Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Kathleen O'Brien: Making love out of nothing at all?
We were discussing the significance of conflict in a good story when one of us noticed something odd. We are always talking about how to keep our couples apart, she pointed out. But isn’t it equally important to think about why the hero and heroine want to be together in the first place? She wondered whether we were, as the song says, “making love out of nothing at all.”
Great question. But perhaps a hard one to answer. What is it, in the end, that draws two people together? What are the ingredients of true love? Can you lay them out in black and white, like the recipe list for great spaghetti sauce? 1 cup sexual chemistry. 2 cups common goals. 2 tbsp similar backgrounds…
Don’t you just have a gut feeling that it isn’t really that simple? That it boils down to something almost…magical? We all know pairings so unlikely they should never, ever have worked—and yet they last a lifetime. Conversely, we all also know romances that looked perfect on paper, and didn't survive to the first anniversary. Sometimes we look at blissfully engaged couples and whisper to each other, "Huh?"
So what is love? What does a man offer that makes him “the one”?
My anniversary is this coming Saturday, and I will have been married an unmentionable many years. I really do believe in true love. But can I explain it? Can I tell you why this man was the man who felt like home to me?
Honestly, I can't.
We met when we both worked at the same place, so we had some interests in common, but I worked with about 20 other eligible guys with whom I did not fall in love. Other than that, we're actually quite different. But he's my safe place. He's where I knew I could both be a kid safely, and rear kids safely. It's actually darned amazing.
As a reader (or as a writer), what do you think works best? In your favorite fictional couples, how did the author convince you that these two people belong together? Do they fit like jigsaw puzzle pieces, each filling a void in the other’s life? Or is it something more indefinable…that little sparkle of fairy dust?
Posted by Lee Hyat at 12:03 AM