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“The Best Simplicity” [Another “Finding Mister Wright” short]

I’m currently finishing up my 2014 NaNoWriMo story, but, yesterday, I got a flash idea for a short Valentine’s Day free-write. As most of my free-writes tend to be, this one takes place in my “Finding Mister Wright” universe, with its familiar cast of characters. Like “Tuxedos and Sugar Plum Fairies” and “Namesake,” this short story takes a step back from the cast’s present day. Unlike any of the previous FMW pieces, though, this one looks at life from Daniel’s perspective.

I’ve written for Daniel in his other incarnations before, but I’ve never written specifically for him, here, in this body, personality, and time. I don’t know if it was entirely successful a departure from the other characters in the FMW universe, but his conflict was certainly interesting to examine. Also, I had way too much fun writing this story.

“The Best Simplicity”
(~3000 words, 12 pages; PDF opens in a new window)

Valentine’s Day is about love. Not necessarily romantic love, though we often translate it that way for our purposes. Whether you’re dancing the night away with your partner or enjoying a stay-at-home dinner-and-a-movie night – or wherever you are in the world, and whomever you’re with – I hope your adventures are filled with the same love I’ve tried to share with these words.

For the sake of love

And even though the words tickling at the edge of his tongue were silly and foolish and the sort of clichéd romantic tripe that he’d always eschewed, Ross said them, anyway. – from my work-in-progress, Fearless

It’s Valentine’s Day around here. Typically, the day is reserved for professing (or re-professing) your love to your significant other, whether that be your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, anime pillow, or whatever.

As someone who has long been a sucker for romance (both in general and writing it), I’m torn between disparate feelings for this day. I’ve never been so happy with my husband as I’ve been with anyone or anything else…but I’ve also always harbored disdain for the hearts and cards and chocolates proclaiming that this is the only day that matters for lovers, when, in fact, every day should be special with the person – or people – whom you love. Of course, my husband is not an overly-romantic man: his idea of a token of affection is a sour ale poured into a pretty glass. (But, to be fair, I do appreciate my Duchesse.) This is good and bad, for me as a writer.

Writing women in romantic escapades and conundrums is easy: I can just project myself into that woman, and imagine what I’d love for a man to do for, to, or with me. But writing a man becomes more difficult. Some writers, no matter their gender, can write perfect romantic prose. Me, I’ve got to “hear” and “see” men whom I know – like my husband – saying their words or performing their actions. This is likely considered a crutch by many, but – again, just for me, specifically – it helps me to create a portrait of a man that I can understand as well as appreciate. (And while my husband might not be a Lancelot or Romeo, I’ve got other friends who come closer. So it’s not all about plopping one specific person into a character.)

Saying all of that, though, I think I like even my romantic leads to be resistant to the swooniness of a day like Valentine’s Day, and its associated stereotypical lovey-dovey moments. The girls are free to be hopeless romantics dreaming of a swashbuckler, but the boys need to be a bit standoffish to it all.

You know, at least on the surface. Because what’s the point of romance if you can’t be just a little bit dizzy about it all?