Pandemic Diary – Romantic Themes, War, Being Dumb

Someone needs to close that damn Hellmouth—who volunteers? Come on, don’t be shy or cowardly. Were all those superhero movies for naught? 

Putin is deranged, cunning, old & probably getting ready to shuffle off this mortal coil thus his psychopathic and narcissistic response of burn it all down. Remember what I wrote in an earlier post—an attempt to boost their own egos while attempting to maintain relevance and establish some kind of cultural control and dominance over younger generations? Then again, the dude has always been like this and his so-called craziness is likely just another part of his ruthless and repressive stratagems to vanquish his enemies and keep them rattled, frightened, and guessing—part and parcel of his psychological terror campaign and tactics; that’s why the West has been under his thumb these past two decades and he’s been allowed to do what he’s done—does that sound familiar? The avoidance of holding rich white Christian men accountable for their malicious and unjust actions? 

I am not an expert though. I would encourage you to listen critically to those. I do know that I’ve witnessed lots of racism and hypocrisy from the West this past week e.g. Israel/Palestine; Europe/Syria; Mexican, South American, Haitian, and African refugees; occupations; etc. The geo and sociopolitical complications all give me a headache and war is simply awful. I feel like the Ukrainians are the sacrificial frontline to a war that started with the 2016 election and Brexit, and this battle will likely drive Putin across the continent and beyond if not stopped. Like I said in a tweet, that kind of malevolence comes for us all eventually. We can only watch in horror and wait, trust in those in power to do the right thing, and when they don’t, voice our protests—regardless of how little that does. There is power and a moral imperative in protest. And hope. Especially for Ukraine and the victims of Putin’s brutality which includes the Russian and Belarusian citizens and soldiers he continues to gaslight and harm with his violent actions. 

I implied that the Democrats were dumb and it came back around in the form of trolls—one on that damn bird app and the orange one at that Klan rally. My reply of I don’t respond well to being called dumb blah-blah-blah was meant to be ironic and facetious but if I have to explain it… There is also a lesson in it—be careful who you call dumb because someone dumber is listening and ready to turn it back around at you and use it to promote their nonsense, especially in these here Orwellian times, and most especially if you are being or acting dumb—but then if the shoe fits…or the duck quacks… 

I was introduced to a new term earlier—amoral propaganda artist and I’ll let you infer what you will from that. Regardless, I never mastered the art of dissembling and have no desire to now. I established one rule in my thirties—never say or write anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face; this still applies and has served me well enough, keeping me honest and sincere. It has occasionally gotten me into trouble—lots of people don’t want you to tell them the truth, especially bigots. Also, it has served to humble and enlighten me when I needed it because of ignorance and/or ego. 

What does one have to do with the other? While the Democrats may be dumb on occasion, the Republicans are far more foolish in their idiocy. So there. I did acknowledge the cleverness of the IC and the Biden administration in the days prior to this invasion. Transparency fosters democracy. 

Chemistry, companionship, intimacy, passion, sentiment, independence, humor, knowledge, and philosophy—themes in romance novels I touched upon recently in a post that I didn’t really expand on that I started shortly after writing the other. (This post has taken me two weeks to write BTW.)

Passion and desire are meant to be a variation of the same dynamic as would sensuality and sexual tension. What about the four joys (sex, kissing, nudity, profanity)—perhaps. Depends. I would not categorize them in any one division. Romantic angst also plays a large part in this dynamic.

Chemistry is one of the most important components of romance or friendships or relationships. It’s something that some writers haven’t figured out, or they do it ineffectually. I’ve noticed this in series and movies too. This could also be perspective? I would be interested in that discussion with others. Obviously, some people see chemistry whereas others do not. Fandoms and shippers are well-known for this. If you don’t have any type of writing that fosters chemistry between the characters, the narrative usually falls flat. Along with writing sex, good fanfic writers learn this early. 

Companionship is friendship and even among relationships with antagonists or enemies, there is a level of rapport that elicits a sort of comradeship. Outright villains can be dull and imbecilic and not very compelling to read as we’ve learned in real-time. 

Intimacy is tied to sentiment for me and defined by what the author shows/tells between the characters as well as between the characters and the author on their character’s most innermost selves—how they feel inwardly. I find women authors are generally far more skilled in this area than male authors—I said what I said. This also differs culturally as I like to remind readers when I goad and pester the Brits and remark on the British male authors. These remarks are meant to be ironic and playful obviously given that Brits are known for their keep calm and carry on demeanor, which gives me an endless source of amusement when I poke at it or them. 

Independence is something that is one of the most important themes and something I crave in a novel, especially historical women’s literature for obvious reasons. When I come across one where the protagonist is subservient or restrained or suppressed even more than the standard (standard carrying lots of weight here), I’m so triggered in the extreme, I need a punching bag to rid myself of the aggression—or a long walk. I do purposely read these types of novels because I feel it necessary to remind oneself of what was, is, and what could be again for women, or any marginalized. The threats are always looming and privilege makes one complacent to those horrors if we do not consistently remind ourselves. Being an observer and a writer of experiences in this very regard is important to me as a woman in order to prepare and strengthen my sisters—young or old and of any ethnicity or culture—and any marginalized that has been so abused by the same oppressions. It is within this independence that fosters hope, courage, willpower, boldness, assertiveness, resilience, and overall resolve to fight these oppressions directly.

So say we all. 

Knowledge and philosophy are of the same ilk since my own edicts swim in an openness to learn and question anything and everything. I crave it as I do the independence. This includes history, culture, and anything and everything to be learned up to and including socio and geopolitics. You may ask why did I not include socio and geopolitics in that list—besides them being included in knowledge and philosophy, they are automatically assumed. I guess I should have, but my overall expectation is that those themes are a natural occurrence in the writing and if they are not, I will not be satisfied with the narrative because it is more than likely written poorly. These themes are prominent in most of my favorite historical romance novels. 

What about the four joys (sex, kissing, nudity, profanity), you ask? Those are absolutely a must, but I read romance novels with little of those too. I’m not saying I necessarily enjoyed or hated them—they are what they are. I suppose I should’ve added those alongside humor, but not every romance novel has humor either. Besides, humor is subjective, especially when you have such dark humor as my own. 

Since I’ve been writing this for two weeks, I suppose I’ll dump it into a post now. I would like to meander into tropes and characters. Each of those however is a lengthy topic.

Until next time—hopefully. 

© 2022 Matilda London/Pamela Gay Mullins

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