Love knows no virtue, no merit; it loves and forgives and tolerates everything because it must. We are not guided by reason. -- Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Masoch was the author of the infamous “Venus in Furs” a brilliant treatise on obsessive desperation in love. Masoch was also considered the poet of Masochism after having been awarded the illustrious title in 1886 by the Austrian psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing in his book Psychopathia Sexualis where he named this “sexual proclivity” after Masoch.
The quote struck me not because it speaks to the limitless bounds of love, or because I write about obsessive love such as Masoch did. No, it wasn’t that. It struck me because sometimes being a writer feels like an extremely masochistic endeavour. I’ll make a few changes to the quote and you’ll see what I mean:
The word knows no virtue, no merit; it loves and forgives and tolerates everything because it must. Authors are not guided by reason.
By that I mean the word allows for endless possibilities: poetry and magic, beauty and horror. We, as writers, are not guided by reason: we are guided by instinct. We write what we see and feel to be true, and the worlds we create have boundaries that are at best illusory. The substance, the pathology of a story -- its truth if you will -- is never more than a subtle betrayal hidden within the ambiguity of the word. Illusion. That’s what writing fiction is about, in my opinion. Suffering in the dark to create a believable illusion. How masochistic is that?
Cheryl Anne Gardner