A love/hate relationship with St Valentine

I’ve never received the quintestential anonymous Valentine’s Day card. Indeed I’ve only ever received two cards that have not have been from wife – and they were from my fiancé before she was my wife. Growing up, and beyond into adulthood, I liked the idea of Valentine’s Day but also feared it.

When I was little I think I (wrongly) assumed that every everyone got Valentines but me, but in all honesty I don’t think I would have known what to do if one had been sent to me. You see, not that I knew it then, but I have Aspergers, and for people on the autism spectrum the world of dating can be a minefield.

  • How do you even meet someone on your wavelength in a world that can be socially confusing?
  • How do you flirt if you are uncomfortable making eye contact?
  • How do you prevent yourself from only talking about stuff you’re interested in?

I think this video, shared today by the National Autistic Society, by 19 year-old Gerard Stone probably explains it all far better than I ever could…

I never set out to conciously write romance and love into my books, just as I never conciously set about writing characters with Aspergers. Completely unimportant to the story, but Ben in The End Of All Worlds is almost certainly on the spectrum. In my second novel, Mr Tumnal, Louis Tumnal definitely is. In his character you see both a character at odds with the world (not just because of any bewitchment by the Fairy Queen), and saved in more ways than one by the love of a girl he meets and with whom he somehow forms a relationship.

Today I wrote a love poem for Kathryn Summers from Louis Tumnal. Louis Tumnal couldn’t have said this directly, of if he did, his voice would have been a gibbering, inarticulate mess. But from his pen, in the first year after meeting, he could articulate exactly his feelings.

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It could also be a love poem from a few years ago from Me to my wife, Emma. Love you Emma. xxx