Category Archives: love

Love Redux

So last year I made a post on Valentines day that happened to be about love.

I wasn’t happy about that, as I’ve got a strong iconoclastic element in my personality. And writing about love on Valentines day is just… it just feels so fucking Hallmark.

But something happened a couple days ago, and it’s been spinning in my head ever since. When that happens, I have to tell a story about it, because that’s just how I’m wired.

So. I’m writing about love again, not because it’s Valentines day, but despite that.

I just want to make it clear this isn’t going to be a yearly thing. Okay? Okay.

*     *     *

A couple days ago, my baby boy smiled at me. A little crooked smile, a smirk.

Cutie - 8 weeks

(The onesie was a gift from a fan. Honest.)

A few days before that, I got my first smile. Today I got several. He also said, “goo” a couple times. I’m not even kidding. It’s amazingly cute.

Here’s the thing. He also smiled at the ceiling fan. He *really* likes the ceiling fan. Given the choice between the ceiling fan and me, the fan will win 3 times out of 4.

But you know what’s strange? I don’t mind. I really don’t.

I don’t mind that he smiles and coos at his mom more than me. It doesn’t make me sad that the ceiling fan takes second place, and that almost any window with a sunlight behind it is a close third.

I’m fine being fourth in line for smiles. I’m just happy to be on the list.

Standing there, holding my new baby, I had a strange sort of revelation. I was feeling a type of love that was in no way jealous.

I think this might be the purest type of love.

*     *     *

Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of LOVE as a singular concept. It’s a ridiculously broad term that can be applied to pets, sex partners, or Oreos. When a word accretes that many definitions, it becomes virtually nonsensical.

If you’re hunting for more specific words for love, Greek is a good language to start with. They have Eros, Philos, and Agape. Those three do a pretty good job of breaking the great multifarious monolith of LOVE into slightly more manageable pieces.

I’m assuming you know about them, but just for reference:

  • Philos is friend love. Family love.
  • Eros is “I want to bone you” love.
  • Agape is… tricky. Some people call it “unconditional love.” I’ve heard it referred to as “True love” “God Love” or “That love which instils worth.”

There’s also lesser-known storge: “Kindness love.” Which is the sort of love you feel for something that’s dependent on you. Like an infant or a dog.

So. I’m standing there, looking at my sweet baby, and he’s smiling at the ceiling fan. And I realize I don’t mind. I’m just happy that he’s happy. I’m just happy that sometimes he smiles at me. I’m just happy he’s around.

This is a strange and wonderful sensation. This is, I feel, a different type of love.

Now it might seem like I’m talking about agape-style love here. Or storge. But I’m not. This is something different.

What I’m talking about here is love-without-expectation.

*     *     *

We need to stop for a moment and make a word.

If I’m going to spend some time trying to describe a largely unfamiliar concept, I need a name for it. Love-without-expectation-or-desire isn’t going to work. It’s not elegant. A newish concept needs a newish name. It needs its own space to grow. You grok?

Plus I just like making words. It’s kind of a thing that I do.

From what I gather the Hebrew concept of “חסד” is pretty close to what I’m looking for here. And it’s one of the Sephira, which gives it extra gravitas. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work because when you transliterate it, it’s spelled “chesed” and that looks too much like “cheesed” to me.

Fuck it. I know it’s not linguistically sound, but I’m going to call it Eleutheria.

*     *     *

Remember where we were? Me. My baby. Ceiling fan.

20140214_122916

(In his defense, it’s a really nice fan.)

I simply love him, and I expect nothing in return. This is strangely, delightfully freeing. I don’t feel bad that if he pays more attention to his mom. I don’t mind that he smiles at the fan or his big brother.

I don’t mind if he falls asleep. I don’t mind if he throws up on me.

Elutheria – Love which demands nothing. The love that expects nothing.

This is an odd concept for me. Because I am a creature composed almost entirely of expectations.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing. The ability to anticipate, desire, and plan is important. It gives us control of our lives. It gives us the ability to see forward in time a little. It gives us the ability to steer our destiny a little so we can avoid wrecking our lives against the rocks.

Not always, of course, sometimes your ship is going to wreck no matter your best efforts. Shit happens. But if you’re able to anticipate the future, you can at least brace for impact. That’s better than nothing.

Without the ability to predict and therefore exert control on the future, we are helpless. Subject to the constant random battering of a largely entropic universe.

The ability to predict and anticipate isn’t bad. The desire for control isn’t bad. If you put those things together with a love for language and a vague compulsion for storytelling, you get The Name of the Wind.

If you combine these characteristics with a love of charity and a desire to make the world a better place, you get Worldbuilders.

If you combine them with a relationship… it’s not so good.

Because trying to control the people you love isn’t good.

For one thing, people don’t like it. (For the most part.) But also because controlling someone means hanging expectations on them. And if people don’t live up to your expectations, you’re disappointed. And disappointment leads to frustration and anger. This spiral continues down to the dark side of the force.

How much nicer would it be to simply love someone? If you expected nothing from your beloved, you could never be disappointed. Nothing could jeopardize that love. It would be unassailable.

This would be Elutheria, the love that expects nothing.

*     *     *

What I’m talking about here, is the diametrical opposite of selfish love.

Selfish love demands things. It demands attention. Most of all, selfish love demands love in return. Typically it usually demands ALL the love in return. It demands primacy. Exclusivity. Ownership. Control.

What I’m talking about here is what’s commonly called “Romantic Love.”

Romantic love is championed as being awesome in our culture. It’s the sort of love you’ve seen a thousand times in movies and literature. You’ve seen it the lives of your friends and family members. You’ve probably experienced some version of it yourselves.

It’s the sort of love where you where you fall for someone, and they don’t love you back, and then you kill yourself. (Actual results may vary.)

It’s the sort of love where you see you girl talking to another guy and you feel jealous.

It’s the sort of love where you see your guy looking at another girl and you feel angry.

It’s the sort of love that makes you think it’s okay to consider someone “your girl” or “your guy.” As if you owned them. As if they were under your control. As if your affection made them somehow beholden to you.

And as I stand there, smiling at my baby, (who is smiling at our ceiling fan) I am perfectly happy. And I wonder to my self, “At what point did loving someone become an excuse to be a greedy asshole?”

*     *     *

I bounced my idea off a couple people over the last week or so. Love without expectation. I explained about my baby and the ceiling fan. I talked about the chains of desire….

“Well,” someone said. “It sounds nice, but I don’t think that’s something that could exist in an adult relationship.”

Several people said this, or something very close to it. These comments came up almost compulsively, in a knee-jerk way.

I think people have this automatic response for two reasons.

First, I think they feel attacked. As if I’m telling them they’re loving wrong.

I’m not. That’s not what this is about. When I talk about how much I’d like a Tesla, it doesn’t mean I think you’re a dick for driving a Prius. I’m not trying to start a fight here. I’m looking to discuss an idea.

Second, I think people react badly because Elutheria a profoundly unfamiliar concept. We all grew up reading stories about Lancelot and Guenevere (or permutations thereof.)

The Arthurian legend is one of our mythic cornerstones. It echoes through the last 1000 years of our art and literature. Well… 800 years, if we’re talking about Lancelot. You see, he wasn’t in the original story. The French added him in the 1200′s.

dicksee-belle-dame

(Yeah. I know that’s not Lance and Gwen. I just really love Waterhouse.)

And you know what? It’s a better story with Lancelot in it. More drama. More tension. More universal appeal.

The downside? Lancelot and Guenevere are generally held up to be the villains of the whole Arthurian schtick. They ruined Camelot. Their dirty, dirty lust wrecked the golden age.

But the truth is, if Arthur hadn’t been such a douche about the whole thing, there wouldn’t have been any problem. If Arthur had just gotten over himself and admitted that Lance was pretty hunky, it could have been cool. If he’d just wanted Gwen to be happy, he should have just stepped aside. Or at least turned a blind eye.

Either that or jumped into the sack with both of them. Because… y’know… hunky.

Imagine the glorious world we’d be living in if *that* was one of our mythic cornerstones, folks. Imagine a world where slash fiction didn’t exist because we were, all of us, constantly living the dream.

Okay, back on track here.

Generally speaking, everyone agrees that Arthur overreacted. But Lance and Gwen? They’re traitors. It’s their *fault*. Traitors deserve the lowest, darkest circle of hell.

Arthur was a little hot headed, sure. But it was justified, right? Lance and Gwen, their actions were a betrayal.

What were they betraying?

Expectations.

*     *     *

Those of you who have studied any Buddhism are probably nodding along by this point. Believe me, I’m very aware that the more I roll the concept of Elutheria around, the more similar it seems to the four noble truths that lead to the eightfold path.

For those of you who haven’t studied Buddhism, here it is in a nutshell:

  1. There is suffering.
  2. Suffering comes from thwarted desire.
  3. Therefore, if you eliminate desire, you eliminate suffering.
  4. Profit. Moksha.

There is an unassailable simplicity here. There’s a reason I’m fond of Buddhism.

*     *     *

I wish I had a strong closer for you, but I’m not really making an argument here. I’m not heading for a conclusion. I’m merely working out my thoughts in text. Writing things down helps me understand them better. It helps me knock the rough corners off my new ideas. (It’s my attempt at “Right Understanding,” the first step of the eightfold path.)

But is Elutheria something a person can realistically achieve?

With my baby, the answer seems to be yes.

But then things become more complicated. You see, I have responsibilities.

My older son is four. And while it would be pleasant to simply love him and let the chips fall where they may, if I were to do that, I would be failing him as a parent. I need to provide guidance and discipline. I need to control his base monkey instincts with the hope that he may eventually rise above them and become a fully-formed human being.

There’s that word again: Control. It’s my job to control him. It’s my job to have expectations.

Still, I think discarding Elutheria entirely would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are certain expectations that are essential. I expect him to be polite. I expect him to be honest. I expect him to be mindful and kind.

Those are the requirements for being a good human being. It’s my job to guide and coach him until he gets there.

Any expectations beyond that, I should be wary of. I shouldn’t expect him to be all those things *all* the time. I shouldn’t expect him to be tidy. Or quiet when I’m trying to work.

I shouldn’t expect him to be straight, or a democrat, or a painter. I shouldn’t expect him to love books.

Oot and book

Expectation is a trap, you see. There’s nothing to be gained from it. I don’t feel *more* joy seeing him read because I hoped for it. I only leave myself open to disappointment if he doesn’t.

Similarly, my relationship with Sarah consists of more than simple love. We are engaged in the partnership. We maintain a household and the purpose of that household is to raise children that are physically and emotionally healthy.

Her cooperation in these things is essential. I expect it.

But other things? Should I expect her never ogle the pretty college boys on the track team who jog around town every spring? No. Foolishness. Should I expect her to want to organize the kitchen the way I would? To want the same color paint in the dining room? To have dinner cooked and ready for me when I come home from work?

Should I expect her to always love me best, and most, and only?

No. I think not. I think that would be selfish and self-centered.

The more of these expectations I can let go of, the happier I will be.

But it’s hard. Oh it’s hard. It goes against a lifetime full of training. It goes against my obsessive desire to control. It goes against my meticulous nature. It goes against what so many stories told me was true.

Inconclusively yours,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Cutie Snoo, musings, naming, the longest fucking blog ever | By Pat95 Responses

A Paean for Gaiman or What I Learned Reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane

So Neil Gaiman has a new book coming out in June. It’s called The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I mention this for those of you who live deep in the wilderness or high atop some craggy mountain. (I’m assuming you access my blog with the help of some sort of friendly pigeon, or by using a type of prana-bindu meditation.)

I assume everyone except a complete eremite knows this book is coming out. Because generally speaking, I’m pretty clueless, and I’ve known about it for over half a year.

That means for half a year I have *craved* this book. I have desired it with a sort of grim, white-knuckled intensity that is normally the purview of sociopaths and teenage boys.

The worst part was that I knew Advance Reading Copies existed somewhere, but I didn’t know who I could schmooze to get one. You see, I’m at that point in my career where I know how publishing works, but I’m not exactly sure if it’s entirely cool to… say… contact Neil’s publisher and just ask for an ARC.

Trapped between my powerful desires and my own uselessness, eventually I did the modern equivalent of crying out the name of my beloved to the unfeeling sky, which is to say that I whined about it on goodreads.

Surprisingly, this helped a bit. I got it off my chest and was able to move on with my life.

Then, months later, when I’d almost manged to forget about it, something arrived in the mail:

full book

And on the back cover….

Back coverWait. Wait for it….

It gives me a tingle

Y’know, I feel like I should try to be cool about this. I am a professional author after all, have been for years. That means in some odd way I’m a colleague of Gaiman’s. Part of me feels that, as a professional, I should feign some sort of nonchalance about getting this book.

But it’s just not true. I am the furthest thing from nonchalance. I am brim-full of chalance. Overflowing with it.

The truth is, when I opened the envelope and saw this book, my heart actually beat faster. I was filled with a giddy joy. For a couple days, I carried it around with me. I showed it to my friends, filling them with rage and despair.

The truth is, I’m not a grown up. Underneath all of this, I’m still the same kid who used to spend all his allowance at Waldenbooks.

The truth is, I love books. I love them beyond all reason and sense. I will not pretend otherwise, and I am not ashamed. I am a geek, and the thought of having a special book signed by one of my absolute favorite authors fills me with a ridiculous and disproportionate amount of joy.

So. I got the book. My fondest wish. My heart’s desire.

You know about the shape of stories. You know where things go after this. Now we gently slide into a sweet and simple ending, an easy ever-after. Right?

No. Oh no. If you think that then you’re forgetting who I am. You’re forgetting who Gaiman is too.

I lack the ability to write a simple story with a simple ending. (I am, even now, telling you a story about a story. I cannot help it.)

And Gaiman’s stories, while they may be sweet, are never merely sweet. And when his stories are simple, they are deceptively so.

So this is the place where the story takes a turn.

*     *     *

Once I had the book, I did not read it.

At first the reason was a simple one. I was in the middle of a book. I can’t stop a book halfway any more than you can stop a sneeze. Neither can I read two books at once. The very idea strikes me as being vaguely obscene.

So I finished the book I was reading.

But still I didn’t read The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

The problem this time was that I was busy, putting in 12-14 hour days. Then I was traveling and didn’t want to risk taking the book. When I returned, I was swamped again, desperately trying to catch up on the work I had missed.

Then I caught up a little bit. Not entirely, but enough to have some breathing room. Enough to read.

Still I didn’t read the book.

Through all of this, the book sat on my desk where I could see it. It was nice having it there. Looking at it made me happy. Sometimes I would reach out and touch it a little bit. Occasionally I would pick it up and turn it over in my hands a little.

Then I would put it back down, unopened and unread.

I didn’t think much about it at first. After all, I was still busy. I would wait until I had enough time to relax and enjoy it….

So it continued to sit by my computer. I would reach out and touch it. Its presence comforted me.

Then, after a couple of days, something occurred to me. This is addict behavior. This is exactly how an experienced drug addict with good coping mechanisms treats their stash. Those of you who have had junkie friends will probably know exactly what I’m talking about…

Once I started thinking about my reading in these terms, the parallels were a little disturbing. I read about 150 novels a year, that’s not counting the comic books I’m increasingly fond of. Not nearly as much reading as I used to do, but it’s still a hell of a lot considering I’m usually working 10-12 hours a day.

I binge read. I read compulsively. I have been known to break plans with others in favor of staying home and reading. When I go too long without reading, I get irritable and depressed. The list goes on and on…. 

It kinda sounds like I’m making a joke here, but I’m really not. While labeling my reading a full-blown addiction would be a little silly (not to mention insulting to folks who struggle with genuine chemical addictions) I actually suspect that I may have an honest-to-god compulsive obsession with reading.

That said, as far as compulsions go, I’m pretty okay with it.

Besides, even if I wanted to fight it at this point, I doubt I could break the habit. The thought fills me with genuine horror. (Which is, of course, another sign of addiction.)

Still, the realization was a little troubling. So, looking for a little comfort, I did what I always do.

I started reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The only reason it took two sittings is because the restaurant closed and kicked me out.

(I feel as if I should mention at this point there won’t be any spoilers in this blog. I don’t go in for that sort of thing.)

I will say this. It made me smile. I laughed out loud. I cried. Not because of any particular sad moment, but because sometimes the shape a story makes is like a key turning inside me and I cannot do anything but weep.

Gaiman’s stories do this to me with fair regularity, which is one of the reasons I’m so fond of him. We are not similar writers. Not at all. But I like to think we share a fondness for the shape of stories.

Ultimately, when you tell a friend about a book, there is only one truly meaningful question to answer: “Is this book worth your time?”

So I will simply say, “Yes.”

If you’re curious to hear more, I wax more rhapsodic over here on goodreads.

Later,

pat

P.S. Absolutely worth your time…..

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, Neil Gaiman, Stories about stories. | By Pat85 Responses

Concerning Love

So I wasn’t going to do a Valentine’s Day post. Partly because I’m busy. And partly because I could really give a fuck. And partly because I’m a contrary person by my very nature.

But some things have happened today that have made me think about the nature of love. And that is something I’m interested in.

And if by odd coincidence this post happens to be timely…. Well, I suppose I can stand being timely once in my life.

*     *     *

Weeks ago, I was reading a book with Oot. At some point in the story, the characters go to the Doctor, and the doctor shows them what’s inside their bodies.

Oot’s curious about that stuff. It’s a cool teachable moment, so we take a break from the story to talk about our guts.

I point, “That’s a stomach. Do you know what that’s for?”

He knows. He tells me.

I point again, “Those are your lungs. Do you know what they do?”

He does.

Next I point at a picture of the circulatory system, “That’s a heart. Do know what that is for?”

He thinks about it for a long moment, then he lights up. “That’s where you keep all of your Love!”

*     *     *

Days ago I fell asleep with Oot on my lap.

Lately I’ve been keeping odd hours. I’m trying to get a lot of writing done and that means I don’t sleep as much as usual.

It also means I don’t spend as much time at home as I’d like. I write at the work house where there’s less distraction. Everyone working there knows if they bother me while I’m writing, I’ll fire them.

When I’m behind on writing, like I am now, it’s not uncommon for me to sleep at the workhouse too. I have a mattress there, I get food delivered. It’s not odd for me to spend several days there without leaving when I’m in the thick of it.

Still, I make a point of spending at least an hour or two every day with Oot. Sometimes Sarah brings him to visit me, sometimes I come home and visit him.

So a couple of days ago, I was sitting in the living room with Oot cuddled up in my lap. He’s not a particularly cuddly child, so these times are rare.

That said, I’ve stacked the deck a bit by offering to give him a massage. He loves having his back rubbed.

This is a sort of love, you realize. The negotiation of desires.

Oot desires the animal joy of having his back rubbed. I desire the animal joy of holding my warm child. These are not mutually exclusive. We can both get what we want here.

Would I prefer it if he would *just* cuddle me? Sure. That would be lovely. But we’re not living in a perfect world. He is a little boy, not a dog. He hasn’t been bred for 10,000 years to be a obsequious lap-sitter. So compromise is key. You have to give a little to get a little.

Our little arrangement reminds me of several of my college relationships. And some of my non-relationships too. Backrubs as currency. This is a skill I posses, and I have bartered it in the past. Sometimes just for the pleasure of touching another human in an intimate way.

The importance of touch should not be ignored. It shouldn’t be played down or viewed as something low or base. They joy of touching and being touched it is a big part of being human.

And while it is certainly not all of love, it is a type of love. It is a facet in the fractured glass of affection.

But as I’ve said, I haven’t been sleeping much lately. So, sitting there with my child in my lap, I started to nod.

Eyes closed, I hear Sarah come into the room and say, “Daddy is falling asleep. Do you want to help me put him to bed?”

“Oh, of course!” he says. Then he stands up and takes my hand to lead me.

This is an act of love.

Halfway through the living room he takes both my hands, which is probably meant to be twice as helpful, but it’s not. It means I have to bend down and take shuffling little steps.

So take little shuffling steps and bend down. I do this even though it hurts my back.

This too is love.

*     *     *

Hours Ago, I woke up.

My plan for today was to hurry over to the work house to get some writing in, then come back for my officially scheduled date with Sarah.

Our date is scheduled from noon to 2:00. It’s the only time we could arrange a sitter. The date is going to be short because Sarah is planning on making heart cookies for everyone she love. She and Oot are going to bake them, put people’s names on them, and hand deliver them on Valentine’s Day.

She’s been planning it for weeks. It’s it an expression of her love.

My thought is that we should reschedule our date. Pick a day she isn’t so busy. Pick a day when we could do something at night. At night, you see, the workhouse is empty. At night there are many uninhabited surfaces at the workhouse, and little chance of being overheard by our young child.

But Sarah wants a date on Valentine’s Day. It’s important to her. So noon.

I wake up at 7:30 AM, but when I go upstairs to check my e-mail, I hear Sarah calling. I head into her bedroom and she gives me the news. Oot got sick last night. Puking sick.

I look at him, he’s sleeping. Sweet as anything. Between him and the bed is a carefully placed towel.

“No cookies today?” I say.

Sarah shakes her head. “I didn’t sleep much last night. We’re going to stay in and have a quiet day.”

“That’s as it should be,” I say.

“We’re out of Pedialite,”

For those of you who don’t have kids, Pedialite is like Gatorade if your sport of choice is shitting and puking all over. It’s easy on your stomach, and has all sorts of important electrolytes you need if you’re losing a lot of fluid. Every parent should have several jugs of it on the pantry shelf.

But we’ve burned through our supply, so I get dressed and go brush snow off the car.

At the store I pick up some Campbell’s chicken and stars soup, because that’s what my mom fed me when I had an upset tummy as a kid. I pick up some string cheese, because Oot likes it. And I pick up some olives stuffed with garlic because if this is a flu bug, having some garlic in my system will help me fight it off.

Then I go get the Pedialite. One orange and one purple, so that he has a choice.

In the kid isle at the grocery store, I see that they don’t stock baby formula on the shelves anymore. Now they have little cards there. You have to take the card to the service desk to get the formula.

To me, this means people must have been stealing baby formula. And standing there at 8:00 in the morning, the fact that people have to steal formula for their babies just breaks my heart. That shows that something is fucked up in our society. Food for your babies should be a given, and if some people are having to steal it, it means that something has gone wrong in my little town. I’ll have to talk to some people and see what we can do about this.

This, you have to realize, is also love. Love is a small thing only if we force it to be small. It isn’t some commodity we hoard and dole out sparingly for family and friends.

No. When you see a broken car by the side of the road and stop to help the person. That’s love. When you watch the news and hear about kids being exposed to lead in playgrounds and frac mining fucking up the environment, the anger you feel actually comes from love. It means you care about people even though you don’t know them.

It’s a hard way to live your life. It means you’ll be feel helpless a lot, and you’ll be hurt a lot, and you’ll be angry at the state of things so constantly that it will rub you raw. But it’s the best way to be. It’s the only way civilization can function properly. It’s the only way we can make things better.

On my way out of the store I walk past the floral department. I ignored it on my way into the store because I was on a mission. But now I remember that it is Valentine’s Day. And while I could give a damn about flowers, Sarah likes them.

So I pick out some roses. And the very act of it makes me grit my teeth. Roses on Valentine’s Day. It’s such a cliche.

There’s a line, a half dozen men. This just reinforces the fact that I’m being a culture zombie and it raises my irritation exponentially. Plus this is thirty dollars that’s going to end up in the compost in two weeks. I could do a hundred more practical things with this money. Formula for kids. A hive of honeybees for Heifer International….

Then I see an old guy in line ahead of me. He’s gotta be 85 if he’s a day, and he looks like what I imagine when Garrison Keillor describes the old Norwegian bachelor farmers in lake Woebegone. He’s beautiful in his own way.

He’s got a dozen roses, and seeing him there warms my bitter old heart.

One of the guys in front of me (a guy in a red flannel, probably in his sixties) motions the older man ahead of him in the line. He says, “You go ahead, Ed. I’ve got plenty of time.”

The guy in the red flannel drops back and smiles at me. He says, “Ed there comes by here every week. Buys flowers for his wife.”

“That’s great,” I say, smiling like the idiot I am.

And it is great. This is someone who has made a habit out of love. There is something to be learned here.

So I pick up more roses. One of each color. Because this isn’t about me. For Sarah, love is a song. Love is words. Love is gifts.

That is not my way. For me, love is doing. Love is service. Love is caring for someone and tending to their well being.

This is a problem we have been struggling with for a long time: how the two of us show our love in different ways. It has led to many problems. Many fights. It is a terrible thing to be unloved. But in many ways it is worse to be loved and feel unloved.

Love is actually easy. We are all of us wired for it. We are full of love, even though sometimes we are barely aware of it.

Showing love is the hard part. Our culture poisons us constantly, telling us what we *should* love. Religions spout off about who we *can* love. Media lies to us, telling us *how* to love. For when you care enough to send the very best. Say it with flowers. Every kiss begins with Kay.

It’s hard to break away from that cultural conditioning. But it’s even harder for me to realize that sometimes, Sarah doesn’t want me to take care of her. She doesn’t need tending. Sometimes she just wants me to say that I love her and tell her she’s pretty.

So I bring home roses and soup. I scrap my plans to hole up and write today so I can be near my family and tend to them. Because that is what’s important to me. Whether or not they realize it, this is how I love.

Oot picks the purple Pedialite. He’s listless and just wants to stay in bed. He’s snuggled up with Sarah. She gets more cuddling than me, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.

But when I lay down he snuggles me too. No bribery needed.

When Sarah comes downstairs she sees the flowers and laughs and smiles. It’s a response that I would never have to flowers. We talk a little. I tell her I love her. I tell her she’s pretty.

Later, if Oot is feeling up to it, I will read him a chapter of the Hobbit. It’s the one where the goblins catch them in the mountains.

And through all of this, in bits and pieces, I write down these musings for you. Because I cannot help but tell stories. Because these things are important to me.

Because…

pat

Also posted in Because I Love, holding forth, How to be a Worthwhile Human Being, Oot | By Pat134 Responses

Floating on a Sea of Love.

Gech. After I wrote that title, I threw up a little bit in my own mouth.

But just because it’s nauseatingly sweet, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Since I posted the Longest Blog Ever about a week ago, I’ve received roughly one billion messages. There were e-mails, phone calls, facebook wall posts, strip-o-grams, and alien beams shot directly into my head from the icy depths of space.

Yeah. They read my blog in space, apparently. Who knew.

Seriously though, the vast majority of these messages have been displays of loving support and kindness. Many of them terribly sweet, funny, or touching in turn. Only a very few were snarky.

And yes, there was one turd. But it was a tiny thing among all the rest. A turdlet. And it didn’t spoil my day. Instead I laughed a great booming laugh at his ineffectual flailing rage.

On synchronicity:

Now, I should mention that I don’t actually read any blogs myself. There are a few I peek in on occasionally, but my addictive web-wanderings lean more toward comics.

So after I posted my blog, I was surprised to learn that George RR Martin wrote a blog on a similar subject about a week before I posted mine.

I saw Mr. Martin at Worldcon last year. And I almost went up to him and asked, “How have you gone this long without killing someone?” Because however much flak I happen to get from fans, he has to get a thousand times more.

In my opinion, he’s a saint. If I had to deal with that level of fan dickishness, I would have already lost my shit in some spectacular way. There would be a video of me on youtube, gone all berserk with nerd rage, holding someone up by the neck, shouting “I’ve got your sequel right here, bitch!”

I didn’t actually approach him and say that though. Because it seemed a weird way to introduce myself. Still, know that I’m on your side Mr. Martin. Slow writers represent. Um. Yo.

Several of you also brought Scalzi’s post to my attention as well. Apparently, just a couple hours before I posted up my blog, John Scalzi over at Whatever wrote a blog on the topic of authors. It’s a good read. Not only did we make a lot of the same points, we even made some of the same jokes. It was more than slightly eerie, to tell you the truth.

I just wish I’d skipped the last revision, and posted my blog a day earlier. That way it would have looked like he was ripping me off instead of the other way around.

Concerning the flood of love: (Ew)

I just wanted to mention that I did read all the messages. All of them. Though I only responded to a small fraction of what came in because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

While I was reading through them, I snipped out some of the clever, bizarre, and funny things people wrote.

Then I cleverly lost the file I saved those quotes into. And I just don’t have time to winnow through several hundred messages again to dig them out. Rest assured that I enjoyed them all. Even the turd.

There is one message that I got after I made the post that just about knocked me over though.

My husband reads fantasy and I, the English teacher, prefer “real literature.” The Name of the Wind is what I get for being so smug. It is an incredible novel! Our first baby is due this April and I’m not sure what the two of us anticipate more: our new daughter or the Wise Man’s Fear!

Well done, Mr. Rothfuss, well done!

If that isn’t intimidating, I don’t know what is. I have a terrible mental image of a woman going into labor in the fantasy isle of Borders.

Oh, and here’s something else I thought y’all might get a kick out of:

You might have to click on it to see the joke.

It’s here…

I’m guessing that someone at B&N has a sense of humor, or there’s a profoundly weird glitch in their system.

(Edit: B&N insiders reveal the truth about this in the comments below. Thanks for the clue-in folks.)

Either way, I would just like to say I’m confident of my ability to get book two out before this deadline. Rest assured.

That’s all for now. I just wanted to thank everyone for their support. I’ll be posting up a few other blogs this week, so stay tuned.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in book two, fan coolness | By Pat102 Responses
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