I shall be truthful and upfront about this – I am the most unromantic person I have ever met! True – I don’t do romance, well not modern day romance – I don’t understand it or trust it. In fact I am totally rubbish at Valentine’s Day type romance.(I may be a little odd but quite harmless!)
This modern day ‘romance’, chained, confined and stripped of most of its glory is, to my mind, a trifling shabby thing. In the same way as its cousin ‘love’ has been shorn and straitjacketed into a shadow of itself, romance now has to be content with being a pink heart, bedecked with ribbons, sugar coated and marshmallow soft.
My view of romance is an altogether grander, wilder, rip roaring affair. Sweeping epic narratives – of lands filled with heroism and quests. Dangers sweeping in from all sides against those who would dare and fight to their last breath, to defend the good, the poor, bringers of justice to those voiceless victims.
The mighty heroes of my romances would grapple with dragons, demons, with giants and ogres. Romance narratives born out of mythology, folk tales and legends. Beowulf, the Green Knight and Arthur.
Loyalty, honour and truthfulness (hilarious that last, as the whole point of the tales was untruthfulness!!) Allegiance to codes of behaviour and character I still try to emulate today, decades later. Love was not only pure but also not restrained to one person of the opposite sex. Love encompassed your brothers in arms and sisters in adversity, your country, your cause. It seemed to me that a human could endow fierce, faithful and to the death love on everyone and anyone. I do do love, in it’s wide context, a great fan of it. (not alltogether odd then!:)
Love was huge, extravagant, in those old tales and even when I grew into Tolkien I was not let down. Now there was a romance worthy of the old epic narratives. Lands filled with other-worldness and fantasy.
I was a romancer myself – a loner for various reasons I lived in a fantastical world of untruths and half truths, populated by quests and courage beyond all human endurance. I was always the hero, because they appeared to have more fun than a heroine whose only role it seemed was to sit at home and weep – not for me:)
When I set out to explore the exotic lands of my old narratives I took my exaggerating imagination with me. Free from those who knew me I could be anyone and I often was. I invented wonderful other lives for myself, according to my audience. If they wanted me to be intrepid I was, if they fancied me to be downtrodden I could be. I lived in my own romances.
I could distort the truth and play my games, the latent author struggling to find an outlet I suspect now. How many of us I wonder exaggerate and/or distort the truth when relating an incident – to make it/us more interesting, more amusing. As writers, inventors of exaggerated fictions, we seek to persuade, we are in fact fantastical liars – the clue being in the name of course, we write fictions. Sometimes we write romantic fiction (old style) and don’t even know it!
Definitions of Romance from The Shorter Oxford Dictionary in no particular order
To exaggerate or distort the truth esp. fantastically – talk hyperbolically
To have romantic or fantastic ideas
To use romantic or extravagant language
To have a romance or love affair
To seek to persuade (a rival or client etc.) esp. by attentiveness or flattery, court the favour
A writer of romances (esp. Medieval) – inventor of extravagant fictions – fantastic liar.