Writing about Love

Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day…It’s a hard one for a writer. I mean, how do you write about love without sounding sentimental or cliché’? Still, we are all writing about love in some ways. So I’m told. Don’t “they” say we are all writing the same story? Stories about love. Stories about death. Stories about love and death.

So, I’m celebrating V-day for the first time in years with my BF. At 45 I just can’t bring myself to use the label “boy friend.” But what are the alternatives? Lover? Partner? Fuck-buddy? So, I use BF. Okay, it makes me sound like a teenager. But, then again, who knows more about love than a teenager? Don’t you remember those days when that’s what it was all about? Falling in love. That’s what mattered. All that mattered, all you wanted. Oh, and when you did, WOW! What a feeling! How many records, tapes, CDs, did you wear out? Can you wear out an Ipod?

Love was all consuming and you weren’t called obsessive or accused of being a stalker if you tracked every breathing movement the object of your desire made. You were just called a teenager, a normal teenager.

Yes, teenage love. First loves, even second loves, the reasons gothic romances and romcoms even exist. Without love we wouldn’t, couldn’t, be a nation obsessed with vampires. The creature that wants nothing more than to take his or her love drain him or her of their life force and make them live eternal. I mean, you really have to love someone to want to live out eternity with them. Right?

When you were a teenager you knew that loving someone and having that someone love you back was all that mattered. Mattered more than a perfect SAT score or an A in physics. You were willing to risk the F on your trig exam to talk to your sweetie for hours on the phone, now it would be chat or Skype, instead of studying.

How old were we when that day came and we decided that college or career or whatever else was more important than being in love? Was it after the first, second, third heart break?

By the way, I never had my heart broken. When I’ve been crushed by the person of my desire it was never my heart that broke. It was always my stomach. I love to eat. And can usually eat under any and all circumstance. After all, I am the daughter of a former exterminator who talked shop at the dinner table. Nothing stopped me from getting my daily bread down, not rat nor roach talk. Nothing but the love of my life telling me, “It’s quits.” That’s when the sight, the thought, of any food, even chocolate ice cream, made me nauseous.

So, there I went ahead and did it. I got all-sentimental on my ass….I guess, I just couldn’t figure out any other way on the day that florists and chocolate manufacturers make their fortunes– Happy Valentine’s Day.

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11 thoughts on “Writing about Love

  1. The observance of Valentine's Day needs to be updated. if the celebration is really about LOVE, it needs to be inclusive not exclusive.
    Good Luck with your Blog Patricia.

  2. Ibn Hazm writes in a book recording his observations on the love lives of his contemporary Cordoban society ca. 1028: “I was seated one day with a knot of other people in the shop of Ismail ibn Yunus, the Hebrew physician who was also a clever physiognomist. Mujahid ibn al-Hasin said to him, pointing to a certain man named Haitm, who was withdrawn…What do you make of that guy? Ismail ibnYunus looked at Hatim for a moment, then said, He is passionately in love. Mujahid exclaimed, you are right! How did you know! Ibn Yunus replies: Because of an extreme confusion apparent in his face. Otherwise all the rest of his movements are unremarkable. I know from this that he is in love, and not suffering from a mental disorder. (p. 46, Ring of the Dove)

    Ibn Hazm said it all, man–about his contemporaries anyway: the weird ways of falling in love, the obsessiveness, the thrill.

  3. May I say, though, "bah humbug" to required Valentine's Day celebrations for kindergarteners. What is that about? If I have to buy one more of those 32-count boxes of inane kiddie Valentines and have him put his name on each one…I swear next year I am going to buck the system…I swore that with my last 2 kids and here I am, unable not to buy that damn box as per the room-parent's instructions (Spiderman this time–now really, I ask you, what meaning does a Spiderman Valentine card have?) I like that I got a bouquet of roses from my husband (after 23 years, it's nice that he finally got the flowers on V-day–d'you think the fact that in his country he wasn't trained by Kindygarten Valentine's rites is what caused the delay in arriving at the fullness of cognitive function there? because, um, I don't!) but what possible meaning does putting this ritual onto the kids have? it's not like it's Halloween, where the activities are a big kick for 'em. Bah humbug to passing out obligatory Spiderman valentines!

  4. I hear you Mohja! I can't tell you how happy I am that Ali starts middle school next year and no more required valentine's day cards!

    We actually gave a flower to each kid last year, which was nice. Ali got a kick out of handing them out.

    Good for your husband for the flowers!

  5. "Ibn Yunus replies: Because of an extreme confusion apparent in his face. Otherwise all the rest of his movements are unremarkable. I know from this that he is in love, and not suffering from a mental disorder. (p. 46, Ring of the Dove)"

    This is too great!

  6. Yes, but I'm just so partial to BF these days. Probably spending too many hours in the head of a fifteen-year old. One of the side effects of writing YA.

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