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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lost In the Valentine Aisle

In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, I avoid the card aisle, as I am still recovering from the holidays, and I know that if I stop, I will linger a long long time. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy tiny winking flashes of red and pink. I hear whispers, I swear, hinting... Pick Me Pick Me.

I am firm in my resolve. I know better. Once I bend, once I turn, once I give them my attention, I will be hooked.

I have a case of card envy for those who reach out and pick the very first card, then head to the checkout line. Without even reading the inside text! Are they that experienced, that in tune with the one that they love, that they bear such a gift of certainty, while I struggle?

No, then I think, no. The Valentine Experience is very similar to a stroll through the library. I turn first to the authors I love, hoping for a new edition, or perhaps to a book past due in the rereading department. 

I try to maintain my focus, but if I pause, even only for a moment, I feel the pull. It might be a cover, or a certain font, or the authors name. 

Something Inexplicable happens and I swear I hear it or sense it, the same voice saying PICK ME PICK ME

So I do.

Never once. No, not even one time have I been disappointed. So much so, that I believe the books PICK ME! Know what I need, understand what I lack. Either humor or a sympathetic character. A story that says exactly what I need to hear. Mac & Cheese comfort food for the body. A great novel, comfort food for the soul.

Ah! So there it is. 
The perfect Valentine’s card is comfort for the heart.

Yes, yes, I know that there are Scrooges hovering, ready and willing to say that Valentine’s Day is merely a greedy commercial based on guilt.


Those people are the ones most in need of a card!
Valentine’s Day is not just for sweethearts. It is not exclusionary. It can and should be inclusive to all. Tell me that you do not have one sweet soul in your life who makes you smile. Who gives you comfort. Who walks with you in the mornings, or greets you in the fast food lane by filling your order before you can even shout into the speaker. The someone who loves you back, even on a bad hair day. Especially on a bad hair day.

I love you.

Three little words but on Valentine’s Day it seems we all have a need to be more poetic. More wordy. Truly more heartfelt. We know what we want to say, but then we become…

Tongue Tied

Once, many years ago, a gentleman, a loving husband, wrote to me to design a piece of my artwork for his wife on Valentine’s Day. He started by saying I needed more information about his wife. He wrote several paragraphs. I replied with a suggestion in MY words of MY translation of his feelings. He was NOT happy. I missed the mark. So he tried again to convince me of what he needed to say. Back and forth we emailed for days. Each time he grew more and more frustrated with me.

I became frustrated too, until I took a moment to go back and reread what he had written. I cut and pasted and sent him one more email. His.

I simply said. Here is your Valentine. Beautifully and lovingly written by YOU. You don’t need me, you need only to SEND it. Everything you want and need to say is... 

He was NOT happy.
But he SENT it.
Then sent me a thank you note.
For helping him sort out the words.
Let’s just say, 
it was a very happy wife and a very happy life.

You may be thinking that I, as a writer, should never need to be lost in the card aisle. That I could write something myself. Sometimes I do. However, just as I am, in the library and in life, I find myself drawn to the words of another. A different perspective. Writer’s suffer writer’s block too. We are often frustratingly tongue tied, or in need of a new point of view.

Which is why I am now looking forward to standing in the aisle, along with many many others, quietly reading one card after another waiting for that glorious moment when the magic occurs, and we hear PICK ME!

Remember. The most important response you are seeking on this day of love…is the look on someone’s face that says with a smile…

Out Of All the Others…You…


Add a box of chocolates for bonus points.

It never hurts.

Happy Valentine's Day From the Garden


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