Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Robert Fulghum on St Valentine's Day

 Robert  Fulghum is an American author, mainly of short essays. I first came across his work in the piece he wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Last year when looking for a book as a Christmas gift for a bookclub friend I found him again. He has written a novel Third Wish, the theme of which is "slowly, witness, surprise" It is a long book, it comes in two volumes an absolutely wonderful read.
He writes an online journal Robert Fulghum  The following is a piece he wrote following Valentines Day last year. It is so full of wisdom that I thought I'd share it .

"The setting: A small café at midday on February 15. 
Three young women are doing what men never do. 
They are sharing salads and secrets at lunchtime. 
It is the day after what they refer to as “St. ‘Tine’s Day.” 
And they have been forked.

And I, sitting at the next table alone, can’t ignore their conversation. 
In summary, none of them got what they wanted or expected. 
Valentine’s Day was a bummer. 
Wrong flowers, wrong chocolate, wrong food, chintzy gifts. 
And no mention of what they gave or did themselves.
I didn’t offer my opinion, but if I had, here’s what I would have said:

“Take a look at me. 
It’s clear that I’ve been around awhile, right? 
I’ve been a contestant in several love rodeos in my time. 
I have the scars and trophies to prove it.

Here’s what I know now: 
Call the list “Fulghum’s Eight Maxims on Giving and Getting Love:”
1. Love cannot be forced or bought.
2. You can only get from another person the love they are able and willing to give in the form they can give it in.
3. You cannot get from another person the love you demand and need in the form you wish.

4. If what they have to give is what you want, then love works. 
If not, it doesn’t and won’t.
5. If you concentrate on getting love, there will never be enough.
6. If you concentrate on giving love, there will always be enough.

7. Most people need the most love when they are the most unlovable. 
That includes you. And me.
8. Finally, love is not a present you give or get, but something you do.

If that seems like a solemn list, that’s because it’s meant to be. 
I take love seriously. 
And I tell you that if you never understand these maxims, then all the chocolate you ever receive on Valentine’s Day will be dark and bitter.”

Robert Fulghum

So how is your chocolate this St. Valentine's Day?


  1. Thanks for sharing your find. Great advice to all- and helps avoid the ides of February!

  2. Oh wow! Such wise words! Thank you sharing this Mary

  3. Such wise words! I haven't read Robert Fulghum in a while. Off to look at his journal again! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog.. I came by yesterday and got distracted reading your Uninvited Guest, then other things came up and I didn't comment.... Sorry

    How was my chocolate this Valentine's day... It was in the form a german chocolate cake :)

    Have a great day!!!

  5. He really does nail it, doesn't he! A perfect post for Valentine's and any day!


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