Sometimes when I try to explain how I feel about my anthology, Aphotic Love, I often get caught up in the mental details, what it was like editing it, formatting it, the delays in publishing, how much I need to sell it for to get a return or break even. Sometimes I forget the feeling behind it, the emotions, the turmoil within me that motivated me to create such an anthology.
But every once in a while, I remember.
In an abstract way, this is the emotion I hold behind Aphotic Love. This is the kind of feeling I wish for this anthology to invoke in others.
*taken from an excerpt from my journal nearly a year ago on April 8th 2021*
"After crying over episode 6 or 7 in Violet Evergarden when the boy at the observatory finds love and hope again because of Violet, I came to the conclusion that I crave tragedy. I always have. Have me in tears and you have my heart. Love without end is not passion, it is just the dripping of a faucet always broken, never on, never off. Barely quenching a thirst but never filling you up.
And I always thought of the song, Return to Love by Andrea Bocelli and Ellie Goulding, and how it says, "Who cares about the past. Who knows about tomorrow ... and maybe this won't last. And maybe this moment is all we have."
And I thought if given the choice between a lifetime of love like a dripping faucet and the love like a thundering waterfall for only one night, I would chose the waterfall. Because I think if I could just have what the Phantom felt for Christine, what Rose felt for Jack, what the brothers and sisters felt in the Last of the Mohicans, what Vinicius felt for Ligia, what Tom felt for Annie in The Horse Whisperer, I don't think I would ever need any more. And if in one night I fell in love with the whole soul of someone else but they were gone by morning, nothing more than a burning memory, I think I could be happier with that than a love who's fire burned for so long, it eventually burned out and you couldn't tell the moment it had left.
Because if something is so violently taken from you, you know what you have lost, and it, as a whole, may eventually find its way back to you. But if it slides through your fingers, like grains of sand, it is lost to the wind, and you will never know it's gone until you are staring at your empty hands. Because if it was taken by violence, then you could live wondering if you could find them again if you sat long enough in a cafe or if you took the longer route home. And the perfect memory of such passionate love would always remain, untouched by the inescapable filth of humanity.
There is never any true happiness without tragedy and pain, just as there is no true light without darkness. You can never tell the night from day in the greyness of the setting or rising of the sun, but the darker the night, the brighter the day will be.
How small a treasure to shed a few tears, to express the joy over feeling something so sad. To know every time the world rocks your ship and floods it, that even when the winds tear you apart and screams in your ears, when the cold ocean pierces you like a thousand knives, and when the waters burn your lungs, that is all because you are alive! And it is a miracle and a gift to be so, and it is a beauty and a joy. And is not the sorrow, pain, anguish, confusion, and desire in love not the same?"
If you're like me, feeling this way, understanding this aching pain and desire deep within your soul, then Aphotic Love is the anthology you've been looking for. May it touch your heart as it has touched and freed mine.
May the suns smile upon your presence,
—Effie Joe Stock