Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Part of the Good

The world we live in is a complex, dangerous place. All one has to do for verification of that is turn on the news, or check the Internet. Stories of war, cruelty and evil abound. We have to look harder to find stories that make us smile, or laugh, or even shed a tear of joy. Sometimes I get philosophical when I'm faced with the bad and evil acts that occur all too often around the globe.

Romance, in any of its many facets, is a counterpoint to the brutal realism we face with regularity. The ways of love, and the stories of love, help us believe in a better world, that there is hope for us. At the very least, romance is an escape. At its best, it is a reflection of our inner selves, the love inside that needs to be expressed and shared.

M/M romance is a part of the romantic fiction genre that is fast growing, finding new readers all the time. The growth and growing acceptance of this sub-genre has been amazing, and add to the hope I feel for this human race. The exposure to more and more people, most of them reportedly straight females, demonstrates to me a growing acceptance of the variations of love.

I was at a romance readers/authors meeting this spring. In one of the sessions, a panel member was asked why straight women read m/m romance. I listened to a few answers from panel members before I volunteered my own. "Women want to know that men can fall in love." To me, the messaging behind M/M, if one wants to look for such, is the representation and verification that men are capable of the deep feelings, profound thought processes, and the both sweet and goofy behavior that comprises love. 

We need reminding that humanity is inherently good, that most of the world goes about its days functioning in a productive, constructive way. Reading, writing, believing in romance is an important part of the good. We need to perpetuate it, to expand it, to spread the hope and the love far and wide.

In doing so, we don’t just spread love; we open minds and we foster tolerance and acceptance. Seems to me the world could use a heck of a lot more of that.

~JM Cartwright 

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