Before we get into the hoopla of the blog post - there are a few things we at Novel Matters are excited to share with you.
In the weeks to come we will have things that will make you smile, things that will get you excited, and things that will make you have to pick your jaw up off the ground. And a couple of things that will require someone with a spatula to scrape you off the ceiling. Boo yay!
Yep, it's starting to get revved up around here - and we are thisclose to announcing major contests on the blog. How major? Could change your life. We strongly suggest you follow the blog, or subscribe so you'll be among the first to hear. Yes, that's all I'm going to say about it for now. Yes, I enjoy torturing you. It's fun.
This is on top of our monthly give-aways (books, gifts, and more!), guest bloggers (folks like Andy McGuire, Sally Stuart, Karen Ball, Jeff Gerke, and more!), and the other surprises we have up our collective sleeves. Fasten your seat belts, faithful reader - things are about to get very, very interesting.
And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming:
Sometimes a voice comes along and rocks the visible universe. Like William Goldman's The Princess Bride, and no one asks why. We just know, somewhere in what Carl Jung would call the collective conscious (or unconscious, depending on his mood), we just get it. No one needs to explain it. We read, and we understand. It's a bestseller because it is wonderful. It's a phenomenon because everyone gets it on a primal basis. The fact that Rob Reiner can come along and make a bang-on fantastic movie out of the book is a total bonus - and helps us to keep the love alive for generations to come.
I finished a novel the other week and my husband asked what I thought of it. "It was good, but I didn't go 'Ugh'".
"Ugh" is the sound of my primal instincts becoming fully awakened -it is the noise of my most basic emotions zinging to the forefront. I laugh, I cry, I yell at the text, I plead, I threaten, I run and hide, I clap my hands. All the right buttons are pushed and somewhere deep inside, I hear the sound of "Ugh". My primal, inner cavewoman is satisfied.
Lest you think that only novels like Anna Karenina should make us go "Ugh", (and they should!), I need to remind us that primal feelings are not pristine feelings. They are messy, strange, difficult feelings and the things that can stir them are often surprising - even to the one being stirred. Oddities can bring out our primal response - like the runaway train that started out as Lynn Truss writing a humble book about punctuation Eats, Shoots & Leaves. There are nearly 600 reviews total of the book on Amazon.com. How odd is that? Doesn't make you want to run out and see what all the fuss is about? What made that happen? A particularly virile gang of English teachers out to raise the profile of the comma no matter the cost? Probably no. But there is something about the book that makes us go "Ugh". The fact that our "Ugh" is wrapped in proper punctuation matters not. A connection has been made. My guess on this one is that the primal Ugh here is the "I'm a smarty-pants" feeling.
Sometimes the Ugh comes from the sappy melodrama of a book we "shouldn't" love, but we do. The guilty pleasure we don't talk about, but read over and over again with the covers pulled over our heads. I had two children (a toddler and a newborn) when I read The Nanny Diaries. Oh my, I was Ughing all over the place! Primal emotional chords being pulled every third page. At least that was my excuse for reading it the first time. I confess, when I read it again, it was just for fun - just to let it touch those particular feelings again.
And the number one Ugh we all want to feel rising up from our primordial bellies? Love. Ah, love. Twoo Wuv.
Shaken, not stirred. Unrequited. Passionate. Godly. Brilliant. Consuming. Love. Enter the Twilight series, and The Shack. Both books about love. Both are romance novels. Both stroke the same deep chord, and ask the same question we've been asking since the dawn of time....
Does he love me?
Oh we need to know so.....so......badly. Does he love me? Whether "he" is God, a lover, a vampire, our dog - if the story asks the question well enough, and if it can take us to a place where we find our answer is, "Yes", then we go. Masses of us, running to the Yes we need so much it hurts. But these books go one better. They don't talk about just any love, just every day love. They talk about impossible love. Girl and vampire. God and humanity. Love that just cannot be, yet is.
And that is the deepest Ugh of all.