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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

What's Love Got To Do With It?

What’s love got to do with it? It turns out more than I originally thought. On January 1, 2015 when I took a box of letters down from my closet, I had no idea the journey those letters would take me on. Nor does the character in my play, when she finds a box of letters in her husband’s closet. We never really know where one event, one action, will lead us even though we are the directors of our own lives.

In Take Down The Letters a play that emerged from that box of letters, three women from three generations explore themes of love. Starshine’s love is young and confused. She yearns to be in a relationship and at the same time craves freedom and hasn’t figured out how to do both. Lynn meets this young woman through the letters and it turns her life and her understanding of her relationships upside down, at least for a while. And Joyce, Lynn’s mother, is invited along on her daughter’s journey which deepens their relationship too.

This project based on real letters became a work of fiction with a direction and life of its own. The themes and characters in the play changed over time as did my understanding of them. The director and actors and technical staff are bringing a life and energy to the play that encourages me to look at it in new ways.

I am understanding that all of this is love. Love for ideas, for creativity, for exploration. Each person involved brings a bit of their understanding and hopes and longing into the play.

“When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.”

“Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”

Thich Nhat Hanh from How To Love via Brain Pickings by Maria Popova

Then there is the love from my friends and family. I am overwhelmed that my brother and sister-in-law and five friends that I have known since elementary school are traveling to Louisiana from California to see my play and to show me their love and support. Not to mention extended family from Texas and friends from other parts of Louisiana.

I have received heart-warming email messages from friends and family who watched the scene from Take Down The Letters on You Tube and/or listened to the interview on KRVS .

Here is an excerpt from an email from my niece:

“I volunteered to read my story out loud at the book launch as an opportunity to face my fear of public speaking. I want to be fearless like my Aunt Sue.”

While I don’t think of myself as fearless, I do take risks, work hard, seek understanding, recognize love.

Thank you all!

It’s showtime...


Alain de Botton, The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships - An interview with Krista Tippett at On Being.

I wonder if couples were encouraged to read, Alain de Botton's, The Course of Love: A Novel, before getting married would end up being happier in their wedded life? Then again, maybe we won't fully understand and apply the learning from this book until we are older.

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