Real Life & Liars isn’t a love story, but it’s a story about love.
In all the writing advice books, they talk about having high stakes for your characters. In adventuresome books, an author can literally hang the fate of the free world in the balance, or at least the life of a beloved character or two.
I like to read those books, but they’re not my kind of thing to write. My novel’s high stakes are mostly internal, and that’s how we come to this week’s theme at the Ball: Love Hurts.
Boy, does it ever, in all its forms.
Thinking of love as heartache brings to mind the classic pop-tune angst of unrequited ardor. Sure that hurts, as Ivan in Liars has been reminded time and time again.
It also hurts to be married sometimes, when your problems are multiplied and projected on another person because you’re in the same small boat even if you don’t feel like it at the moment, even if you can’t remember why you climbed aboard in the first place. In my book Katya feels this way, though she’d never bail out, so she stays, paddling, but unsure where she’s going, having lost the map and refusing to talk about it with Charles, paddling in the other end with his own agenda.
It hurts to be put aside by one’s children as Mira feels, increasingly rejected and excluded by her brood who seem to have ignored every lesson she tried to model for them all their lives.
And as a child, sometimes it hurts to wonder if you’re loved as much as your siblings, as does Irina, the baby of the family who believes she was an accident who should never have been there at all.
Yet there is still love, which is why it hurts. Without love at work in any of the above situations, the characters could remove the problem as a sliver from a finger and go on, relieved by the absence of the sting.
Love hurts, but love also connects, and love makes us not want to give up.