Round-Up: Stories About Love

Round Up of Submissions

Welcome to the round-up of submissions on the topic of ‘Stereotypes.’ You can see the call for submissions here: Thank you to everyone who participated! We had three responses, from students at Smith College.



  1. Self-love is something I’ve struggled with all my life (as I’m sure many of us have) but recently I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to act on and express love for myself, even when it’s hard. This Valentine’s Day, I ended up making the whole day about self-love, and it was honestly a healing experience.

I had a major deadline on February 13th, so I’d been working to the point of exhaustion for the whole week prior, and then decided to take the next day off. In the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I decided to not just to sleep in, skip class, and treat myself to a little spa-day (which basically just meant doing all the basic self-care I’d been neglecting for the past week) but also taking myself out on a “date.” I gave myself a budget, got a nice lunch, and then did some shopping. I bought things that I’d always thought of as too much of a luxury to “waste” money on for myself, but would buy in a heartbeat if I needed a gift for someone else: expensive chocolates, fancy moisturizer, and cute stationary. I know my main love language is gift-giving, but buying “gifts” for myself is hard, because it feels frivolous.

I ended the day by getting ice cream, and sitting by myself, staring out the window as I ate, I felt completely happy. It was hard and awkward at first, but showing myself love felt so good that I wasn’t even bothered by all the couples out and about. If anything, I was just happy for them. I realized that their celebration of love was just as important as mine, and whether or not anyone else saw that, it only really mattered that I knew it for myself.


2. How do you write about love when love is a category that have trouble imagining yourself in? Society has coded love so insidiously as a romantic category, as a sexual category, that even as an aroace, someone who believes love can be separate, it is hard to convince myself that other things are, in fact, love. For instance, a big part of my personality is that I love books and reading. And yet here I am, wondering if I can really write a story about my relationship with one of my favorite books, and if that would count as love. So let me prove that it can.


A 13 year old girl, backstage at her dance recital dress rehearsal, only ten pages into the book she’s reading, and already fascinated. She goes and dances, and then comes back to her book. She reads more. It was her first real initiation into sci-fi, and it was also the first book that had a character with a disabled experience that she could fully identify with.

She eats up the first book, and then the second one, but then the third book in the trilogy hadn’t been published yet. Then when it comes out that summer, its still not out in the US because of publication deals. Her uncle gets her the book for Christmas. By this point, she has a new favorite series. When she gets an email address, one of the first things she does is sign up for the author’s newsletter. The author writes more, starts other series, and she reads them too. Her favorite series by the author evolves as more books come out.

Her attachment to these books started as fascination with science fiction as a whole and first character similar in a certain way, but it expands to the worldbuilding – and my, does she love the worldbuilding. She finds little easter eggs and questions and intriguing what-ifs. She starts writing what she would later know to be fanfiction. Some of those what-ifs turn out to be what if these two characters weren’t in a romantic and sexual relationship, but one character was in a lesbian relationship with a third, and had some more-than-friend arrangement with the first.

During the pandemic, she ventures out into online fandom spaces because learns there are other people chatting about these books, and she is really excited to talk to people about her favorite book. They ask questions of each other, and answer them, and read the new books alongside each other, and speculate about what they think is going to happen and why the characters are certain ways and everything. She stays up way to late some nights, messaging back and forth about the books with her friends. She is happy.


3. Love is friendship

Late night conversations sharing stories and laughter and tears

Sharing joys and sorrows, hopes and stresses

Joys found in those moments together

Studying together, grabbing lunch, hosting game nights, trading photos

Supporting each other, present for each other

Building community, building belonging