Shannon Henry

I recently read a short story that left me with one strong sentence forever imprinted in my mind: Love doesn’t need repaying because nothing can match it except love. In the book, the main character is disheartened because she wants to show her love through gratitude for someone else. She feels like she’s doing more taking than giving. The recipient of her affection, however, does not want tokens of gratitude or gifts; he wants love and only love. He didn’t want her gratitude because he thought it lacked love and she didn’t understand the reason for his anger, assuming it was rejection even though she offered love the only way she knew how. It seems to me to be a classic case of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Relationships of all kinds are often messy. Life is messy.

However, I’ve personally found that those messy periods in life are also a time for growth. As I reflect on life, I am amazed at the things that seemed so difficult to trudge through at the time are now so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Even the most significant of things have a way of settling in their place as time passes. I’ve also learned that being fully aware of things like time and emotion has potential to make me a better writer. It’s allowed me to identify what I am feeling as well as what I am not feeling. Sometimes it takes a little more effort to sort out what that means for me, but once I do, clarity follows. Some say being “too sensitive” is a bad thing. However, that’s one thing I would never change about myself. There are pros and cons to almost any trait. This is one that comes with some cons, of course, but far more pros for me.

Take, for instance, the story I mentioned above. As I read, I found myself identifying with the emotions of both characters. Cheesy as it sounds, empathy brings forth tears of both pain and joy. It reminds me that emotion is what makes a character realistic. I particularly enjoy stories that show the same event from the perspective of different characters. Like life, it’s messy that way. But unlike life, I can see more than my own limited reality. There’s something very liberating about that. No road blocks between emotions and interpretations of motives when the entire picture can be taken into account.

That, my friends, is why I write. If I can write just one thing that makes you feel something, that touches you in some way, well then, I’ve found magic. Why magic? Because magic leaves everyone in awe and each time someone tells me I’ve elicited a strong emotion in them because of something I wrote I am in awe. It’s humbling and amazing all at the same time. I’ll keep on trying until I get it right. Perhaps that day will never come. Isn’t that what writers do - keep on trying to attain a magic that is never quite perfect enough in their own eyes? That is my gift of love to you.