Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Life, Love, and Death

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
My kick-ass aunt on her birthday.
This has been an odd week for me. My dad's eldest sister celebrated her 99th birthday, and though I was far away, I sent my love and pored over the photos. A few days later, I was with a dear friend when she received word of her father's passing. Her grief was absolute, and I am currently working with other friends on a small memorial. In the midst of that planning, I'll pause to celebrate my 32nd wedding anniversary--though much of that specific day will be spent babysitting my almost-five-year-old granddaughter, whose birthday party is also in the planning stage. Within the next few weeks I have 2 more family birthdays to deal with, as well as the anniversary's of three close-to-home losses--my mother, brother, and a stillborn grandson. Fingers crossed, we may be celebrating a new job for another member of the clan, and we're still mourning the loss of a beloved friend, my St. Bernard mix Tyr.

Whether you call them rites of passage, the circle of life, fate, a diety's will, or just the natural order of things, life's moments rarely occur at optimal times, and often double or triple up so that we're constantly dealing with all different stages at once.

The granddaughter at a few days old.
As a writer, I can't help but stand back and observe even while I'm in the middle of life's messy business, and it makes me think about how we as authors portray these subjects in our books. As a romance writer, love and marriage are certainly at the forefront of my writing, and sometimes even birth. It's also hard to write too many books without coming up against the subject of death, especially if we're writing suspense, historical fiction or even paranormal fiction where not all of our characters experience aging and eventual demise.

Crazy Kids, 1985
Most readers today don't, I think, want the super-fantastical romance stories of the fifties where nothing bad ever happens to the characters. People want their heroes and heroines to live in a more realistic world (even if it's not THIS world) where the characters experience grief, happiness, fear, frustration, hurt, and all those other emotions that complicate our lives. I think that bringing in some of life's harder moments makes the characters easier to identify with for readers, and it makes the Happy Ever After richer.

In real life, we allknow that HEAs are not really EVER after. I fully acknowledge my luck in finding a partner to love and cherish for over 3 decades. Life is never all roses, but having someone to stand beside you through the rough times and to celebrate the good times with is the best thing in the world. Looking at the young couple in the photo above I marvel at how they managed to make it through everything the world has hurled at them, and I'm grateful for every single day. This man is why I can scoff at people who belittle romance as "unrealistic."

I wish you all the best in your own, messy, complicated life. Treasure every moment.

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released almost sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance. Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and a bunch of spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.


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