The Seymour Agency’s Second Winter Writer’s Escape

I went to a conference, a winter escape into a writer’s paradise of classes, introductions, and learning to pitch a novel to agents and publishers. The Seymour Agency sponsored it, providing excellent speakers on topics of forensics, crafting a novel, fiction, nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy, romance and mystery. Tor Publishing and Sourcebook spent time working to focus writers so that their books might make that great award in the sky of publishing a novel.

Can you imagine the opportunity to take an ocean cruise, see Nassau and Cozumel, meet exotic people, and spend time working on completing a dream? That’s what this agency did for me. While I was learning the foundations of forensics through the eyes of a woman who was raised by two medical examiners and now consulted with Hollywood to make shows believable, my husband read books, sat in the sun, and took a lot of naps. I think I mentioned that he worked nights and slept days, so we are always at crossed schedules.

I met a lovely young woman named Leslie who is a professional editor. She wanted to show us exactly what a copy editor does. Presenting using an overhead projector, she could have taught any school in Virginia that one third of the Standards of Learning that includes grammar, spelling, cohesiveness, and proper word choice. I think she felt a bit strange, what with most of us being over thirty-five, sitting poised on the edge of our chairs to catch every bullet point. She’s a great example of a woman who knows her craft and loves it. She blushed and smiled at us. She reminds me of a sparrow, always busy, always working, always available to listen. I love sparrows. They are a workforce of correctness with a chirp of encouragement. (Please don’t take offense, Leslie, if you don’t like birds. I mean well.)

The agency was started by Mary Sue Seymour, who died last year from cancer. My friend Andy had submitted to her last summer, and the response she gave him was clear advice, helpful tips, and a push to keep working on his book. He said she was the best refusal he ever received. She was a marathoner, a motivational powerhouse, and a believer in the power of the written world. She was also approachable. I’ve added her to the list of people that we walk for cancer to raise awareness and funding for. Before hearing about her, my list was mostly family. But she deserves to be remembered for her effort, indeed her fight, to care for others to the very end. Writers can be difficult, like herding earthworms who surface and then dive for the depths of the earth to get their quiet writing done.

I met Nicole, a senior agent, via email when I was registering. I told her I was related to Murphy, and boy has this been a year for Murphy. Since September, the family has had three totaled cars, one new baby, one thief, one hospitalization, one set of messed up paperwork, several temper tantrums, sixty hour work weeks for my husband, an angry daughter-in-law, a misplaced Christmas spirit and more. Yes, Murphy and I are more than friends, we must be related. There were bumps and bruises in my registration, and Nicole elevated me to human status and solved everything in less than five minutes. She’s one of those women who see you when you speak, listen to your meaning as well as your words, and gently pushes you in the right direction without your knowing it. On top of that, she’s a mother, wife, powerhouse of knowledge and a compassionate human being. It was my honor to meet her. Because of her, I walked away from the conference confident that I’m on the right path.

I met with Diane from Tor Books over a bottle of water in the champagne bar. I pitched my second book, the one science fiction with a naive but determined group of young women, and she gave me guidance on what genre it was, a space opera, a list of authors to read, and a good push to finish the one I’m halfway through. She was a gracious listener and I was her very last pitch. Publishers don’t usually meet with you face to face. She gave Tor books a gracious personality.

Deb from Sourcebooks, who handles a lot of romances, was hosting Stitch and Pitch sessions at odd times and scheduled times throughout the week. She sat and knitted, or unwound tangled yarn with the assistance of an extra pair of hands from one of the participants, as we learned how to talk about our novels. I don’t think she realizes that her honesty is unusual into todays age. Where things were lacking, she was quick to point them out. Her questions were pointed and she listened to the first words out of your mouth, then refocused you on what you were trying to say. You need to know your genres, your sub-genres, plot, characters and put it into one to three sentences because publishers don’t have a lot of time. Neither do agents. They can receive hundreds of manuscripts in a week and you need to catch the eye quickly. She also said to follow the directions on every agent and publisher’s submission guide. For writers, apparently we aren’t always good at communicating.

First line manuscripts were subjected to panels of participants and agents and evaluated on their originality, quality, and foreshadowing. No one is harder to please that a writer evaluating other writers. There was a panel on what happens when real life occurs and you are trying to write (I qualified for this lecture by more than a handful of life experiences getting in the way.) There was a panel about what genres are selling, one about diversity in literature, another about keywords and social media platforms, and I ran from one to the next with notes on my laptop and scribbled into a green notebook they had given all of us.

I had a good time and learned a lot of new information. It helped heal the pain of losing my mentor ten days before the trip. My husband was impressed that I had so much energy. We were both ready for my collapse when we got off the ship and started the second part of our trip. It took me four days to recover, but when I did I was still really excited. In fact, I hope they are going to sponsor a trip next February. I’m going to go again.

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Dailypost Challenge: Anticipation

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/anticipation/

While much of the world talks about gratitude, we in the U.S. find ourselves dealing with “anticipation” as the world shakes and turns around us. What’s going to happen in our future? Where will the next shoe drop? What happens if so and so does such and such? And then the political elbows appear to dog us back into our perimeters of uncertainty and our place at the bottom of the totem. Personally, I am tired of elbows being thrown to show who is the authoritarian expert on life itself and am ready to start throwing my elbows around. However that would be tiresome, and tiresome isn’t who I am.

I’d like to anticipate a broad future for us all, but I just don’t have it in me today. So I’ll simplify the anticipation of what I’m anticipating to what it means personally and shake out my brain’s rafters a bit.

We will survive to retire. We weren’t sure of this before, but as we get closer, well, the anticipation is thick with us. (Sorry Yoda.)

  1. Despite all of the efforts to throw issues between the two of us, my husband and I, we still stand together. I anticipate this to continue, after all, money won’t always be this tight, will it?
  2. Medical issues will be part of the future, but I think we can handle them. I have good doctors that are willing to work with me as my life becomes more complicated. I’m also willing, and have made arrangements, to donate my body to science so that more can be learned about MS, Type 2 Diabetes, and my other issues. I anticipate medical science will continue to improve our lives. I have to believe that the catch phrase of “there is a cure down the line” will eventually mean there is a cure down the line.
  3. I anticipate that my husband and my parents will remain independent. Alzheimers disease rates are down. Mom and Dad-in-law are both competent at age 81, and have significantly more energy than I do. They’ll both rock into the 90s knowing that they are well loved. We also have assigned rooms in their names if they ever do need to reside with us. Family will remain an important factor of our lives.
  4. Our pension is with a union which we predict will float through the changing times. Someday people will understand that those of us at the bottom and the middle are human too. We don’t expect it to happen in our lifetime, but hopefully for our children and our grand nephews and nieces. I anticipate that the union will stay in business.
  5. Our children are grown, and although there is still one at home, he’s a kind hearted young man. He knows that his situation is putting stress on us, but tries to mitigate it. He’s one hell of a salesman. He also has empathy for those who haven’t had his advantages and has learned how to positively effect those around him with small kindnesses. The other is a competent and surly, beautiful, young woman who can rise to battle as I was once able to. She’s smart, caring, kind hearted and one who will always fight for the underdog. It’s a nice thing to know that what we anticipated our children turning out like has come true. I anticipate that they will continue to amaze me. I anticipate that they will advocate for us when we need it. It feels good to know that they are keeping a close eye on me.
  6. I anticipate that I will become published one day. It has taken a lot of work, and I foresee more in the future, but I think that my dream will come true. What did Jefferson say? “The harder I work, the luckier I become.” Well, that is a truth that is hard to argue. Finishing the first book was a process of growing into wordier shoes.
  7. I anticipate, hope, dream, and lust after winning the Emily Dickinson Poetry Contest. It runs out of Chicago and hasn’t been offered for a while. This coming January it is back and will be accepting 46-80 page submissions of poetry by people over 40 years of age who haven’t had a poetry book published. (That would be me.) I’ve started the process of going over all of the work I’ve ever done and honing it down, categorizing it, slimming it, potty training it and all of the other things one must do to succeed where one has never even had a dream of success before. It’s an anticipation to fill all of those hours when I’m alone over December and January.
  8. I anticipate that I will start to make friends again. I’ve become rather reclusive. The first step to meeting people is getting out of the house, and to that end, I bought a car for me. It’s a vibrant blue 2017 Sonic. Why did I chose that one? I like the way Chevies crash. Two of the people I love have crashed tested their cars in the past 5 weeks and both owners of the Chevies got out of their cars and walked away from what could have been fatal accidents. It wasn’t what I intended to buy, but when I was out looking, I had my son looking out for me. The car had been in the dealership less than 10 hours, hadn’t been processed yet, had two miles on the odometer, and had never been test driven. In a lot of primarily silver, white and black cars, it called to me from around the corner and behind the service bays.
  9. I anticipate going to spring ball games for our minor league team, the Potomac Nationals. I anticipate going to a bookstore for events like poetry readings, sales, and browsing.
  10. I anticipate more people standing up for what is right, honest, fair and pushing back against hatred, bigotry, racism, poverty, and ignorance.

I think that I will develop a broader anticipation of what is coming in the immediate future if I am patient and stick to my value system. Kids always amaze me and give me hope. As I watch this next generation grow, I’ll learn which direction we’re headed in and then can focus my anticipation list better. I’d certainly like to become hopeful on a global scale. I’d better go back and look that that gratitude thing, too. Maybe it will allow me to anticipate some really good things in a new light.

Photo Prompt: Sunset Gold

The photo that the prompt is written on can be found at the link below:

Thursday photo prompt – Anomaly #writephoto

At dusk, everything is golden. The sun stretches, reaches long fingers to the land. One last caress to her children, one last kiss. Out there in the distance, they normally turned their heads away, as children do. It’s all part of the cycle of growing up. She never resented that. Tonight, though, she heard a sound, a coo perhaps of happiness, and turning saw a reflection of her own love reflected back at her. This was special, something she would see after a storm in the middle of the day. Musical notes added to the coo, until at last all of the sun’s errant children sang to her glory. Smiling at the rainbow, she clucked her tongue and tucked them into bed. Her sister the moon would protect them tonight.

The Leibster Award

The Liebster Award
Posted by Whiteawjwords@wordpress.com Image 7-28-16 at 3.12 AM
Imagine my surprise this morning/late night, when I was cleaning out my spam folder which wordpress so kindly fills for me, to see myself nominated for the Leibster Award. Writtrace.wordpress.com  has been one of the writers that I enjoy on a daily basis. Her writing intrigues me. So, I’m very happy to let her know that I accept her nomination. I’d also like to thank all of the new people and the old people who come and read what I write. Thanks so much.

WritTrace left me 11 questions to answer.
If you could give one power to every human being, what would it be?

The power to be kind.

According to you, which five countries should everyone visit?

Oh, so many places. Costa de Maya Mexico, Prague Czech Republic, Budapest Hungary, All cities in Germany, London England but there are so many more. Tokyo Japan, Vietnam, Barcelona Spain. I love travel and think it is the best way to open your eyes and heart to new people and traditions. I’d love to go to South Africa too.

What is your favourite animal?

Shiba Inus, the smallest breed from Japan and one of their National Treasures

Which period in history would you love to live in?

Here and now

What is your favourite story of all time?

Anne of Green Gables

Who is your role model and why?

My mother, Dr. LEBJohnson is my role model. She was the perfect mother for a small child, nurturing the four of us with attention and love. She let me be independent and make mistakes, but was willing to help me if I needed help. She pursued an education when I had entered high school, earning her BS, MS, and PhD in six years total. She supported my father after a series of strokes and did it with love. She ran Marathons starting in her late fifties and only giving up when the doc wouldn’t give her a warranty on her hip replacements if she went back to running. She’s still working and volunteering at age 80 1/2. She’s a great photographer. She’s a supporter of LGBT, women’s rights, civic responsibility. I can never reach her level, but I know I won’t give up. THat’s the most important thing she taught me, never giving up.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Things I read influence me a lot. Things in photographs, things overheard in public transportation that make your mind twist. I also belong to a Writing to be Published Class. They inspire me to give things my highest level of attention. They also keep me honest about editing. I haven’t posted any excerpts yet, but I will in the future.

What is the craziest thing you hope to do in future?

I want to publish a book that is well received by the public. I have two in the works and a poetry book sitting on the side of my mental percolator. Then I want to drive from Virginia US all the way to the bottom of Argentina taking photos and writing all the way.

What do you hope to accomplish in life?

I’ve been a musician, soldier, banker, mother, teacher and day care provider. I’ve worked sales. But all of these jobs have infused me with a desire to leave the world a better place than I found it by being kind and loving. So now, to keep the brain going and the enthusiasm full charge, I am writing 5 to ten hours a day. I want to take any extra proceeds after I pay off my debt load and buy up student loan and medical bills and forgive them so others can have a second chance.

What is your favourite quote?

If a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, what is a clean desk the sign of. Einstein

How would you change the world for the better?

I would buy up bills that have been sold for a minimum price and forgive the debt so that young families who are overwhelmed, students who have to move home so they can pay off the horrid debt, and medical bills from those suffering from medical bills that are causing them to lose everything. I’d send a lovely card, with a paid in full/keep for your future records. I’d sign it, “From one human to another”

I’m supposed to nominate up to eleven other bloggers that I admire:

diespringerin@diespringerin

MSNubutterflies@beautifulbutterflies75

Springstart@life : Kamakhya@thenewleaf2016

homehugshuskies@homehugshuskies

sarahngima77@sarahngima77

Elan Mudrow@skillreader

ninefolddragon@ninefolddragon

MissKymmiee@misskymmiee

catastrophiccoffee@catastrophiccoffee

Aishwarya@aishwarya148

Sissh@heartsearcher

If you choose to accept the award…
Thank the blogger who nominated you
Answer the 11 questions I gave you
Nominate up to 11 other bloggers yourself (preferably those with fewer than 500 followers, this is more of a newbie award)
Provide those bloggers with 11 questions of your own for them to answer
Don’t forget to put the Liebster Award sticker on your blog!
And here are the 11 questions for my nominees!

1.What is your favorite thing to create?
2.What do you want people to learn about you?
3.Who is your favorite author?
4.If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be?
5.How does visual art impact your writing?
6.Do you ever try new styles of creativity?
7.Have you ever met a person who impacted you in a positive way the first moment you met them? Who?
8.What animal would you be if you could be anything?
9.Where have you traveled in life?
10.What is your favorite way to waste time?
11.If you had do overs, what would you change about your past?

 

On Writing and Thinking This Morning

There are days when I wake up and the words race to the page before my fingers realize they are typing. Those are the best days, when I can write 10 poems before 10 in the morning. I love to write. I get my ideas from things I see or read or trip over. The dogs don’t mind those mornings, they get put out and I stand on my deck to see the day while they look for turtles to retrieve for me. Lucky for the turtles, I’m quicker than the dogs when it comes to letting them in.

There are moments when the world crashes in flames around my simple soul. I sit motionless, letting crises after crises take me in sorrow or anger. Raging against injustice is as natural as breathing to me. I’ve been doing it since high school. That’s a long time. The world moves in circles, or perhaps on a pendulum. I’ve been accused of thinking with my heart and not my head, but I use both. You should be glad I do. In my lifetime I’ve seen amazing things. I ponder about my mother whose world has changed even more. She was five years old when WW2 started for the U.S. She remembers sitting around the radio as if it were a television on the seventh of December, 1941. Her grandmother was afraid for the young men whose lives would never be the same. Her mother was worried that her husband would have to go to war. He said he wanted to go, but his telephone company job couldn’t spare him. My mother says she sat watching the adults talk about the evils of Hitler and understood the needed to be stopped.

My memories started with my vision of course, a few flurries of blurred moments. I remember the Cuba incident, the assassination of the heroes of the 60s, transistor radios and the movies. I remember when we got our first TV. I remember when I was 2 and saw Peter Pan on my grandparents black and white tv. We started by sitting on the floor and ended up in laps and on the sofa when the crocodile turned up. I remember Vietnam and my father moving to the other room for his dinner as he watched the news. Walter Cronkite was the man of the hour and told the news as he saw it. Censorship abounded in the 60s. I remember riding on buses. I put together ideas that seemed old as time itself, but in truth were new to my parents too.

When the first man walked upon the moon, I dreamed that someday I would travel to the stars. I dreamed that I would fly upon an airplane over the tossing seas and see parts of the world that were different from my world. In high school, I got the opportunity to fly to Germany. It was very different from the U.S. I think the trip to Dachau was the worst part of the trip and still can’t get the images out of my head. I took one picture. It was sunny and spring. Tulips flowered along the wire fences. The guard towers were empty, but I could imagine the guns aimed in at us. The picture didn’t come out that way. In fact, none of the pictures on that roll of film turned out. There was one picture though. It was night, there were spotlights crossing the yard. A figure knelt by the wire fence. There was a fog. Spooky, yes? It could have been an exposure problem. It probably was, but I was stricken by the idea that emotional turmoil could be held in a place and never really released from it.

Money turned out to be important when having friends. I had very little, my parents investing in books to stimulate our minds and not in junk or stuff. I had enough toys, you can always tell when a child has enough. The floor is covered with things that don’t have a place. So, without the trappings of nice clothes that matched everyone else’s clothes, without the money for hanging out or beer, I found my self in a unique place. I was weird. You all know that of course. I don’t hide the fact. I found myself looking for something I believed in. Music was my passion at the time, but I wanted something different. I wanted to know I had helped the world be a better place.

I argued with my father about his use of the n word. I won. I told him it was unacceptable to call names, even in the car while dealing with incompetents. I explained the history of the world and the significance of the trauma that black Americans faced. I explained how it changed their perspective on the world, one that we as whites could think about but never fully understand. He never used the word again. Mom told me she had a similar fight with Grandma over Brazil nuts. She had done the same thing I did. Mom was in the car for my lecture to dad, my indignant sixteen year old sense of duty and honor offended. I’m sure she smiled while she had her head turned out the window. We were raised to be circumspect and obedient. Raising our voices to our parents was frowned upon, but sometimes, I think my parents were glad to know we were thinking of more than ourselves. It took me in great stead as I grew.

I wasn’t religious. I wasn’t raised within the confines of a religion. When I was twelve, I thought a lot about God. People did weird things in his name. I was like most kids, I would pray for something trivial “Please bring my dog home, he’s run away” and hoped that there was a greater power than mankind. I looked for fervor in my world. What I learned was that there were mysteries we didn’t understand yet, and science admitted it. So I stayed on the outside looking in jealously. I wanted my life to fill that void within me. I could never find it. Where others heard the voice of God, I heard Walter Cronkite. Where others felt at home and comfortable not asking questions, I was still the four year old asking why. What was worse was asking who, what , where, when, and more whys. I never have gotten an answer. The sisters at the College of St. Benedict told me that was okay, that someone needed to ask the questions about faith so that others would think about their own. Lovely women, the sisters. They would talk about things that I needed to talk about. They terrified me. I was shocked the first time I saw a nun in a bathroom. I had never thought about their humanity before. It was their humanity that bolstered the teachings my parents had given me. In the college, there was an air of safety. In the real world, there was again the issue of money. Money seemed to control everything. I vowed I would never substitute money for needed, clean and tidy. Silly me, the world revolves around money.

What was the most important thing I have ever done? I taught. I taught kids of all ages and loved every single one, except one. I don’t know why I couldn’t get along with that child. He seemed to have everything a child should have. Loving parents, good clothes, friends, but he kept ramming people into the water fountain and I had to deal with bloody lips and tears. He kept hitting, for no reason except he was taller and faster than the small kids. Didn’t matter what I said to him, we couldn’t get into a rhythm of learning. I had a wise boss who transferred him to another class where the teacher understood something I didn’t at the time. Bullies need to learn that they can’t bully. Her students took care of it on the playground, she was turned away at the time. But I watched because I was facing her. It solved the problem and the child did really well in her class. His bullying others was symptomatic of a society that had been oppressed and parents that told him it was okay to hit. They meant in self defense, but kids don’t always hear your whole sentence.

I loved teaching. Finding a creative way to do anything was a lovely challenge and my cluttered but organized brain understood a child’s need for tactile, visual, audio, and other stimulations. I hope that the kids remember learning something from me that is important in their daily lives. I wanted them to love learning. I hope they do.

Transistor radios, then high fi systems, and records and tapes becoming discs, the rise of the computers and success of Apple, HP, Dell, IBM all new to me and new to my children at the time. there is a cartoon of a three year old holding a phone and smacking his forehead. The caption reads, “Grandma, it doesn’t matter which finger  you use to push the button on your computer, just click on it.” Technology. I never thought I would meet people online from Iran, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Germany, France, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden China, Japan and the rest of the world. I have people I read that live in South Africa, Australia and in the Philippines. I have friends in Mexico. My daughter married a young man that I introduced her to because I met him in a video game called Everquest. I went to a ball called the Labyrinth with her, and he was willing to come meet her in person.

I’ve been greeted coming off a cruise ship with a sign that said, “Hissistor of the Horde.” That’s my nickname, I still use it when I’m gaming. Most of the gamers in the world fall into the category of 40-70 year old women. It’s an escape. We all need an escape.

I wonder what the next thirty years will be like, I’d like to be here to see it. I hope I will, medical advances may keep me around a lot longer than previously predicted. I’m a shut in now that the heat of the summer is here. Virginia is hot, humid and rather unpleasant. My brain reacts badly to heat. My thought processes show, my physical abilities become unpredictable. But in air conditioning, I continue to make rather good progress. So I’m inside until the rains cool things down. I promised the dogs I’d start walking them again when it cools off, they aren’t happy at having just backyard privileges. How many turtles can you find in a backyard, after all? At least no snakes this summer so far.

The world is changing. We’ll change with it and be amazed we do. I hope your day is full of pleasant new discoveries and that all is well in your world.

Ann

 

 

Falling in Love Again

I’ve been married now for almost 36 years. For our anniversary my husband and I are going on a cruise to Mexico and Honduras with the intention of learning more about the Mayan Ruins. It was a great culture, one marked wit all of the traits that civilizations develop. I’m bringing my cameras, so there will be photos. The last time we went was in 2006, on the Grandeur of the Seas. We ended up with two photos that really showed the spirit of the people. I’m glad to be going, we’ve gone through so much in the last decade that time seems to have slipped a bit for both of us. We survived a recession when my husband gave support to those we love who lost or couldn’t find a job. We survived a mortgage that we had with Countrywide, and the change that made it a Bank of America mortgage. We kept our house, my two children married (not to each other of course), and one is now a proud homeowner. The other now has his dream job, and should soon be able to find a home for his wife and himself in the next year. But we’ve spent the last decade trying to do everything we could for family, and exhausting as it was it was worth the effort, and I think we forgot about the two of us.

Our differences have really accentuated themselves recently. We find things that prickle under the skin and have to stop and shake our heads. It never bothered us to be different before. We just had not taken the time to talk about these things. Little things wedged themselves between us, you know, the three things that most couples deal with. Children, even grown ones, money, and time. Those three things can become doom scenarios in a relationship.

We decided not to have a doom scenario. He had a week of vacation last week that we spent together.  I decided to become the romantic one. My husband decided to become the practical one. We talked about all of those prickly things. He made me dinner, I did the laundry. He pruned up the yard as I raked the magnolia leaves. He told me he liked the flowers I picked from my garden. I told him he was handsome. We went out to dinner. We walked the dogs together. All of these little bits of time spent talking. I told him I was worried that he wasn’t happy. He told me that he thought I wasn’t happy. We laughed. We made sure that as we walked or dined that we talked about each and every thought that was in our heads. In the end, it was the plain old boring things that you don’t have time to think of that made us both look at each other again. We’re partners, equal, willing to depend on each other.

Love isn’t that mad passionate wave that excludes people. Sex is nice (well, of course it is). That isn’t love either. Love is having someone there who isn’t trying to change you. Love is understanding that you will grow differently, but there will be so much to share. Music surrounds us both, and we find that our tastes have become more similar. Art surrounds us. Our families surround us. Our willingness to make a family less about love and more about the people that we surround ourselves with. Love is an adventure. It’s willing to take the wrong turn, but with a map to get it back on course. It’s the willingness to not give up. It’s the companionship of years of changes.

I’ve changed over time. I’ve kept the things that are the essential me alive though. I keep my silliness to bring a smile to his lips when he’s angry at the world. I’ve learned to understand that he needs to vent. He knows that physically I can’t keep up with the house. He doesn’t care. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to write. Dishes can wait until one or the other of us have the energy to do them. Usually it’s him these days. He said I don’t ever have to lift a hand to the house. He also likes working with me on the house when I can. We are at the point in life where we realize there is an end coming. It doesn’t frighten us. We just need the time to be together, the two of us.

A quiet room when the house is just us, and we sit and talk about the world. We read together, watch John Oliver together, and the house is tranquil. Our moral compass heading is identical. But the biggest change came this past week when he told me that he’s looking forward to the adventures we have coming. He wants to spend that time with me, exploring the world, taking a class together, being happy. I think that is what love is beyond all else.

Love is when something happens, good or bad, and you want to tell that person first, before all others. That sharing bond of excitement or sadness bring you close and then closer. I want time to be gentle enough so that we can walk to the finish line hand in hand and know that the greatest gift we ever had was each other.