The Gap between Like and Love
The gap between like and love…is called Kadiva (pronounced with a long i)…and I bet you didn’t know that. At least that’s what I called it back when my future wife and I were dating. We had reached that tenuous stage in our relationship where we both felt our feelings for the other had grown past the serious like stage, but were uncomfortable floating the love word out there too soon. You know what I’m talking about, that point where the connection between the two of you eludes a clear definition on the emotional scale…and NO…lust is not what I’m referring to. Cherish, fancy, adore, deep fondness, these were all weak candidates and not being big fan of grey areas, I decided to make up my own word because I really wanted to let her know how I felt. Out of the blue and on the spur of the moment, Kadiva was born. We were in Kadiva with one another!
This limbo stage causes angst amongst a lot of couples and I believe the reason lies in the power of the word Love. People like me don’t like to throw that word around casually, preferring to hold its value in high regard and defending its meaning against slow erosion. There’s nothing wrong with that…right? But what are you to do when like just doesn’t adequately convey how you feel and there's an ocean of sentiment separating it from love? How can you pick between Miss America and Miss Congeniality when there's nothing to choose from in between? How do you pick sides for the neighborhood kickball team when your only two choices is the local star athlete and the boy burdened by glasses resembling the bottom of a coke bottle with a mild case of asthma? You don’t have to because there are always plenty of choices possessing a wide degree of attributes in life…except when it comes to choosing between like and love.
As always, there is a point to my rambling that is writing related, and I can see you tapping your fingers there, so I'd better get to it. I recently critiqued a manuscript for a friend and when it came time to write my remarks I hesitated. You see...I didn't love it. If you get to know me you'll find out that’s not surprising. There's not much...most assuredly in literature...and especially for things that matter...that I use the love word for. I'm a tough nut. But I truly enjoyed the work far beyond the like category and I did my best to communicate that fact, but my mistake was that I used the dreaded like word to start off. Can you imagine my words in the authors head effectively smothering their creative passion -- "he liked it, but he didn't love it!"
That gap between like and love I mentioned before, it's so friggin unfair. It would be so much simpler if we just scored everything with 0-5 stars, like they do on Goodreads and Amazon (hint - I never give a 5). Sure, I could bend my principles and simply say that I loved it, because the truth is it was closer to that than like, but I felt I needed to hold that author to the same standards that I hold every other published novelist to. To do anything else would be a disservice to them, to me, to all of us.
The bottom line is that I felt Kadiva for the manuscript. Falling short of love shouldn't be considered a bad thing, and the perception that it is needs to be eliminated.
Just ask my wife. :)