“Love at first sight is not complicated. In our dreams we build a woman, we give her life from our own life, and then we have to wait. Through trial and error we try to find that nameless ghost that’s haunting our most lonely of nights. And I felt as if I had found what I was looking for. Finally, my ghost had a name and a face.”
When I set up to write Jazz I wanted to build myself a femme fatale, a woman all men would be inexplicably drawn to. But as the story progressed I realized that, as I was writing from Chris Sommer’s perspective, I was actually writing about a woman who doesn’t exist. His perception is distorted, simply because he adds a name and a face to a ghost he has cultivated over the years. It’s all a mirage. The Amber he sees doesn’t exist.
“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.” – Chuck Palahniuk
I also thought that a perfect character is not a human character. There’s nothing compelling about the perfect individual, and, in a way, we’re more attracted to a person’s flaws than we are to their qualities. Amber is beautiful. She truly is. And it’s no great secret that physical beauty inspires people. Also, there’s something that gets triggered inside our brains whenever we see a beautiful person sad. We can’t imagine them to be sad, as if the world is doing them a great injustice.
Chris Sommers has built this wonderful woman from nothing. And then, one day, he meets Amber and tells himself, “she’s the one.” All his dreams, all his sentimental aspirations, take the form of this beautiful, young woman.
Love at first sight isn’t just a life altering moment. It takes a lot of time for a hopeless romantic to create his ideal woman. Maybe it all happens on a mere subconscious level, and thus, he’s unaware that he’s just giving his ghost a name and a face.
And it may take a few minutes or an entire lifetime for him to figure out that the person he loves is not the same as his perfect ghost. Unfortunately, some never figure that out. Sometimes, it feels as if love is one of the most persistent of illusions. Or as Chris Sommers himself puts it, “There are certain delicate illusions that make life bearable. Love, in its most pure and pathetic form, the one before we get to genuinely know the person we love, is one of them. Ignorance is bliss, and the less you know, the more you love, the less you have, the more you want.”
You can now buy Jazz and the other two novels I released so far (and two short stories and a compilation of essays on art) for only $4.99. Limited time offer.