|The Kiss, by Gustav Klimt (1908)|
This is a line from a song by Argentinian musician Fito Paéz. Roughly translated, it means,
No one can or should live without love.
In a world where vitriol, cynicism, and the sheer sport of cutting down the 'other' seem to be fashionable, it's hard sometimes to keep track of this simple but enduring truth.
Lately on Heroines of Fantasy, we've been busy endorsing the positive aspects of community. Mark Nelson set that tone in his first post for the new year. He was soon followed by Kim Vandervort's very insightful reflections on The Art of Civility, and Terri-Lynne Defino's reminder that we are all in the same boat with her post about the Misfit Myth. Love, of course, is part of the recipe for a more supportive and productive community; and love will be our theme for the month of February.
Within the genres of fantasy and science fiction, love is often relegated to the realm of the tangential. It might be included as a reward for the hero once he's finished with the "real" business of the plot. We say "love story", and images often come to mind of endless streams of penny novels with cardboard characters and predictable plots. Love is perceived as fluff, adornment, a plot element without substance, a topic not worthy of true literary attention.
I may be setting up a straw woman here, but the truth is, I've run into these attitudes a lot; I've even recognized them in the way I myself have stereotyped certain genres. Yet in my own journey of writing and reading, I've come to this conclusion:
Love is the single most important experience we can write about.
That's not to say our stories shouldn't contain other very important elements, but when push comes to shove, if we want to make our characters real, we must allow them to love.
Love is at the core of the human experience, eliciting a host of other emotions ranging from ecstasy to despair. Love brings out the best, and occasionally the worst, in all of us. Love is not always romantic; there is love for siblings, offspring, friends, parents, family, strangers, pets. . . The list goes on and on. Love for our enemy has the power to transform the world.
February is the month of love, and we at Heroines of Fantasy invite you to celebrate with us in style. Starting on Monday, February 2, our contributors and reviewers will share stories of love, romance, and heartbreak from the various genres we represent. The full schedule of festival shorts will be posted on the right-hand bar. Join us as we honor the greatest of human experiences, and please share your own stories and thoughts with us along the way.
To get everyone in a Love Fest kind of mood, here's that song I mentioned earlier, Amor Despues del Amor, written by Fito Paez and interpreted in this video by Miguel Bosé. It's an old video, but a good song. Kick off your shoes and dance, and while you're at it, help yourself to the virtual champagne and heart-shaped cookies at the back of the room.
Let Love Fest 2015 begin!