Today I received notification from Matador Records that I have been awarded honorable mention in Belle & Sebastian’s Write About Love essay contest. We were limited to 300 words, and I did the best I could with what time I had.  We honorable mention essay writers will receive an autographed copy of the band’s 2010 album, Write About Love. I thoroughly enjoyed it when it came out, and I look forward to rediscovering it on vinyl.

To see the list of writers who received honorable mention, go to:

http://www.matadorrecords.com/matablog/2011/01/11/write-about-love-contest-winners-part-one-honorable-mentions/

Without further ado, here is my essay (So excited that Stuart Murdoch actually read it!):

In American pop-culture, love is depicted as something like a euphoric fog that rolls in, colors life for a time, and disappears without warning. When I was single, I desperately wanted to capture this fog for myself, but I suspected that only equipment devised by the Ghostbusters could ever capture something so phantasmal.  It was like trying to capture lightning in a bottle.

Movies and television largely focus on the fleeting fluttering of love in its earliest stages.  Two people meet, combine, and explode in the chemistry lab of life.  But these rapturous days are all too often mistaken for the whole of the relationship and its end goal. When the fog of infatuation evaporates, the two hapless saps who fumbled together in love’s fog see one another clearly – and seeing does not necessarily lead to believing.

As a married man I am learning that love is a choice. It is, to paraphrase Jesus, the choice to lay down one’s life for another. I do not always want to treat my bride kindly.  Sometimes I want to Air Mail her to Uzbekistan.  But loving her means kindness is a must, regardless of how I feel at the moment. Chosen love then, is more noble and hard-won than any love that descends in an opiate fog, unbidden and unwarranted.

People think love dies – that rigor mortis of the heart sets in with finality. When the euphoric fog lifts, however, it is not a death but an opportunity. It is a call to bury the old love so it can spring up and flower into something different but still beautiful. Love is not a matter of capturing lightning in a bottle. It is a chance to tend the ground where lightning has struck, and cultivate something like a garden there.