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