This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP (Man In Progress).After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life, my physical well-being, my romantic relationships, and my writing career. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one, we inevitably have to improve the other.
Every good tale is not complete without a good love story.
My tale is no different.
This is my love story:
About five years ago I fell in love with someone, and he fell in love with me, and we broke up because of the distance. We kept in touch, but haven’t seen each other since then.
This past year I realized I still felt the same way about him, even though so much time had passed.
But I still had no idea how he felt about me.
But then–what do you know?–a few months ago I received an e-mail from this very same ex telling me that he plans on visiting me.
We are going to meet in person for the first time in more than 5 years.
It is funny how life works, isn’t it?
I am learning that as soon as you make your mind up about something–whether it has to do with work, or travel, or romance–life responds rather quickly.
You see, it was only a few months ago that I had realized how I really felt about my ex, and here, suddenly, I was given a chance to see him in person again.
Life was giving me the chance to tell him everything that was currently on my mind.
At first, I have to admit, I was a bit unnerved by this serendipitous event when it appeared. My initial impulse was to resist it.
But, after a while, I realized that I was being silly: I needed to embrace my love story.
And that is what I did.
I decided not to waste this opportunity. I decided to act. I decided that I was going to tell him how I feel.
I decided to lay it all out on the table, and just see what happens.
Writers and Their Love Stories
As I waited to see what happened next in my love story, I began to think about love stories in general.
I thought about how they are so essential to every tale we tell.
Why is this so? I thought.
Is it just the romance itself?
Is it the idea that we are at our most vulnerable when we stand face-to-face with our beloved?
Is it because it is in those moments–when we have fallen in love with someone–that we feel most deeply what it is to be alive; that we feel that supreme, wonderful feeling in our chests (that we cannot adequately describe) that moves us to experience such splendor?
Is it because love stories are so relatable? Is it because each of us, at one point in our lives, will feel what it is to be in love?
And why does every good tale need a good love story?
Is it because our loves stories are what makes the rest of our story worthwhile?
Why does every scene in every movie end with a kiss–with the two lovers (up until now separated by the drama and action of the plot) finally coming together in that one, final scene, where everything has mended itself, and love has conquered all?
And does it matter if that romantic, happy ending is realistic or not?
Isn’t it more pertinent to ask this question: why do we prefer that ending?
Why do we yearn for a good love story? And why can no great tale be complete without it? (Even mine?)
Maybe it’s because we are all fools for love. We’re suckers for it. Love is sweet nectar to our souls.
Or maybe it’s because, of all the emotions we feel, love is the only emotion that never ends. All the negative emotions like sadness, anger, and fear have an ending: they eventually pass through us.
But love is different: love does not pass.
Whenever we love someone very deeply, that love always stays with us and never quite goes away, does it?
For anyone who has loved deeply, they can tell you that you can never truly “move on” from a lost love, you can only get “used to it.”
This is because our deepest feelings of love will always remain with us.
And the reason for that is probably because love is infinite. Like the cosmos.
Recovering Lost Love
Even since this story–the story of me writing my first novel–began three years ago, I tried to bury my love story within its pages.
I tried very hard to “edit out” my love story.
But after a while, I realized that I was just fooling myself: my love story was just a part of my whole story that simply would not go away.
My love story crept in here, here and even here. My writing (as often happens) was revealing much more than I wanted to reveal to my readers. And any idiot reading what I was writing could clearly see that I was still not over this guy.
Why I still love this person remains a mystery to me. And maybe this is why we are all so attracted to love stories: because these stories represent a mystery we can barely fathom or explain away.
For the question always remains: why are we so strongly attracted to someone else? What pulls us so hard toward that person—like a magnet? And why THAT specific person, and not another?
Can it be that our love stories are the things that keep us the most centered in life? Can it be that our loves stories ground us in some ancient story that we all feel mysteriously compelled to play out–over and over again?
In The Book of Genesis, after God creates the days, and the nights, and the animals, The Bible begins with a love story between Adams and Eve, and it is that love story that starts everything about humanity from then on.
Thus, according to The Bible, the story all of humanity begins with a good love story.
Who knows: maybe the story of all us really did begin with the first humans who fell in love with each other? Maybe this is why we are all so drawn to love stories: because we are all products of a love story—the very first one.
There is something ancient and deep and real and true about every love story that we experience in life. This is likely because every love story reaches way back, back, back to the very beginning of time.
Maybe humanity began when the first human being looked into his lovers eyes and said:
“Wow, you are the one I want to be with.”
And maybe the very first love story began when that same human being stared anxiously at his lover while he waited for a response.
much “to be continued,”
Today’s Courage Exercise
Add a love story to your novel today. Every good tale is not complete without one.
In your life, if you’ve recently been presented with a real-life love story, embrace it. Every good tale is not complete without one. (Even yours.)
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