the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Valentine’s Day, 2010

I’m not in a happy place in my romantic life.

But for some reason, I remain optimistic about the potential of love, even when I am at a low point, like today, sitting in a hotel room a few blocks from my home on Valentine’s Day — and away from my wife. After a traumatic week, I decided I needed to pull away and refresh myself. The tensions surrounding this family, and my sick FIL, have become overwhelming and exhausting.

I stay positive because I am creative, and more importantly, very easily deluded by myself. Writers know that there are always new twists, new characters, and new loves as the plot grows. So, even when things turn sour — it’s no problem; it is not impossible for a bag of gold to fall into your lap the next day, on the way to work.

My interest in telling stories did not grow out of a love for language, but out of the inherent belief in the make-believe. Storytelling is myth, and as cynical as I sound at times, I embrace the bullshit of even the most corny Hollywood story. I believe in happy ending, maybe not the finale you first expected, but some ending that will allow you to leave the theater smiling.

It is Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day to those in love! I’ve always felt bad for those who were alone, or feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day. This was the case even when I was happily in love, being that I am a guilty sort of person. Why shouldn’t everyone be in love? It’s not fair! Money is a limited commodity, but certainly there is enough love for every citizen of the world.

We should remember that love is always right around the corner. We frequently forget that wisdom. That is why it is important to have great artists amongst us who will keep us connected to the great ideas and essential truths about love. Things will work out, and love will find a way, as is so well-documented in one of the most important works of music in the 21st Century —


  1. Kajahie Henderson

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  2. Susannah

    Happy V Day, Neil – may we all find our own bag of gold this year xox

  3. Di

    Thank you for your delicious way of writing your world. You know, I was on a break between first husband and retirement, thinking I was alone forever when I met second husband. One day, Mr Kramer, I know there’s going to be a beautiful docu-story of love unfolding here on your blog, you just have to be ready, or not ready, I guess. Although last excellent-writer and blogger that happened to disappeared from the blog scene due to love.

  4. Heather

    Happy Valentine’s, Neil. Though admittedly these last few weeks Ive wanted to kick in the teeth all those “love always wins” people, I do still believe.

  5. Amy B.

    SIgh. It was all so lovely until I had to look at Justin Bieber.

    But you’re right, things will work out. That’s what keeps me going every day. I’d never thought before that that was a delusion, but it probably is.

    Thank God we’re crazy. Chin up, crazy man.

  6. kenju

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Neil. I love that you remain positive in the face of upheaval. Good for you.

  7. tamarika

    Happy Days Ahead, Neil! Great post. I especially like this:
    I stay positive because I am creative, and more importantly, very easily deluded by myself. Writers know that there are always new twists, new characters, and new loves as the plot grows. So, even when things turn sour — it’s no problem; it is not impossible for a bag of gold to fall into your lap the next day, on the way to work.”
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  8. Noel

    “One LESS lonely girl?” So, she’ll still be lonely, only not as much as she was before?

    Mingle, and then there’ll be one fewer

  9. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    So what’s my problem, Neil? I’ve been with one guy forever and he’s a good guy. The marriage has had stresses and lowpoints but overall has been “successful.” It has lasted decades. We’ve been together since I was 17! Yet I have absolutely no faith I would ever have a romantic relationship again if this one ended. At this stage in my life, I can’t imagine a story where someone falls in love with me or where I take a chance again.

    But maybe that’s the difference in us as writers. I did not become a writer because I enjoyed make believe, but because I love language and the art of communications. I don’t write fiction and I very rarely read it. I can’t rewrite or reimagine myself as the romantic lead or object of affection.

  10. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    P.S. At least you’re in a hotel on Valentine’s this year. I still remember when you had a fight with Sophia on VD and ended up sleeping in your car in the driveway. See? Things are looking up!

  11. furiousball

    Happy Valentine’s Day dude!

  12. Karl

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Neil. Sorry you’re struggling right now, but as you point out, without the struggle us creatives wouldn’t have anything to say. Well, we might, but it’d be a lot more boring.

    For me, I hope to constantly be reminded that love IS just around the corner. Sometimes it seems like the longest freaking corner in the world, but still…

  13. Wandering Through Wonderland

    Love your posts. Don’t drain the mini-bar… or wait… go for it but make sure you post right after. Happy VD.

  14. Neil

    V-grrrl – maybe you listened to too much Bruce Springsteen, and not enough Justin Bieber.

  15. Aunt Becky

    Happy VD Day, Neil.

  16. teahouseblossom

    Valentine’s Day puts too much pressure on all of us..may we all have love every day of the year, not just on the one day everyone says we have to!

    And WTF does a pimply 11-year old know about making a girl less lonely? He needs to get his ass kicked.

  17. Neil

    Teahouse — and doesn’t that girl look seven years too old for him?

  18. teahouseblossom

    Yes! And another thing – I also agree with that other commenter who pointed out the grammatical ambiguity of the title. It really should be “One Fewer Lonely Girl.” This is what happens when you let your kid skip school to go be a boy pop star.

  19. Neil

    Noel, Teahouse — One Fewer Lonely girl would not be a hit.

  20. Genie

    Here’s to new twists and new characters. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  21. Mama Zen

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  22. Twenty Four At Heart

    Big hugs! Big kisses!
    I’m married .. and we’re doing absolutely nothing for Valentine’s!

  23. Juli Ryan

    Until I read your post, I had never heard of Justin Bieber or this important musical work. Thanks for sharing the wealth, Neil.

  24. schmutzie

    Happy Valentine’s, Neil!

  25. Mik

    Happy VD, always a double celebration here because Carolyn and I have a wedding anniversary on the 17th, 12 years of marriage this year, we are going to stay in a hotel in Reno to celebrate.

  26. Danny

    I read this post a few hours ago and thought “Where the hell did Neil dredge up that ridiculous Justin Bieber?” I thought you must have found an obscure, laughable YouTube video posted by some snot-nosed kid in the Midwest. Then I went to the Sunday Farmers Market and passed the Hollywood Palladium where I saw an endless trail of people camped out on Hollywood Boulevard (most had been there all night) for tonight’s Sold Out Justin Bieber concert. AAARRRGH!

  27. Neil

    Danny — Justin Bieber is in LA tonight?! We should go…

  28. Danny

    Absolutely. But hurry and get in line RIGHT NOW! Meet you in the pre-pubescent mosh pit!

  29. mamie

    i believe in your faerie tale ending, too, neil. there is just too much lovely in you for it to sit unreturned for too much longer.

    generous and kind, creative and witty, idealistic and inquisitive and willing to put yourself out there…someone is going to realize the treasure you are.

    the picture of you and sophia made me a little achy in the chest, you looked so sincere and in love. but this post, this post makes me happy for you…when you realize how much love there is out there, it is sure to come your way. sending some to you from this happily in love lady.

    so, are you in line for the Bieber concert yet?
    that is sure to raise your spirits (gag).

  30. Elizabeth Harper

    My life story had a lovely plot twist two years ago when I realized that all I needed to do to make love mine, was to say yes to the possibility.

  31. Mojo

    As 50-year-old 2-time divorcee, and as jaded and cynical on the subject of love and romance as it’s possible to be and still have a pulse, I honestly thought I was doing just fine on my own with my dog, my camera and my truck. And then S showed up and everything went off the rails. Now suddenly I’m not even sure what I want because until then I didn’t even know I wanted anything.

    Quite a shock to the system I can tell ya. What’s amazing is that I haven’t forgotten how. Truly astonishing.

  32. Otir

    Happy Valentine Day, Neil, I remember the year when you were holding an instant messenger session, when was that? I am sorry that you have to overcome so much tension, and I am sorry for Sophia’s family too, those are trying times.

    You seemed surprised when I answered your question about feeling lonely and you seemed to think that a brain could be good company and replace love to make anyone feeling upbeat.

    I even resented you a little for that reply, and then I wondered as I always do (yes, my brains keep me busy more than a man’s love) if you were not simply reflecting on yourself.

    It’s not easy – I know from firsthand – to keep one’s open to be loved, and to feel it, especially when the thinking comes in making all that noise to prevent you from feeling it and hearing it.

    But there is a happy ending. Yes, there is.

    Lots of love sent your way.

  33. Titanium

    Mine sucked so badly that I’ve decided to reschedule it. At the rock climbing wall or shooting range, I’m not sure which. Yet.

    Love is holding on and letting go- in equal parts.

  34. elisheba@israel

    i think valentine day is invented for people to feel lonely… there are very few of us in love or in great relationship… this valentine was first in my life that i really spent with the person i love… what a pity i had go back to my hasbant this evening.

  35. Loukia

    Happy V Day! Does it count that it’s a few days late? I am not a huge fan of V Day. I don’t know why… I used to love it, but now, I’m like, ‘meh’. What’s up with the JB video? Haha! (I would rather you posted a video or Robert Pattinson, though, OMG.)

  36. Slow Panic

    I love that you are honest about what’s going on in your life on your blog. I struggle with that–I mean the real stuff – the married relationship stuff. It’s rough. Also think it’s so good you took the time to get away and get some space — hope it helped….

  37. 3boys1mommy

    Googled this kid after the We Are The World remake aired. I had NO idea who he was… see what happens when you stop hanging with the cool kids?

  38. Pearl

    “I’m not in a happy place in my romantic life.”

    Neil, perhaps the word “romantic” doesn’t have to be specified in the sentence. Maybe you’re just not at a happy place in your life — romantically, socially, emotionally, physically. That would account for many of your thoughts and feelings.
    But at least you still take the time to blog!

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