Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When I Grow Up...

... I want to be a romance novelist.

I didn't realize until last Saturday night at the Rita and Golden Heart awards ceremony that for the last twenty-two years I've harbored this deep, dark desire to be...

Joan Wilder.

What's it gonna be, Angelina?

It was Grogan: the filthiest, dirtiest,
dumbest excuse for a man west of
the Missouri River.

You can die two ways: quick like the tongue of a snake,
or slower than the molasses in January.

But it was October.

I'll kill you, goddammit, if it's
the Fourth of July! Where is it? Uhh. Get
over there!

I told him to
get out, now that he had what he came for.

Not quite. Take 'em off. Do
it! Come on!

[Angelina kills Grogan by throwing a concealed knife]

That was the end of Grogan... the man who killed my father, raped and
murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my Bible!

Cue the music from "How the West Was Won"

And thus begins the tale of plain-jane Joan Wilder, award-winning romance novelist who lives in New York City with her cat, Romeo, and lives vicariously through her novels, which feature a hero named...


When Joan's sister is kidnapped by a drug lord looking for a treasure map, Joan must garner every ounce of courage and fly to South America to deliver the map, which her brother-in-law had mailed to her. She's directed to the wrong bus, endures a shoot-out and must negotiate safe passage to the proper city with the very man she'd imagined to be her hero -- Jack T. Colton.

Who the hell are you?

Well, I'm a romance novelist.

You're what? What are you doing here?

I told you, my sister's life depends on me.

Ah, don't give me that. I thought you were donating a kidney or something.

Of course there's the treasure map, which Jack secretly discovers.

And after a few rounds of escaping from the bad guys, Joan begins her transformation from shy, cringing novelist to strong and assured adventuress.

Naturally sparks fly between her and Jack.

What woman wouldn't fall in love while in his arms?

But there's still the map and the treasure it leads to. What's a man to do? After all, the "T" in his name stands for Trustworthy.

More chases, more adventures, Jack leaves her to pursue the treasure and soon Joan is left to deal with the enemy who asks her...

How will you die, Joan Wilder? Slow, like... a snail? Or fast, like a shooting star?

She doesn't die. Instead she returns home and turns the adventure into a romance novel that has even her editor weeping. But Joan has turned from a hopeless romantic to a hopeful one and...

... they lived happily ever after.

Isn't that just the most romantic movie? It was a keeper on my Tivo until my Tivo box died and now I'm just waiting for it to come on again. This time I'll be able to transfer it to DVD and really keep it. And I can relive the adventure (and quote the dialogue) over and over in my own quest to be Joan Wilder.

And why do I want to be Joan Wilder? Certainly not to slog through a rainy jungle, dodging bullets and avoiding crocodiles. Jack T. Colton wouldn't be such a bad traveling partner, but I think CZ-J might object to my carrying on with her beloved.

I want to be Joan Wilder so I can give others a chance to be a hopeful romantic. Roaring 20's novelist Elinor Glynn wrote, "Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of every day life into a golden haze." I wanna make the world so hazy you can't see your hand in front of your face. Of course that takes dedication, persistance and talent, and I'm a little short of all three. I keep hoping the serious case of "conference crash" that I'm experiencing will wear off soon and motivation will strike like a bolt of lightning. I have my fingers crossed.

So what's your favorite romantic movie? Can you quote dialogue from it? Does it touch you in a magical way? Tell us about it.


Smarty Pants said...

Although this betrays my age, I have to tell this story. I love this movie. When I was about 10, it came on tv and I was diligently trying to tape it so I can watch it a million times. Lo and behold there was some big hullbaloo that they cut into the movie for a news announcement and ruined the whole thing. Later that night as I complained to my mother, I told her they'd interrupted MY movie to talk about some dumb wall coming down.

"The BERLIN Wall?" she asked.

"Yeah. Like that's more important than my movie!"

Again, note I was 10 and had no idea the significance of said wall. It was only later that I forgave CBS for ruining my movie. Now I can just pick it up on DVD without interruption.

Oh, and my favorite romance movie - that's hard. Maybe "While You Were Sleeping" or "You've Got Mail" or "Sleepless in Seattle." I can quote any of them verbatum.

"I knew the first moment I touched her. I was taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was magic. Only like no magic I had ever known." Cue tears.


Problem Child said...

Keeping the Faith with Ben Stiller, Edward Norton, and Jenna Elfman.

"God was showing off when he made you" Awwww...

I also love Emma and The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Oh, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Ah, hell, I love too many...

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Yes, yes, yes, Romancing the Stone. Love it. My other favorites are Ladyhawke, Last of the Mohicans, Shakespeare in Love, and Phantom of the Opera. There are others, but those come to mind first.

When I quote, however, it's usually Ghostbusters or Jaws. "Important safety tip, Egon," and "We're going to need a bigger boat" come to mind.


Smarty Pants said...

What did you do, Ray?


Jill James said...

I love Sleepless in Seattle. That movie is so damn romantic. I'm reading the quote in the comments and getting teary-eyed. What is it about that movie that does that? Is it that this is a clearly masculine man making the comment? I need to bottle what I feel during that movie and get
it on the page.