John Bayne

Writing Love Letters with Heart 
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  Writing of love, about love or while in love can be challenging. We all have read sappy, soapy and drippy love stories. They infuriate us with overt sentimentality as other well-written stories make us weep. Writing of love asks us to almost take the middle ground. On the other hand the danger is having a story without passion. Then there are tales that have nothing to do with love between two people. There is love for the earth, great music, and a pet. There is love that exists on a higher spiritual plane. Some stories seem to have nothing to do with love yet love is in every word. 

  Where do you start? First decide what you want to write. Once you have established the "what" then establish the how. That is, what approach could you take? Are you optimistic or cynical? Have you been hurt and want to share your sad tale? You could write a love sonnet, a play, short story or even a screenplay. The choices are endless and depend on your abilities and sense of adventure. Annie Lamott, Stephen King and other established writers suggest writing the bad first draft. Write it all down. Sometimes the words lead you in the direction you should take. A great love sonnet was on your mind but what shows up on the paper is the story of your most favorite teacher in grade school. 

  When writing about love, the surprise is in what gets revealed. 

  Loving the Artist Within 
Where do you feel love? I feel love in my heart; sometimes it is like a rush in my belly. I feel love in places, church, outdoors, or eating out with friends. Love or lack thereof provides us with a well of creative material. In his book Writing from the Body, John Lee devotes an entire chapter to loving the inner artist. 

  If we can't love the artist within us, we won't create. Through loving ourselves and creating we can love others more fully. The best gift to give the world is our creativity. Love takes courage. It requires an open heart, it asks us to rise to the occasion and be an active participant in life. As artists, we must be engaged fully in living otherwise our art can be lifeless. Take time everyday to do your craft. Art is not a selfish act. Great artistic creations can benefit the world for centuries. Maybe your art will not become well known but actively participating in it will send ripples out into the world. You may never know how your well-turned word has helped another. While exploring this idea of love remember to love yourself first. 

  Creative Writing Prompts 

1) Remember the first person or thing you loved. Was it a parent, toy, character, pizza? Take five minutes and write about that first love. 

2) Take five minutes and write about the love that got away. 

3) List 25 things you associate with the word heart. As an example - Valentine's Day, weddings, surgery, chocolate, babies, exercise. Looking over the list choose a couple to explore. Write the word on the top of the page and begin to free associate. Let the words flow without editing for at least 15 minutes. Look over what you wrote. Were you surprised by what you wrote? Disappointed? See if you can expand on it or pull a line or paragraph and create something entirely different. Try this with several of the words on your list. You may find new thoughts and ideas emerge from your list. 

4) Read. Watch. Read great love stories. View movies about love. Dive into love and drink it up. 

May you express love in your every word and your every action. 

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