Have you noticed that some people like to judge a person based on reading choice?
When this first happened to me many years ago, I was taken aback when someone asked me when I was going to write a "real" romance.
I'd thought this mindset had changed, but you still hear the romance genre denigrated on movies and television and in real life too.
I really thought that was all in the past, but it happened again.
Someone asked what I "do." I replied that I was a writer. Of course the next question was what did I write. My answer—romance—was met with a choked laugh and, "Oh, I don't read those kinds of books."
Too many people think those who read romance are lacking in intelligence, maturity, and question our grasp on reality. As to what they think of those who write romance, well, it's not much better. They say we write formula books that anyone can write.
Back in the "cocky gate" trademark uproar earlier this year, the judge who rendered the decision that the woman who had successfully filed for protected trademark of the word "cocky" didn't have the right to sue anyone who used that word in a written work because, I'll paraphrase here, he hadn't read those kind of books but was certain they were written in the romance genre which was simplistic and formulaic, blah blah blah.
I don't know how many times I've been told or read from critics that we write about unrealistic people in unrealistic situations—as if writing about a man and woman seeking love in a committed relationship was something that happens only in an alternate reality, which would make it more suitable to science fiction perhaps.
If these naysayers were correct, there would be no long-term happy marriages. I have one of those, and know many other women who do also. Just about all my friends—especially those who write—have that kind of relationship too.
Anyone with an ounce of intelligence know that love is worth having, and it can still be found in this crazy world.
We know it's not easy. We know it requires work and commitment, and we are willing to make that investment in a relationship.
We like to read romance, not because it's fantasy, but because we believe in the power of love, and in a book—particularly a romance novel—we know that wrongs will be righted, good will prevail over evil, love will prevail against all odds. We like that optimism and want to find it in real life even though we know good doesn't always win because we are smart and in touch with reality.
We who read and write romance are not hopeless romantics but hopeful romantics. Always hopeful that love will prevail in this crazy, war-wracked world of ours where there's so much hate that fills the headlines.
I feel sorry for anyone who reads only "real" books—usually meaning a sad, dramatic tome with a depressing ending. I read widely in every genre, but romance offers something most stories don't. Hope. Optimism.
I love what Sandra Cisneros said in an article about what literary lions read: "I never feel guilty about reading any kind of book. Books are medicine, each one a specific prescription for whatever ails us."
Never be ashamed of your reading taste. Love is empowering.
At the end of life, love is the only thing that remains.
I've sat a death vigil, and I know that in that last breath of life, the dying person wants only to whisper words of love to those who remain.
What Do You Think?
Leave a comment with your email address and tell me what you think about romance and the naysayers.
I'll choose a random commentator with email Sept. 23, Monday, 8pm CDT to receive a free copy of April Fool Bride, a romance guaranteed to leave you with a smile. I'll notify by email and here on this post in Comments.
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