Saturday, February 7, 2015

In Honor of the Mushy Holiday

I’m pretty sure I know what my husband is getting me for Valentine’s Day this year. It’ll be the same thing he’s gotten me every year since I’ve known him.


He never gives me flowers either. Instead, he laughs with people about that time I told the kids they were not allowed to “bring nature into the house.”

I’m mentioning this because I have a point that has nothing to do with trying to make my husband look bad. He’s giving me nothing because he knows I want nothing. I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is not to suggest that I think there’s anything wrong with it. It just isn’t my thing. I’ve never considered myself a particularly romantic person.

And yet I write love stories.

I was recently pondering this potentially incongruous idea. It caused me to review some of the gifts and gestures that my characters have used to win each other over. I have written some of the stereotypical things like flowers and jewelry. There was also a spider ornament and a plastic monkey, some fighting over glitter, and I even tried to use a pile of rocks as a sweet gesture.

Am I in the wrong line of work?

I don’t think so. I think I’m mushier than I realized. There is a love letter in one of my books,Andrew's Key, that brings me to this conclusion. Some people might argue that Charlie spoils it somewhat by explicitly stating that he wrote the letter because he thought Rebecca liked letters. I disagree. That is precisely what makes it romantic. Writing a love letter to someone who thinks love letters are lame would not be a winning overture.

True romance is finding out what the other person likes and trying to do just that. Some things have become synonymous with romance because a lot of women like them. That means my future characters will likely find themselves on the receiving end of traditional gifts. But I hope I will also find more surprising ways to melt some hearts.

If I can come up with a character who believes flaming batons are the coolest thing ever then it will totally make sense for her to swoon if a guy learns to twirl one for her. Okay, maybe not swoon but at least believe he has her happiness in mind. A romantic gesture is anything that says I know you and I appreciate what makes you different from anyone else.

Hey, you know what? I bet I’m getting something for Valentine’s Day after all. It won’t be wrapped and it will look a lot like the things my husband does every other day of the year. Guess who is not only mushy, but also very blessed.