my childhood culture. I’ve read three of them. (I was a few miles north of Rodanthe when the pelican got me; needless to say, my time there was less romantic than a Sparks novel). I’ve also seen the three corresponding movies which, with the exception of one, were all much worse than the books.
Sparks puts moving observations in the mouths of his characters but they always say them right before fornicating. And that ruins his novels for me. They’re not love stories at all. They’re ruined by out-of-wedlock lusting; a love story shouldn’t include such things. Which brings me to the point of today’s post:
All of my daydreams were innocent. I never got beyond the “happily ever after”. There’s a reason we don’t follow characters into the sunset – that’s intimate and not to be intruded upon by an audience. Our modern focus on physical intimacy has completely eroded the most amazing aspects of a love story – the aspects my young mind (and my spring-addled mind of this evening) innocently linger on.
I didn’t know how to articulate this until I realized my thinking was normal in the history of the West. Only since the sexual revolution has it become outdated. Take “Gone With the Wind” for example:
“Like most girls, her imagination carried her just as far as the altar and no further.” (Gone with the Wind, ch. 6)
And again, in chapter 7:
“Of course, she knew that married people occupied the same bed, but she had never given the matter a thought before. It seemed very natural in the case of her mother and father, but she had never applied it to herself.”
I’m a better writer than I was eight years ago. Maybe I can slap something together to rival Sparks? NC isn’t big enough for the two of us!
*If God ever blesses me with a daughter, I’m teaching her the watlz.