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  • Writer's pictureFrank Winter

Love in Times of Death

That's arguably the best tagline to describe the Villa Vista Duology.

Which makes it unfortunate that I didn't discover this album by Kidburn until only a month before Homecoming released. However, it did make for great release party music. The killer '80s vibe fits perfectly with my John Hughes / Tim Burton / Heathers inspired story. Definitely an album and artist worth checking out.

The broader theme is much older than that though. I touch on it in many different ways in the two books because it seems like all of the greatest (or rather, most popular) love stories have the trappings of some sort of tragedy. The ultimate example of this, and one that plays largely into the plotline of the stories, is Romeo and Juliet.

It is not good for people to be alone. Every Adam needs an Eve, and vice versa. None of us are islands, not outside of short times of great necessity. I think one lesson that became transparent to everyone in the COVID pandemic era is that isolation can be just as horrible as the disease everyone was scared of in the first place. It was the "straw that broke the camels back" of a trend that has worsening over the last few decades. As useful as the Internet is for communication and information utility, for our social lives, it's like food with no nutrition. Even if you feel full, there's no vitamins, no minerals, no substance ... so you're still dying.

I think that's one reason the '80s have become so nostalgic and idyllic even to people born after that decade. It was a simpler time, the last vestiges of a purely analog society. You see that in the popularity of shows like Stranger Things. Even the closest friendships can't be maintained at a distance. Maybe you can bridge gaps between visits, but it doesn't feel the same, not even remotely (pun intended).

That's even more true for love. If you can't hug a person, hold them, have those simple face-to-face and skin-to-skin interactions on a regular basis, your body will reject it. It doesn't feel like love, because it isn't feeling at all. You're basically imagining the relationship, creating this virtual model of connection within a shared mind space made up of texting, phone calls, and video chats. But the body knows the difference.

The Heathers writer, Daniel Waters, comments on this in his dystopian thriller, Demolition Man. The Sylvester Stallone character is shocked and befuddled when his new love interest, the Sandra Bullock character, wants their first time to happen in the form of two deep brain stimulation helmets. Anything closer than that, truly making love, is seen as repulsive to her character, who was born into the touchless, emotionally stunted surveillance society of the future.

So, for this Valentine's Day, turn off your devices. The world is full of problems, and the Information Age gives every one of them a megaphone in ways that 24-hour television news could only dream of. The best thing for the both of you is to tune it out.

Nothing beats the problems of life like the simple warm touch of the one you love.

... And to show everyone else in your life how much you love them, give them the gift of reading with the Villa Vista Duology! -

Please leave a review on Amazon too!

- Frank

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