The Art of Complaining

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Engineering is getting tougher (which will likely be a post unto itself), and I’ve been mapping out plot threads for the final book in the Merman series. I’m happy to report all the major storylines are now in place; it’s just a matter of weaving them together with lots of fun, adventurous details in between. Exciting times to be writing!

In the midst of everything, I’ve been on the hunt for love stories, or rather “love feelings” for the third book. After ten years with Mr. Omar and a lot of grandmotherly influences, I tend to lean more toward laughter and practical things than the deep, feel-it-in-your-gut, serious kind of love found in…well…stories (my anniversary-inspired, orange peel flamethrower is pretty good proof of that) .

The poetry I used to read when I took myself seriously enough to well up those sorts of deep feelings on cue is still sitting on the other side of the ocean with the rest of my library (oh, how I miss you). If I tried hard enough, I could probably write that sort of passion if I thought about certain foods I miss even more than my library (oh, how I really, really miss you), but as I like things to be authentic, I’ve still been on the prowl.

As my theological background was a big inspiration for The Merman Mark to begin with (and the Bible also happens to be a book very readily available), I’ve been thumbing through the OT pages, looking for love inspo. And, yes, I know for many people, there is a lot to find with regard to the love department. For me, at this moment, in this time in my life, I wasn’t getting very far. Yes, there’s Ruth, Rachel, Esther and the Song of Songs; if you include the Greek texts there’s also Tobit and probably some others that now escape me, but overall, not much was evoking those serious, romantic feelings of love.

Eventually I became so frustrated, I did the same thing I learned to do this semester. When a circuit’s not working, you flippin’ pull the wires together until you make it so. So, I opened the book, took a page of the text, and decided, very matter-of-factly, that I was going to pull a love story from the pages. What surprised me, more than anything, was that I actually got one.

Job 6-7, with selected deletions, turned into a beautiful love poem, really quite easily. I note this mostly because the chapters are originally a lament; in the text, Job complains of horrible miseries and endless suffering. Three chapters previously he curses the day he was born; he laments afflictions all brought on because the accuser told God Job only loved him because he was prosperous, and well, apparently it was time to see if that were true.

I guess it would make sense, then, that a love poem could be pulled out of such verses given the context, but even so, it did bring up a very good life point as well. Those moments of complaint: how many of them are interwoven with love stories? When the laughter is gone and even practical things don’t really matter, when one has every right to be upset (as Job did), can one, does one, still say ‘I love you’ in those moments? It’s a tall order to ask, but is also perhaps a very good place to look, when looking for feelings of love.