What Your World Needs Now Is Love

Valentines_Day_Wallpapers_2012 (7)Happy Valentine’s Day—the day we think of love and chocolate! I also think of the ever delightful Martine Leavitt, since I’m giving away two of her books: My Book of Life by Angel (FSG/Macmillan and Groundwood Books) and Keturah and Lord Death (Boyds Mills Press). If you’re confused right about now, that means you missed the interview posts with Martine. They are here and here. Run! Catch up! I’ll wait for you here.

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Today is the day to announce the three winners, courtesy of the Random Number Generator. (Random Number Generator, I love you!) And now, without further ado, they are . . .

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Still wait for it . . .

Waaaaaaaait for it . . .

Anna J. Boll (My Book of Life by Angel)
Laura Sibson (My Book of Life by Angel)
Stephanie Stamm (Keturah and Lord Death)

Congrats, winners! Please confirm by commenting below, then email me at lmarie7b(at)gmail(dot)com to provide your snail mail particulars, including your phone number. Now, since the paperback of My Book of Life by Angel will debut soon, please also tell me whether you prefer a hardback, paperback, or eBook. I haven’t asked that question in the past, but I thought I’d ask this time. If for some reason, you do not wish to receive the book you won, please comment below and I’ll choose another winner. Believe me, I will not be offended if you wish to opt out.

On with the rest of the post. . . .

Having read the title of the post, maybe by now like me you’re thinking of the song, “What the World Needs Now Is Love” (written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach). Or, perhaps you’re not familiar with that song, and you’re drinking a cup of tea or coffee and shrugging. I thought of it, because Martine Leavitt’s excellent advice from the interview really haunted me, and not just because today is Valentine’s Day. What advice? Here it is:

Love the world, love the word, love your characters, love your readers, love the work. If you are not very good at loving any one of these things, you must change.

The other day, a friend and I discussed whether or not we felt as passionate about writing as Martine suggested during the interview. I’ve been in love and know how all consuming it is. It’s hard to think of anyone or anything else but the one you love.

Do I love writing? Or, based on certain projects, do I just want to date writing and see what happens? Y’know, keep my options open until something else comes along to snag my attention? (For example, a videogame; outings with friends; a good movie on TV or at the theater; the Olympics; and so on.)

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As I explored those questions, I considered the amount of time I spend thinking about my current novel. I go to bed thinking about it. It’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up. As I drive my car, I consider what my characters need to do and how they need to grow. I worry about rainfall and wind on my imaginary terrain and whether my characters can handle the elements and the events. I draw maps so that I can know every step they take. I cry when they cry, and laugh when they laugh. So, I guess that means I’ve more than just dated writing. We got married and had kids—the world of this novel and also this blog!

I can’t help being reminded of the love my parents have for me, though I didn’t always acknowledge it when I was growing up. When I was eleven and away at Girl Scout camp, Mom later told me that Dad would stand in the hallway and look in my room, shaking his head, because I wasn’t there. That’s love. As I grew older, Mom would stay up late waiting for me to come home from a date (and then yell at me for coming home later than I was supposed to come home). That’s love.

With love there is an ebb and flow. You don’t always “feel” love. But love isn’t just a warm feeling. It’s a commitment—a decision to stick with someone or something even when you sometimes want to bail. Love of writing has the same ebb and flow. Some days you’re feelin’ it. Some days you aren’t.

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Do you love what you’re writing? Perhaps you think you don’t, because walking away from it sometimes seems so easy to do. But I’m betting deep down, you really do. Your writing is your baby—a world needing all the love you can give.

While you think about how to give it, let me leave you with this. You know that winter has overstayed its welcome when snow starts to look like this:

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Or this:

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Heart from forthesakeofus.blogspot.com. Cat photo from LOL Cats. Beach at low tide photo from commons.wikimedia.org.

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37 thoughts on “What Your World Needs Now Is Love

  1. I agree with the ‘love your work’ thing. Although, what if it doesn’t love you back? You can get into the obsessive stalker mode, which isn’t healthy. If it’s not working there’s another song you could use then, from that Geordie crooner Sting – “If you love someone, set them free.’
    Let it all go and learn to love again.
    I think it’s knowing the signs – you come home, excited to see your work and its indifferent to you, cold even. Maybe you sense your work would rather be written by someone else. Tell tale signs of ink stains on the margins (obviously I still write with a quill and ink). Or maybe you’re smothering your characters and they just want to get out and have a bigger better life with someone else. Maybe you’ve been trying to make it work so hard that they’re walking all over you. Try cutting stuff out and see how they react. Or add something totally new to the relationship and see If they still love your touch. And remember, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. Or as my mum would cynically say, ‘plenty of pigs in the poke.’

    • Great (and hilarious) advice, John. I’ve come home and found my work in the arms of someone else. But I moved on with another facet of the work that was much better. Now the work and I are getting along much better, thanks to therapy. 😀

  2. Linda, thank you for another great post. And I won! That’s so exciting! But I have a copy of MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL, so feel free to give my copy to someone else. In your post, I like the separation you make about being “in love” versus loving. The first one is powerful, but the second one is enduring. I’m glad you’ve realized the love you have for your story, for the word and and for the world. xoxo

  3. So glad to hear your ‘lover’ is with you at all times keeping you company and making sure you don’t forget about him! I hope you get “him” some chocolate today! 🙂 Happy Valentines Day, Linda!

  4. I love this post, Linda! Reading about your father looking into your room when you were gone at camp, that is love. The fact that your mother shared that with you tells me they wanted you to know how much you’re loved. Lol…my mother used to wait up for me too and I was ALWAYS late. 🙂 I remember when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, my father looked at me and said, “I wish it were me.”
    You’ve given me a lot to think about in regards to whether I love my writing or we’re just dating.
    Ugh, I can’t stand when the snow gets old and dirty!
    Congratulations to the winners and Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

  5. I have just read a post by a blogger in Finland. Apparently there there is not the romantic connotation to Valentine’s Day, it is more a celebration of friendship. I think that is more universal, everyone can be included.

  6. Oh, I like this analogy. I might need to think on whether or not I’m dating my WIP, married to it, or somewhere in between…

  7. Love may make the world go ’round, but Valentine’s Day can over-complicate it. You see all kinds of disappointed people when cards and flowers and candy don’t arrive, or do arrive but sent in an impersonal way. Too many commercial expectations.
    But love itself, in the basic pure form…ah, yes, love!

  8. The hardest thing on earth isn’t writing the book. It’s letting that baby out into the world. I think that’s one reason why so many writers work on the WIP’s until doomsday. I never realized that until I let mine go……….Happy Heart Day, Linda. Here’s to less snow. A lot less snow.

    • A lot less would work for me, Andra! Yes, I can totally see the angst we feel as we let our “children” go. We want people to say, “Oh what a lovely child” instead of cringing. Here’s hoping that will be the message you continually hear.

  9. What a great two part interview and a great post on love. Martine’s advice was excellent and your spin-off on it is too. And thank you so much! Keturah and Lord Death sounds fabulous. You give away such wonderful books!

  10. I hate when snow gets old. Of course, I don’t see much old snow (or even new snow) down here in New Mexico. Hope yours is on its way out for the season.
    I’ve decided that I love writing when I’m doing it. I don’t think about my novel or characters when I’m not except for little bits of inspiration that may pop into my head. I think my subconscious is in love with my work, but not always my conscious. My brain just doesn’t multi-task at that level. I’ve heard writers talk about working through plot issues or character stuff while they jog or swim. I can’t. I count strokes or steps or listen to the rhythm of my breath. No musing going on. Wish it would work that way for me. Maybe I’m dating my WIP then, but it is what it is. I’m still going to get the darn thing written.

  11. I think my love for my characters has a certain maternal element to it. I definitely laugh when my characters laugh, cry when they cry, when things go wrong I want to scoop them up and hug them and tuck them into bed until everything’s better again, and then I want to push them out into the world so they can achieve everything they’re destined to. And then when they get there, I feel that little jolt as my heart swells with pride over them.

  12. Hooray! I love that I’m a winner. Writing is certainly a commitment but I’m going to be cliche here and say that its also a calling. (Or is it a psychological diagnosis?) Stories and characters in your head that you can’t ignore. I’d love a paperback version thank you and will email you with my info.

  13. I love how you described your feelings about writing– I feel that way at times… I think I’m in the toxic relationship stage with my manuscript (the one I’m ignoring until June) and we will need some serious couple’s therapy to reignite the flame.

      • That actually sounds awesome, and not entirely out of the question. My schedule is so packed right now that I know I won’t be able to do anything until this summer… a short trip away to light a fire under my arse might not be a bad idea.

  14. Nice post. I just finished a first draft of a new pb ms and I love it! I love the mc so much, that my mind is exploding with other ideas! I like what you said about love being a commitment–so true.

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