Monday, 17 October 2016

For the Love of Ghost… by F.E. Feeley Jr.

I was talking to F.E. Feeley Jr. about romance. His perception of romance is very different from mine; deeper, more profound than mine. I'm really pleased he wrote this post about his feelings towards romance, and the genre as a whole.


Romance is a noble genre. Because Romance is a noble virtue. It’s mundane in the sense that most people feel romantic feelings toward an individuals or more over a lifetime. Most people have experienced passionate feelings toward another human being. It’s normal, it’s healthy, it’s everywhere….and yet…

The songs dedicated to love are as numerable as the sands on a beach. The poetry dedicated to love, the stars in the sky.

It’s sort of a funny thing, too. That people would make fun of it. Especially those on the ‘outside’, and yet if they’re lucky enough they’ve experienced it.

I’ve sought love, in my life, the way some people seek God. I find myself, often, obsessing over it. What is it? What does love mean? Why do we feel these things? How does it affect us?

And the reason for this obsession, is because I never knew love.

You may ask yourself, how can that be? How was it possible that he never knew love?

Well, MY TRUTH, is that I am a torture survivor.

I had a fundamentalistically religious father and a mentally ill mother.

And so I was sent out into the world emotionally emaciated. Because of those circumstances, I didn’t know what love was and I also didn’t know what love wasn’t. Does that make sense?

For instance, the first time I had sex with a man – because we’d had sex, meant he loved me, right? The first time I was in a relationship -I thought because he cheated on me, it was my fault. That I wasn’t doing something right and that kept me with him for three years. And when my parents were nice to me, that made up for all the times that they weren’t and I should put up with whatever they dished out. Because, you know, Christmas was always good. Marriage was for ‘those people’ because ‘they were normal’. You see my flaws in logic here?

I was, for the most part early on in my life, standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst.

Because I had love in me all along. And once I started to love me, all the rest of that mess, had to go. And it wasn’t easy leavin’ either. I promise. It kicked and screamed and accused me of everything it could because once you tell an abuser you’ve had enough of their shit. They get mad.

But I digress.

I write romance because I love it. But I mix it with the paranormal, because I’m haunted. I’ve written and published three full length works about love and ghosts. LOL. Maybe I had better clarify that otherwise I’ll send someone off looking for ghostly erotica.

I write novels about hauntings and people falling in love in the midst of it.

Because it’s two worlds I understand. And because Romance, love, is a little paranormal. It’s a little out of the margins. It makes you do the crazy. It makes you feel like if you could just see that person again that hot white lead in your chest that’s burning you through would ease up. That that ‘elevator going down too fast’ feeling in your gut when you see them and the fact that your throat clenches, your tongue cleaving to the roof of your mouth when they speak to you making you look like the biggest fool in the world – is worth it. And normal. HA!

Love is paranormal. And I think that’s why people don’t like it. Genre snobs, I mean. Because love like the idea of ghosts – makes us vulnerable to outside influences and everyone wants to believe that they are strong. An island unto themselves. A fortress buttressed against the wiles of the world.

What they are….is full of shit.

Everyone needs love in some form or another. It’s what makes us human. That need. That desire. And it may not be erotic love you seek, that would dismiss our asexual brothers and sisters out there – but we all seek to wrap ourselves up in some form of love.

In that past, I’ve been critical of the genre. Mostly because of tropes. Tropes are rules. Rules are like Canon. Canon says it must be this and no other otherwise you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven because The Bible clearly states….and that’s how this genre stagnates itself and becomes intellectually incestuous. The pond stagnates. And that, we should avoid like the plague. Because it’s that, that allows people to say stupid shit. (I.E Anal sex is the gay version of ‘going all the way’, or to post a horrendously offensive Kinsey Scale and say yup, that’s a-ok.) Because while sociology, sexuality, anthropology, history, basic human decency, and sometimes anatomy and physiology say “Stop in the name of love, this is wrong”, Romance the genre, says it’s right.

But, outside of that (other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play), this genre has better helped me understand myself. It’s cathartic to write down your thoughts, even in fictitious writing, and discover what you think and feel about certain things. Things you’ve carried with you all your life. Things you could repeat at the drop of a hat. But there’s something about it coming out on paper (or PC/MAC word processor app) that allows you to place a value judgement on that thing. And it allows you to accept what you see to be true and reject what isn’t.

And I want to write about my life, now, especially now, that I’ve found love. And as I bask in it, I want to talk about it. And revel in it. And submerge myself in it and…. you get the idea. This once starving man is eating his belly full of love that comes from an amazing husband. A loving, doting, calm and sexy man. Who loves me. He loves me. Weird.

I recently wrote a Halloween short story called Between Us. It’s paranormal Romance about two men who love each other. One is bisexual and the other sees dead people but neither know that secret about each other. I wanted to write it because it tackles, although briefly, bisexuality which is so often dismissed in the ‘Gay for you’ trope. And I liked the pairing with a man who is gay, who loves Mr. Man back, but has a secret he’s too scared to share because he’s afraid that that love would disappear as a result of him ‘coming out’ so to speak.

And just like everything else I’ve written. I’m in there somewhere working through my own shit. Figuring out this heart of mine. Discovering my own humanity. Understanding where my passion for love comes from. Putting distance between me then and me now. Learning how to connect to the world through love and the magical power of writing books, making art, and connecting with people I’ve never met. For after all, homo sum humani nihil a me alienum puto – and therein lies my salvation.

It was with me all along as it is with you.

F.E. Feeley Jr. has just released a short for Halloween which I had the pleasure of reading.

Between Us is now available.

When Jeremy, a tall, hunky, ladies man begins to explore his bisexual attractions, he realizes he loves his best friend and college roommate Roger.
Roger secretly loves Jeremy back but is holding on to a secret of his own. A terrible one.
On Halloween night both men are invited to a party where the truth of each other will be revealed in a horrific way. Will they survive a night of terror? Or will it rip them apart forever? 

Review: 4/5 There are two strands to this story. One is the secrets Jeremy and Roger keep from each other and the other is the paranormal element. However both are interlinked in this short story, with a touch of horror that F.E. Feeley Jr. excels at. I'm not going to reveal Roger's secret, because, hey, spoilers, sweetie, but I am always pleased to see more bisexual characters in the M/M Romance genre, and the uncertainty that comes with acknowledging this, from both men. Well worth reading in the run up to Halloween.

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