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All is Made of Love

Best-selling author Jez Alborough
dares to use the four-letter 'L-Word'

 

There aren’t many words in the English language that are as big and loaded as the word ‘love’. Outside of religious discussions with known parameters, using the ‘L’ word seems to be fraught with problems. People tend to either steer clear of it or overuse and misuse it and so devalue its currency. In this article I intend to put aside any conditioned reticence and to write directly and honestly about the taboo subject of love.

 

Firstly I'll lay my cards on the table and try to express what the L-word means to me. I’m talking about the impersonal love which binds us all together, the love which, when you think about it, is the only real source of happiness or fulfillment that a human being can find in this life. You see what I mean? Already we're coming up against really big ideas, feelings and statements which society tends to shy away from.

 

We're much more comfortable with the word love being applied to personal relationships where it often ends up as the sentimental, disposable caricature found in pop songs and romantic comedies. It’s almost as if this is a way of neutering the subject, thereby keeping ourselves safe from confronting its powerful role in our lives.

 

But not all popular culture trivializes love; sometimes the very form of songwriting, which demands a certain amount of simplification, actually helps capture something about the subject. One obvious example is the Beatles’ song ‘All you need is Love’ which despite (or even because of) its naivety manages to say something true about this massive subject. My favourite, however, is a song called ‘All is Full of Love’ by Bjork which never fails to touch me with its childlike innocence and beauty. For my purposes here I'd like to take the liberty of giving this phrase a slight tweak and turning it into ‘All is Made of Love,’ because that's ultimately what love means to me.

 

Perhaps this sounds a little far out and ‘spiritual’ to you. Let me give an example of how these five words are practically apply in my job as a children’s picture book maker: an idea comes out of nowhere and is planted in my head like a seed; I'm inspired to water and nurture the seed through creativity and turn it into a picture book. As far as I'm concerned every step of this chain comes out of love. Not my love, because I'm not responsible for the idea, the inspiration or the creativity but perhaps you could say ‘life’s love’. By doing what I do, by creating the book, I'm simply partaking in that chain of love. If you really watch any act of creation on your part, can you honestly say that ‘you' are doing it any more than a Mother can say she is creating a baby?

 

One of the best parts of my job is seeing a child connecting with one of my books, for then the cycle is complete. The idea (love as inspiration) has passed through me (love as creativity) and reached its final destination – love in the form of a child.

 

Of course the adult cynical mind can miss the point in the poetic and could use logic to rip the words ‘All is Made of Love’ apart: ‘If all is made of love, why are there despots and wars?’ To answer this I'd make the point that love is where we came from, love is who we are but how much we have discovered this, how much we live it is another matter. When love isn't lived, anything can happen. Perhaps we can say that the quest of each life is to find that love from which we are made and to make it conscious.

 

I'm all too aware of the limitation of words and concepts which I’ve had to use to write this article but however inexact they are I feel they at least still point vaguely in the direction of what love is. Perhaps even the intention to do so and connect with the love that you are is worth something.

 

Jez Alborough

About the Writer

Jez Alborough is the best-selling and multi-award-winning author and illustrator of almost 50 books for children including Where's My Teddy, Duck in the Truck, Hug and Some Dogs Do. His latest publication is Albert and Little Henry and in his spare time he plays in a blues band. For more information visit www.jezalborough.com.

 

 

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