St. Valentine – Our Patron Saint

St. Valentine – Our Patron Saint

It is the month of February. Time for red, white and pink. Hearts and candy. Roses and carnations. Cards with declarations of love. And let’s never forget jewelry! For romance writers, February 14th – Valentine’s Day – is the most holy day of the year, and St. Valentine is our revered patron saint.

But way back in the day, all was not strawberries and cream for our patron saint of lovers. In the year 269 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudias issued an edict prohibiting the marriage of young Christian people. For violating that edict and performing marriages in secret, Valentine was sentenced to a three-part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to a woman that he signed, “from your Valentine.”

If Valentine were here today, he might say to young couples that there comes a time when you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. (for more on St. Valentine, see the CBN website)

So, as Valentine’s story illustrates, we writers of romance must make our young lovers work for their relationship. This struggle is not only a time-tested truism of life, but it is also a truism for story code. While our protagonists may not face anywhere near the ordeal of Valentine, they must suffer to win their happily-ever-after.

And consequentially, we as writers must also suffer for our craft. Carving out time from our busy schedules; sitting before the keyboard when our head is pounding, our eyes are watering, and our stomachs are heaving; and getting past that damn blank page – these are but a few of the obstacles we suffer through in the pursuit of our craft.

But like the martyrdom of Valentine, which eventually came to symbolize all that is good and wonderful about romantic love, so too can our persistent tip-tapping on the keyboard result in a timeless expression of love, and also a damn good read.

 

 

 

 

Lorinda Peake

Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.

Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.

Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.

6 thoughts on “St. Valentine – Our Patron Saint

  1. The pain of a beating, stoning and decapition. Yep. That sounds like some writing days I’ve had!

    Making ’em struggle has always been a struggle for me, but when compared to Valentine’s woes, I take my writing difficulties any day.

    Thanks, Lorinda, for putting it all in perspective.

    1. When I feel “put upon” I always try and remember that there are folks out there with way more woes than me. Suck it up, snowflake.

  2. I’ve tried three times to respond to this post without diving into Chaucer, chivalric love ballads, and Jane Austen (or sounding like a Master’s thesis), so I’ll just say this:

    Thanks for the trip back into the mists of time, Lorinda!

  3. A trip back in time which reminded me of how incredibly easy it is to get married today – maybe we’ve gone to far and made it to easy for some while making it impossible for others (LBGT). But mostly, I’ve been thinking about the softening of our society. St. Valentine was beaten, stoned and beheaded. People were put in stocks and a cat-o-nine tails was acceptable punishment. Now – jump forward to current times – WE’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY!

    1. I like to think that, rather than getting sucked into the form of the thing, we’re beginning to get to the heart of it. This could entirely be delusion on my part, but there you go. 🙂

      In some ways, it’s easier to simply accept the forms (like marrying who we’re told to, or marrying within our social class, or marrying within our “race”) and then get on with it, doing the best we can with what we have. It’s quite a bit more difficult to challenge the accepted social and religious norms. I remember when I first moved in with Dear Him, when the conviction that I was doing to be damned to hell for all eternity weighed heavily on me. I’m pretty sure my parents were convinced I’d lost my salvation, as they bring it up with me from time to time.

      Swimming upstream is never easy…

      1. Swimming upstream is hard, but so is the work involved in changing your your mind, of dispelling long-held beliefs, of coming to see a situation in a new light. For me, that issue was not about marriage or the lack thereof. It was capital punishment. Thanks to a series of persuasive talks I had with my daughter, I’ve done a 180 on my position. But Terri, I still haven’t changed my mind about the seat belt laws.! Hee hee! I little off topic, but hey. There you have it!

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