Wildflower day 2: past relationship

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Must we? I promised I’d refrain from online shade and nothing’s more shady than the one sided explanation of why a past relationship is a past relationship. I can discuss it without insulting him, but would he think so? Doubt it.

I’ll say this, though: I am disabled. I am not a good housekeeper. I’m so disorganized, in fact, that I lost my sex drive. I’m disappointed because I thought love was enough. I’m afraid because I don’t know if I can become the “wifey” type, or if I should.

I have decided cohabitation is off the table for a long time. I don’t have the energy to be that kind of partner. I can keep a kid organized and happy. Parental privilege: donating anything you’ve tripped over twice. And my Type A sister keeps me on track with her quarterly inspections. In the closed atmosphere of this last relationship, I didn’t take her help. I wanted to be the one, to fix it myself. I didn’t want anyone to know. I forgot just how many people are on my side, because I thought I was being an adult by centering my life around my relationship. “Leave and cleave,” they say, and I tried.

This feels life a divorce. Five years of shared expenses and intertwined goals are coming apart. However, I’m looking forward to making my own plans. I’m hogging the pillows. I’m watching Dreamgirls every Saturday. I’m moving on.

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I’m not sure I’m writing a romance…

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Everyday with the Facebook statuses...

Don’t you hate a girl whose whole life seems to revolve around her man? Who has nothing else to contribute to any conversation besides what he’s said to her, done for her, or bought for her?

You and me both, and that’s the issue I have with many romances. We get about a page of career talk. A few paragraphs about the aggravating sister and mother whose values clash with those of our protagonist. Maybe we talk about the weather.

Then he shows up. Lightning strikes. The earth moves. Time stops and the very sun dims because it is no match for his dazzling smile and diamond watch. And our lucky protagonist ends up stuck with him somehow, fighting her attraction for some reason, and secretly hoping that someday he’ll love her back.

What does she do in the meantime? Oh, the usual. A lot of lunches with girlfriends where she can talk about him. A few shifts at work where she can drag down productivity and think about him. Ooh, maybe she’ll get fired! More time to spend with him, right? And with all this free time, she can get dressed up and go to a party with him. If all goes well, she’ll be confronted by his bitchy ex, which will dampen her feelings for him, giving us a reason to flip past a silly argument to the makeup sex.

I sound like the worst romance writer ever, don’t I? I don’t even sound like I like romance. I even sound like one of those pretentious individuals who think genre books are beneath them. And I swear I’m not!

I love romance. For the sex, for the fashion, for the fights filled with passion. It is nice to read about those first love experiences. Who doesn’t want to quiver at someone’s touch, to have mind-blowing orgasms and Veuve Cliquot afterward?

The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced that I’m not actually writing a romance. There’s sex, yes. There’s a few conflicts to keep them unsure of one another, and there’s a happily ever after.

There’s also a story arc all about hiring an architect. The backstory is not a few lines about a crazy father or no-good ex. I explore Rey’s issues in detail. I write what I want to read, and I want to read about racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, the usefulness of MFA programs, the difficulty of caring for a sick family member, and the ways we create a narrative for ourselves, picking up identity pieces and discarding what doesn’t fit. I want to talk cognitive dissonance.

This gives me a whole new set of worries, not that I was sick of the old ones or anything. What if I’m just writing a bloated romance? What if romance readers find it too long and women’s fiction fans find it too short? What if, Christ preserve us, I am just a pretentious romance writer? A wannabe novelist swinging too hard and striking out? And what about ask this preliminary research I’ve been doing about marketing a romance? Somebody pour me some Veuve.

I know what I need to do. First, I need to read more. I’ve been downloading romances for the commute, but it’s time to sit down for some focused reading and find out what works and what doesn’t.

That’s where you come in, dear reader. Do you think I’m stressing over nothing? How important is genre distinction? What books should I read if I’m transitioning more to women’s fiction? Please leave a book title in the comments that you think I should read. and whatever else you want to say, of course 🙂

Bending “The Rules”

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“Traditions vs Rules”

First, I want to thank Victoria at Artsy and Ambitious for inspiring this post. Her post on her dating do’s and don’ts was funny and fascinating, especially when she said that her dating style was made up of “traditions” and not “rules”.

I like that. I’m not a rules person. I let a barber give me the same fade he’d just given his son, then bought platform heels and push up bras. I’m something of an agnostic who reads my daughter Bible stories every night because Jesus is her homeboy and I respect that. I have a shelf full of writing books that I never read because I really want to get my story down my way. If I had dating rules, I’d just break them. However, I do have preferences. I’ll first-date anybody without an extensive criminal record, but I’ve discovered some traits that make a man second-date-able.

The Four T’s: How To Get The Second Date

  • Talkative: let’s take an idea and twist it around. Let’s disagree. Let’s do research. Nerdy as hell, but I love when a man looks something up on his computer or phone, just to add to our conversation. Makes me feel like he cares about my opinions and isn’t trying to rush through the date and to the bedroom.
  • Transparent: what did you do today? Where do you work? Who do you live with? Liars need not apply.
  • Tall(ish): I’m 5’9″. I need us to stand face to face. Seriously, I dated a short dude who wouldn’t let me hug him or hold his hand because we looked that odd together. And it makes impromptu kissing much easier! Real talk, I came across a beautiful man on OkCupid. Liquid eyes, six figure income (or so he said), funny profile. And I thank him for disclosing his height. I’d have been pissed if we’d actually taken the trouble to meet up.
  • Touchy-feely: Wait, um…I’m not sure I like that. I do like holding hands, kissing, all that, but I have to be the initiator at first. I truly hate when a man tries to cop a feel. How old are we? You’ve never seen a nice, thick thigh before? Dude, stop patting me. I’ll reach for your hand if I want it.

So that’s me. If you’re dating, what are you looking for? Do you have rules/traditions/a list, and how closely do you follow it? If you’re coupled up, did you have a list in your dating days? Did your partner fit the criteria, or did they entice you in a different way? As usual, thanks for reading and commenting!

Looking for myself…

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My twenty-second birthday cake says "Look at that. Twenty-one. Again."

My twenty-second birthday cake says "Look at that. Twenty-one. Again."

I get bored sometimes and google my thoughts. “I lied about my age today.” “I want chocolate.” “I hate to clean.”

 

I’m looking for reinforcement, I guess. To know that someone feels how I feel. To not feel like “the only one”.

I started to do it today, but I figured, maybe someone else is looking for me. Another single mother frustrated with her child support arrangement, frustrated with job flexibility, and mad as hell that she has to be living her first recession NOW, right as the child starts school, or right as the weather turns one drafty apartment from “quirky and unique” to “freezing rat hole that I should burn down for the insurance money”. Maybe you’re here because you searched “knight in shining Armani,” wondering if you were the first to coin the phrase. You weren’t, and neither was I *pissed*. Maybe we share a love for Young Money music, and maybe we share the fear that we’re getting to old for such.

Tell me. What’s on your mind? What do you want to share? What do you wish someone would blog about? For me it’s “financial planning for the extremely broke.” I want to hear somebody WITHOUT a 401k talk about how to get started. I always hate when people say “cut out cable” and I think “I did that when I sold my TV!”