Writers must love truly in order to create moving works. For without love, words are nothing.
And when I say love I mean love in all of its entirety. I mean the passion, the ecstasy, the deep pain, the euphoria, the infatuation, the quiet stillness. I mean it all. And when writers write, I belive they should write with love. To write with love means to write with passion. To write with seduction, romance, yet to write with patience, kindness, and unconditional forgiveness.
I remember in college when I was interested in this beautiful girl, I would run around the conservative Christian college campus, wearing a very revealing cutoff shirt or no shirt at all. I wanted her to see me. I wanted her to want me. My roommates and I would talk.
“The volleyball girls are wondering who that black guy on campus is running in an orange cut off. I could introduce you, Dan,” said Tyler.
I wasn’t interested in the Volleyball girls. I was secretly in love with Heather. I didn’t care about them.
Eventually I caught her eye and we started dating. While dating (in our Christian way) we saved intimacy for marriage. Yet even as proper Christians love made me tease off her pants, or slip off her shirt, or lure her into a dark unknowing place where we could do secret things. Once, I brought her away from the college to a park and a playground set. My shorts were down. I had no shirt. Neither did she. I had her pressed against the grafatied plastic, my hands were where no good Christian boy should have had them, when all of sudden lights appear and a slow moving police car trolled through the park. Because I was on top of my white girlfriend, the lights passed over my nearly naked black body and continued on. The police did not stop.
Is there adventure in your writing? Is it dangerous? Does it break the rules? Does it place its hands in dangerous places? Is it dangerously romantic?
Once, after my girlfriend became my wife and we were in our first year of marriage, I discovered what depression truly was. She had told me she was medically depressed but I never knew what it meant. That first year, I learned deeply how depression truly breaks a person and a marriage. That year my wife, who we later found was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, disintegrated before my very eyes. She slept most of the day. She helped very little around the house. She attacked me verbally, made me feel as if I were the reason why the world was falling apart. And one night, when she was in her depressed state, when the monster had come out of hiding, she broke and told herself she didn’t deserve me. She told me she was worthless. She told me that she didn’t want to be with me. Like a zombie she staggered to the door of our apartment. It was the dead of night in downtown Saint Paul, in one of the highest crime areas of the city. She tried to leave.
“Let me go,” she said.
I blocked the door. She stood in front of me, looking at the tan carpet. “Let me go,” she said again.
I almost moved away from the door. I was so angry. I was tired of being a verbal punching bag. I was sick of her doing nothing at home. I was tired of being hurt. But something kept me standing in front of that door. My wife charged me. Again our bodies were locked together. My hands were on her hands. My lips were to her ear. But we were not in love. She tore her hands free from my grasp and hit my chest.
“Let me go!” she said.
“It is night,” I said. “You could get hurt.”
“I don’t care. I deserve it,” she said. “Just let me go.”
She dug in her heals and pushed me back. I caught her hands again and pushed them down. I was so tired. It was 2:00 in the morning. We had already argued for hours. I was angry, frustrated, and tired of marriage. I wanted to let her go. I wanted to let her go.
Instead I lifted my wife into my arms and she collapsed into me. I brought her to our bed and laid her down. I covered her with our quilt and I sat by her and rubbed her back until she fell asleep. I did this because I loved her.
When we write I hope also that there is that sacred love that clings partners together like superglue. I remember once that my father-in-law accidentally superglued his hand to the counter. He eventually freed himself, but not before losing some skin. Love is like that. I hope that you are writing about things that are so close to you that when you try to pull them away from yourself and share them with others that a piece of you stays glued to the counter. Put another way, I hope that when you write, there is pain, that you glue yourself so tightly to your work that you can’t pull away without leaving a bit of yourself.