“I can’t relate to her.”

Not for the first time, a potential reader said I was too “cold” in Exposed. She “couldn’t relate to the character.”

This always surprises me. From the inside, I am anything but “cold.”  There is laughter, there are tears, there is fear. I am passionate about many things, including passion itself. So why this disconnect?

My response is usually “Jessica’s not cold. She’s French.” While many in the U.S. now use that as an insult, what I mean is that there is a certain acceptance of circumstances in the French mindset: “C’est la vie,” or “Such is life.” This doesn’t promote a lot of whining.

The key metaphor in Exposed is  Tout passé, tout cassé, tout lassé.” Everything passes, everything breaks, everything wears out. Nothing is forever. When brought to focus on a “tragedy” in our daily lives, is this attitude “cold?” Is it “cold” to present it to someone who is clinging to something broken?

Empathy is important, but sympathy may not always be the best response. I admit that the Gallic shrug can seem indifferent if not arrogant. But it can also be perceived as an acknowledgement that “nothing lasts forever,” including relationships, cars, grandmothers, or preconceptions. Those who believe otherwise are living in a world of dreams, what-ifs, make-believe.

Admittedly, I leaned hard on this point of view in Exposed to make it different, to give it character. This is also my point of view and is how I was raised. If this seems “cold” to some readers, I’ll admit there’s a twinge of disappointment that my central message was lost. But, what can I do?

C’est la vie.

5 thoughts on ““I can’t relate to her.”

  1. joyce

    Jessica…I started a comment and it went into the either….lol Did you get a partial one and if so I’d like to finish it………I was on a roll……lol If you never got it I’ll start it over…….. I hate when that happens.

    Later……..Joyce

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  2. Joyce

    If i had to guess I would say that the person who wrote in and said that they found your point of view “cold” was probably young in her actual age or maturity. To those of this who have seen many years come and go you learn a sort of acceptance of things you can’t change. What good does it do to wring your hands and moan over the actions of others you can’t change or control. Better to understand what can be done about the situation and right it according to your own terms. I think the long history of France has caused it’s people to step back and access their situation and act. What good is hysteria when your relatives are getting their heads loped off or when the Nazi’s are marching in the streets? Better to take a step back from the emotions of the moment and stay calm, Then act from a less emotional mind set. I’m of French decent myself, and my Grandmother always called it the French shopkeepers mentality. Better to be logical, bottom line and practicable. How else do you think the men and women of earlier times married for the family lines and money and still find love where they would? Life happens…………Change what you can…….Live with what you can’t …….but do it on your terms. Later…..Joyce

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  3. Joyce

    Heres a poem by Dorothy Parker you might like..

    Travel, trouble, music…………. a kiss a frock, a rhyme.
    I never said they feed my heart, but still they pass my time.

    She was way ahead of women lib………….

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  4. Joyce

    CHOICES: Years ago someone gave me a book called Between Parent and Child by Dr. Hiam Ginnott. I read it and immediately realized I could apply it to my husband. Because after all what are men but little boys on the inside. It was a wonderful book about…..’ choices”. We all get to make them. The take away from this book is that when you are dealing with children, husbands, friends etc……..give them choices, just make sure that any of the choices you give is something you can live with. Then you always win….lol Like……”Honey….Do you want to go to away this week end or would you rather wait and go next? Either way I’m going somewhere…….. I Love choices, as long as they’re mine. What interests me in the erotica that we read and enjoy………. Is how much of the choice is really what we want? It seems that women by nature, at least in these books want to give up control in exchange for orgasms. What choice is there when pleasure drives the outcome? I think thats why I prefer your female leads. They are really choosing the action they want…..not just letting some guy hit them till they both get off!

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