On Saturday, February 13th, I’ve been asked to participate in an author’s panel discussion and viewing of the new documentary Love Between the Covers (covers as in book covers btw!) at the Ashburn Library in VA (details at the bottom). To celebrate, I’m hosting my fellow panelists this week as we lead up to the date. I asked them all to write about what romance and Valentine’s Day means to them. Up first is author Tracee Lydia Garner with insights about being single on Valentines.
It’s Valentine’s Day – the day that romance was made for. Only I’m single. I’m a romance writer because the idea of love and falling in love causes me to start and finish stories with HEA – Happily Ever After, over and over again. It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t made to feel guilty about something, that’s ultimately not because there is some flaw or something I’m doing WRONG.
I’m fine being single and people really need to get a grip when single-happily unattached, make such a statement. It really is the truth. Its easy to focus on everything you don’t have, love, family, relationship. But do you really not have these things, or you simply don’t have the version of these things that you would like? You’re not IN an intimate, reciprocal, giddy kind of love fest? You’ don’t have any offspring “family” birthed from your loins? You lack fulfilling relationships? That cannot possibly be true. As a fulfilled person, do I long for the very things I’m speaking of? At times, sure. But most of the time, I make a conscious choice to FOCUS and to show gratitude for all I DO have, including the things above, most of us have in alternate forms that we should cherish and still nurture. That’s real joy and peace.
For my single gals, here are a few tips to get your mind off the happily hooked-up and on to other things:
- Get your own thang! What’s that? Your own “thang” is whatever makes you happy. You’re not at all inserting temporary replacement and gratification of some “thing” only for the longing to return later. What you are doing is shifting focus off of self. Return to a hobby you abandoned. Volunteer for a cause important to you. Give yourself a ‘pamper me’ day and come up with other things that allow you time to regroup and relax.
- Gather some other single folk and celebrate. At this time in your life you can do just about whatever you want, (so long as it’s legal) and you don’t have to check with anyone. Send your gal pals an invitation to dinner and laugh and giggle about all the silly things that make you smile. Think of a fun game and play the night away.
- Take time to reflect, write in your gratitude journal or compose a heartfelt letter to someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while. There’s a lost art: letter writing!
- Shop till you drop This always make me feel better. But set a limit. This not an excuse to go crazy spending.
- Host a tear-jerker-a-thon, alone or with friends. Most people frown on crying but I don’t know why anyone shuns a crier. It purges, it releases and a good novel or movie with a few cry time passages always makes me feel better. Often, after your Oprah Ugly Cry, you’ll feel ready to move on. Plus, according to Dr. William H. Frey II, director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Regions, says that crying is good for your health. He’s spent over 15 years studying crying and tears. I would bet that people who have a good cry are less likely to go postal. This latter part is not scientifically proven, sorry. Stick to what the doctor says and real research findings.
At the end of the day, people, it’s just another day. Make good use of it. I plan to.
Tracee Lydia Garner is a Virginia native and the author of five books. She writes contemporary romantic suspense and sweet romance. Launching her career and sealing her love of writing, at 23, she won the BET First Time Writer’s Contest for her novella Family Affairs, which was published in the 2001 All That & Then Some anthology. Her full-length novels include Come What May, The One Who Holds My Heart and Love Unchosen. Her fifth novel, Anchored Hearts released last spring.Currently she’s working on the sequel to Anchored Hearts, tentatively entitled A Warm Embrace and is also working on her first nonfiction book about event planning. She teaches an 8-week novel writing course three times year at her alma mater and works for a social services agency during the day. She loves writing, party planning and reading of course.
Now here’s the promised information about the Love Between the Covers event at the Ashburn Library on February 13th! Hope to see you all there.
Join romance authors, Tracee Lydia Garner, Adriana Anders, Diana Belchase, and Delancey Stewart for a Love Between the Covers film Screening and panel discussion on February 13, 2016 at 2 PM at the Ashburn Library: 43316 Hay Road Ashburn, VA 20147. Prizes and chocolate! The focus of the documentary and the discussion is about the romance writing community, how romance novels get written, and how such novels are perceived within the writing community and by readers.