• Rajah E. Smart, Ed.D.

I Struggle to Write About Love

When developing characters for my books, I struggle with how to depict what love looks like, similar to the challenge of some writers creating erotic scenes. I have no issue with those scenes, but love is hard to capture and define. Although people would have you believe there is a standard way to love, it is the opposite. Due to the individual nature of people and those wired differently, you have to be around people who care to accept the love you can provide and not what they believe it should be.


If you have to become someone else or work hard to emulate what you think it should be, that is not love. I recently heard this song y Alicia Keys called "Grammercy Park," which was enlightening. She writes:


Don't get me wrong, I wasn't out to deceive I like the attention with your eyes on me The trouble with the truth is it's so hard to believe Now here I stand with my heart on my sleeve

And I've been trying to be everything I think you want me to be I've been doing all the things that I think you wanna see I've been trying to fulfill you with your every need Now you falling for a person that's not even me.


It's powerful because it speaks to the need to become someone else to be accepted. It speaks to bending and hiding and not realizing you are changing for whatever reason, whether trauma-induced or insecurity driven. I'm speaking of friendships mostly, not intimate relationships, but the same applies. Typically, writing comes from experience. I was asked recently, do you want to be loved, and are you capable of loving another? I was told that as a younger dude, I am incapable of "truly" loving another because of how I'm wired. The context of that statement comes from someone with a generalized definition of love. I believe I can bond with someone, but the impact of losing that person would be devastating, as I have felt in the past. I think I can love, but I've noticed how one-sided and exhausting it can be. I think the exhaustion is where the challenge is for me to emulate in my characters.


Some people may love you to the best of their ability, but it doesn't mean to the best of yours. In noticing this, I'm thinking of reenvisioning how love is approached in upcoming books—explicitly ensuring that the characters are versatile, different, and real. I see a level of cynicism in love. Being in any relationship can be exhausting if we make it so because of the stuff that comes with them. Stuff would be having to defend yourself for things you haven't done, being boxed in and unable to be yourself, arguing about silly things, having to repeat yourself, being one-sided, your actions not aligned with your words, etc. It doesn't matter how much you tell someone you love them if they don't believe you. If they are insecure about something, more than likely, it will be a barrier. It is exhausting always to have to plead your case or convince someone you mean what you say in any relationship.


To some degree, I think it's funny, but at the same time, there is something fascinating about developing characters with all the insecurities to see how it plays out in writing. Characters with varying degrees of dispositions show differences in approaches to love. I think that is why I don't write love stories in the classical sense. My characters have issues, which may be a good thing. Hmmmm---





16 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All