When Urania was young/ All thought her heavenly/ With age her eyes grow larger/ But her form unmaidenly

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dyspepsia: Notes on Romance Formula

Well, look:

1. I don't know what annoys me more - the notion of finding a mate as the One True Purpose for every plot in the genre, or that all these romance novelists are telling this to a society so braindead with the same message from song and silver screen that it has become an unexamined article of a very boring and common faith.

2. Love talk - like sex talk, and quite unlike love and sex - is dull. Yeahyeahyeah - it hurts. yeahyeahyeah - it's wonderful. yeahyeahyeah - I don't know what to do.

3. No other literary genre insists that every meal must end with a variation on a spun-sugar dessert.

4. What's with all this love/hate conflict? A choice is either stupid or not, and don't think any complete character revelation you get partway through the relationship is going to be like Beast-into-Prince revelation rather than something Bluebeardish.

5. The heart has its reasons that the mind knows not. And you will descend rapidly into penury by placing your bets on them.

6. You think all this obsession with the bad-boy hero doesn't spill into your personal lives at all, and, not incidentally, reward us for bad behavior - at least until unexplored complications ever after? I always wanted to be a nice guy.

7. Assassin with a heart of gold and a cock of steel still translates morally out to a murderer who pleasures small pets with skillful hands.

I don't know. I was just thinking about the alternate endings of Great Expectations. And how much more there is to say in loss than gain. "Nothing fails," Stravinsky assures us. "like Success."