The Truth About Love – Author’s Introduction

The Truth About Love – A Novel About Finding Your (More Than) One.

By Liam Scheff

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Truth About Love Cover11 FINAL copySmallAuthor’s Introduction

I started to write this as a self-help book; an investigative syncretic amalgam of love, sex, peak oil and tribalism 2.0, about reversing the spell of church and fake monogamy, this ten thousand years of cultural brainwashing that made us all servants to whatever we think we’re praying to and paying taxes for. But every time I got somewhere, every time I got close, even nailing it all down in a good draft, all the chapters named, the format decided, the questions asked and the answers sketched in charcoal on the canvas…

I just couldn’t quite pull the bowstring hard enough to make the arrow fly. Something was in the way. Something in me; something that needed to be set free. In researching tribes, sex, culture and life worldwide as it was and is lived, I’d rocked my memory open.

The Maasai’s hypocritical, patriarchal, herding-culture mores brought to mind what I’d seen growing up in landlocked Pennsylvania, among the suburban descendants of Protestantism. The love-trading of the Inuits reminded me of what I felt and experienced when I’d grown close to couples in my own life. The free-wheeling Trobrianders showed me what I thought and felt, at summer camp, above all, when the grown-up world yielded to late adolescent delight; and what, in my 30s, some of us achieved, just by being ourselves.

I realized that I had come to this place, this understanding, not through reading, not through academic texts or university lectures, but through my own experience. The lesson was something I’d always known but had been reluctant to admit (without academic prodding): We’re hardly monogamous.

Despite the marriage vows, wedding planners, broken hearts, and the endless sappy movies that end, after twenty near disasters, at the altar; monogamous is not what we really are, deep down. It is just our inherited Victorian game of “playing house.” And we rebel against it at every turn. We’re clever and inventive in our playful interpretations of the vows of “fidelity,” and we all teach ourselves to skirt the rules in our own way.

Some people bury their non-monogamy in hobbies, others in explosive neurotic displays around the house – for decades on end – even for lifetimes.

After social hours, men plunge their unmet needs into drinking and talking about sports, computers, markets and sales, or closer to the need, into paying to watch pussy and tits shimmer and shake.

Women bury their unsatisfied libidos in gossip rags and soft-porn novels, in “Sex and the City,” “50 Shades of Grey,” and whatever is on the “O” book club list this month. And there’s always the art form known as bitching (for women) and griping (for men – but it’s the same thing). We’re always devolving into gossip clutches and shared misery, sublimated into video games, movies, television serials, and fake political partisan bullshit.

In fact, this sublimation of our sexual unhappiness into useless wheel spinning seems to define the borders of our lives. It, and not ‘truth, justice and liberty,” is the actual American way.

But it is nonsense, and we know it; the endless suppression of lust and love, of desire and curiosity into social media, gossip, fad diets and dubious social causes keeps us on the hamster wheel of perpetual misery. It bores us and taxes us. And we yearn. We yearn through the television; but we feel it in our chests, our throats, our hips and genitals.

We are, just underneath the veneer of iPhone-land, an ancient species. A tribal species, a wild, playful, loving thing. But for five or six decades, since the great victory of petroleum we call “World War 2,” we’ve pressed this happy-go-lucky spirit animal that we are into plasterboard and linoleum cages, in sealed air-conditioned, fluorescent rooms; night skies blotted out by fluorescent noise, dinners ruined on electric stoves that slowly make us lose our taste for food.

We sleep in strange isolation from the world; we fear weather, we’re perplexed by being outdoors for too long. We don’t know how or where to find food, let alone how to grow it. We’ve been in our boxes for far too long. And we’ve grown deeply neurotic; we’ve become in-grown, like toes pressed against leather for too long.

But the yearning drives us to the windows. We reach out and take a chance to open one, just a little. We want to reconnect with the blood of life, wet and warm; to touch the memory of it all. We remember it somewhere inside. The freedom of the final bell of the school day; the joy that made your chest leap and hurled your body into motion towards the door, towards the outside, where the very smell of fields of grass was heaven and earth; the surge of confusion and sticky revelation of the first tongue that ever touched yours, the two of you pressed together against winter, breath commingling and saliva threatening to freeze if you resisted meshing your heat – so why resist?

With dew in her eyes, with only the flutter of her eyelashes, she told you a story of eternity. The sky cracked open, and all the limits you thought were important exploded as a new way of being surged through you and blew your head up to the stars, and you were everywhere, you two…forever, and ever it would be. Till the day it was no more. Till the next kiss that made you feel superhuman.

These moments; they tell us what we are.

We used to stare at the sky; we used to eat plants that made us hear the stars sing their perfect million-toned harmonies. If you understand what the world really is: this experience of light and dark, hot and wet sex magic, then you know that nothing anywhere is what we think it is. That we’re not the species we imagine we are. That everything we’ve done is a built-up illusion, and there’s nothing for it to do but to come crashing down.

But as it does, as it all goes away, what is better than to stand on rooftops, stand close to friends and hear their words make the air vibrate with electricity; to feel the magic of the world, in which we only get a moment, to really be. To love. To inhabit this body and this space.

What’s left but to do all the things you really want to do, and regret a few of them. But to do them. Twice. At least.

And that’s what this book is about. Standing on rooftops, loving sincerely but not according to the rules (that aren’t really rules as much as control mechanisms), loving and living, and caring, and feeling the tribal creature just barely hidden under the cultural make-up of the 20th Century.

Oh, the serious book? The academic arguments, the how-to questions and answers; the arguments to and fro? We’ll see. If there’s time. If it’s wanted and needed.

But for now, for the sake of love and freedom, I just need to tell you the truth. And the only way to do it is to pretend that it’s fiction.

Liam

February 2015, in the year of the Fukushima Dragon.

Buy the book or read a preview.

Liam

9 Comments

  1. Beautiful work across the board. Thank you. Would love to donate but clicking on your PayPal button just takes me directly to paypal.com, not your specific area.

  2. I laughed, I cried, and I breathed relief in the fact that it was a true story of love and confusion and raw recognition of the unawareness of how we’re supposed to be in this life.
    It brings some clarity to the confusion and make the confusion alright.
    Well done.

  3. LOVED it Liam. From page 1 to the end, it was riveting.

    So brave. Such detail. I thought to myself HOW does he remember such details from a decade ago? Or is this part fiction? I couldn’t tell because it all felt so real.

    I understand more your relationship with Helen..she was such a caring soul and I know even more why it was so hard losing her. I was grateful to meet her through such excavated details, to know her, to become aware such a selfless heart could exist…and what a powerful impact that kind of love can have.

    It was nice getting to know the younger you. So different from who you are today..in some ways…eating canned soup?! Hanging around people smoking cigarettes practically in your face?! Drinking beer?! Not the Liam I know! ;) Yet, in other ways very much the same.

    Brave…raw…you shared parts of your life most of us have experienced in some way or another, yet would never put out there for the world to see, learn, judge…

    Inspiring.

    I loved it.

    I hope it is the first of several. I hope you continue to share and document your experiences and the characters that weave in and out of the life of Liam the wanderer…the traveler. Show is another way to live, outside of the norm. Whatever that is…the stifling lives most of us endure. Lying to ourselves through life.

    Teach, inspire, leave your mark with your story. You are an artist. You paint the best portrait of all by sharing your life with the world.

    And next time I see you…I want my $50 portrait.

  4. “The Truth About Love (2015),” by Author Liam Scheff, speaks to the desire for self-discovery, love and friendship in many persons going through the ‘journeys’ of life. This novel is discussed through the point of view of a semi-fictional character named Will. He is an Artist and advertising employee, in his thirties living in Boston. He is trying to figure out his love-life and waither he, or anyone, is monogamous. He is also trying to navigate friendships and work relationships while exploring new options and ideals in his life.

    Through Will’s wit and introspection Readers’ are taken along on his colorfully descriptive, and often fun, journey. This happens via the meeting of many other interesting characters and the explanations of life-events and travels. Scheff introduces some character details a bit later in the readings…after the initial character introductions…I like that. There are ‘scenes’ in the novel that are moving and humorous-never boring. There are rich and unique descriptions, like this one, on page 63: “I had a strange feeling in my stomach like I’d just been given an expensive, finely knit sweater in
    beautiful colors and rare material, but I was afraid it might be a little tight, and I wasn’t sure if I could stretch it enough to fit me.” Lines like these really help Readers’ gain a sense of Will’s personality and a feeling for how the text is ‘moving’ along.

    It reads in a very welcoming and conversational manner. There are some lovely, easy recipes discussed within the food preparation scenes of the novel. These recipe scenes often take place in the home of Will and Helen-which is depicted as warm and inviting. The relationship between the characters of Helen and Will felt like the central one with moving and refreshing conversations. The conversations with Will’s pal Declan were very genuine as well.

    The sexual ‘scenes’ were humorous and the mixture of the profane and the sexual, that they contained, made for a realistic portrayal of romance. The novel is ‘framed’ in such a well-formed descriptive format that Will’s ‘world’ quickly can become beautiful and ‘alive’ in the mind’s eye of the Reader. This novel is well worth the read.

  5. Loved this book – I felt my self really drawn into it from the start. Liam is a brilliant writer – so descriptive, funny and honest. I felt the characters became my friends and when the book was over, I definitely wanted more. That might be the only thing I didn’t like – that it was over!

    Lots of it reminded me of my early twenties where I too, was confused about what ‘love’ really means. I think most people could relate to this book – especially those born early 70’s +.

    I hope the author is going to continue writing in this style or even more in this series. I certainly wanted to read more about one of the central characters in the book.

  6. This has got to be the most straightforward and honest book I have read. Ever. Talk about “keeping it real”. This is a story that most people wouldn’t have the balls to write. This was a great read.

  7. There are thousands of books dealing with love and sex, as these topics are eternal and essential to human beings. So you don’t really expect to learn anything new or get yourself entertained in any new way when you open another book “about love”. Emotions, dilemmas, jealousy, betrayals, self-awakening, etc. etc. etc. From classical romances to “hot” and provocative modern literature to postmodern cyberspacial games, we’ve seen it all. So if you are really going to spend your time reading “another book on love”, it’s better be worth it.

    Personally, I can say that my time reading this book was not wasted. Maybe part of the appeal has to do with the fact that I’ve been experiencing a somewhat similar “transformation” as the main character, and I got to read this book at the right moment in my life. But even then, I think it is interesting regardless.

    It deals with things which many modern people are facing, as we try to adjust to the high pace of life and to revise some preconceived ideas that we had and that are losing their appeal due to many various reasons. To me, this book is about trying to understand what it really means to be human. You can’t go wrong with love and sex being the topics that help the author to develop his ideas, but this book is not just about “questioning the traditional morality” or “promoting free love” (that has been done and is being done constantly throughout the centuries).

    It is an honest account of a person who has undergone a very personal and intimate transformation, which opened up a sort of different world in front of him, and, I believe, enriched his life.

    We normally tend to project our own immediate beliefs and principles onto other people, thinking the others are pretty much the same as we are. When we live holding to one particular set of beliefs, the world around us is the same. But once we change our views (and if we are sincerely practicing what we preach), we attract people to our lives, which resonate with these new energies, so to speak. It’s as though the Universe itself is bringing them to your life. You have now made another step on the way of understanding people better. But more than that, the notion of “love” has attained some new meaning, you now understand that it’s like a rainbow, beautiful and multicolored.

    On a purely textual level, the book is easy to read, there is just enough introspection, the right dosage of descriptions and dialogues, so it is quite balanced all in all.

  8. Honest, brave, fresh, witty, original, funny (in a good way), challenging, interesting. I liked the intro best but I am also keen with the main part. It’s good to have another book by Liam; I hope there are lots more to follow. Thank you for your inspiration and originality!

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