Monday, February 14, 2011

What Is Romance?

What I'm reading: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire.

Don't forget my new contest where everyone wins. Click the Contest tab above. And there's another contest in today's blog--details at the end of this post.

It's Valentine's Day, a holiday devoted to romance. I thought I'd ask what others find romantic, but before I did that, I went to to see what the 'official' definition was. I was surprised when I found this at the top of the page:

1. a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds, pageantry, romantic exploits, etc., usually in a historical or imaginary setting.
2. the colorful world, life, or conditions depicted in such tales.
3. a medieval narrative, originally one in verse and in some Romance dialect, treating of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events, often in the form of allegory.
4. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
5. a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire.
6. romantic character or quality.
7. a romantic affair or experience; a love affair.
8. ( initial capital letter ) Also, Romanic. Also called Romance languages. the group of Italic Indo-European languages descended since a.d. 800 from Latin, as french, spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Proven├žal, Catalan, Rhaeto-Romanic, Sardinian, and Ladino. Abbreviation: Rom.

Scrolling down, I found the entries for the World English Dictionary to be the following:

1. a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people
2. love, esp romantic love idealized for its purity or beauty
3. a spirit of or inclination for adventure, excitement, or mystery
4. a mysterious, exciting, sentimental, or nostalgic quality, esp one associated with a place
5. a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes
6. any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life
7. the literary genre represented by works of these kinds
8. (in Spanish literature) a short narrative poem, usually an epic or historical ballad
9. a story, novel, film, etc, dealing with love, usually in an idealized or sentimental way
10. an extravagant, absurd, or fantastic account or explanation
11. a lyrical song or short instrumental composition having a simple melody

So, what about romantic? Didn't get much better there.

All of the above are very abstract. In my dictionary, romance, or romantic would pertain to someone thinking of the other person first. Doing something without expecting payback. One of the most "romantic" gifts I got from the Hubster was a Swiss Army Knife? Why? Because I'd been watching MacGyver, and muttered under my breath, "Why don't I have one of those?" when he was doing his MacGyver thing. I didn't turn around and say it TO the Hubster. I was hardly aware he was in the room. But his gift showed he was listening, and to me, that's romance.

What about you? Leave a comment, and I'll send one commenter a copy of "Romancing the Geek" – a short story I wrote for The Wild Rose Press celebrating Valentine's Day.

Tomorrow, while my guest, Margaret Fieland is here talking about the importance of backing up work, I'm going to be participating in DigiCon, an on-line conference about the world of e-publishing and e-books. I hope you'll stop by. I'll be blogging, (my post won't be live until tomorrow, so bookmark the link, or check back) and then at 8 PM Eastern time, I'll be doing a chat Q&A to discuss the subject. You might want to pop by Savvy Authors and register for DigiCon if you haven't already.


Carol Kilgore said...

A Swiss Army Knife. I'm smiling. That's cool.
Happy Valentine's Day.

Vonnie Davis said...

Cute post. Yes, for those of us in long-term relationships, being listened to and respected is major on the romance scale. Happy Heart Day to all

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like the perfect gift and a cool surprise. I'm a little taken aback by the definition in the dictionary--definitely not what I'd have expected.

Terry Odell said...

Carol - thanks. Sometimes it IS the thought that counts!

Vonnie - I totally agree, although I think those things are major in ANY relationship.

Elizabeth - yes, I was more than a little taken aback.

Jenny said...

What's romantic? It's the dh of thirty-plus years saying, "Monday is Valentine's Day. Let's do something special." Pretty d*** romantic in my book!

Kathleen O'Brien said...

LOL about the Swiss Army Knife, Terry. And you're so right...listening is the most romantic thing any man can do. :) And now that you've got a knife, he wouldn't DARE not listen, right?

Terry Odell said...

Jenny - any time they do/say something first is romantic in my book!

Terry Odell said...

Kathleen - good point! (no pun intended)

Wynter Daniels said...

My husband read an article years ago that said according to a study, the secret to a long, happy marriage was that "the husband was willing to be influenced by his wife's advice." Thankfully, DH took that to heart. That's romantic;-)

Terry Odell said...

Wynter - preferably without prefacing it with, "Anything you say, Dear."

Jess said...

Well, Dad DID go back to the new jewelry store that opened my senior year of high school that we scouted after dinner one night shortly before Valentine's Day...and got us both exactly what we had pointed at and said was pretty. :) Little green boxes left out on the breakfast table with the requisite SweetHearts candy.

Terry Odell said...

Yes -- another instance of listening (and watching)

Elaine Baskin said...

One Valentine's morning when I was single, sitting at the breakfast table with my current love, and two Mourning Doves mated outside the window. I'd call it a gift from Mother Nature.

Terry Odell said...

Elaine - and a very nice one