Friday, February 13, 2009

Sharing the Love

What a delightful surprise that so many people contributed to the discussion on Sally Stuart's new book, Christian Writers' Market Guide 2009.

How did we randomly choose the winner? Before writing the column, I "purposed in my heart" to choose the fourth, non-NovelMatters commenter.

And thus, it is Susan Storm Smith who will receive the book! Susan, would you please tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you plan to use the book? And then please use the "contact" function on the site to let us know a mailing address to which to send the book.

We are going into a holiday weekend where "love is in the air." I'm not a fan of romance novels -- give me either blood and guts murder mysteries, or exquisitely-written character studies.

I believe one of the most profound descriptions of love I ever read was Toni Morrison's, in Beloved:

"She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind."

In trying to analyze what makes this so moving and effective, some of its qualities are elusive.  For instance, with the quote alone (which appears at the end of the book), one cannot understand the context of the identity of the speaker nor the events that led up to the statement.

On the other hand, it is universally true.  From ancient times people have known the destructive power of personal disorder. In fact, most of ancient Egyptian ritual and much of ordinary daily life for millennia focused on keeping a concept known as chaos at bay, and elevating the principle of ma'at, or order.  In the Old Testament, one of the most overt actions of God against the enemies of His people was to send His terror ahead of them, throwing the foe into confusion.

Morrison's simple, unembellished and even conversational description speaks of the power of a relationship -- indeed, of a person in a relationship -- to be able to take the condition of scatteredness in another and make order of it. While the body may be indeed as the apostle Paul described as wasting away, the mind persists. In such a gathering action of other-centered love, the enduring part of us is at least temporally saved.

What is your favorite description of love from a novel?


Bonnie Grove said...

Okay - I'll go.

I'm not a reader of romance novels - or at least overt romance novels (I gave up those teeny books with shirtless men on the front when I was 12). But that doesn't mean I don't like a good romance!

I'm someone who lives her romance - I'm deeply in love with my husband, Pastor Steve, so maybe it is when you walk around with squishy feelings about someone, you don't need to indulge in bodice rippers?

Anyway, here is a Alfred Lord Tennyson quote that sums up my courtship with my husband:

"And once he, with one long kiss, drew my whole soul through my lips, like sunlight drinketh dew."

Latayne C Scott said...

Wow, Bonnie. Steve must promise only to use his powers for good!

Steve G said...

No guarantees about the state of Bonnie's bodice, though I do promise to only use my powers for good. Is that my good?

2 things come to mind. The first is not fiction, but poetry. And this one is not fiction, but non-fiction for me...

"Elizabeth Barrett Browning said:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!
And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."
I didn't know what that meant until I met Bonnie. Maybe have a character quote that in your novel and then I could point to that...

The second is a novel. It is Peretti's Piercing the Darkness, and the scene where the "heroine" on the run finds herself in a meadow and is so tired of running - from people and God. She finally surrenders to God and is "saved". The scene describes it from the angels perspective. It is one of the best examples of love (from God to human) I've read so far... though the one in Gabby Wells The Musical is pretty touching too!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Latayne & Bonnie. Romance isn't my favorite genre. I like to simply play on the edges. But three of my favorite books, ever, is the trilogy, Black, Red & White, by Ted Dekker. An incredible story! I hate when I go to look for a book and find that, once again, I've loaned it out and not gotten it back. Such is the case with White, so this is from memory. At the end of White, one of the amazing characters says to the main protagonist (I believe) "It's always been about the great romance." Even now, just thinking about that scene, gives me chills. I highly recommend everyone within the sound of my voice read that trilogy to find out exactly what that means.

Other than that, the love story that emerges from Sea Wolf is my next favorite in all of literature. Oh, maybe tied with the love story that emerges from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Both amazing stories.

Susan Storm Smith said...

First, thanks for the book. I have been a fan of Sally Stuart's book for years but gave mine away when I moved to Africa. Now back, I can have a great resource to use for my article and biblical studies submissions.

I grew up a Mormon, left it got into the occult/New Age/Kabbalah/you name it I did it groups. The Holy Spirit finally called me out and I found the foot of the cross, totally convicted of my wretched self, needing THE Savior.

I have lived all over the US and East Africa. Writing has been a passion since about 4th grade, love teaching biblical studies, and mentoring on many subjects.

Just realized how long this brief message is and now you know I do love to talk :-)

Thanks again LaTayne! love your website and insights.

Latayne C Scott said...

We are thrilled to give this book to you, Susan. Be sure and send us your mailing address and we'll get this in the mail to you asap!

Kathleen Popa said...

Susan, congratulations for winning the book!

Steve, since Bonnie's comment, I'll never look at your picture the same. (Fanning myself!)

A friend of mine, Mandy Sutter, recently wrote the loveliest love poem. Makes me cry. Here's part:

you brought it to me
in your hands, on your lips
in your smile. The world
the same place
I had lived all my life
but now it was home.

Anonymous said...


How lovely to visit here and find you've quoted a bit of my poem! That's indescribably lovely. Thank you.

Some words that have always stayed with me about love are at the end of a C K Williams poem called Instinct.

'Funny, yes it was funny, wasn't it, to fall and cry like that, though one certainly can understand/we've all had glimpses of a premonition of the anguish out there, you're better now though/aren't you, why don't you go back and try again, I'll watch you, maybe have another drink/yes, my son, my love, I'll go back and be myself now: you go be the person you are, too.'

Patti Hill said...

Oh my, the power of words to express love...thanks for sharing your treasured love words all.