Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Normal Love

The month of love is nearly over. Whether it was great, or you just curled up in bed and waited out the baby with the bow and arrow, congratulations, you’ve survived another Valentine’s Day!
In writing YA it’s easy to believe that every date is a make or break moment for your life. This boy is the one! This date is the start of something amazing (or, depending on the genre you’re working in, how a serial killer chooses you as his next victim)!
Sometimes I worry that the literary community is setting the world’s youth up for disappointment. In all likelihood, that date is just going to be a date. Hopefully it won’t be terrible. If it is terrible, maybe you’ll at least get a good story out of it. Maybe you’ll have a second date, maybe you’ll stay together for a while, but in all likelihood, it’ll just be a date. Telling stories that promise breathtaking romance seems like a cruel lie when the beginning of Bridget Jones is more likely to be the truth.
In an age where social media gives us polished looks into people’s lives, it’s easy to think that being swept off your feet by the perfect partner happens once a week, lavish bouquets are standard practice for Tuesday breakfast, and if a relationship does end, it will be in utter tragedy. It’s all either perfection or disastrous. It’s what we see in storytelling and online.
How do we normalize…normal? It wouldn’t make a good book. A long string of average dates with a side of being ghosted rather than dumped. I don’t know how many people would want to read a whole book about having nothing to say when someone flirts with you.
So then what? If the author platform won’t work, then perhaps we should rely on the storytelling of those around us.
My Valentine’s Day consisted of brunch with my husband and a ten hour rehearsal. There were no rose petals or drama involved. But that’s okay. That’s how life should be. It might not be a great book, but it is a great day.

So how was your normal, non-literary Valentine’s Day?

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