Romance is Still Alive and Well

Had an intriguing talk with a fellow creative over lunch on Friday. He's very interested in the process of creating fiction, but not inclined to dive into the black hole we call novel writing. Like many of my friends, he's curious as to my motivation for flinging myself against the walls of romance publishing.

While cleaning off bookshelves today looking for donations for the local library (a constant process to make room for the new) I came across a time capsule of sorts. Anyone who remembers Rod McKuen, please stand (lean on your walker if necessary). His work is probably one of the reasons I developed a Quixotic need to write romance. I discovered him in the mid-70s during a long stretch of singleness (as single as possible while beseiged by three children).

I wrote for a living at a series of newspapers, a soul-sucking experience at best, which, however, gifted me with a bedrock of discipline. I can still churn out reams of pages on command. During that period, I took solace in McKuen's poetry. Two of his thin tomes languished at the bottom of a dusty pile in a basket crammed on a bookshelf - "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows" and "Lonesome Cities."

I opened them and inside were clips from that period in my life - even a letter congratulating me on a writing award I'd forgotten - as well as the card from a dozen roses sent by a misogynist managing editor "to my city editor who's been doing it all by herself." That's another story, though, for another post.

BTW, the last study commissioned by the Romance Writers of America showed that romance worldwide outsells all other genres together. A lot of people love a love story.

So here, if you're interested is one of my many inspirations for romance -

I should have told you that love is more

than being warm in bed.


than individuals seeking an accomplice.

Even more than wanting to share.

I could have said

that love at best is giving what you need to get.

But it was raining and we had no place to go

and riding through the streets in a cab

I remembered

that words are only necessary after love has gone.

CHANNING WAY, 2 - Rod McKuen, from "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows"