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“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Dave Dahl, my teaching partner for acting class before I retired, used to say to the students, “Where’s the love?” when they were rehearsing a scene. I think they found that question really helpful especially since plays are centered around relationships. And sometimes the answer to the question was that the love was in a place that did not feed the relationship.
Since I wanted to base this post on that quote, I asked Dave where he got it. He told me it comes from Michael Shurtliff who wrote the book Audition. It’s one of his favorite quotes and now it’s one of mine too.
Ever since the first time I heard him say that to our students, I have been looking for the love in the stories I consume. After all, stories are about human emotions and the most important of those is love. Looking for the love applies to all the genres I watch and read. I’m sure it applies to all genres in one way or another, though the “love” might not be the love for a person, family, group, or any business or government entity. It could be fear masquerading as love, trying to maintain the status quo.
This morning as the ideas for this post were simmering on the back burner of my mind, the thought came to me that we can apply this idea to things that are happening in the outside world too. For example, when a new bill is being introduced into congress, or a state legislature, or even at the city level, we might want to decide whether it’s a good bill or not by asking ourselves where is the love in this proposed law? We can ask it about company policies, personal relationships, news programs, political figures, bosses; virtually any situation in which we find ourselves.
I plan to do that as a guide for every aspect of my life. I’ll keep asking myself, “Where is the love?” or even “How can I bring love?” to a situation.
Of course, the first thought I had about this post was to apply the “Where is the love?” idea to a story or two. So, here are a couple for you to think about.
My family, et al, book club group is reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s a book about Hiram, a slave in Virginia, who’s father just happens to be the Master of the plantation. Hiram has extra-ordinary talents, for example, he can remember anything and everyone he encounters, everything except his mother. He vaguely remembers her leaving him when he was very young, but the exact incidents around her leaving, and even who she was and what she looked like are lost in a fog. Hiram’s father recognizes his talents as far exceeding those of his legitimate son, Maynard. He can’t acknowledge, even in his own mind, that Maynard is a ner-do-well. So he has Hiram educated so he can look after his brother. And that’s just the first part of his father’s oppressions. But Hiram is blessed in a way “The Quality” in the book aren’t, and that places unimaginable opportunities in his path to do good.
The love in this book is among “The Tasked.” They, for the most part, are the ones who develop deep love with one another, even though they may suffer a great deal, and have their hearts wrenched when their families are ripped apart by their owners. It is their memories of love and connection that help them continue on.
By contrast, or maybe it just seems like a contrast, the other story I want to share about is, Red Sparrow, which is based on a book of the same name by Jason Matthews. This is a spy thriller which takes place in present time with a female protagonist.
Dominika is a prima ballerina with Bolshoi Ballet Company. At the beginning of the story she is injured during a performance, and is unable to dance ever again. Unfortunately for her, the ballet company was paying for not only her apartment but her mother’s desperately needed health care as well. Another unfortunate fact for Dominika is that her uncle is the head of the Russian Intelligence Agency. He presents her with the “choice” to work for him, or lose her mother’s high level health care. It’s a trap, of course. He sends her on a mission, in which the person she’s supposed to get information from is killed while raping her. And now she either goes to “Sparrow” school where she will learn how to be a seductress/spy for the State, or she dies because of what she saw. She realizes that she’s being herded into specific choices. As she heads off to sparrow school, her mother tells her to keep a part of herself separate no matter what they teach, or do to her. It’s the love for her mother along with her superior intellect, that help her as she finds a way out of the clutches of the powerful men who want to use her as a weapon.
I think asking ourselves where the love can be found, is another way to try to understand where people we don’t understand are coming from. What love motivates their choices? And maybe more importantly, what love motivates our choices? I know that some people don’t want to do self-examination. However, if we are going to heal the way we interact with each other, we need to at least try to heal our traumas.
I’ll just leave those questions and ideas for you to think about. I know I’m going to be looking for the love that motivates me more closely.
Welcome to my new followers. Have a wonderful week ahead.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2023
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
I’m so passionate about stories that I created the Story-Power podcast and Patreon communities so I’d have an excuse to talk story with other story lovers. If you’re passionate about stories too, and want to talk about what you’ve learned from your favorites, come join me at patreon.com/StoryPower.
If you are a podcaster, or have a message or fantastic product you want to share with the world, I encourage you to check out PodMatch. Use the affiliate link and tell them, Lucinda sent you. Then contact me so we can set up a Story-Power chat.