Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daily Spotlight - Joyce T. Strand

Celebrating Valentine’s Day: What about Telling them in Writing?

By Joyce T. Strand, Editor
Strand’s Simply Tips (
Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries

Did you know that Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love originated at least in part from one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s poems? And we all know that Geoffrey Chaucer was a 14th century writer and poet–perhaps an originator of modern English literature. Of course, he was many other things–in true Renaissance man style–but since this is an article about writing and readers, I’m highlighting his relevant skills.

The point is: writing played an important role in originating, tracking, and encouraging the concept of romantic love.

So what does that mean for Valentine’s Day now, this year, in this century?

I’m glad you asked. Have you planned what you’ll give your loved ones this year to let them know that you do indeed love them?  What about telling them in writing – maybe not in rhyming poetry, but prose that romps through some shared experiences, or just lays out why you care for them.

If you’re a writer already, your response is probably something like “duh”, and you proceed to write or not to write depending on how much prose you’ve already handed out to say “I love you.”

But if you’re not a writer, maybe you’d appreciate a little help. 

I believe that writing can be fun and even therapeutic.  In today’s world, however, we focus on drafting quick tweets, texts, and e-mails, but forget how meaningful a paragraph of prose can be. Writing can be a valuable way to reach out to one another to communicate our love.

To help you convey your love in real terms, following are some suggested tips. Of course, your paragraph(s) will vary depending on your recipient and the relationship you have. But if you use real-life experiences, you might be surprised how strongly you can connect.

In the beginning, let’s focus on just one paragraph—which must be at least three sentences: beginning statement, middle corroborating sentence, and concluding sentence. Of course, you can write more than three sentences so long as they follow that pattern.

  • Describe an event that made you laugh with your recipient. What was the event? Why did it make you laugh? How did you feel afterwards? A concluding statement might be that laughter is an important part of love.
  • Write about a time you went on a trip together—even if just to the supermarket. Did you talk about your day at work? Or about your next vacation? Or how you were going to pay the bills?  You could conclude that sharing your life with someone involves talking about your lives together.
  • Describe your first big purchase together—a new car, furniture, a house. What made it special (other than the pages of documents you had to sign)?
  • What about entertainment events you enjoyed together, like going to a sports game, movie, play, other event? Why did you enjoy it? Did you both like the same events? Did you root for the same team? Did you trade off who got to choose? What did it mean to you?
  • To use Valentine’s Day to reach out to a family member, e.g., mom, dad, brother, sister, you might focus on family time together.  You could even write dialogue of a family dinner together and have the family re-enact. For fun, switch roles, that is, Dad should read your dialogue; mom could read Dad’s etc.  Again, what was the event? Why was it memorable to you? What does it mean?
  • Or, if it’s just for mom or dad, think about a time they attended one of your sporting or school events. Why was it important to you? What did it mean?

Of course, you don’t have to only write about love on Valentine’s Day. There are many special days to let our loved ones know we love them—birthdays, anniversaries, other holidays, or for no reason at all.  But do consider making a note of the many little—and some big—events that coalesce to define love.  And do write about them. You might even end up with a book!

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