Artifice

I’m still trying to romance my sweetheart. Maybe that’s the problem: I’m trying.

My prior romantic works have typically been incidentally romantic. That is to say I wrote what I felt like writing at the time, I spoke my heart, and it just happened to be romantic. I wasn’t trying to make romance. I was trying to make a point or relay a thought or to say this thing here made me feel feelings.

But is intentional romance a bad thing? Once again, pondering romance, it is the masters of romance that aspire me:

Cyrano de Bergerac was able to formulate romantic prose down to a method. He would sell saucy poems to keep himself fed while he worked on larger projects. (Am I allowed to call a Frenchman’s poems saucy?) Is his work less genuine than that of a mad poet like Shelley who, instead, takes the ravings of his heart and reconstructs them into prose?

Maybe. If romantic art is being used to assess it’s creator’s passion or virility* then yes, romantic art constructed by cold method serves to be false advertising. a roll of socks stuffed into a man’s pants. Though to be fair, our society is rife with artificial indicators of virility or nubility or what have you. Perfumes, cosmetics, fancy clothes, fancy cars, objects of conspicuous consumption, cosmetic surgery — all these are the technological instruments by which we enhance ourselves to be more attractive to a partner.

If, on the other hand, art is enjoyed for its own thing then contrivance may be even favorable, since it then reveals mastery of technique and can even serve to exemplify the pure characteristics of romance. In this case the intentional construct is a truer product than the anomalies that would be stirred in subconsciously by a mortal psyche.

Both, in the meantime, are useful when looking to experience the creator, not as a romantic partner per se, but just as an exemplar of the human experience, which includes both artifice and natural aspects. I person is a sum of many processes, cognitive, emotional and somatic. And while an artist is not perfectly reflected in his art, within the lines and the cuts, within the folds and the stitches are the artist’s relationship with the medium and the endeavor.

And this in turn speaks to how the artist interacts with lovers.

* Or whatever quantifiable trait in a suitor that is measured by the romanciness in his or her creative efforts. I’m not even sure if romance is universally desirable or is prone to preference.

PS: This piece was created rapidly late at night after I was already tired, borrowing from stray paragraphs that fell from prior entries. I had been working on a completely different piece all day only for it to not fit quite right. I got frustrated with it and realized I need more time to make it work.

Image is Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova. Photographed in 2008 by Carlos Vieira.

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