Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Guest Post: Linda Cunningham- The Nature of Romance

                                                                        The Nature Of Romance

            According to the dictionary, the word “romance” is defined as “an emotional attraction or aura attached to a specific era, activity, adventure, or individual”.  This is, succinctly put, why I am enamored of the genre and why I write it.  I have an emotional attraction to romance and all that it symbolizes.  I enjoy the aura of romance.  I find it everywhere.
            Romance embraces all the facets that come together to make the story.  People, place, and circumstance are woven together to form the fabric of each specific story.  I write about romance in a small town because small town life fascinates me.  I was born and grew up in the same small town where my father was born and grew up.  The air there fairly crackled with romance.  Around every corner there were stories that would break your heart, curl your hair, make you laugh, or warm your soul.  To this day I could drive you down the streets of that town and tell you a story worth telling about the people who live in every house we would pass.  Some of the stories are generations long, some only vignettes, but all of these stories attest to the same fact.  Ordinary life in a quiet, small town is anything but ordinary or quiet.
            I live in a small town now, not far from where I was born, and about the same size.  The romance quotient is the same.  The things that happen in the daily life of a population of 3,000 are astounding.  Nothing gets lost in a small town.  The stories of individuals live on in family lore, in town records, on grave stones, in the very architecture of the buildings.  In a small town, somebody can always help you find what you're looking for, from your car keys to your true love.
            When I examine the fabric of these romances, woven of linen circumstance, woolen places, and silken love, the one aspect that seems to stand out most clearly to me is the fact that there are no coincidences.  The trite phrase, “things happen for a reason” is proven over and over again.  When I was growing up, a woman in town pined for a baby.  She and her husband were still childless after ten years and it was breaking her heart.  Then, her younger sister had an affair with a married man and became pregnant.  The pregnancy was kept “secret” and the baby was “adopted” by the childless sister.  Everybody knew the circumstances.  Nobody judged.  The married man succeeded in obtaining a divorce, rare in those days.  He married the younger sister and they subsequently had two children together.  Meanwhile, the childless sister raised her niece as her own daughter.  The girl grew up, married, had multiple children and formed a veritable real estate dynasty.  The childless sister had the big family she and her husband had always dreamed of.
            Another story is of the wife of the local mailman.  Because of her personal religious beliefs, she had one baby after another, even at the risk of her own life.  After the birth of the tenth child, her husband contracted the mumps and became sterile.  Nobody in town doubted for a nanosecond that it was divine intervention.  The mother raised her children, and went back to school herself.  She ended up with a doctorate in history and went on to become head of Archives at the state university.  That's a romance!
            This is the foundation upon which my Small Town Girl series is based.  I write about the triumph of true love and of dreams coming true.  I write about people who discover themselves in their heritage, who overcome daily struggles to forge a decent, even flourishing, quality of life in often overlooked and unlikely places.  I write about the real people who will never be on television, but contribute every day of their lives in quiet, dependable, and even heroic ways.  I write about self-discovery without self-centeredness.
            The Small Town Girl series is a narrative embracing the nature of romance, the resiliency and resourcefulness of the human spirit, and the power of love that is ongoing and thriving in our own back yards.  Picket fences and all

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