The other day I was in the midst of digging deep into the minds of my characters, and with that, dug deeper into my own mind, my own soul. Love was the topic at hand one mid morning, mid-way into one of my scenes. I stopped for a second to reflect on such a common, simple subject and in doing so, realized how uncommon and complex it could be.
In creating the love connection between Carmella and Jeremy, I want to portray a really strong connection, a truly passionate real-life love story. But, in knowing my characters and where they’ve evolved from, I wondered about the nature and nurture thing. Can I have a character that hasn’t really experienced love in her life be able to turn around and express it to another human being? And what about Jeremy? Well, he’s experienced a higher quality of life so far and his father is supposed to be a psychiatrist, so I’m comfortable giving him the ability to love. But Carmella? She’s had some bad luck in her short sixteen years on earth.
Anyhow, I got to thinking…what if we’re born with an small innate ability to love and the rest is learned? Or is it all learned? What if one is raised with a sense of love that may seem real to the parties involved but in effect, it’s all just a bunch of hot air? Does that person go through life unable to truly love or be loved? And of course the question arises, what if a person doesn’t love themselves? Some theories suggest (The late, great Leo Buscaglia devotes a whole chapter on this) without a love of self, you cannot possible love another.
We’ve all heard the Corinthians’ take on love: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous, or conceited, or proud…..love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable…” That haunts me when I’m having a bad day and I certainly have been ill-mannered and selfish and irritable. Does that mean that for those moments, love has left the building??
Or how about the movie Love Story where Ryan O’Neil says, “Love means never having to say your sorry.” Really? Is that true?
Anyhow, at the very least, Mr. Buscaglia set my mind at ease by confirming my suspicions that love is not a simple subject AT ALL. Quite the contrary. Apparently, it’s even so out there in terms of trying to explain, that most psychologist and sociologists avoid the subject completely. Trying to explain it in relation to human behavior they say is impossible. Good. I’m off the hook.
True love. When do we know we have it? Is there true love and false love and something in between? Is true love about being lucky enough to find it? Does luck have anything to do with love? Is there true love and then settling? Is it possible to pass up a chance of experiencing true love? How are we supposed to be logical about our emotions? Could we find the answer to these questions by polling couples married for a hundred years? Is the answer buried in their lives, their experience?
Where is the answer?
Stay tuned, Batman…
(FYI—I’m skipping over the love scene until I get this one straight in my head).