Sean Williams is undoubtedly one of Australian spec fic’s most succesful exports, having made the transition from national to international success. Whether it is creating his own worlds, successfully collaborating with other writers or playing in existing universes, he has consistently shown his incredible talent. To go along with that, he has the reputation of being the nicest guy in Aussie spec fic, and I have to say that my experience of him bears this out.
In today’s Wednesday Writer we get a look at the passion that burns beneath that mild mannered exterior, and it may fog up your monitor!
This Literary Affair: A Love Letter
For my true love, on the occasion of our anniversary:
What a joyous thing it is to love, and how wondrous to have loved so long.
When I look back at myself as I was at the beginning–inasmuch as that is possible; haven’t we both changed in so many ways?–I wonder if I would alter a single thing, were I to know what lay ahead. Understand me when I say this: my passion would have been undimmed, as it is undimmed now. I would never have turned my back on you, for doing so I knew even then was not a possibility I could seriously entertain. But perhaps I would have been more circumspect, more protective of my thin skin, more wary of the pitfalls ahead. All lovers can be cruel. To give oneself utterly is to snatch at a spinning sword, and then to juggle with it.
It seems both amusing and sad to me in retrospect how long we danced around each other. Where would we be now had I not nursed my crush for so many years? I was little more than a child then, I admit. I could but dream of you, for you seemed to me a distant and unattainable thing, a mountain so high that even to think of the summit was to lose my breath. Still, I yearned to be swept away by you. And you? I do not know that you even noticed me. In that lack of regard I found fuel for all my uncertainties. On that bonfire I cast all the letters I wrote you, telling you of the future we might share.
How immature, and how poignant–to move beyond terror and self-doubt one must first abandon one’s self, and how hard that is when there are alternatives on all sides. Shallow, seductive things beat their butterfly wings against the lashes of every would-be lover, but I soon lost my appetite for them. I grew weary of disappointment when their promises turned to ashes. Only one could satisfy me, I knew–the one that I feared the most, for failure would destroy me. Without you, I knew even then, I would be as nothing. In that desperation–a word hardly strong enough to convey the sense of destiny passing me by–I found strength. And so I made my first, tentative approaches, feeble, guarded things at the start, growing more confident when my failures did not somehow mean my death, until you at last turned your eyes upon me, and our love affair truly began.
What an affair it was! Possession is no antidote to obsession: you consumed me, and I consumed you in return. Inseparable, we tangled together in an existence that felt as correct as I had always imagined, yet at the same time delicious depraved in its carnality. We could stop at any moment–so at least I told myself–but we never once did. The doubting glances of others deterred me not. You only mattered. You only, and the glorious life we would have together. Our dreams were boundless, not tempered in any way by reality. Only the nature of love itself could provide a much needed check.
Time changes all things, even passion. Familiarity, maturity, security–these daggers have stilled many a beating heart. And hot blood must be stilled, for passion is not enough. One cannot feast forever. Sooner or later one must leave the table and pay the servants.
I cannot lie and say, therefore, that our time has been entirely without blemish. Disillusionment–the banishing of dreams, by realizing those dreams or by realizing that they will remain eternally unachievable–pulls the chariot of heartbreak, and hatred closely follows. There were moments–yes, I will confess this–when it seemed that I had made entirely the wrong choice, and that turning my back to you might be better for us both. I tell myself in these darkest hours that one can only try so hard to secure your affections. One can only sacrifice so much. Each time that treacherous voice whispered: if I had anything left to sacrifice, then that meant I had never given myself wholly to you, and that if I hadn’t given myself wholly to you by now, then I never would. Better for us both to abandon the pretence and return to the butterflies. I would become as them, frivolous and weightless, my footsteps as soft as snowflakes. Leaving not the slightest mark. I would keep my dreams to myself, and in them alone, and the memories of our brief union, perhaps I would find some bitter succor.
Such is the reasoning of a fool, and I recognized the source of that foolishness for what it was: fear, again, of taking responsibility for what I had myself created, the bad as well as the good. Fear of change. Fear of growth. I had reached out to you, and in time you reached back, but our love-making did not end there. We have done so much more than touch hands. We have danced and we have fought like tigers. We have lived.
And now twenty-three years have passed, and I see no end to our dancing and fighting. Our dreams will pass and be renewed like the tide, tugged by the gravity of a radiant moon. You will be hard sometimes, seemingly without heart at all, although I know that not to be true, and I will be lazy, or take you for granted, or forget that you must be nurture d; you will dismiss my efforts one day only to shower me with affection the next; I will dream of a butterfly life when I am weighted by the anchor of your demands, but then I will look down and see that the anchor is made of gold, and that I was the one who fastened it.
In my heart and every waking moment of my life, I am yours, until words fail me.
Sean Williams is the award-winning, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of over thirty-five novels, eighty short stories, and the odd odd poem. He writes science fiction, fantasy and horror for adults, young adults and children, and enjoys the occasional franchise, too, such as Star Wars and Doctor Who. His latest book is Troubletwisters: The Monster, co-written with Garth Nix.