That’s it, folks! All the book giveaways I’m going to have, because I have no more books to give away. (I have to keep a few copies for myself.) I loved all of the descriptions of true love. They were beautiful and heartfelt, and once again I had a difficult time deciding what to include here, both as winners and as honorable mentions.
Here are the two I finally chose as winners, after much debate. Jennifer and Matt, I’ll email you about the books! I wish I could send books to everyone who participated in these giveaways. Thank you all – your writing totally made my Mondays!
From Jennifer O. @ Lit Endeavors:
True love is watching Grease two times a day for a week because it’s her favorite musical and you get a kick out of watching her sing “Totally Devoted to You.” Love is drinking two pots of coffee to stay up all night because it’s a Sunday, the Dr.’s office isn’t open, and she has a fever of 102. Love is walking around in one piece and shattering into a thousand when she saunters into a room. It is reading twenty Mercer Mayer books in a row because instead of falling asleep, her laughter is filling the room like coins being poured into a glass jar. Love is calling her 6 year old classmate a turdbucket because he called her haircut ugly and “boy-looking.”
Love is being reborn every morning, when she calls you Mom and asks you to make her pancakes with extra syrup.
I’ve read so many stories involving love, heard aphorisms about it, and seen it represented visually so often, I feel like I should be able to say something eloquent about love – romantic love in particular, but of course other kinds exist and should be celebrated as well. But the more I’ve experienced love in its various permutations, the more I realized it’s tremendously difficult to pin it down even in the most abstract terms.
When I think about love that is true, I find myself turning to examples from my own life. First and foremost, I love reading, writing, language, words. That isn’t to say I sit down every day – if only! – to write with a feeling of complete enthusiasm and unbridled possibility. Sometimes, I dread it. But as many difficulties as writing brings, life goes worse for me if I don’t do it for any extended period of time. Words and stories, they comfort me. They challenge me. They give me everything and demand everything of me. We work together through the prosaic and the ineffable. It’s a partnership of sorts, one that encompasses the greatest highs and some truly awful lows. But that aspect is such a part of me, I can’t see myself not writing or reading. I can’t remember who said that acts of creation are also acts of love. I think it’s absolutely true. Okay, so maybe one aphorism.
The other example is my parents. My mom had me at what was certainly too young of an age. Instead of putting me up for adoption, or taking any other alternative, she dropped out of high school and raised me – and the six siblings that followed. Meanwhile, my dad has worked two, occasionally three or four, jobs to provide for us and especially for me, to give me a good education through elementary and high school. His days off are few, and the hours he’s not devoting to the family are equally sparse. Same for my mom. Because of the time, attention, and opportunity they’ve given me, I have the mind, the talent, and the determination to make something of myself, to pay forward (and pay back, as much as possible) the tremendous debt of gratitude I owe them for making me who I am.
That’s love in my eyes, pure, simple, and true.
And here were the honorable mentions, which are also wonderful. These were especially difficult to choose, because once again I limited myself to four, just like in the last giveaway. But there were many more I could have chosen!
True love is not just taking out the trash and making the lunches and cleaning up the blood and poop and mud. It is not just the flowers and whispers and the shivering static sparks in your fingertips. It lives somewhere on the borders of these, braver and darker and gentler and fiercer. It smells of sulfur and fur and new bread and new babies’ soft hair. It tastes like dust and chocolate and wine and salt. It laughs and moans and weeps and rages. And it is very quiet. Shh. It is sleeping. And never sleeping, sitting awake at your bedside to keep away monsters.
From Liv DelGiudice:
I’ve always been attracted to found family stories. That’s the reason tales like Star Trek or the stories about Sherlock and Watson have always appealed to me. Of course as humans we love our families, and that love is pure and true. I love my mom! She’s absolutely my best friend, but there’s something about the idea of a found family story that really resonates with me.
I love the idea that Jim Kirk picked up the ashes of a life and blew away with them, to somehow end up on the Enterprise, with friends who could take him down a peg. I love the idea that in their own ways, in all their incarnations, Sherlock and Watson both bared their scars and let something other than salt into the wound. I love the idea that at the end of everything, Guinevere might have seen Arthur and Lancelot clasp hands and wondered if it was all worth it.
Because family is big, and it’s love, and despite what some people might argue, it is so much more than blood. It’s running to catch a Streetcar in New Orleans, hands clasped, trying to remember how to breathe because your best friend stayed too long with the author and now you might have to walk home. It’s staring down some Klingons with a sarcastic doctor and a logical Vulcan and a beautiful woman whose name means freedom, and winging it because you can trust them. It’s waiting three years to punch a missing part of your life in the face, because at the end of the world–he comes back after all. It’s the question mark. It’s forgetting to end your story.
True love is where you find it, however you find it, and however you want to make it. It’s got nothing to do with age or knowledge or wisdom, just the feeling of falling into nothing with a hand clasped in your own, and knowing that even if you smash to bits on the ground, you’ll have that palm pressed against your own, for infinity plus one.
From Michelle M.:
True love ripples like a stirring cadence, the ballad that breaks you out of sleep and clamors to be heard through the quiet. It’s the world opening up to beauty once again, the fates knitting their ruby threads through your heart and combing ribbons into your hair, their hands washing you in rosewater and Venus’ myrrh. It’s the fluttering forth of secrets once suspended inside, melodies once wan now stitching a gossamer rhythm you’re not quite sure of, but yet you listen, marking each delicate strain.
It’s finding a scent of flowers crowning you in the cold, and the smallest shiver of joy beating a steadfast song. Of stringing pearls through the salt of wounds and dressing the body in precious stones, a mosaic of crystal and sun softening the skin. A gorgeous salvaging of dreams, the lips aflame with seeds.
From Keith Glaeske:
True Love is a Force of Nature. As such it can be resisted or accepted, but it cannot be tamed or overcome. Eros was one of the few things that even the Gods could not gainsay (the other being the Moriae, or Fate) – they were as powerless before it as humanity. And, if story is to be believed, even Time and Death are not proof against True Love.
Just as no human-made structure can last indefinitely against the fury of Nature, no human-made convention, taboo, or boundary can long withstand True Love. Like water, it can drown you or sustain you; like fire, which can melt butter and/or temper steel, it can shatter you or strengthen you beyond breaking.