1. If I shook your hand, signed your copy, or took a photo with you last Wednesday, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I've been caught up with so many different things in so many different ways this year, but I have never stopped writing, and I will work on that next book soon, I promise. I owe you that much.
2. That night someone asked me if I am a romantic, and I fumbled with my words before giving up and passing the mic on to my seatmate, all sheepish smiles and trademark awkwardness. What I should have said was: I can't write without being romantic. I have to be a fan of happy endings; I have to root for the right people to end up together; I have to believe in the kind of love that starts chapters, turns pages, moves stories forward. That's what I should have said, but maybe the bigger truth is this: I can't be romantic if I don't write.
3. Flowers. Flowers are always nice. So are notes, and your name handwritten by someone you love, underlined as if to say: this is for no one else but you. So are parents who support your passions, and friends who are proud of you, and people who show up. I am understanding this better and deeper as I grow older—showing up is one of the best things you can do for somebody. Grace us with your presence: there is so much grace in being present.