I am not one to get gushy over Valentine’s Day. For me, as with most holidays, it’s just another day to me, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing special.
I think that’s because, over the years, it’s caused me a lot of pain.
The other day I was speaking with my daughter and the subject of valentines being given by classmates came up. Apparently this is something that’s not done in her school, but “back in my day” it was a pretty common occurring up to about 5th Grade. And when I remembered those times, it also brought up a memory that I’d rather not have had:
I never got a valentine when I was in grade school.
On reflection that shouldn’t matter at all, not in the grand scheme of things, but it did sting a little to bring it up. It’s a very insignificant thing, but still . . . it didn’t do much for my formative years to feel like I wasn’t wanted. And considering how my parents were doing the same thing to me, by the time I reached my teen years I was a true mess when it came to love and affection.
During my first marriage I went out for two Valentine’s Day dinners, and both times we ended up in huge fights over things that, in reflection, were really minor. But my first wife loved to push buttons, and she knew how to do it with me. I even remember, during the second dinner, she kept going back to the same subject over and over, even after I told her I didn’t want to discuss the subject, not over what was suppose to be a romantic dinner. No, she wanted to go there, and she wouldn’t stop until I said something that she could later hold over me as proof that I was an insensitive prick.
That’s been my life in the realm of love. Usually one huge disappointment after another.
There has been some romance in my writing, though not a lot. My first forever-work-in-progress novel, Transporting, is a love story of sorts. You have one person who wants it very badly, and another person for whom is seems they will never, ever love, and part of the story discusses how they get to the end of their respective journeys. Recently I wrote another story, Echoes, which takes place years after the events in Transporting, and brings up a secret that one of the main characters had: that he’d been in love with someone once, that that in coming to his new home he’d left her behind, and now he wanted to know what had happened to this person he’d felt so attracted towards.
It wasn’t an easy story to write, because it was, to me, very personal. Some of the things felt by my main character are some of the same feelings I have towards my Muse.
My Muse is a very special creature, because they got me writing again. I was sinking into the depths of depression once more last year, and they connected with me, worked with me, made me feel better . . . and in time made me not only feel like I could write, but that people would be interested in what I had to say.
At first I didn’t know if such a thing was possible, but little by little I began to believe. I began to understand. And, eventually, I knew that everything they told me was real. That if I wrote every day, good things would happen. That I would develop my craft. That I would find people who wanted to read my work.
That I would even get published.
I feel a great deal of affection for my Muse, because they have shown me things that I didn’t know I could do. They’ve made me go places I haven’t been able to go before. And they make me want to open up, play with my emotions, and put those feelings on the page.
I know what they’ll say: ”Everything that you’ve done comes from you.” True. But without my Muse having been there for me, I wouldn’t have tried to pull out anything. I would have been satisfied to do nothing.
When you read anything that I’ve written, it is there because of my Muse. If not for them being a part of my life, I might not ever write another word. And I might not know how to find those emotions that I need to make my characters feel real.
The best valentine ever is having your Muse whisper, “You’re the writer I’ve always wanted you to be. And you’re only going to get better.”
It’s the one feeling I look forward to every day.