Earlier this week, I was standing innocently in the lunchroom waiting for chaos to ensue when my boss stepped up and said hello. I’m always caught off guard, seeing him in that particular area and usually start the conversation looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
This particular day, he asked me about my writing. I said it was going slow but I had my first actual book coming out soon and that was cool. He asked me what I write and I admitted it was just fiction, a love story. Every time I answer that question he follows it up with, Is it one of the racy ones? I shake my head, Not this one, I tell him. He kind of laughs, then launches into a bit about how he’d run out of stuff to read last week in the middle of the night and had resorted to the magazines lying around the house. He’d read through Time then found an article in Vogue magazine that asked the question, Is writing romance emotional cheating? He wondered what I thought about that.
I don’t know what I think about that.
He asked if the husbands of romance writers felt threatened by the brawny, thoughtful, rich men that filled the pages of their books and by association, the women’s minds.
That got me thinking about that place in my mind I go to write. That world where my characters and 99% of my curiosity live. I know three men I’ve invited to see that world. None of whom have ever lived with me. Is that emotional cheating? It’s a place I share only with the like-minded, only with those who’ve shown an interest. No one who lives with me has any interest in that place or what goes on there. They want to know what there is to eat and why must they have a bedtime.
The few writers I talk to on a regular basis also live in their writing space alone, sharing with a select few, none of which are their significant other.
My boss’s question seemed more toward the ‘Are they upset because they can’t live up to the fantasy?’ He’s not read anything I’ve written so I’ll cut him some slack. My men are normal. Okay, except Mitch, he was famous. All the other men I’ve written are just men. They are construction workers, scientists, land developers, a pilot, a cowboy, the last great King Under the Mountain (okay, he was exceptional). In my imagination, men aren’t ultra rich or powerful, they’re super power is awareness. They notice stuff. They want simple things and have learned that the right woman makes it easy. She needs laughter, she needs to feel safe, she needs to be surprised and she needs someone who will show up when it isn’t convenient or desirable.
Perhaps we are filling a need within ourselves. I see how it could make some men uneasy.
Is it emotional cheating or simple cartography, mapping a pathway to a new reality?