Valentine’s Day, at least in our culture, has been dedicated to red paper hearts, flowers, creme-filled chocolates, expensive dinners and anything else you can put a Hallmark icon on.
Then there’s the flip side of Valentine’s Day for all those singles out there–and though that’s not me anymore, I’ve been there many a time–who are intent to call the day something like S.A.D. (Singles Awareness Day).
I once went to an all-girls party where we watched the movie 9 to 5 and laughed till we forgot our misery of not being in a relationship. It was fun escapism. But today I want to advocate the opposite of escapism.
The intent of this post is neither to celebrate nor to bash the sensitive subject of Valentine’s Day. It is instead to remind us of the good that we can use our words for.
I owe inspiration of this post to a reflection on The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Write written by Larry Brooks on Storyfix.com.
I strongly believe that words should be used to tell the truth, paint a picture, touch a heart, inspire a nation, build a dream and so on. Words should be used for good. That doesn’t mean you’ll never touch gory, harrowing, frightening, or sickening subjects with your writing. But it does mean that there should be a purpose behind the words.
This purpose isn’t always apparent at the beginning of a draft, but at some point the message should be unearthed, then refined and honed so that your reader really gets something, learns a lesson, feels a deeper truth down in their heart of hearts.
A way to start writing with a purpose, is to write for those closest to you. My immediate family has told me many times that they value the Christmas cards I give them more than the gifts themselves.
Writers have the talent and proclivity, beyond most others, to express their love, esteem, and hopes for another person when they write a card, a letter, an email.
It doesn’t have to be mushy. It doesn’t have to be romantic. I write little cards for my sister all the time. My brother and I send text messages. I’ve discovered a note that I gave to my father for his birthday. It was propped up on the mantle over the fireplace in my parents’ house. He’d kept it for more than six months because of what it meant to him.
Do you see what I’m driving at?
Use your words on those you know will love to hear from you.
Use them to lift up a buddy who’s feeling depressed. Write a letter to a close friend who you lost touch with. Apologize for your part in a long-standing sibling feud, or maybe just let your brother know how special he was to you when you two were growing up together.
There are people in your life who would love words from you. Write for them. Write to them. Write because its your gift and your love to do so.
Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!
Are you doing something different this Valentine’s Day with your words? Tell me what it is!