Una delle cose che mi piace di più delle scrittrici di romance è che riescono a coniugare la profondità con l'ironia. Traggo qualche altra citazione dal sito www.readaromancemonth.com.
Recently I got one of those emails filled with wisdom on how to live a good life, and since I’m always looking for wisdom, no matter how shady the source, I was reading along and nodding at bromides like, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” and “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.” Then I saw one solemnly given piece of advice that made my hair stand on end. It stated, “Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”
I … what? Was this a joke? No one could seriously consider picking their books according to whether some unnamed, unknown person would judge them after death. Could they? (…)
Early in my career, I realized how silly the whole romance novel debate was when I was in a bookstore autographing THE GREATEST LOVER IN ALL ENGLAND. Some guy came up and picked it up, and said, “I’d buy one for my wife, but she might think that’s what real life is supposed to be like.”
I was … without words.
As you know, doesn’t often happen.
Can you imagine a woman, any woman, walking up to Tom Clancy and saying, “I’d buy a copy of HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER for my husband, but he might imagine he was a submarine captain”?
There is no way to fight willful ignorance and prejudice, so it’s all going to come down to … do you care what other people think of your reading choices? (…)
So it’s time for us romance readers and writers to pull up our big girl panties and stop arguing with the willfully ignorant, and stop worrying about whether we are respected.
Instead, let’s all kick back and enjoy our reading. Because remember the studies I quoted at the beginning?
- According to a study cited by Dr. Joyce Brothers, women who read romance novels make love seventy-four percent more often than women who don’t read romance novels.
- According to special research from the British Medical Journal, the more orgasms you have, the longer you’re likely to live.
Assuming those studies are true, we don’t need to “read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” We romance readers are going to outlive all the critics anyway.
If I have to say out loud that romance matters, it means that the default supposition is that it doesn’t, and that’s where I lose my mind. Then I feel defensive, and I have to say why it matters, I have to explain that there are amazing writers out there telling meaningful stories about emotion and human nature and the meaning of life, and there are, but that isn’t why romance matters.
It matters because you like it. It matters because I like it. And that’s it.
I just want it said that romance matters no more or less than any story, and it matters for the same reason that any story matters; because engaging in story in any form feeds the soul.
Lani Diane Rich
I could write a romance. How hard could it be? I was married, with two kids to prove that I’d figured out the mechanics. And there was supposed to be a formula, wasn’t there? A magic pattern that led to two people being together forever, until death. I just had to follow it and I could be a best seller. And maybe in the process, I could understand my own life, or at least my parent’s marriage, which continues to defy all explanation, even now that Dad has gone.
But it turns out, a love story is less a formula than it is a puzzle. It seems simple at first. The frame is built: the ending is happy, the goals are clear. But the box has no picture. If we could see what was coming, in a lifetime with one person, we might not start, much less finish. And yet, we keep putting the pieces together, pulling them apart, turning them, trying again, praying for a miracle.
Anyone who actually reads romance (as opposed to those who sit back and judge it based on the fact that physical intimacy makes some people uncomfortable) knows that there is so much more to it than just physical attraction. Romance teaches us that love is to be cherished and shared. That it lifts and edifies. That it never degrades or belittles. It is not jealous or manipulative. And isn’t that a lesson we WANT our sons and daughters to learn? Don’t we want to give them the strength to not only become successful and autonomous, but the power to pass that on to their partners? To their children?
I write romance because I love reading it, because it engages my emotions, leaves me feeling good. And because every now and then I’m told that something I’ve written made a difference in someone’s life. Most of the romance writers I know have at one time or another received a letter, an email or a Facebook message from someone who recently came through a devastating experience. Maybe they sat by their husband’s hospital bed as he lay dying. Perhaps they had breast cancer. Whatever the circumstances, readers have taken the time to tell me that my books helped get them through it, that reading a story that occasionally made them laugh and had a positive ending made the pain of their loss or personal ordeal more bearable, if only for a short while.
And that matters. To me it matters a whole helluva lot.
Here’s what so many non-romance-readers don’t get: reality is not the point.
No one ever needs to reads a novel to learn more about reality; it’s what we live in, and it’s pretty difficult to avoid. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) If you want factual knowledge about the fascinating world we live in, read non-fiction or watch the news. But in our current culture, it seems as if a novel is only good, or good for you, if it serves some kind of instructive purpose. We’re somewhat embarrassed to admit that we do anything just for pleasure these days, and even more embarrassed to admit that we read or watch something in the deliberate pursuit of emotion.
But that’s what novels are for: to elicit emotion. And the reason we read romance is because we want to experience the best emotions: tenderness, passion, sacrifice, healing, joy, satisfaction. Is it bad to want that?
I’ve heard romance novels referred to as trash even by some of the genre’s most devoted readers. I’m sympathetic rather than offended because I understand where it’s coming from: we’re all swimming in the same reality here, and if you want to go against the current, you learn to poke fun at yourself, and your tastes, before other people inevitably do. Love is not trash, however, and romance readers are not dumpster-divers but rather connoisseurs of emotion. They tend to discuss their favorite novels–the flavors and complexities and textures–as meticulously as sommeliers at an international wine tasting.
I have also heard romance novels compared to junk food. If that’s true, I’m here to tell you, my standard diet of reality occasionally needs a layer of buttercream frosting. The emotions engendered by a romance novel tend to soften the edges of those days when reality can get a little brutal. And the glow of happily-ever-after flatters everyone in its wake, including tired husbands with dark circles under their eyes and dishpan hands and muddy shoes from having just taken out the garbage. After I read a romance, I have no illusions that my husband is a rakish duke, and I don’t fault him for not turning into one. But to me, he is as sexy and romantic and wonderful as any romance hero could ever be. Because reality is more than just how things are . . . reality is also how we see them. And the two are not mutually exclusive.
Is it bad to read a book that was created to elicit emotion? Only if it’s bad to love music, art, poetry, dreaming, dancing, and everything about life that isn’t related to survival and Spartan practicality. Could you live in a world without romance novels, ice cream, twinkle lights, sandcastles, flower bouquets, hugging, holding hands and kissing?
But would you really want to?