Photo: Jason Sturner
Assignment: A fantasy romance
The word “fantasy” has connotations when it comes to popular stories; elves, armour, capes, quests, maps, and places and names that are hard to pronounce. But, luckily it’s a pretty open-ended term, too. So, I decided to do a sort of W.P Kinsella meets Frank Capra style fantasy tale.
As for the romance part, I figure the engine of all romance stories hinges on the theme of choices; “which road should I take? What happens if I choose to embrace love? What happens if I don’t?” So, that theme made me think about another one that is equally compelling to me; meeting a version of oneself that chose a different road where love is concerned, and the things that they might want to say about the results.
On a quiet Sunday, I took a walk into the scruffy woods at the end of my street. I had inherited the house from my Dad who passed on a few years ago; a little post-war bungalow I’d grown up in. He’d loved my mother quietly and unassumingly. But, it was an intense love. They loved me too, their only child whom they had very late after a number of adventures together as a couple.
And when Mom passed away just after I finished school, I think he felt a level of loneliness and a sense of bereavement that he never really got over. Despite this sense of loss, I think he also felt a sense of gratitude for having experienced the kind of love that I think he knew that not everyone gets to have. I think he wanted that for me, too, although he never came out and said it. But, I’ve never really been the kind of guy to get a lot of female attention, or one to seek it. I prefer my books, the garden in the backyard, and walks in between the trees alone. For me, they’ve always been the safer bets. I’d leave the romance to Catherine and Heathcliffe, and maybe to the memory of my parents, too.
But, that decision was about to become way more complicated.