The Romance Writer

“The nature of Romanticism may be approached from the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. The importance the Romantics placed on emotion is summed up in the remark of the German painter Casper David Friedrich, "the artist's feeling is his law".  For William Wordsworth, poetry should begin as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings", which the poet then "recollect[s] in tranquility", evoking a new but corresponding emotion the poet can then mold into art.

-- Wikipedia

“Romance is love.  Sometimes love hurts. Romance is a return to our natural state, starry-eyed and innocent, simply loving for the absolute sheer joy to be found in it, the pleasure and the pain, one amplifies the other. Even when love hurts, it is still love. There is no more instinctive state than love.  Love is what we need. Love is who we are. We need to wake up in love."

-- Donald Dean Mace

The Romance Writer

It is raining outside. I have always loved the sound of the rain: the rain falling, hammering, thumping, beating down on all that is and against all that ever will be. It is romantic, the sound of the rain falling as it pounds down on the world, forcing it to its knees, making it supplicate itself, gain a new notion of itself, making it reinvent itself, bringing it to a newness, a freshness, a new superlative way of being. The world can suddenly become brand-spanking new again, but only with a good storm; it is something that only a genuine deluge can deliver.  And against all odds, I am a romantic, an incurable romantic. I am romantic, like the rain. And I will die a romantic. It is a thing inside of me that refuses to go away, romanticism. I have tried to dodge it, to leave it discarded along the way, and others have tried to exorcise it from me, to kill it, but it remains there ignorant of its own fodder and folly.  There is no place for it in the world today, nowhere for it to hide except inside of me, where it lives like a tapeworm in my intestines eating everything that I can feed it, growing fat and stupid and increasingly unhappy, twisting around in my gut, miserable. I would bring to the world the quixotic, the impractical, the starry-eyed wonder of romance but the world is having nothing to do with it. Idealism is not dying, it’s dead. Innocence is not dying, it’s gone. Let it rain, I say. 

Tonight, the rain has kept me indoors and thinking too much. Dangerous thing that, thinking too much.  It separates us from the herd.  People who think too much tend to live and die alone, if they live long at all.  People who think too much are the enemies of society—and society cannot tolerate freethinkers, they threaten it and society does not like to be threatened, society does not like to change, not quickly. Monarchs prefer keeping the blinders on humanity, favor keeping people hoodwinked and fooled, catnapping on their feet; freethinkers tend to tug the blindfolds away, shake people awake, make them start to reason.  Freethinkers force change, freethinkers are dangerous when there are too many of them in one place, freethinkers scare people, annoy them, wake them up, poke them with sharp thoughts—people who think too much are put to stink and rot alone in forgotten cells deep down in forgotten places with other criminal minds.  Our prisons are filled with freethinkers. The smell is frightful but the soil is fertile.

The sound of thunder is rolling and booming along the landscape and cracking loudly in the night as it starts out from someplace far away--out on the plains maybe, a grassroots assault on the urban and the mundane--finding me here in the city: wet, damp, alone, thinking.

I find myself wishing I had a fireplace--something other than the forged heat of modern civilization to fend off the cold, something warmer than the counterfeit heat that electricity produces, something real, something passionate, something like a good bonfire to repel the chill of a beautiful, if unbalanced night. Perhaps I will find an apartment with a fireplace someday when I can afford one brighter and less flawed than this one; for now, I am stuck with a few short candles burning in the dark, their faint halos glowing hazy and distressed, making a herculean effort to cast some small light into this vast, empty, dark, shadowy room.

Outside, rain is splashing against the window as if someone is lobbing heavy buckets of water against it. Thunder applauds, and it is as if somebody is working synchronously at the water man’s side, working a giant and thin, flat segment of metal, snapping it hard to force out the crack of thunderclaps.  In the dimness, the light flashes hastily, blinking, like a third person is standing at a light switch, flicking it on and off.  The whole thing is like a cheap theater production too staged to be for real, or a "B" movie perhaps.  And I am at the center of it, struggling with my lines.

I feel like that in this very moment, as if I am stuck in a movie. The soundtrack to the thing is bleeding painfully by my side, hemorrhaging from a small tape player that is sitting on the table.  Music-to-write-by wings around the room, shadowy and wet, condensing on the walls, concentrating on the ceiling, crawling up the long walls to the ceiling, collecting there, falling, streaming into the pot resting on the floor that I have placed there to collect the water leaking, flooding from the hole in the roof; and like the pot, the blank piece of paper in front of me is waiting, gape-toothed and hungry, waiting to gather all that it can, thirsty with an open mouth, waiting to spill over when it has finally had enough, overfull with itself. 

The movie rolls forward, onward. The reels turn, recording--I am pensive, sad perhaps, but handsome in my sadness, seductive and sexy in my sorrow. A man, if I might dare to call myself that, who is too-good looking, too-sad, too-pensive, too-dead inside to really be alive, but who clings desperately to this thing called life, life as if life is all there is to cling to--a man who has lost faith but is praying to anyone, and at the same time, no one.  I am, after all, a dreamer.  I am the incurable optimist and it is killing me. And yet I refuse to go just yet.  Not now. There is still so much to do.  Still so much to say.  I want a happy ending.

A movie of my life would out of necessity boast a grand, if detached cast of thousands.  It would span decades, span continents, span generations: a mammoth horror-romance-science-fiction-pornographic flick too confused for its own good, like a Jackson Pollock canvas cluttered with complex and abstract colors and configurations, wild, crazy, haphazard, going everywhere, going nowhere, too perplexing to be coherent without taking an unending step forever backwards with the hope of seeing the big picture, the true picture, the real picture which may not, after all, be comprehensible, nothing more than random snapshots that are perpetually falling one on top of another, flickering in front of a light with so much quickness that the light itself is completely forgotten.  And in the end, we are nothing more than that, and yet we are everything.  In the end, we are the movie and we are the director and we are the actor--We are the gods of our own creation.

Let it rain. It is good, the rain. Let it rain.

And when all is said and done, I am sitting here nothing more than the star of my own big box-office bomb--the one that the critics love because of its broodiness. The one that no one goes to see.  I am sitting here, the optimist and the pessimist, the nihilist, the anarchist, the revolutionary with a radical new thought, a return to innocence. Kill the complex and replace it with simplicity, I say. Return to naiveté.  Become the incorruptible. Be like the children in the garden, but this time lop off the head of the snake.

I write and I am written. So be it. I write for you. Let it rain. Let it pour. I will work the bucket and you can work the thunderclap. Let the deluge begin. These are my thoughts.

But I am ruined if you do not read me. We are ruined. I am a derelict if you do not hear me, hear me crying out to you in the dark, spitting down on your parade. We are done if we do not put on the brakes and take a long and deep breath, dance in the rain together like children, let it cleanse us; we are crashing somewhere if we do not stop, never walking away, not the all of us, just that part of us that is not romance, only that part of us that stinks, that is dead and dying and rotting, that is horrid, that is nasty and violent, that is repulsive and dangerous. We are rubbish without romance, we are pointless. We are the demons of our own night terrors. We are the nightmare.

Let it pour.  Let it rain.

I am watching the pot fill up, it is getting full. I am watching the paper burst with notions, concepts, grand designs, get jam-packed and detonate with my thoughts, my feelings, my eccentric philosophies, my outrageous beliefs. I am seeing it teem with characters lining up like little fire ants preparing to march out on an offensive, reduce everything to white bone and ash, to dirt, to burn it all down, eat it all for dinner, the whole stinking lot of it--then wait for it all to start new again, better, different, cleansed, purified.  My ink is the stuff of dreams, hopes, ambitions, imaginings that are magnificent, ambitious, far-reaching, cheerful.

Let it rain.

I write and I am written. So be it.  I write for you. I am the romance writer.

Donald Dean Mace

Donald Dean Mace is an artist, poet, guitarist and freelance writer living and working quietly in Yuma, Arizona.  He has travelled the world extensively (Europe, Africa and Asia) and in the 1980’s and 1990’s lived and worked in Germany for a total of 10 years. He has retired twice, once from the US Army and once from US federal service, both careers were in law enforcement.  He is currently working on a novel.  He has been published by Ariel Chart, the Yuma Daily Sun, the Arizona Western College Literary Magazine, his poetry was featured in a public service broadcast, and he was a guest on Mark Antony Rossi’s podcast, Strength to be Human.

This essay will be used for the basis on a podcast in the coming weeks.



  1. Looking forward to hearing the podcast on this subject matter. If you can keep it more classic and less Tiger King it should be a feather in your cap.

  2. Prefer erotica than intellectual comment on idealism. Take it off or just take off.

  3. A much needed discussion in all areas of our life. We do not need HBO. Valiant effort.

  4. Article is not served well with misleading title. Change.

  5. Leave title. Drop anonymous idiots and speak straight.

  6. It's on point and well written. Eager to hear you expound on the podcast.

  7. A shout out to love and be loved, yet bitterly mocking the concept.

  8. Unsure of this commentary that suggests something is wrong with a discussion of romanticism versus the filth often peddled as much in the media, books and Hollywood.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. Romanticism is a look beyond the physical aspects of love. Romanticism appeals to those looking for a more holistic definition of love. Love that appeals to all senses, that is subtle or in your face. The tenderness of a small child taking your hand or the tragedy of lost love. I believe Mr Mace has experienced all of these or he could not write about this topic with such insight. I feel like he has bared his soul.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This- Pure Awesomeness
    “Romance is love. Sometimes love hurts. Romance is a return to our natural state, starry-eyed and innocent, simply loving for the absolute sheer joy to be found in it, the pleasure and the pain, one amplifies the other. Even when love hurts, it is still love. There is no more instinctive state than love. Love is what we need. Love is who we are. We need to wake up in love."

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