Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love

I've been puzzling over the best way to describe the theme of my book. Two people are reading my draft and one said it would be helpful if while reading, she knew what it is I'm trying to say. To know what bigger picture I'm trying to portray. Initially I said it was a fish-out-of-water tale with an illegal immigration twist but, as I hear happens quite often, the story has taken on a life of its own. I'm discovering that it's really about Ibis and me, and the journeys we take together.

Without being too melodramatic, it's about love. Not romance-novel love, with erotica on every other page (goodness, no) but about two people who find each other and the extremes they go to for their relationship. Which brings me to the title of this post. It's the theme of one of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge, and without realizing it I've incorporated those ideas into my story.

Early in the movie Christian's friends ask him to write the play that becomes the basis for the movie, and they want to make sure he's the right man for the job.

"Do you believe in love?" they ask.

"Love? Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many splendid thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love."

I know it's cheesy but there's some Truth in that - hence the fourth word in the title.

Recently my motives for moving to Mexico, and Ibis' intentions for being with me, were called into question. I was told I'd be better off looking at this as my first marriage and returning to the States to pick up my old life. I was told my husband will never change and does not value me.

It's clear to me this person does not know me, or Ibis, very well. To presume that an anonymous email would persuade me to give up on our life together, to abandon my husband, is ridiculous. I'm sure many people look at my situation and wouldn't trade places with me if their lives depended on it. That's okay, because I know plenty of people with whom I wouldn't trade lives either. I chose Ibis and whatever comes along with him.

Honesty has always been very important to me. That's not to say I don't tell the occasional white lie, but on issues that matter I try to speak the truth. My relationship with Ibis is based on that. Writing this book has made that clearer to me - as I've reflected on our years together and tried to explain it in writing, truth and love are high on the list of why we're together. (There's also salsa dancing and a love of red wine, but it can't be all fluffy bunnies.)

For someone to not know that about me, to think that I've never stopped to evaluate my relationship and the choices I've made, places their opinion very low in my eyes. I'm angry that someone would choose this route to tell me something supposedly for my own good, I'm angry they said these things about us without knowing who we really are as people, and I'm angry that this email made me suspicious of my friends. I have faith that those close to me would have the courage to say something to me directly, so all I can determine is that this person has an ulterior motive.

In terms of my book, this email helped me solidify my theme. Truth and Love are the reasons I'm here. If I didn't love my husband and the possibilities for our future together, I never would have gotten married or packed up our apartment and driven to Mexico.

Freedom as a theme is so obvious I almost don't feel I need to explain it. The movie meant it in terms of the Children of the Revolution in 1899 Paris, but for us, it's about the freedom to go where we want without fear of our lives being ripped apart. If that means spending a few years in Mexico, so be it.

As for Beauty, I think my husband is beautiful, so there you go.


Virginia Lee said...

Love and honesty. That will sustain you, Melanie. And a willingness, of course, to work to sustain those things. Humans are contrary animals, so we have to work at them.

Cowards abound in the cyber world and real world. I agree that whoever sent you that anonymous email did so with ill intent. You might be able to figure out if it's someone you know by checking the IP # in all the detailed information in your email. That's if you want to. Since you've addressed the person in your blog, they'll get the message.

Meanwhile, as a HUGE fan of Moulin Rouge, I love that you quoted it. That soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time.

*Hugs* to you and your great love, hon. I believe.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Virginia. I do want to track this person down and I already have a couple people helping me 'analyze' the copy. Little did they know they were messing with a bunch of writers who do nothing but search for deeper meaning in words. :)

Jenna said...

Well said...and now I want to see Moulin Rouge.

Mary B said...

Wow! I can't imagine someone emailing you to tell you to leave your husband and abandon your marriage. Even worse is the notion of doing this anonymously.

Hugs to you for standing up for yourself.

~Soccer Mom

Melanie Avila said...

Jenna, do you want to borrow my copy? Just come visit!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Mary. I received it two days ago but it took awhile to digest. And of course now the catch-phrase at home is "You don't value me."


Nadine said...

How sad that people are out there that just want to criticize.

Don't let them get to you and keep writing that book. It's going to be great!

And don't worry, the love you have for your husband definitely comes through in your blogs.

Turkey said...

Oh great... now I have "Love lift us up where we belong." running through my head! And I am really bad at remembering lyrics, so it is more like.. "love lift us up where we belong, as the eagle fly blah blah mountain side."
Thanks a lot!

BTW - I look at this experience as one of the many adventures the two of you will make together. You two are making memories. :)

Kate Boddie said...

The fact that the email was sent anonymously should say it all. In all honesty, if I were you I wouldn't even bother with it and wouldn't put forth the effort to trace it. If it is someone you know, doyou really want to know who sent it? If it's someone that's a complete stranger, does it matter what their words say? A true friend wouldn't say something like that and the opinions of strangers that don't have the bobbles to sign their name to an email shouldn't be worth a sneeze. As if they think what they say matters in a relationship that's sustained years, right? Obviously this person needs a hobby and focus more on their own lives instead of proffering "advice" to others.

Melanie Avila said...

You all are making me feel more sane, thank you. I know I shouldn't give this person the time of day but it's just so... insulting.

Dawn said...

Beautiful post, Melanie, and I'm so sorry someone would say those things to you.

But I believe everything happens for a reason, and a beautiful blog post (and, I'm guessing, an even deeper appreciation for your marriage, which you were then able to share with all of us and make us feel all warm and fuzzy) came out of the experience.


delightful asian guy said...

i didn't think i sent that email anonymously...i thought the tag line would make it obvious. and if you want help valuing someone, i've learned some great valuation formulas. most of them are supposed to be used with options (like stock options and other financial derivatives), a couple for capital expenditures, and i even got a few for happiness. leave it to me to be both a dork and humorous about such an incident, right? and i figure if my idea wasn't getting into your book, now it can be forever immortalized in your blog :) happy blogging and how's this for my first comment?

Melanie Avila said...

Oh my god, you kill me. I'll be nice and not out you but yes, I like your first post. :)

Janna said...

"I'm discovering that it's really about Ibis and me, and the journeys we take together."

I think that's wonderful!

Kristine said...

I still can't believe you're married! And I was there, sheesh!

Melanie Avila said...