Layering loves into the writing

I guess no one else found the flowers being delivered and arranged as fascinating as I did.  My friend Robin was a bit perplexed at my fascination, too.

But that’s what writers do, isn’t it? Become fascinated by things.  Obsessed.  Ray Bradbury spoke on writing from his loves, how his loves had informed his writing.  Carolyn See urged us to make a list of things we know about.  In my classes, we do lists of twenty five things we love.   

This morning, I’m on the between week–last week conference in Santa Barbara, next week conference in Dallas, this week finishing a novella for a Mother’s Day anthology. I was invited to participate in the collection, and in that instance, there’s a usually a fair strong idea of what the editors are looking for.  We talked about possibilities and I chose the thread of an "older" mother and her newborn daughter.   That’s as much direction as you get, usually–and I honestly do love coming up with themed novellas.  It’s a great length for me, a pacing period I instinctively understand (unlike, say, a short story, which usually defeats me, though I can easily write articles or essays the same length with no trouble), and there’s just enough room to paint a lovely picture, play with something and then set it free.

Harkening back to the Hemingway discussion, I found myself noticing how I’m using my loves in this piece.  It’s commercial and written to a specific idea (Mother’s Day), but that doesn’t mean it has to be cool or distant or shallow or not real in some way.  I’m using my love of yoga, in that the heroine runs a yoga studio in Denver (which is called Yogariffic–I was so pleased with myself for coming up with that name!). She’s questioning her motives and examining place where commerce and yoga and sustainable living meet.  And while I don’t think about commerce and yoga so much, I am often concerned about the meeting place between the comfortable easy American lifestyle to which most of us (er…me) have become accustomed, and the idea of sustainable lifestyles. 

Without revealing too much and spoiling your pleasure in the eventual story, she’s an older mom, 38, who falls in love with a Welshman.  There is an infant girl, and that’s where another of my loves came in–oh, it is so much fun to write about this mother getting to know her baby! That tininess.  The pearl-like fingers and toes.  The earthy noises babies make and the funny, surprising heft of their bodies.   

And layered in are the mornings I walked on the beach, alone in the low gray mornings, with the waves and the seagulls.

Sometimes beginning writers are afraid to pour all their love into their stories.  They want to be more sophisticated than that, or more "interesting".   Just do it, pour it all in.  Let it shine.

5 thoughts on “Layering loves into the writing

  1. ACTUALLY…I loved the post about the flowers at the hotel! Believe it or not, the female protagonist in my WIP is a floral designer, and I’m having lots of fun with that.

    In high school and college, I worked for Veldkamp’s and Third Ave Flower Shop in Denver during the summers, and while I had the typical love/hate relationship with the job, it definitely nurtured and reinforced my love of flowers.

    The new story sounds like fun!

  2. I don’t know if perplexed is the right word. I was more fascinated by your fascination…

  3. One of CR’s relatives arranges wedding flowers in Scotland. My favorite part of the job was the idea of going into the fresh flower markets in Glasgow in the early morning….I mean, really. How dazzling would that be?

    Robin–waving! Hi! 🙂

  4. All the flowers rode in on trucks in Denver, and the closest thing we have here to a fresh flower market is Central Market! Sounds heavenly.

    Yet another reason for me to get to Glasgow (and Scotland in general) without further delay! Well, maybe after the current situation there settles a bit. 🙁

    I was searching for photos of the flower market there, and didn’t find any, but came across this incredible stock photo of a lavender field in Provence.

  5. Oh, wow. That’s a gorgeous photo! Just amazing. Thanks for pointing us to it.

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