The Zero Mile Post marked the meeting of two railway lines and possibly the beginning of the city of Atlanta. Zero Mile is a series of sometimes fictionalized and sometimes real stories based on life in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
Many years ago, I realized that one of my strengths is my willingness to talk about sex in a frank, non-judgmental manner. This surprised me for many reasons.
I don’t want to talk about sex.
If I do talk about sex, I find these conversations to be hysterically funny.
I haven’t had sex yet.
I know. You are wondering about the years of marriage and four kids. Marriage is holding hands and sharing a warm glass of milk with two straws. Kids come from under the mulberry bush. I say things like this and you want to know why anyone in their right mind would talk to me about sex. But they do. All. The. Time. Here’s the reason.
I read romance novels. Tons of them.
I read romance novels out in the open where people can see me. I’ve read sexy books on the soccer field. I’ve read sweet books on the airplane. I’ve read a book where a cowboy steals the heart of a city girl while I’m waiting to get my oil changed. I’ve read books with shapeshifters and billionaires and women who time travel to Scotland.
In case you are curious, Scotland is the only place where time travel works. And it only works when love is involved.
I think I know a lot about romance and happily ever after and love. You think that I know a lot about sex.
Maybe I know a little about both. I have learned about love and sex from reading romance novels.
You have the right to be happy. We currently live in a world that is fueled by conflict, anger, hate, and animosity. You know the opposite of all that? Romance. Do you know how to find romance? Read romance novels.
You deserve to have an adventure. Romance novels aren’t really about falling in love. They are usually about some other adventure and falling in love is the accidental by-product in the story. Give yourself an escape from the real world.
Love will recognize love. Reading about love in a book helps you better recognize love in real life. I see people in love at the grocery store. I can tell a love gesture from across the crowded coffee shop. It is never a private plane or a dozen roses. If you read romance novels, love looks different in real life.
Part of love is sex. Part of some romance novels is sex.
Sex in romance novels is good. I’m not going to lie. They never have laundry to do or a six-year-old standing outside the door or a cat who likes to stroll across the bed for feline coitus interruptus.
Before you start connecting the dots. Yes. I read “those” books. I don’t hide them on my electronic device while proclaiming I’m reading the Wall Street Journal. I read romance novels, because sometimes the world is $hitty and I’m tired and sad and I want to go to a world where the world promises me one thing. Happily ever after.
I take no offense at those who judge me. I feel sorry for them. People who read romance novels are more likely to have happy sex lives. People who write romance novels have even better sex. People who aren’t afraid to talk about sex are even happier than the happiest people. Or so I’ve heard.
I find it fascinating that some people find the pursuit of love and romance and healthy sex distasteful.
I read books with people who fall in love. Sometimes those people have sex.
I also love horror novels and thrillers. In those books, people kill each other. The central theme is crime and murder. No one worries about this for a moment.
What’s worse in a book? Sex or murder? I rather enjoy both. What’s better in your life? Sex or murder? In real life, let’s choose sex. Please.
What kind of escape from reality do you like when you pick up a book?
I’m getting ready for the AJC Decatur Book Festival. Labor Day is my favorite weekend to see Klingons on MARTA heading to DragonCon and book lovers heading to Decatur to break the spines of some new books. There is football and happiness all over Atlanta. I think we need more happiness. How about you?
I’ll be moderating two panels at the book festival this year. “Thrilling Police Procedurals” at Historic DeKalb Courthouse Saturday, 10:00-10:45 am and “Love Long Ago” at Decatur Recreation Center Studio Saturday, 3:00-3:45 pm. If you want to quiz me on why I wrote a book that is both a thriller and a romance, you can come see me at 11:15 am on Saturday with Sisters In Crime.
I hope you find a good book to read this weekend. Find goodness somewhere. If you’ve never read one, try a romance novel. It won’t kill you.
Nicki Salcedo knows the loops and the back roads of Atlanta. She is a novelist, blogger and working mom. Zero Mile stories appear on the Atlanta Loop on Wednesdays.