(insert pithy rejoinder here)

Love Is A Four-Poster Bed

Some of you have noticed that I’ve been on sort of a hiatus lately. The good news in this is that I’ve had some odd luck on the book front sales wise, and it’s forced me to kick writing the next one into high gear. I’ve had the basic outline for the second book in my mind for a while, but hadn’t really decided in which direction I wanted to take the plot. So far the feedback from book one tells me that the natural progression of this series into book two is going to have to include more romance. All I can say to that is….

Yeah.

People, I just may be the most non-romantic woman ever to have walked the face of the earth. Crafting an entire novel based on romance poses huge obstacles for me, as I have almost no point of reference. There are others who write this sort of thing much better than I do, like fellow blogger Sandylikeabeach or the great Edward Hotspur. Sadly, the “woo words” as EH likes to call them don’t seem to come to me as easily as they do others. But just like learning any new language, the key is to utilize opportunities to flex your language muscles and apply your new words to parts of your world as they relate to you. So instead of purple prose I give you romance as seen through my lens of life, and what I see in front of me is a lathe and a four-poster bed.

Growing up among “moderately legal” immigrants in south Florida offered little in the way of employment opportunities, so the women in my family were relegated to the humble position of cleaning ladies. Every Saturday we’d all take the bus into Palm Beach to clean the mansions of the fabulously rich and famous. Since I was the youngest and smallest it fell to me to make the beds, which was the one chore I hated most. I would rather have scrubbed toilets than be forced to strip and make the beds of other little girls who had their own room, bed, toys, etc.

What I remember most was how massive and ornate the beds were, and how it seemed to me like all the furniture had been dipped in gold, even the picture frames that lined the walls. But only the walls in the foyer, as I never saw a single picture on a flat surface. I remember thinking what a waste it was for rich people to have these huge, gold nightstands with no pictures of loved ones on them to kiss goodnight. At least that’s what I thought until we got a new family to clean for and I had a new bed to make.

Even though this new bed wasn’t as grand or as ornate as the other beds I’d made, to me it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was a simple four-poster wood bed with thin posts and an impossibly high canopy. I remember that first day hopping up onto the bed just so I could look up at the gauzy white fabric that draped over the top of the canopy and hung down the sides. As much as I loved the bed what made the biggest impression on me were all the photos that lined both nightstands of a smiling young couple posing together. In that instant I equated true love with that four-poster bed.

Fast forward to this summer, and me in my barn clearing out years of accumulated junk and treasures in order to set up a workshop for myself. The last thing I found was an old woodworker’s lathe, the kind that’s used to turn table legs or stair balusters. The image of the lathe forced an image of the bed from my memory, which then joined the vision of a now empty barn and in an instant I’d felt lonelier than I’d ever imagined possible; because it occurred to me that what I’d wanted more than anything in the world was someone to share that space with, and someone to share that bed with. Expressing myself romantically isn’t a skill I’ve developed, so it hasn’t been easy to find a man who can relate to someone like me. Someone who understands that I’m the type of woman who feels uneasy saying “I love you” every five seconds and who enjoys simply existing quietly alongside the man she loves. Someone who doesn’t make me feel compelled to fill the air with empty reassurances; who knows in his heart that because I choose to be with him at all is reason enough to trust my love and that the proof of it is found within the silence itself.

I know it’s not poetry, but for what it’s worth this is what romance means to me.

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55 responses

  1. Sonovagun (0.o) . I didn’t think I’d see this post….. on this blog , no offense .

    November 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    • You and me both, brotha’.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a sap as they get …. and as such , you’ve really expressed yourself with this one :)

        November 20, 2011 at 12:10 am

        • Thank you. As a closet “sap” that means a lot.

          November 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

  2. That was very beautifully said. Clearly you are very deeply romantic, even if the language does not come easily to you.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    • You have NO IDEA how uneasy I am with this sort of thing. I appreciate your own kind words.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm

  3. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much.

    Love writing? We would love for you to join us!

    - Writers Wanted -

    November 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be sure to look into it.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm

  4. “Expressing myself romantically isn’t a skill I’ve developed” Bullshit, Hellis. I think you just DID.
    You moved me right along with that stuff in your barn. I stood next to you as you looked at the lathe and felt your experience. One of the definitions of ‘romance’ is “a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire” – and that’s what you did, expressed, have, possess, write, and are.
    When you write romance, go into that barn. Feel the feelings. Listen to the songs that take you there. Then you can write romance anywhere, anytime. You can feel it anywhere, anytime. You can express it anywhere, anytime. And it can find you…

    November 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    • Wow…that means A LOT coming from you, EH. I especially like the part about the music. I knew just what you meant writing that.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      • A lot? It means what it means. I am not yet a complete sage. I just hope I was able to play a part in paragraph 1, sentence 2, of your post.

        November 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm

        • Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, I wish I could like this post a million times.

          November 19, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    • Nicely said :D

      November 20, 2011 at 12:07 am

  5. This is very powerful. Not sure what to say to you here… Great, great work. I really like the transition between the early years and the “now.” You will go far with your writing.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

    • Thanks for the input, especially on the transition. All this is pretty new to me.

      November 20, 2011 at 12:03 am

  6. Jonathan Borden

    First, welcome back! I am still on hiatus from my blog working on a collection of new poems due out on December 1, 2011. That is my little plug. But, onto your post, which I loved the honesty of, and learning more about you. I found it so odd the rich and famous lacked photographs–perhaps because they pose for so many themselves all the time they would rather not see another photo of anyone at the end of the day? I hope to read some more of your writing, soon, as I totally a fanatic.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

    • Be sure to let me know exactly when you’re done with your poems. I’ll run a feature post here as well. You know what a fan I am of yours!

      November 20, 2011 at 10:05 am

      • Jonathan Borden

        Will do! I am going to release the collection online next Thursday, December 1, 2011, so if you could show some love for it then, it would be appreciated!

        November 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm

        • Thursday it is! I can’t wait!

          November 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm

  7. First, thanks for the pingback though my bittersweet (some might say bleak) view of love might not be what most people would aspire to. Second, I read and LOVED your book and thought the amount of romance was just right for the plot and characters. Third, I really enjoyed this post from the childhood memories to cleaning out the barn and finding the lathe. But mostly, I loved the last paragraph because you also described me. Despite the occasional bittersweet poem, I am also terrible at expressing myself verbally in a relationship, nor do I see the need for constant verbal reassurances when the very fact that i am there with him should be assurance enough.

    Well said, my friend.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:54 am

    • I enjoy reading what you write because you say a lot with few words. I’m also glad to hear I’m not the only one who isn’t taken with flower speech. I feel better already.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

      • What’s this about not being taken with flower speech? LOL

        November 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

  8. That was beautifully put.
    Seems like the words everyone else uses to describe romance don’t work for you.
    but the words above are as moving and eloquent a description of romance I’ve ever read.

    Gonna go kiss my wife now. She says thanks.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:56 am

    • Now that last part just made my day, and only in nine words!

      November 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

  9. You speak of Romance as a language- I’d say it’s one you speak just fine. ;-)

    November 20, 2011 at 1:27 am

    • Thanks a lot. I’m a work in progress, but I’m glad to hear that I’m coming along.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

  10. You don’t need a man … Just me, I would happily share a bed with you and not expect anything in return :D Ahaha if you need help I am always just an email away or a 8 hour flight!! I always find when I am trying to write romance I look at other successful relationships but I do not know … I am far from the expert!! and (sorry I am ranting) I loved your first book, for me it was not lacking romance, the romance was just seen though the eyes of a teenage boy :P … I am your biggest fan :D

    November 20, 2011 at 5:25 am

    • You are soooo easy to love, kiddo! There have been moments over the past few days where I’ve been writing and I’ve said to myself, “Oh man, Megan is gonna LOVE this part!”
      Thanks for making me a better writer. You’re the best.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

      • Yay!! Awww I miss you when I do not talk to you!! and we have already been through this … You’re the best, I can not wait to read it!!

        November 20, 2011 at 10:48 am

  11. This is a beautiful post. Everyone expresses themselves in different ways and this is proof that you’re not incapable you just express yourself in a different and more sincere way. If you decide to expand on this in your next book stay true to you and I’m sure it’s going to be absolutely amazing. :)

    November 20, 2011 at 7:56 am

    • Thanks, Summer. I was worried that without the prose my sentiment would be lost. I’m glad to see that it hasn’t been.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

  12. Agree. The last paragraph is what should point to what truly being with someone is, and not Hollywood romance. That, and how much of the other person’s false you can stand without going batshit crazy.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

    • I completely agree with you. You can’t bullshit your way through silence. When I read articles that answer to whether or not someone is the right “one” I think to myself, “can you just sit in the same room, each separately reading a book and be fine with that?” I truly believe the ability to be silent is the real test of a solid relationship.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

  13. Nicely done…

    November 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    • Thank you, Kayjai. And thanks for the checking in. It meant a lot. :)

      November 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  14. Someone said you need to put more romance in it? This confuses me. Do they mean a love story? I can see that–and I think you can handle that fine. Write YOUR love story, not theirs.
    Les

    November 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    • Wow…I really like thinking about it that way. It’s similar to something a certain Mr. Hotspur’s been telling me to do all along. You boys sure know your stuff.

      November 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm

  15. So well written, and I’m glad to hear you are having success. I don’t trust people who don’t have family pics plastered everywhere. Certainly you won’t change your writing style for more book sales, so what do they really want as far as romance, I wonder?
    Umm, just so you know…when you and I get married, if I don’t hear “I adore you, Kevin” at least every half hour, you WILL be shown the door.
    (Sorry, I live alone, so I must have my little jokes.)

    November 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    • I can see it now….me in my “I heart Kevin” t-shirt making us coffee while you hang pictures on the walls of people that came with the frames because they’re so much better looking than our family. How does that sound?

      November 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      • Yes, that’s the picture I had too, and I’d be laying on the couch saying “Bring me another cup of coffee” and you’d bring it, but “accidentally” spill a little on me and smirk as you walked away…..

        Seriously, I think it was in a T. Jefferson Parker (okay, but not great mystery writer) book where the guy did just that–put the frames up with the pictures that came with them, because he thought the girl was pretty.

        I read a little of your book on some site that allows people to read 15% of it or something. It is quite good, so far, but I suppose I’ll have to get a Kindle or something to read the rest, right?

        November 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

        • Well…if you MUST know I have a paperback version for sale. The link is at the top of the blogroll. Just sayin’.

          November 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

  16. I thought you expressed your romantic self very well…who says romance has to be all about flowers and moonlight? It’s about whatever moves you…you were able to capture that in a way that allowed the rest of us to get a glimpse of what matters to you.

    November 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    • Thank you! I like how you see things!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

  17. Yes, I have missed you while you’ve been busy! And when we are married, I will be the one to say “I love you” every five minutes. You don’t have to say anything. :)

    November 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

    • And someday when my book makes me fabulously wealthy I’ll keep my Sparkles in an endless supply of Victoria’s Secret goodies!

      November 21, 2011 at 8:25 am

      • How could I not love you? You know exactly what I need…

        November 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

  18. one of the truly wonderful women in my life is pretty much on the same page as you are when it comes to verbal expressions of love. she just does. continue…

    November 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    • Thank you for including me in such good company.

      November 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm

  19. Imogen Shepard

    Hey H.E :-) love is a tough one but there are references all over the place. I’ve been so sick of late and been off wp for weeks,but I had been thinking of writing a post funnily enough on Love and the different kinds of it. I think you have it in you to pull from wherever some romance for book 2, I know you can do it. Put a bit of you into it. Your a raw writer and I think your experiences of love will fit perfectly into the characters. Stick to the realness of the storyline like you did in the 1st one and use love in it in the same way. You’ll do good :-)

    November 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

  20. Pingback: A LOVE ENDURED : A ROMANTIC MONDAY POST « hastywords

  21. Reblogged this on H.E. ELLIS and commented:

    I am using a reblog of a post from last year for my Romantic Monday offering this week. I realize it’s Sunday, but I’ve got to be to work at 4am tomorrow and yeah…good night, all.

    November 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  22. This was sad and moving and sweet all at the same time. But I like the idea of recycled romance. I might do that someday when I am busy. For Ed’s Monday thing… that’s what I mean… yeah…

    November 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm

  23. She says, “You haven’t told me you love me in a while.”
    He says, “I told you I loved you when I married you. If that changes, I’l let you know.”

    November 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  24. Pingback: How I Love A Hellis, The Happy Birthday Edition! | OhMyGawd, Just Do What I Say!

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