Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Mature Romance

By Debbie Kaufman

It was thirty-two years ago today that I married my Beloved. If you’re curious as to just how mature of a protagonist I’d make, I’ll take a brief pause here to let you do the math. Oh, wait, you’re missing an addend? Well, there was a reason I taught English instead of math and, really, isn’t a little mystery good for all of us?

I’m blessed. I have the category romance love that comes together in flaming hot passion and continues in a Happily Ever After. It’s also the women’s fiction romance that weathers storms and comes to greater understandings of each other. And while I loved the thrill of the newness of love, I’d have to say the love that has stood and faced forward to the storms, the love that has fled and been reborn, the love that refuses to quit when everything is beyond the pale, the love that has weathered to a fine patina, that love is the love I cherish.

You see, the sparks still flame and sustain no matter how long you’ve been married – if you give the fire the attention it needs. And frankly, the flames are better than ever with the maturity of love.

So, with such a satisfying love, why do I read romance? I’ve been asked that question, usually by a non-romance reader who intimates that reading romance is something best left to the spinster/unrequited/can’t get a man/totally stereotyped reader that needs fantasy to replace their boring lives. Really? If that were the case then 55% of the American novel buying public is not nearly as diverse as we thought! Another young woman I spoke to recently about writing romance said that “real life is hard; I don’t have time for fantasy.”

Well, I do. I’m totally in love with my sweetheart, am happy with my life, and I still love reading and writing romance.

What’s not to love? A great story, a great plot, a great ending.

What's not to love? Your choice of spirituality, sensuality, and settings.

What's not to love? Two people who have to deal with their own internal life issues, issues they may not have been forced to confront without the other person in their life provoking them. Oh, wait. That’s not fantasy. THAT’S REAL. Not only is it real, but I can count on it to all work out. Reminds me of my own marriage.

What about you? Why do you read or not read romance?

25 comments:

Sandy Elzie said...

Morning Deb,

Why do I read romance? Because it always works out...in 200-300 pages. I read for enjoyment and entertainment.

A close friend of mine said she reads romance because it's easier to cope with other peoples problems than her own.

Writers provide a service to others.

Congrats on your anniversary and I'll drink a toast to many, many more for you and your great guy.

Sandy

Cyrano said...

I second Sandy's congrats! Happy anniversary Debbie.
I also happen to read romance for the same reasons Sandy gave - there is always a happily ever after, and nothing can be more enjoyable than that.
I'm lucky too, I have a great, great guy, married for sixteen wonderful years this December, so I know how you feel...blissful, adored, loved.
So, no, I don't read romance because I'm lonely or unfulfilled. Sometimes the words even remind me of what I've got. But to be honest, I suppose I do read it to fill a void of sorts. Since I don't GOT vampires, magical powers or time travel in my relationship, reading tales that do fills the void in my marriage that might otherwise be considered paranormaly challenged.
Loved the post.
Have a brilliant, love filled day,
Tamara

Maxine Davis said...

Debbie,

I enjoyed the post and a very Happy Anniversary!

I read for the escapism. Oh, my life is fabulous and I'm very happy, but I just love a good story. The HEA type are great because you're left smiling. With mystery, a crime is solved. And I think the ones that make me laugh out loud is what everyone needs now and then.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Sandy: I'm saving my toast drinking until tonight, LOL. Writers do provide a service. Where else could we get such inexpensive entertainment for the time it takes us to read a novel?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Tamara:

I totally understand the void that reading paranormal fills. Pure fantasy and escape. I love getting lost in other worlds!

And, Maxine. Yes. Pure escapism has gotten me through many a difficult day. It reduces my stress greatly to focus on another world for a while. Some people have a drink to wind down at the end of the day, but I reach for a good story instead. And, sometimes the drink :)

Betsey said...

Congrats to yall!!! I love your statement, "the flames are better than ever with the maturity of love." So true, especially with great guys like ours!

Susan May said...

I like the happily everafter. Life can be hard sometimes and escaping is important. It is the same reason I go to a movie. to get away from real life. None readers should try it they might like it!

Anna Steffl said...

Happy Anniversary.

IMHO, all reading is escapism. Its just escaping into something different for different people and what they need at the moment.

And, escapism isn't bad. We're locked into one body and mind. It gets lonely in there, even when we're surrounded by those we love because they can't be the totality of our experience.

Great post!!!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Absolutely, Betsey. We both got great guys, real keepers!

Susan, yes the movie, the book, they are all forms of escape, albeit temporary, from real life. We all need a break now and then.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Anna, that is so true. It's just that no one questions you the same way if you are reading suspense, etc. versus romance. I am a huge mystery/thriller/suspense fan and have never had to defend that to anyone :)

Marilyn Baron said...

Like Susan and Anna, I read romance because I love happy endings and because it's a good escape. I also read a variety of other genres. Romance, if done well, never disappoints and is very satisfying. I love it when things work out in the end.

Congrats on your anniversary. I just celebrated my 35th anniversary.

Marilyn Baron

Jessica Lee said...

Hi Debbie, and Happy Anniversary!! 32 years, how wonderful.And I totally agree, I'm happily married, in love, and I still enjoy reading romance. I like the adventure within the book, trying to figure out how these two people are going to make their relationship work out despite all the odds against them.
You don't have to be sad and lonely to want to read about love.

CiCi Barnes said...

Another congrats chiming in. Hooray for the long marriages, one of which I am a part of, 40 years and counting.

I read romance because I'm a romantic. I love seeing two people come together against all odds and making it.

I started reading romance because of long bus rides full of teenagers, because hubby was a band director and loved taking the kids on trips. I had to have something to escape all the giggling, babbling, etc. Just so you know, I bought a book cover to hide the heroine spilling out of her bustier.

I keep reading romance because I'm addicted. I can't not read. And hubby is still insistent that we take long trips (sans teenagers, thank goodness).

And life is good when there's romance in reality and on the page.

CiCi

Anonymous said...

Mom,
I hope that you know that the love that you and dad have is a love that gives me such security as your child. I told Matt just a few weeks ago that there is a safety and a hope that is born out of watching your love with dad and now that I have that love there is a joy in knowing it will be as great as yours!

I love you, happy anniversary!

Caroline

Debbie Kaufman said...

Well,Marilyn. congratulations on 35 years. Isn't it amazing how the time flies?

Cici: Know what you mean about the covers. Particularly the older ones. I often have to explain to my hubby that often the sensuality on the cover hides a much tamer story :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Caroline:
Thank you, baby girl. I am so happy that you and Matt found that same love.

J Perry Stone said...

I read romance because it reflects what I believe in my soul:

A little growth, honor, bravery, selflessness, and heroism will get you a happily ever after.

I've discovered the older I get, the more idealistic I get. I think you have to envision the best of yourself to become such .. and I don't think you can get the best *for* yourself unless you offer the best *of* yourself.

Romance novels show all of that. ALL!

And yes, there is fantasy too ... but there's also more.

It's interesting to me that in my circle of friends, those who read romance novels have the most successful marriages.

Why is that, do you suppose?

J Perry Stone said...

And HUGE congratulations on your new family member, Debbie. And also on your good marriage.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Julianne: Wouldn't that make a fascinating study on marriage? Readers of romance or non-readers, which has the stronger marriage?
Thanks, dear.

Cyrano said...

I think that it's so sweet that your daughter wrote a comment Debbie.
You are truly blessed.
Both of you have a lovely day,
Tamara

lrpcny said...

Awesome write up about celebrating the love you and Bill have and share!! You both mean the world to me!! Happy Anniversary to you both!! Love, Lynn & Bruce

Tami Brothers said...

Awesome post!!! Great job, Debbie and major congrats!!! I love that Caroline popped over here and commented, too. And that’s after recently having a baby. You guys rock! Thanks for sharing this.

Jill Sorenson said...

Aw, that note from your daughter made me cry. That is the cutest thing ever. Congrats. *sniff*

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hey Lynn: Love ya, girl! Thanks for popping over.

Hi Tami and Jill: I gotta tell ya that every parent should have a daughter like my Caroline! Her two brothers..., well, they're guys and they just don't communicate the same way. Then there's the 15 yr. old sister. The age tells you all you need to know, LOL. I think the fact that our marriage has survived 4 teenagers says a lot :)

Nicki Salcedo said...

Simple. I read romance because I believe in it.