“If you fall in love because someone makes you laugh, what happens when you no longer find them funny? If you fall in love because someone is beautiful, what happens when that beauty fades? If you fall in love because someone can provide for you, what happens when they lose wealth? Real love defies all reasons. When you truly love someone, you do not look for reasons, you see beyond reasons.”
A dear, dear friend shared this quote with me, and as I sit here looking at rejection number 5734809 (exaggerating, but I digress…) I am struck by how truthful it is. It has also encouraged me, allowed me to understand my own motivation behind writing, behind why I do what I do.
Jake and Simone started as a therapy of sorts for me. I was (at the time) engaged, but I was hopelessly in love with a man I’d loved for seven years at that point. I was trying to write out what I was feeling, why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I was lost, and writing out their (my) story allowed me to find my way, find myself.
When my engagement ended, I stopped writing about them. When my then-eight year relationship with a man I swore I would always love ended, I started writing about them again. I was fueled by equal parts caffeine and heartache, trying to get him out of my system. I had music to keep me company, as well as my trusty pup Ira. Together with Ellie Goulding, Matthew Ryan, and countless other artists I wrote the story of Jake and Simone. I finished it late one night just as the nights were getting warmer. I had the fan on and a song I cannot even remember now blaring in the background. I wrapped up their story in the nicest, neatest way I could.
And then I sent my first query letter. I got my first rejection a week later. Since then, I’ve sent out more queries than I can count. And, like I said earlier, I’ve gotten a lot of rejections.
I asked myself today why I did it. Why I put their story out there. Why I put my heart and soul into a piece of fiction that will, it seems, never see the light of day.
And I came back to that quote.
The greatest love stories are those that don’t shatter the earth. The other person sneaks up on you. They make you realize that love is possible by showing you. I had that love story, and I ended it because the other person was, simply, not good for me. Jake and Simone were different – the Jake I wrote was very different from my real-life version of him. I am, by my own admission, no Simone.
But this is a story that needed to be told. I needed someone out there to understand that love, even when it’s messy and makes no sense, is possible. Love isn’t about just looks or just humor – it’s about every little thing tied in together. It’s about arguing over the direction of the toilet paper and moving cross-country just to be in the same time zone as the person you love.
Maybe I’ll never get an agent. But at the end of the day, I can still say I wrote a story that needed to be told – a story that nagged me to be written. A story about love in all of its dysfunction and chaos.
And maybe that was the lesson I needed to learn.