In the course of my obsessive rewrite, I haven’t been what you could call a consistent blogger. But it’s Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day demands attention. Misanthropic muttering about how Hallmark Cards, the boxed chocolate and red rose industries have a stranglehold on American culture, I love Valentine’s Day. Always have. And as solidly and happily married as I’ve been for a really long time, every year the sight of those red roses brings back that heart-achingly, heart-poundingly, heart-rendingly intense desire to be lost in the throes of romantic love I felt before all that when this day rolled around.

There I was, even in elementary school, trying to decipher the inner meaning of the mass-produced, cartoon character card that I (and all other members of my class) received from my (completely unreciprocated) beloved. There I was, madly dating an assortment of dashing bozos and getting (blush) serially engaged to some pretty great guys. There I was, waiting for what I have now, marriage: going steady on steroids. A permanent valentine.

And yet I still wait for those roses, and I still write my husband a dopey poem, and that Valentine’s day intense longing for romantic love that the day is all about for me still permeates my writing. When people ask whether any part of me is in my characters, and if so, what, I tend to go yes, no, maybe, um, and struggle with the question. But it’s Valentine’s Day, so yes, the Valentine’s Day part of me does. So much. There it is on the page.

AuthorAnn Stampler