Many people who have followed my song writing over the years have made the comment that I write a lot about love. Often, it must be said, in a melancholic way, which, given that I am by nature a happy soul, seems contradictory to those who know me.

It’s true that I am a romantic and, to paraphrase one of my songs, it’s undeniable that songs get born when hearts get torn. Equally, when your heart and soul are inspired and uplifted by love, buoyant, joyous and often quite silly love songs result.

It seems paradoxical that love can make us happy beyond belief and sad beyond reason but that’s the undeniable truth of it.

Consequently, it’s easy to guard against love in order to avoid getting hurt. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another. I certainly have.

Maybe it’s because we ‘fall’ in love and falling means to lose balance and that’s what scares us.

Sometimes, I suspect I’m deluded by my particular fantasy of ideal love: I’ve always needed to feel the elusive slap in the face impact that steals your breath away and makes you go for it in a ‘Damn the Torpedoes’ way.

And this is not just what I hope to feel myself, but what I want the other person to feel for me.

While I know such feelings can’t make a relationship last, I’ve always believed that without a powerful initial attraction a relationship shouldn’t even begin.

However, recent events have caused me to rethink this. I’m now wondering if my approach to love is realistic or even desirable?

Perhaps at the start of every romance one person loves more than the other. Perhaps love can grow. Perhaps expecting too much too soon can kill off a romance before it has the chance to put down the strong roots required to flourish and bloom. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

All I know for sure is that no matter how much you love someone, you can’t make him or her love you back.

I recently loved a woman with all my heart and for a brief, shining time could feel that love coming back at me and was the happiest man on the planet. But in the end she could not find the love I needed her to feel for me because she’d given that love to someone else.

Was I the right guy at the wrong time or just the wrong guy? I may never know. Which is a damned shame because I will always believe we could have lived happily ever after.

Now she is gone and all that remains are the seeds of some songs.

Having fallen so hard I will need time to pick myself up. When I do I’ll try to find the words to tell you about it — both the happy and the sad.

Right now all I can say is that it began as a love story and ended as a mystery.

And that’s a tale I’m sure many of you can relate to.

John Hanlon
July 2010