I’ve been thinking about Soren Kierkegaard. I know, I know… why would anyone waste time thinking about Soren Kierkegaard. Anyway, he’s been on my mind, so I’m going to tell you his story. And brace yourself, because it’s possibly the worst love story ever.
Soren’s tale begins with his father, whose wife was dying a tragic, ugly, loooong, drawn-out death. Obviously, he couldn’t care for the kids and house alone, so he hired a maid. Fast forward a few months, the maid is pregnant, the wife is not yet dead, and here comes baby Soren, the newest and most hated member of the family. (I know. SOOOO Jerry Springer, right?)
Our hero passed a miserable childhood and adolescence, constantly wallowing in self-pity and religious turmoil. He never allowed himself to love – partly because he felt this would be cheating on his passionate love of God (groan), but also because he was uber-unattractive and had horrible posture. (Yes, your mother was right. Stand up straight and you won’t die a horrible, soul-crushing death.) The one comfort poor Soren took lay in the knowledge that his pain-riddled thoughts and observations were Pure and Important. In fact, he became so attached to his suffering he once noted that Depression was his most faithful mistress, thus, it was no wonder he returned her affection. (That quote TOTALLY reminds me of my college boyfriend, by the way.)
(We’re still talking about Soren, here.)
Everything changed when our dear hero moved to a new city and encountered a girl (Get out! A girl? Soren likes a girl?!?!). Her name was Regine Olsen, and she captivated him. He’d not spoken to her, however, he found himself wanting to be close to her. So, poor Soren did what any desperate, socially stunted guy would do.
He stalked her.
He talked to her friends.
He figured out what she read, where she went to lunch, what kind of music she listened to, where she bought her undergarments.
Once he had all the deets sorted, it was time to make his move.
Soren: “That’s a lovely pink underfrock you’re wearing. May I buy you a cup of warm asses’ milk?”
Regine (laughing): “Oh, wait, you’re serious?”
Despite the rocky start, Soren had found love. And not just the kind of humdrum, run-of-the-mill love where the best part is when you file joint taxes. No, this was a passionate love. A love that defied reason and made people wonder whether Regine perhaps needed eyeglasses.
A happy ending, you say?
But no, that would be too easy for poor Soren. After a few months of bliss, he began to realize that his writing had lost its spark. No longer could he wallow in the doldrums, crucifying humanity for its many faults and exalting God’s impossible perfection. No longer could he wrestle with the dark plight of humanity. Regrettably, Soren was plagued with an illness more paralyzing than any plague.
He was… HAPPY.
Horribly, miserably, catastrophically happy!
He had to make a choice. Stay with Regine, and live his life in blissful mediocrity. Or leave her, and return to his lonely, anguished excellence and philosophical superiority.
Well, Soren being a man (and thus an idiot) made the only choice he could.
Soren: “I’m leaving you.”
Regine: “Excuse me?”
Soren: “I’m too happy. It’s not working out.”
Regine: “Is this because of the asses’ milk thing?”
Fast forward a few years, and Soren is living in an apartment (read: ManCave), writing book after book about why he left Regine and how true happiness without her is futile, etc, etc, wondering why she hasn’t come running back to him. Eventually, he goes to tell her he made a mistake, only to find that she’s married someone else, one of Soren’s fellow philosophers. (Awk-ward.)
At this point, Soren is so heartbroken, he can barely make it back to his dad’s house, let alone stop for a cup of asses’ milk. His father, of course, reminds him that if he would just stand up straight once in a while, maybe Regine would come back and it would all be okay. Soren shows his father what he thinks of this advice by promptly dying of a broken heart.
The moral of the story is summed up beautifully by some of the last words Soren Kierkegaard wrote in his private journal:
“To live without love is a mistake for which there is no reparation, either in this life or any other.”
So there you have it, my fellow romance writers and readers:
If Soren Kierkegaard were alive today, he would be the biggest romance junkie on the planet. He would be camped out with the Twi-hards, poring over Google, saying prayers for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to rekindle. (Even though Justin is gay and Selena is clearly his beard… Don’t lie, you’ve all thought it.) So if you ever doubt that romance novels have substance, just think of Soren Kierkegaard. Writer. Philosopher. Lover. Because he knows what we all suspect and what the Fab Four sang so long ago: Love is all you need…
…and maybe a cup of warm asses’ milk.
Buy links: Amazon / B-A-M / Barnes & Noble / GoodReads.com / IndieBound / Kobo / Powell’s Books
AUTHOR BIO: Cecily Cornelius-White, Psy.D. makes a habit of avoiding boredom whenever possible. She has enjoyed careers as a hand model, GAP salesgirl, movie projectionist, psychotherapist, yoga instructor, university professor, artist, dance choreographer, eating disorders specialist, psych diagnostician, book reviewer and copy editor. None of which are as much fun as writing novels.
She currently lives in Springfield, MO with two FABULOUS kids, and a schizophrenic yet well-mannered cat. She can swear in Klingon, take down an alien aggressor using only her mind (or a pair of chopsticks), and kill giant spiders without getting schmutz on her shirt. When not singing to herself, she spends time creating new worlds and thinking up ways to make this one better…