What’s Not To Love?

I’ve fallen in love a few times in my life, and I hope I fall in love again and often. I’m not talking about falling in love with a person, though that’s noteworthy when it happens, I’m talking about a less fraught version of the same experience.

I fell in love with horses before I could read. The only thing I could draw as kid was a horse, and I managed that by building a make-shift light box and tracing the Connemara pony stallion from “Ponies of the World.” I had the World Book article on horses about memorized, I knew the parts of the horse better than I knew the nomenclature for my own anatomy.

I was twelve before my loved ones helped me buy a cranky old Quarter Horse gelding, but prior to the arrival in my life that Eponymously Named Most Noble Steed, Buck, I clutched close to my heart anything that looked, smelled, felt or moved like a horse.

The same thing occurred with the piano. Once I realized, “I can do this,” I practiced at all hours. If I wasn’t practicing, I was reading biographies of the composers, trying out other instruments, learning theory, singing, teaching piano, accompanying instrumentalists and vocalists, or learning to fake. That I was a hopeless disaster as a performer mattered naught. I loved the piano.

Still do, and I still love the ponies, pups and kitties too.

Now, I’m also enthralled with writing. I often have several projects going at once—a book I’m just thinking about, a first draft being created scene by scene, a finished work in major revisions, and a submitted manuscript moving through the publishing pipe line. I love it all.

I love coming up with that perfect, best, where have you been for the past six months, opening line. I love hunting typos in the galleys. I love excavating a better book from a rough draft, and I love sculpting a still better book from a smooth draft. Yes, there are rough spots. I loathed getting tossed off my horse, hated the performances that ended in disaster as a musician, and I dread the mean reviews (though thankfully, all of those experiences have been rare) almost as much as I dread the prospect of disappointing my readers.

What I’m finally figuring out, though, is that passion is its own reward. Parts of writing a novel are hard for me; some parts take longer than others, and some leave me feeling utterly inept, and yet, I’m in love. I’ll deal with the dips and twists because this is the ride I’m supposed to be on. I’ll get there, I’ll figure it out, I’ll make do, I’ll persevere because I’m in love. I’ll land on my backside seven times and get up eight times because I’m in love.

And there’s no place I’d rather be. This is how I want my characters to feel about their relationship (by page 343), and this is why they will get that happily ever after eventually.

What about you? Fallen in love lately, or does the whole notion make you cringe?

To one commenter below, I’ll give her or his choice of a signed Grace Burrowes book.

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27 comments on “What’s Not To Love?

  1. I believe loving what you do, having a passion for it, is what makes life worthwhile. I am actually very fond of Frederick Buechner’s definition of vocation — “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”.. Here’s hoping writing is your true vocation, because we have a hunger for your words.

    • love Polly’s definition and I echo her sentiment ! though I started piano at 6, my real love was space, everything about space travel, the planets, the astronauts my mother worked near at Goddard Space Flight Center. Whil you were memoriizing composers, music terms and horse parts, I was doing same with the planets’ orbits, moons, mass, etc. Totally useless stuff. But once I picked up the guitar, it became my passion along with performing vocally. Thank goodness I discovered writing because it’s just as you describe. The journey is the best part.

  2. I have fallen in love with several things lately. I have discovered a love for Hydrangeas,I love to write(just wish I were good at it)

    • Gail, I don’t know a published author who doesn’t sweat every book that hits the shelves, and as some point have wracking doubts about their ability to write. It seems to go with the territory. I like a quote from Robert Hughes, though I think it’s a little snarky: “The greater the artist the greater the doubt. perfect confidence has been given to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

  3. I fell in love with my husband when I was 17 and I still love him to this day. Love can be scary and hard and it takes work. But the pay off is a wonderful. I feel that love is a state of mind and a feeling in your heart. There are so many thing to love in the world. I love my family. I love my pets they make no demands and are always happy to see you. I love Hosta’s because they diverce in color, shape ant size. They also make me happy to look at them. I love to read. Books open a whole new world with each one. Never close yourself/heart off to the wonders of the world you never know who or what might be around the next corner.
    [email protected]

    • Lori, I think you’re point out an Eternal Verity: Once you develop the courage to love flat out, passionately, and that love is returned or reinforced, it becomes a part of the way you approach life. You lose your timid, and you get to roar–even if it’s “only” about hostas, pets, and spaghetti sauce.

  4. Love what you do & do what you love.

    I fell in love about 4 years ago with dog training. I never owned a dog. Never raised or trained a dog. But in the course of volunteering as a puppy raiser for my local service dog organization I made sure I learned how before I got my pup.

    And you know what? I found out I absolutely love it & I’m quite good at it. Friends unruly dogs? Under control with me. Crazy puppies in training? Sitting sedately by my side. My own pup? Failed as a service animal, but found his calling in Search & Rescue. Is it easy? No way! But so worth the result at the end of 2 years of hard work.

    Anything you Love is worth working for. It’s worth going that extra step to make it the beat you can. Love, pride, pure enjoyment in the work you do. THAT is priceless.

    • Joseph Campbell was onto something: “Follow your bliss,” but how could you have figured out that you’re a dog person when there were no dogs in your emotional vocabulary?
      Congrats on your Search and Rescue pup. If I were to foster a dog, it would a candidate for a Diabetes Dog. They are in very short supply, and badly, badly needed.

  5. I love old book, espeically those of Scottish history.The feel, the bindings, the notes others have left, so the each individual book has a unique life beyond the body intended by the authors. I will read all of them but I can’t help myself just maybe I will need it for research.

    I also love to do research, when a friend who is writing a book and needs to know a minute detail, I love the journey to find the answer the question. Meeting people along the way and finding out new information that I know probably will find a way into a book that I am going enjoy reading. I know others say your a writer if when you get up in the moring and can’t do anything else, for me that is research. Thats why I still take history courses even though I have my degree, I live to be a life longer learner.

    I love archives and libraries.

    • Jody, I can understand why you love libraries. I’ve never met a librarian who wasn’t a research hound crossed with a helping hound. If they don’t know, they won’t lay their head upon the pillow until they’ve tracked it down for you, or at least gotten you some references to check out.
      I really enjoy research too, because heaven knows, human beings get up to more nonsense than any fiction author ever imagined.

  6. I love to love and anything to do with it! It is what makes the world go round and we need more of it!

  7. I’m in love with my grandchildren but still waiting to fall in love with a great guy for the 2nd time.

    • Sheila, I don’t have grandkids, but I am aware that being a mom, I learned a lot about loving–maybe all the important lessons?–and now I feel like I’ve got a great, big, shiny heart all ready to turn loose on the world, and… it’s not time for grandkids yet, and waiting for Lord Perfect (apologies to Loretta Chase) doesn’t seem like much of a plan.

      Guess I’ll have to write more romances… LOTS more.

  8. I fell in love with the weekend cottage of my grandparents in the middle of nowhere in the Thuringia forest. I had already spent and loved some great time on that enchanting farmlike little piece of the world as a child, playing in the woods and the creek, being around with the neighbour’s bees and horses and geese and cows and pigs…
    But I truly fell for it when I first came there with my at that time newly found boyfriend – now my husband (and he claims to have fallen for ME there!!!). We loved to rough it -no running water, no TV… We enjoyed the sunrise and the thaw and the noises of the forest while breaking our fast on the terrace, took our bikes or boots for great tours and enjoyed the cosiness inside on rainy days… I conceived my first child there, made my by then not yet husband propose to me there (we went there just for this purpose), got “our song” there and chose a nearby register office for our marriage.
    I am just now longing to go back there, as with our little children the opportunity has never really arisen yet and the longtime rental contract will soon expire…

    And I don’t want to curry favour with you, Grace, but I truly and wholeheartedly fell in love with your characters and stories and can’t seem to wait until the next ones come out (you quite filled up the “Coming soon” page!!!)…

    • Conny, your description of this cottage makes me think of fairy tales and gingerbread, also happily ever afters. What wonderful memories you have of Oma and Opa’s little cabin. I have nice memories of walking through the Black Forest with my younger brother on a pretty summer day, the sun slanting down through the trees, the wind a soft, friendly whisper… I recall thinking to myself, “No wonder some of the best fairy tales come from this place…”

  9. hi grace my lifelong love interest would be books:). I started my devotion with books when as a 6 years old kid stranded at home due to sickness i have nothing to do except reading the fairytale books my father gave me. Then i fall in love with running and swimming and ever become a runner but due to traffic accident i could not continue it again then now i fall in love with literature and eventually romance books:). Please don’t count me because i have won books from you in the past. Just commented because i want to say hi to you:)

    • Aretha, Hi to you too! I love books more and more the older I get. I’m thinking of pursuing a master’s degree in English literature just for the pleasure of it… if the time ever comes when I can put the day job aside.

  10. Falling love with horses, kittens and puppies is like breathing for me, involuntary, necessary and always happening. Now falling in love again after my mate’s death, is a much different prospect.
    Just as the Universe placed the gift of a wonderful man on my doorstep this spring it occurred to me that loving someone again could mean be shattered all over again. So I am focusing on the moment, staying open to all the potential, because not Loving again would be a shoddy testament to the Love my mate unstintingly shared with me.
    Books like yours help keep that focus on the benefits exceeding the risk.

    • I heard an interesting idea from my former Spouse today: The more you can let the past go, and leave the future to another day, the better your overall emotional and physical health is likely to be, and conversely. Upon reflection, I think you and he are onto the same piece of wisdom. This moment–right now–is all we have, so why not be present to it?

      • Today I can impact. The past I can only selectively sort what to hold onto and carry forward. Grief and chronic illness continue to hammer these lessons home for me. Critters have never lost this wisdom, and seem to labor to share it with us.

  11. Hello Ms Burrowes,

    I was actually looking for a author bio for tomorrow’s guest post when I stumbled upon this. I think it’s a great blog post. Took me on a walk down memory lane.

    I first fell in love with books. I was twelve, and used to read – infrequently – when I saw Harry Potter on the television. It was interesting and in the school library, I found the latest release: Harry Potter 6. Reading such a complicated story from the end shouldn’t have made sense. And it didn’t. But I fell in love with it anyway. I read insanely. I read in the toilet. I read in the elevators to the park (I lived on the fourth floor). I read on the bus to school. I read by inserting them into Math textbooks. And then I read romance novels. And am still suffering…

    (By the way, just noticed how many people have talked about books here. Warms my heart.)

    • Hogwarts has done a terrific amount to up the book-literacy of coming generations. Some would say JK Rowling single-handedly revived the YA market, which hadn’t seen much action since Frank and Joe Hardy, The Bobsy Twins and Nancy Drew were loose without supervision.

      In any case, even I have read some Potter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh, to be on a desert island with nothing but a TBR and a well stocked luxury villa…

      And on that note, this week’s winner is… Christina, who fell in love with the pups.