I don’t believe it either. I can’t believe it. I crawled back into my bed this morning and wondered whether I had fallen into some dystopian future. My sudden love for the post-America YA series The Selection is now marred in the fear and upset that follows last night’s news.
But I don’t want to cry anymore.
I’m going to. I’m a crier by nature and have come to terms with the fact that a dog food commercial or comic strip have the capability of reducing me to tears. But I don’t want to be in the place I was last night, where great, heaving sobs wracked my body and I watched the fate of the free world flash before my eyes. I see the end – socially and legally – of so many rights and liberties that I hold dear. I see movement forward in the world of climate change initiative, healthcare and access to educated retarded, reduced to a crumbling rubble that will only help aid the great movement of setting this country back. I don’t want to live in that reality, but it feels like there’s nothing I can do.
And then I remember that the pen is mightier than the sword. I am a writer, by passion and by trade, and I know that I must keep using my craft to save the records of history, to speak out against tyranny and to help us remember our own past. I refuse to let this time go by without doing all that is in my power to stop bigotry, hate and fearmongering.
And then I remember that I am a romance novelist, and romance novels are about love. Because it is love that will fundamentally save the day. It is love of neighbors and friends, of children in school who look different or practice different religions, it is the love of all forms of families and relationships. It is love that will ultimately triumph.
I will advocate for the romance novel until I am blue in the face, but now more than ever I must sing its praises. This is the genre that promotes female agency – be it in profession, sexuality, family dynamic or any other element of her life. This is the genre that helps to alter the perception of toxic masculinity, that gives safe haven to the LGBT love story, that is working towards – albeit slowly – the representation of different ethnicities, religions, races, and gender identities. Romance is about the fundamental love story – it doesn’t matter where, when, who or how. Romance says that no matter what, love is a driving force, the driving force, that keeps the narrative strong. We must never forget or undermine a genre that does so much for many, especially at a time when it doesn’t seem like there will ever be enough.
I am terrified for our future. The fear of tomorrow ripples through me again and again, sapping my strength and my hope. Already, I am forming plans to educate myself, to plan for the future, and to stock up on my dose of freedom. I anticipate a difficult four years ahead.
But I also know how important the silly, wonderful little romance novel is to the future of this country in a time of so much hate and fear. These books – read so widely and by so many different people – will help to remind us that love trumps all, that powerful women are meant to be loved, admired and encouraged, that we must strive to make the world a better place every day, however we possibly can.
Join the rebellion, one romance novel at a time.