Thursday, February 16, 2017

Relationships – They’re Complicated

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t it capture the good, the bad and the ugly in a relationship? Yikes! Hopefully it’s all good, but so often the best words to describe a relationship are, “It’s complicated.”

My husband and I ran errands on Valentine’s Day and watched with amusement as people made mad dashes into Edible Arrangements, CVS, and the grocery store for last minute candy, cards and flowers.  It took two seconds to make up stories about those couples and their relationships. The stories became wilder as the day progressed--funny, tragic, strained, hopeful. The wonderful part—from a writer’s perspective—is how deliciously complicated relationships can be.

“It’s complicated.”

What a wonderful relationship description. Messy, imperfect, human. The term implies a hint of mystery, half a cup of vulnerability, the other half trust. Heartache tossed with belief.

Can you think of any relationship in you life where “it’s complicated” hasn’t applied at some point?

In my life, beyond (my wonderful) husband, there are parents (don’t get me started on my father), children, siblings. Friends who’ve held and broken my trust. Pets who own pieces of my heart. I love them all but the currents, subtext, history and mutual flaws has woven a multi-dimensional tapestry that's still evolving. 

I’m wrapping up a novella this month that features several characters from So About the Money. While the who-dunnit is front and center, the relationships drive the story. The novella is a strange format for me since I’m used to telling wonderfully complicated stories with subplots, but it’s terrific for focusing on one character’s path. (And because I can’t resist, there is a small subplot with Detective JC Dimitrak wrestling with his prickly relationship with former cop, Frank Phalen.) The new story centers on Maddie, though; her relationship with her ex, an elderly gambler and his children… Well, it’s complicated.

What about you? Do you like your relationships stress-free or complicated? Real life vs. stories?

Cathy Perkins is currently working on an as-yet-untitled story in the So About… series.  She started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams.  Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories.  When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure.  Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 

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