At Inverted-A Press, we are gearing up, slowly but surely, for the publication of John Wheatcroft’s The Portrait of a Lover. The current projected release date is in December of this year. The interior typesetting is done, but we are still tinkering with the cover.
Immersed as I have been with reading and re-reading The Portrait of a Lover, I have been unusually receptive to messages that touch on the subject matter of the book. So the other day, when I spotted this motto on Facebook, it gave me reason to pause: “Before you make a place in your heart for someone, make sure he is going to stay.” I can’t swear that those are the exact words, because these Facebook platitudes drift by so fast and are soon replaced by something else. One moment it is self-empowerment, and the next it is something about puppy mills. But it was something like this.
The implication is that unless you are pretty sure your love is going to be reciprocated, you shouldn’t bother to love. And perhaps not just momentary reciprocation is required. Perhaps it’s an actual commitment.
This is the social view of love: that it isn’t love, unless there is a relationship. It is the conventional view sanctioned by society: that love is a two-sided contract, which, until it is signed and sealed, can be rescinded.
But for some of us, love is not social. It is not a contract. And it cannot be taken back. Love is an emotion, which once it has us in its grip, never releases. Or if it does release us, it can be after decades of unremitting pleasure and pain. Love is torture. Love is elation. And we suffer through it all alone.
The limerent state, for this kind of love is nothing less than limerence, is not a universal condition. Not everyone falls prey to it. Not everyone can understand that the place in our heart is usurped against our will, and without our consent, and that the transaction is not negotiable.
The Portrait of a Lover by John Wheatcroft is the story of one such love. Never consummated, and hardly acknowledged by its object, it is a love that lasts a lifetime.
Look for The Portrait of a Lover on Amazon this December.
© 2o11 Aya Katz
Other Books by John Wheatcroft