Sunday, July 3, 2011
When You Say Nothing At All
A couple of weeks ago, over at All About Romance, Leigh put up a post on The Art of Writing Believable Men that I found really interesting, not only because I happen to agree with a lot of her points, but because it set off a discussion of how men can tell you they love you without ever actually saying the words.
When I was interviewed last year at Historical Tapestry and asked about my own heroes, I explained, "I can only draw from men I’ve known in my own life: my grandfathers, my father, and my husband and my friends, all different men, and yet with certain commonalities. If my heroes tend to be quieter men, it’s because the real men I know don’t go emoting all over the place – as a rule, they don’t talk much at all (though to be fair, I talk so much myself it may just be that they can’t get a word in edgewise)."
I know there are probably all sorts of men out there who have no problem at all in expressing their feelings or saying "I love you", but in my experience men tend to do things, not say them. It's always a challenge for me as a writer to work in those small, quiet gestures that show what the hero is feeling, or wanting to say. Each hero is different, and how he expresses his feelings in action is different, as well.
Again in my experience, the simplest, smallest thing can show the deepest level of emotion. If my husband brought me flowers, I would be suspicious. But sometimes when we're sitting at the table after dinner and he nudges his sudoku puzzle closer to me so that I can help complete it, then I know he loves me.
That's likely why I love the above-named song so much (here's a link to the Alison Krauss version, played over scenes from the movie Dear Frankie, which is in itself a small masterpiece of how to speak without speaking).
Are your heroes, real-life or otherwise, able to say what they feel? If not, what do they do that translates to "I Love You?"
Be sure to come back to read Julie's post Thursday.