Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why write Romance? Why read Romance?

Pretend the date is November 24th, last Saturday, when I was scheduled to blog and FORGOT!
I see an empty space on our Goddess blog to-day so here I am with head still slightly bowed from shame but recovering.
Why write Romance? Why read Romance? My quick answer - to keep us from falling into the techie trap. To keep us involved with others. To keep us warm hearted human souls. Because I came late to the technical upheaval sweeping our world I wonder what's next?
David Levy, author of Love + Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, thinks he has the answer. There was an extensive question and answer interview with him in The Globe and Mail, November 15. "A robot that contains all knowledge of sexual technique will clearly be a very proficient lover." I can't picture it. I don't want to. I blogged about robots on my own blog. Since then I've been wondering if David Levy has a better sense of the future than someone like me or you.
When I'm out for my daily walk around the neighbourhood I pass young men and women, and some older men, with dazed looks on their faces as they listen to music on their Ipods, etc. Their eyes are unfocussed. It's almost as if they are walking in a bubble. Out of touch with the birds twittering over their heads, fallen leaves scuffing under their shoes, me walking towards them.
Cell phones. Text messaging. No one is ever out of touch - or are they?
Writing romance is about honest to God human relationships where paying attention to verbal, emotional and physical signals builds trust with another. We make mistakes, we repair the damage, we laugh at ourselves - especially the laughting. Developing a sense of humour is a key building block in becoming a social animal. Share a funny story with a robot?
Did I ever tell you about the drunk man who staggered close to a river where a pastor was baptizing members of his flock in the river. "Come, my good man, and be saved." He grabbed the drunk and shoved him under the water. Gasping for air the drunk surfaced. "Have you found Jesus?" The pastor asked. The man shook his head. Down he went under the water a second and then a third time. "Have you found Jesus?" The pastor asked again to which the drunk replied. "Are you sure this is where you lost him?" (I hope no one is offended. My parish priest cracked this joke during Mass last Sunday!)
Writing romance is non-tech. A pencil and paper will do. Think of Jane Austen writing with a quill pen by candle light. We're lucky to have computers but some authors prefer the pen and paper route to get the story down before transferring it to a computer.
Why read Romance? It's so cool. Nothing between the author and the reader but words on a page. It's an invitation to sit back and live the story with the characters. You'll tell your friends to buy the book or borrow it. There's something warm and fuzzy about a good read and wanting to share.
And since it's so close to Christmas, bear with me while I read aloud - only you can't hear. So I'll write down the first paragraph.
"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change or anything he chose to put his hand to." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
www.anitabirt.com

2 comments:

Susan Kelley said...

There's nothing like "Dickens' to put me in Christmas spirit. And there's nothing like discussing a much loved book with a friend, to know they read it because you recommended it.
On another note, thank goodness for computers. I couldn't do the pen and paper thing for 100,000 words.

NIna Nash said...

Great post. Love Dickens!! :)