FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN’T READ MY NOVEL ADMISSION YET, AND DO NOT WISH TO HAVE ANY INKLING TO THE PLOT REVEALED HERE, PLEASE DON’T READ THIS POST.
SERIOUSLY STOP READING NOW BECAUSE TODAY’S FEATURED LOVE SONGS ARE VERY REVEALING TO THIS STORY.
(Yes. SongS. Plural. If you HAVE read Admission, it will make sense, hopefully).
So yesterday, I wrote a post about an Everclear song with lyrics about a couple…two lives that became one…a love…and the people…the circumstances…the relationship…were all clearly imperfect. Difficult. Messy. Maybe painful. That’s the truth of love, really. It’s not always sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes shit gets downright ugly when you love somebody. Especially if you love somebody and you KNOW you messed up with them or for them. I actually think there are more ‘love’ songs written about lost love, or broken/mending love than songs about perfect, happy love. Probably for good reason. Humans are messy creatures. We get selfish. We get lonely and anxious and self-destructive and do stupid, hurtful things to people we love. We make bad decisions. We leap before we look. We settle for less than we really want and hold onto things that hurt us out of fear and regret it. We second guess ourselves. We discount ourselves. Or we self aggrandize. We over and underestimate ourselves and other people. We jump to conclusions. We’re guarded. We’re slow to trust. We hold grudges. Shit happens.
I posted a happy song (sort of happy…it makes me cry but it’s a happy song) about Nick and Stephanie earlier in this Love Song Odyssey I’m on this month, and I promise I’ll post another happy one for/about them that’s actually even FEATURED in the story a little later. But today? Today you get Nick’s loneliness and guilt and remorse about years of separation he mistakenly chose, and Stephanie’s hurt and skepticism about trusting him again when they reunite. You get 2 songs full of individual self-doubt and pain and desperation. Because even a pie-eyed optimist and a relentless sap like me has to admit that sometimes that’s what love is.
So here’s Nick, pining for Stephanie, not knowing where or how she is or if she even thinks of him, and not being able to forget her no matter what he does or who else he’s spending time with, and then, eventually, being frustrated with the situation he basically concocted for himself and kind of begging her for forgiveness and a fresh start when they do reconnect: Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love.
And then here’s Stephanie’s wariness to open up and hand her heart over to Nick again, even though she wants to (she does love him, after all), because her memory’s too sharp about the past. It’s her reluctance to be vulnerable again, despite all her history and comfort with Nick, because no matter what he says, she holds those feelings over what he did after saying similar things before: Ani DiFranco’s Independence Day.
These songs directly inspired me to write Nick and Stephanie the way I did during the time they were separated, and early on even when they finally reunited. Their Happily Ever After was hard won. I had more than one reader tell me they were angry/sad/disillusioned enough to put this book down for a while when Nick and Stephanie were apart. I get that. I guess I’m glad (?) that I could evoke such an emotional response, but I know it surprised some readers that the story went that way. Most of my stuff is ‘unequivocally positive love story with an obvious happy ending on the horizon.’ And this book didn’t give that customary guarantee from the beginning. There was a lot of pain. There was a lot of distance and waiting. There was a lot of work to overcome things. But Erica Jong had this great quote,
“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
I believe that. All of it. Sometimes, to quote the great Def Leppard, love, in fact, bites.
But also, to quote the great Tesla, love will find a way. (Look at those nods to J’s music there!) That’s what Admission was pretty much about. It’s actually what all of my writing is about.