Don’t tell my husband.
This new man is perfect, so far. Sure, he has a few flaws; who doesn’t? But they’re minor and kind of endearing. He’s intelligent, and intense, and passionate, with a touch of boyish goofiness. And he’s oh, so sexy. His smile dazzles. There’s laughter in his eyes. His voice is low and smooth, and I hear it constantly. All day he whispers in my ear; all night he keeps me awake. We never fight, we never discuss mundane details like the kids or the house or what we ate for breakfast that day. I am his world–he cannot exist without me.
Did I mention he’s fictional?
I began writing a new book the other night. An idea that had occurred to me a few weeks ago, but in the middle of trying to get through the romantic suspense I’ve been working on forever, I jotted down a one-sentence description in my notebook and set it aside. But Saturday night, I was driving home and heard his voice. And he wouldn’t let me go. I arrived home around midnight to an empty house (husband away, kids at my mother’s), fixed a cup of tea, sat at my computer and wrote a thousand words before going to bed. It began as a short story, then I thought it might be a novella, now I’m thinking a novel. Because, why not?
I got stuck on a particular scene in the book I’ve been working on. And although I’d made a promise to myself to finish that book before starting another one, because I HAVE TO FINISH A DAMN BOOK, I finally decided it was silly to remain blocked and to not write and to just continue to obsess over this one scene. Why not follow the muse? Write the words that come to me, even if they’re in a different story. Opening the tap, so to speak. As long as words are coming out, they’re good words. Maybe writing this story will unstick the characters in that other one and get them to cooperate. Like when you’re trying so hard to remember something, it’s on the tip of your tongue, but you have to think about something else for a while. So, I’ve been writing like a madwoman for the first time in months. It feels so good. Such a rush.
And I realized one reason why I love reading and writing romance. It’s that first blush of passion. You know when you first meet someone, and they’re all fresh and new and can do no wrong? You’re positively giddy with the thrill of getting to know each other, because here is this brand-new person to you and you have to find out everything that has ever happened to them. And why. And how it has shaped their personality. You’re a sponge, soaking in the essence of what makes that person unique. You can’t get enough of each other. It’s lovely and exhilarating and exhausting. Quite the high. A hot flash of fire like when a match catches and burns brightly for a fraction of a second.
But then, like the match, the blaze deepens to a slower burn. It’s steadier. It lasts longer. It lights other fires, sometimes with another quick burst and sometimes without it, and that’s how you keep the fire going.
Given the choice, I’d much rather stick with the lasting heat. But, through fiction and living vicariously through people who exist only in my head or on paper, I still get that initial high now and then when I start a new book.
I have friends who won’t read romance because they feel that initial flame is too much, too tempting, too unrealistic. They feel it leads to dissatisfaction with the real, slow burn they already have. But I think the opposite is true. That flame renews the source of heat and makes you appreciate the fire already burning that much more. At least it does for me.
And on a creative level, this story is simple. No major subplots, no suspense angle, no fantasy. Just a boy and a girl, and some sparks, and a few obstacles to overcome before reaching their happily ever after. Hopefully this time I can get there. Meanwhile, it’s writing, it’s practice, and I’ll get there eventually.
But for now, my new man is calling to me again. He’s so demanding. I love it.