Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Two Love Stories Inspired by Jack Kerouac

14 Feb

“Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk- real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.” ~Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Happy Valentine’s Day! I just want to take a moment on this sappy holiday to say how thankful I am for each and every one of you who reads my blog, leaves comments, and forwards it to friends. The life of a writer can be quite solitary at times, as we hole ourselves up in a room with our notebook or computer, and I’m so thankful for the community I’ve made through writing, researching, giving readings, and social media. Maybe I’m a big old nerd for spending so much time in front of a computer, but through blogging, I met my coauthor and made friends along the way so that has to count for something!  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read and support my writing!!

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day read this weekend, here are two great love stories inspired by On the Road.


Beatitude by Larry Closs


Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez

Will you be my Valentine?


Modern Love

14 Feb
by William Hilton

by William Hilton

When I was still just a teenager, I fell for John Keats. He was a Romantic, prone to fits of passion and depression, the highs and lows most teenagers can relate to. He had studied and gotten his apothecary license, but who wants to be a doctor when they could be a poet? Both fix the heart, do they not? He sat under a plum tree and wrote an ode to a nightingale. Swoon. He wasn’t stuffy. He infused humor into his poetry and broke traditional rules, using false rhymes. He went on “road trips,” walking tours of the Lake District, Ireland, and Scotland. There’s a beautiful scene in the film Bright Star, about Keats’ romance with Fanny, in which a million butterflies flutter though a bedroom. And isn’t that just like love? Whimsical. Animated. Delicate. Fleeting. Memorable.

Gregory Corso, the poet associated with the Beat Generation, was a fan of John Keats’ poetry. It’s easy to see their resemblance to each other—the way they both referenced their hero poets in their poetry, the cheeky humor, their admiration for the Classics, the way they strayed from conformity, their struggling to make ends meet.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s Keats’ thoughts on modern love.


Fragment: Modern Love

And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up

For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;

A thing of soft misnomers, so divine

That silly youth doth think to make itself

Divine by loving, and so goes on

Yawning and doting a whole summer long,

Till Miss’s comb is made a pearl tiara,

And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;

Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,

And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.

Fools! if some passions high have warm’d the world,

If Queens and Soldiers have play’d deep for hearts,

It is no reason why such agonies

Should be more common than the growth of weeds.

Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl

The Queen of Egypt melted, and I’ll say

That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.


Post-Valentine’s Day Book Club: Sexy Travel, Wedding Magazines, and Mysterious Photographs

1 Mar

It was the day after Valentine’s Day.  The night before, the subway became a roving flower shop as roses crammed between eager bodies heading toward their better half.  By morning, last night’s couples sat side-by-side, staring blankly out the subway car windows.  The streets were a lot less crowded that evening.  No one was carrying flowers.  It was a good night to attend a book club.

A group of coworkers from the publishing house where I work—ranging from managing ed to design and children’s books—went to MediaBistro’s Book Club Party at Bar 13 on February 15.  You know, because we don’t get enough books at the office.

And what a reading it was!  Francis Tapon read a scandalous tale of his traveling days in The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.  Susan Schneider then treated us to what it’s like to work as a writer for a wedding magazine when she read from her novel The Wedding Writer.  Hint: It’s glamour gone ruthless.  Kio Stark read from her debut novel Follow Me Down about a woman who finds a twenty-year-old envelope containing a photograph.

MediaBistro doled out free copies of the books, and the bar had a great two-for-one special on a wide variety of drinks.

What I really want to point out, though, is the authors’ websites.  Tapon, Schneider, and Stark each wrote very different books, and their websites reflect that.  Their websites are great examples of what an author website should look like—visually compelling, blurbs from media outlets that make you want to pick up the book, the option to buy the book, social media links, excerpts from the book, and a blog.  If you’re in the process of building your author platform, you may want to take a few cues from these authors.

PS: Here are the pics from MediaBistro’s Meet the Teachers Cocktail Party at Stone Creek in New York.

Profile of the Greek Cupid

14 Feb


Out of the opposites-attract romance of the goddess of love and the god of war sprang forth Eros.  It comes as no surprise that his genes of love and war make him the god of passion!

Early depictions of Eros show him as a stunningly handsome man, but today he’s portrayed as a winged boy.  He is the Greek Cupid.  He has a bow and arrows, which he seems to shoot at random.

Eros is so handsome that he must shield his beauty from his own wife.  Go Greece tells the story:

Problems ensue when Eros (called Cupid in this story) falls in love with Psyche. His radiance is such that for her own safety, he insists that she must never look upon his face, and he only visits her at night. At first, she’s cool with this, but her sisters and family insist that her husband must be a grotesque and dangerous monster. Finally, to shut them up, one night she lights a lamp and sees his glorious beauty, which doesn’t blast her but does make her tremble so hard she shakes the lamp. A few drops of hot oil dribble on her beloved, burning him, and he flies away from her in physical pain compounded by the pain of knowing she doubted him.

The doomed romance of Eros and Psyche reminds me in some ways of the Japanese legend of the Crane Wife, which inspired the eponymous heartbreaking song by the Decemberists.

Provincial wisdom often says love makes you blind.  Too often that rings true.  However, these stories speak toward another type of love that is beautiful and sacrificial, and that sometimes we need to have more trust and more faith in the person we love.

Hearts in the Window

6 Feb

One year for Valentine’s Day when I was growing up, my mother taped red doily hearts to the bay windows of our kitchen.  It set my girlish heart aflutter.  There could be nothing more romantic than red doilies in the shape of hearts!

My mother always had a way of making the holidays special at our house.  She would be the first person to denounce Americana or anything too craftsy as hokey, and yet she had precious decorations that only came out for the various holidays.

Living in a tiny New York City walkup with limited storage space, I’ve had to relinquish more and more holiday decorations with each move I’ve made.  It just never seems to make sense to pack up little trinkets that at most only get a few weeks of display time.

My “practical” decision making doesn’t bode well for my whimsical side, though.  The holidays seem to come and go without much fanfare, and New Year’s bleeds into Valentine’s Day, both vanishing into forgotten dreams.  I get wrapped up in my writing, in attending readings and visiting museums, and of course in shopping, and I forget to pause and really celebrate life.  I’m forever thankful for small moments, but I think sometimes we need to actually celebrate—even if it’s as simple as Scotch-taping a few doilies to the window.


Cartoon Crush

14 Feb

“You know, guys, sometimes I wish we were cartoon teenagers.”

~ Fez on That 70s Show


In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share my cartoon crushes.

Maybe back in ancient Greece, girls got all dreamy-eyed listening to myths about Hercules, but growing up in suburban New Jersey I got crushes on cartoon characters.  It wasn’t the Prince Charming type that I was into, though.  No, I liked them a bit scrappier–and wearing green tunics.

Peter Pan was one of my early cartoon crushes.  Wendy, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, and all the mermaids swooned over him, and I could understand why.  He was a real charmer, always flirting with one girl after the other.

My other big cartoon crush was Link from The Legend of Zelda.  On Fridays, instead of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, The Legend of Zelda aired on tv.  Like Peter Pan, Link was sarcastic and flirty.

That’s why I was so excited when my friend Sue sent me this link to The Legend of Zelda: The 80s Teen Movie.  If John Hughes made a film about Zelda, this is what it would look like.

Speaking of video games, if you haven’t seen Brothers Mario yet, check out Brothers Mario.

Also, Laura Vanderkam (168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think) wrote a telling article awhile back called “The Princess Problem.”


Who are your cartoon crushes??

Σ’αγαπώ: I love you

14 Feb

As a sea captain, traveling the world, my dad picked up words and phrases in many different languages.  “I love you” seems to have been his phrase of choice.  He can say it in practically every language.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the phrase everyone around the world wanted to learn how to say in different languages was “I love you”?

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My dad spent some time docked in Japan when he was young, and he was always particularly proud of his ability to profess his love in Japanese.

A few years ago, I traveled to Tokyo and visited the adorable cafe in the pictures above.  The decorations were all heart-shaped and even the foam of the latte was spun into a heart.  Yum!

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In Greek, the way you say “I love you” is: Σ’αγαπώ, pronounced s’agapo.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!