Love. A Love Offering from The Writer's Group with Shanna T. Melton

Photo Credit: Shanna T. Melton 2020

The Writer's Group was challenged with writing about love. They were asked tough questions that brought up authentic feelings and their responses really stretch the perspective of their audience. We always take time and offer an opportunity to share what we wrote in the group. There were a lot of exhales and sighs. When they read it was obvious that this is a topic we can dig into with assurance that there is no end. Love is layered, it is not only romantic and it impacts our lives whether we feel loved or not. Much like air and water, we need love to survive. We also have to learn how to navigate it so that we don't get lost in love but it exists well within us. On this Valentine's Day I celebrate my fellow creatives. I celebrate those who are with theirselves or a partner. Those who have loved ones who transitioned. Those who seek a healthy love experience and will not settle for anything less. Those who are facing this chaotic world and trying to find their footing in a foundation that feels unstable. Those who have true joy and partnership. We have to give ourselves grace in this time of change. We have to let the words spill to make room for new stories. Thank you to all the writers who contributed to this blog 💜

~Shanna T. Melton

All Authors reserve the rights to their individual work. Please do not reproduce or publish this work without the consent of the Author. Contact with inquiries. Thank you.

Love 2021

Debra Williams

the twinkle of an eye

a prelude to a smile

followed by mask-muffled “hi”

connection made

the universe is tingling

with endless possibility

Rona makes love hard to find

but worth the search


By, Katherine Sullivan

My Grandmother handed me a frail silk dress,

it had been 90 years since it had

Draped across my great grandmothers shoulders

and swished across her knee caps.

Each button and embroidered rose remained.

Time tinged it brown, I held it before a warm bassin

of soap and water, performing a baptism-

A renewed faith in me, handed down from generations.

I had found love again

just like my mother

and my grandmother

We are a tribe of women

who believe in second chances

or as my mother would say,

"we all need a practice husband."

My great grandmother had practice too-

or rather a Practice by the time she said, "Yes"

Her first love was nursing-

She stitched together broken bodies.

She caught babies before she tossed her bouquet.

She and I were both 37 when this dress came to us,

In her soft translucent dress layered in silk

Perhaps a hat and silk pumps to match.

Eloping with only a fellow nurse

bearing witness to their love.

There were no photographs of that day- her day.

Not until the dress draped over my shoulders

and swished across my knee caps for my rehearsal dinner,

was it ever photographed.

Generations of rehearsed days, always willing to love again

To start again

to wash away the dirt

and to let the light shine through.

The Chemistry of the Heart

By, Julie O’Rizzi

The heart beats and pumps our blood.

pulse, connected to heart and to

the life-giving liquid it pushes through veins

the physiological job of the heart

There is another job of the heart,

more intangible, yet very real,

when we use our hearts to love.

the chemistry of the heart

When love reacts with this beating organ,

the results can be both spectacular and devastating.

When the reaction of love and heart is going well,

there are very real, very physical sensations:

euphoria, light headed, giddy, pulse quickens,

blood rushes to face & other strategic parts of the body,

rose colored glasses, a sensation of floating on air,

racing heart, sweaty palms and even pain relief

When love attempt to back out of the equation,

when the level of love drops and

there is excess heart and emotion,

there are other, quite real, physical sensations:

emptiness, pain in chest and gut, apathy,

can’t think straight or eat or sleep

The chemical bonds of the heart - electrical forces of attraction

that hold two hearts together to form a relationship.

This intangible fastening of two souls and two hearts,

causes a reaction, sometimes daily, joy or sorrow.

That said, the chemical properties of all hearts are not created equal.

Some hearts have:

a higher toxicity, are more flammable, or a lower melting point.

One thing is known,

when two hearts chemically connect,

they are changed into something new.

Good or bad, they are forever transformed.


Karen Heck

“Grief only exist where loved lived first.”

Franchesca Cox

On Sunday morning I thought of you. You’re such a blessing to us. Our group of friends, play-aunties, your parents, sibling, the list is endless. I imagined you would marry your girlfriend. Create a successful career, have children and live beyond what is called, “Happily ever after.” I smiled and thought how nice it is to know you.

On the Wednesday, your mother didn’t call me. It was getting close to 5:00 p.m. and thought we could chit-chat about Kamala & Chucks & Pearls. Fresh dreams and greater possibilities of a better America were shaping in my mind.


By 7:00 p.m. she sent a text. It was wordy. My comprehension had to be playing games. She said you died. No. She must be joking. Wait. Your mother is always honest and business-mannered. Why am I reading of your death? “My son died last night.” The rest of the paragraph seemed like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I managed to walk to a chair and sit. Not you. Please, not you.

Tears pooled in my eyes. I refused to cry. Instead, I began to moan which became a howl. Primal screams lead to me releasing tears and panting. Dear Lord, he was such a good boy. Why him? Why now?

The phone calls began to share the news of your transition. Questions about your age. “He was 29.” Why were you in Brooklyn? “He was in grad school. Yes, this was his last semester. MBA in Finance. No not married. Yes, a girlfriend.” The other questions seemed standard, but I refused to answer. I was numb. Still am.

I found a thank you note you sent me for attending your soccer game at age 11. Only to be reminded your high school and college soccer jersey number was 11. You will always be a good boy to me. Love, Auntie.


A wisp of fog

Brainwaves intersect from sipping too much grog

Perfectly round January moon

Sweet baby boy gone too soon

A tan fallen leaf

Reminds me of the day you began

Calling yourself, “Chief”

Eating from a platinum spoon

You left us when your new life

Was scheduled to soar in June

Response to Love

By Scott R Davis

I am grateful that God has gifted me as an encourager. When I look at the subject of divine love,

I sometimes approach it intellectually. I view divine love through the pages of Scripture or a

piece of artwork or a dramatic play. And I see it on the granular level in the day to day.

It is one of those phenomena that enwraps its arms around me when I am with my friends.

I have seen it demonstrated whenever I need a ride to a doctor, the bank or post office. These

are now the essential services that I took for granted where I could hop onto the bus without

having any major worries or cares.

I have seen love demonstrated when I had a major leak in my kitchen sink and Tim came out on

Memorial Day and installed new plastic piping underneath while making many trips to the local

Home Depot or his home to find just the right parts.

I have witnessed the patience and sacrifice that my friend, Dom, had while he waited for me at

the post office to mail Christmas packages or at the local Stop and Shop for my groceries to be

brought to the curb.

Love is feeling the warm glow of the sun against my back as I sit at the window of Dunkin or as I

sit by the seashore and hear the gentle clatter of the gulls fighting for that one spot to land on

the rocks below.

Love is that piece of photographic paper that sits in the bath of chemicals to slowly uncover a

kaleidoscope of colors hidden within.

I find it rather difficult to stand still and listen. God’s love requires this.

Society sometimes is in a hurry and can be difficult for the snowflakes to land in the correct


Just as the octopus takes and sweeps nutrients into its mouth or as a child takes a mound of

spaghetti into his mouth.

Love is indeed the connection and sacred oasis that brings me closer into her tendrils.

It develops constantly and continually within my soul; yet, I feel pain or regret for what I have

not done or intended to do. These are times when it is hard to measure.

Love knows me well and it is from the cross that I gain that unique perspective. Many times

I have to begin anew from within the shared values of my community. This kind of love requires

a vulnerability to peel back the shell that can be rather firmly entrenched around me.

To remove those tendrils that have grabbed on rather tightly.

Releasing that awkwardness.

Growing up as a disabled person has provided me with a special lens within the world. Where I

have been able to see life from a different perspective. And has provided me with a variety of

perspectives that others may not have.

That is what makes this life rather special and unique.

This has made my family stronger. From the early years, my Mom and Dad became pioneers

and scientists to uncover the best ways to crack open my mind and soul to receive and react to

the stimuli in our world.

At times I found it hard to share my inner personal thoughts with my father and sometimes I

clammed up. I could share by being on our boat out on the Sheepscot River on Maine but

talking about sensitive topics was more fragile.

When I was younger, a favorite shoebox of coastal treasures fell out of my hands as I removed

the box from a higher shelf and instantly this box of fully hinged blue, grey and flaky mussel

shells broke into tiny fragments. And some of the pieces stuck from the shells. Just not as

magnificently. And rather common and not unique and rare as when they sat on the shelf


That is what vulnerability has taught me. Of how to be in the moment.

It is that dance step- no matter how awkward it may be.

During these unprecedented times of COVID-19. I frequently interact with my friends and

colleagues over the computer on Zoom and I am doing it from afar. And up close. Just not with

the same proximity and nearness as when I was in the same room sharing a bag of popcorn or

chips and salsa and looking at the same painting or hearing the melodic notes of the Greater

Bridgeport Symphony at the Klein.

I have been able to share more frequently with my Mom and brother over the phone and on

Zoom during this pandemic as we share stories of our days and how we view the uniqueness of

our world through our shared lenses of perspective.

The last time I was able to give Mom a hug was in the beginning of January 2020 after I spent an

extended oasis of 14 days. Normally, I made the journey between Connecticut and Minnesota

four times a year but COVID-19 has been a challenge and has changed all that.

Yet, this creates new opportunities as my Mom imagines what my apartment looks like and I

get to have my head squashed when my brother closes the computer top upon me.

I may be able to return to the arms of my Mom and brother in the early Summer of 2021 when I

have my COVID-19 vaccine shots.

I did spend time with my church family on the lawn for prayer or study. Yet it was from within 6

feet apart.

Yet, I cannot complain. For I am alive, breathing, and grateful to be connected.

Just as air has to be breathed gently In and out, love has to be treated gently and with great


I liken love to that nice velvety layer of moss that is quite spongy and soft underfoot which adds

a resilience and bounce to my step. If I fall on some moss, a fall can be cushioned by the moss.

That moss can absorb the extra moisture. If one falls on the moss, there may be some

intertwining branches in the moss.

I may not have gotten to the core of love. I am still eating around the apple and getting some

of the seeds into my mouth. Tasting more of its bitterness than its sweetness but still

experiencing its bittersweetness.

Lord, help me to open up my eyes to this mighty love that has swept continents.

With her raised batons and bows.

With the vibrations from within the carved-out core of the instruments.

That crescendo of waters awaits upon me.

Making melody from each of the instruments.

A well-tuned chorus or band.

Awaiting the applause or bowing at the end.

Awaiting to return to the next concert or live performance.

The next solo concert in the shower awaits my voice; just singing whatever pops into my mind

from internal play list hidden secretly within my soul.

I think to those words of my favorite song, “I can only Imagine,” where I am lifted to the ideal

world. Being far from it in our current state. However, I witness the beauty of the world through my memories and through the use of Zoom and calling on the phone.

Right now, I find it hard to imagine what is next.

Yet, I so look forward to walking down the hall with my brother as my Mom opens the doors

wide and I can feel and see the love of my Mom. Of how time has been stretched thin and

brought closer.

Being able to knock on the door and hear the ringing of the doorbell as I return home.

Safe and sound at last.

All Authors reserve the rights to their individual work. Please do not reproduce or publish this work without the consent of the Author. Contact with inquiries. Thank you.

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