So, is it appropriate for a romance writer to blog about Valentines day in the way I'm about to do? For me the answer is why not, it's just a personal opinion and everyone is entitled to that. From a romance writers perspective the blog could probably be more optimistic, advocating the happily ever after or happy for now attitude of my work but that just seems disingenuous.
In order to write about Valentine's Day, I looked up the history of it. According to what I found it's a pretty morbid and contradictory account of how the day came to grace our calendars. Anyway, here's the abridge Jan Graham version of my discoveries. There are three St Valentines in catholic history and there is confusion about which saint the day actually originated from. The most likely candidate is a priest (by the name of Valentine, of course) who was imprisoned and ultimately martyred for performing marriage ceremonies for soldiers living under Roman rule who were forbidden to marry. During his imprisonment Valentine developed a thing for the daughter of his jailer and before his death wrote her a letter that began...'From your Valentine.' Years later the christian church, in an attempt to damper the pagan ritual of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman God of agriculture, decreed St Valentines Day to be the 14th February. The saints day eventually became associated with a day to celebrate love.
Reading the history actually reinforced my opinion of the day. It appears to be a celebration birthed from struggle, rebellion, lost opportunity, conflict and ultimately death. There was no happy ending for Valentine or the woman he wrote the letter for. The pagan festival was eventually outlawed and the world has been left celebrating a day of love that had very little love in it's origins at all. That is unless you have a different perspective of what love is.
From my own experience of relationships as well as talking to friends and seeing how there relationships unfold, aspects of all the things the day is based on reflects modern day loving relationships. Conflict, struggle, lost opportunity, rebellion, death. They all play a part in what I see around me from those who profess to love someone. Being committed to someone isn't easy, and it's how we handle the conflict and angst that ultimately determines whether we are successful in love or not.
I often hear stories about people giving up an opportunity in life to be with someone they love, changing a behavior or habit (letting something of themselves die) to please the person they love. Couples fight and struggle to find a common ground while they are effectively attempting to merge two lives into one. Some couples survive the turmoil that comes with love, other's don't. I must say I know very few people who have the happily ever after ending I like to write about, but for those who don't there is still a sense of hope that next time things will be different.
I wonder whether Valentines day plays a part in keeping our sense of hope alive. Even with the rise of the anti-valentine (which I'm loving by the way) with it's myriad of cards, parties, events and poems filled with skepticism, I suspect we all still have hope about love. A belief that one day each and every one of us will find the person that fuels our erotic fantasies. Dare I say it, our soul mate who completes the missing pieces of our life and brings us ultimate happiness.
Even as I typed that last statement conflict welled within me. The ever optimistic, romantic in me sighed in sweet delight at the thought, while my inner jaded lover cringed, wanting to reach for a bucket. I guess it's not just love that brings about angst and turmoil, but also Valentines Day.
So will I do anything to celebrate Valentines Day this year - probably not. Will I receive a Valentine from a secret admirer - I doubt it. Will I get all Anti-Valentine and send my friends world-weary tributes to love filled with sarcasm - quite possibly :) After all, that does appeal to my wicked sense of fun. The other thing I may do, just to participate in the capitalistic fervor, surrounding the day is buy myself a gift.
What do you all think, is this the perfect Anti-Valentine bag you've ever seen....gotta love Ed Hardy.
It would be a replacement for the the love kills slowly bag I already have that's getting a bit scruffy from many years of constant use.
I think it's totally fitting for Valentines, considering the day did have it's origins in death...lol.
So what are you doing for Valentines Day? Are you getting all Anit-V or spending it with someone you are totally enamored with? Whatever it is you do, even if it's nothing, I hope you enjoy it.