I knew this when I sat down to write Lagan Love but I had to.
‘Love’ is the most complicated and misunderstood aspect of life. It is, according to Christian principles; the greatest virtue! But how many of us approach it that way? The Beatles sang that it was ‘all you need’ but does neediness have limits? Love has also been the rationale for crimes of passion and an excuse for irrational behaviours that might otherwise be unacceptable. Love is, in many ways, similar to, and often enflamed by, drunkenness!
In too many cases our love-affairs are the breeding grounds for the worst of our neurosis; our insecurities, selfishness and dependencies. We look to love for reaffirmation or fulfillment and when we don’t find it, we blame the object of our love, or love itself. Talk with anyone after a breakup. How many of us will admit that we entered the now defunct relationship with less than virtuous aspirations?
Most of us allow the headiness of attraction to cause us to abandon all sense and literally throw ourselves at someone without really knowing. The culture of love encourages this. ‘Trust in love,’ we are told over and over.
The ‘Romance Industry’ does not help, serving up the sweet delusion of fantasy that makes the reality of failed love all the more bitter.
And we do not limit ourselves to loving persons. We love our countries even when more rational thought would decry all the stupid things done in our country’s name. We love our sports teams through long droughts when their primary interest seems to be the amount of money they can wrangle from us. We love our Pop Stars and when we are confronted by their human frailties – we simply ignore them, choosing to see conspiracy or bad press.
We even love our children as they feast on us emotionally and financially until we wither up into old age – forgotten and useless! However, we can also love and indulge our grandchildren because it is a chance to get even with our children!
But you are not supposed to say all of this aloud. That would be bitterness or cynicism – the tell-tale scars of failed love.
The scars of love, mine and others, were one of the reasons why I had to write Lagan Love. I had to take the sacred cow that is love and have a long hard look at it through the lens of my characters. They loved each other in all the ways we see around us and yet find disturbing on the page. We do not like to see love sullied by reality – preferring instead that they all live happily ever-after!
Love endures in fantasy and reality and I think it is a good time to examine it all. In Lagan Love I try to present love in its many forms and allow the reader to associate or reject them as they see fit. I believe in love but I also believe that there is a Yin and Yang to it all. Love has a dark side that is cruel and unforgiving and I think that if we keep that in mind – we have a far better chance of finding our way through the forest of emotions that we confuse with love.