The Astonishing Romance of the Writing Life

By guest blogger Meg Sweeney

I see your face on every flower, your eyes . . . the stars above,
It’s just the thought of you, the very thought of you, my love.

Billie Holiday sang those words with her deep, husky voice, and reached into all of our hearts. Lovely Romance: wildly desired, completely innocent, fleeting and all-consuming; and always within our grasp.

For me, I have had romance in the space where I have allowed myself to believe
in a partner wooing me. Even if I know I am the fool, exposed, believing, I fall and the other falls too. In this romantic and awkward space, romance is free to dance and play. If we can only keep that space open and nurture it.

With writing, the relationship is guaranteed. The partner being that immense expanse—Imagination—that loves us unconditionally and is always waiting, waiting, waiting to be wooed. How grand to be reintroduced to my Imagination midway through my life.

But writing goes hand-in-hand with commitment and work. Is there anything romantic about commitment? I think there is. Perhaps commitment is just a deeper and more meaningful “romance.” I feel a romantic and nostalgic feeling towards those who really embrace commitment.

Here is the story of a sixth-grade elementary boy, Jun, who loves soccer. I heard this on the radio on Spot on, Tokushima:

Dear Radio Listeners,

I started playing soccer in second grade of elementary school. I wasn’t very strong and it was hard for me to keep up with the other players. Our coach was always yelling at us to improve our “lifts.” He said that if you can master the lift then you can do all the other moves in soccer. I mean, if you can do a lift with ease, like in your sleep, then you can do all the other really fun plays you see on TV.

We practiced every day for hours, but after two years I still couldn’t do even one lift. Finally, on the last day of third grade, I did my first lift! I steadied the ball with my left foot and then balanced it on my right and lifted the ball into the air.

In fourth grade I could do 183 lifts. I could kick it high, kick it low, balance it in front and from behind. Most importantly I could keep it out of the opponents’ range. If you can really do a lift you can control your speed, too, and control the whole game. Now a lift comes easily for me and I have no idea why it took me so long to do it.

I am in sixth grade now, and I love soccer. I almost quit in third grade, but I am happy I didn’t. This year I hope I can become an even stronger player.

Thank you for listening, Jun.

There is so much wisdom in his simple letter. What gave off a gong in my head was that he practiced daily, in the face of opposition, and he succeeded. He truly made commitment romantic in my mind.

So, that blush you get when you set your eyes on your beloved—when your heart goes pitter-patter, your knees feel weak and, just by looking into another’s eyes, you can see the whole universe—all of this is within our grasps. Yes, it does take work and commitment, discipline, drudgery, and a lot of facing up to all the other suitors in our mind who would love our attention. But when you find your muse, when your heart goes pitter-patter inside you as a story unfolds and grows, and all you want to do is get back to it, be with it . . . now, that is romance.

And the romance of a writer’s life is not expensive at all. On the contrary, it is the lover who keeps on giving. All we need is a pen, notebook or computer, some skinny-dipping into our imagination, and off we go ~ Where? ~ only our Imagination knows.

How could I ever be lonely again when I have great company all the time?

Now, let’s dash off and share our romance with the rest of the world! Smoooooch!

Meg Sweeney, writer

Meg Sweeney


MEG SWEENEY is a recent graduate of both the Fear of Writing Online Course and the Fear of Writing Graduate Course. Born and raised in Washington State, she has spent half her life in Tokushima, in a small village in rural Japan. She’s an avid reader and writer and is grateful for the opportunity to post on the FoW blog about writing.