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The Beatles wrote about it. So have other songwriters, uncounted. Movies are made about it. And oh, yes, books are written about it. When you consider, love is pretty central to our existence, whether it’s love of home, love of family, pets, career or just a really good pizza.

As a romance author, I’ll admit I think about love quite a lot. In fact my mantra, as featured on my logo, is Lore, Legend, Love. And the love part figures large. To me, love is like the salt in a recipe. You can sprinkle it on lightly, or use it to really bring out the flavor in the other ingredients. But try to do without it, and you won’t be very happy with the result.

If anything has brought this home, it’s the year through which we’ve just lived. Now, I’ll freely admit, I’m something of an introvert. I’m not exactly the chatty, outgoing type, and I’m pretty happy at home with my books, music, and dog. I like my solitude. But—come on! A year of Covid has taken solitude to a whole new level. It’s put a strain on relationships—both those between individuals penned up together, and those who can’t see each other often, or at all. It’s like a starvation diet—deprived of love.

Well, you know what Joni Mitchell said in her great song, Big Yellow Taxi. “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” If the pandemic has taught us a lesson, it’s the value of the casual—a casual touch. A casual meal with a friend. A casual Saturday spent with family. The gentle gifting and receiving of love.

I doubt any of us will take love for granted again, once all this is over. Meanwhile, thank goodness we have books to read and write—stories where love abounds, and we can slip between the pages to experience it with every word.

What aspects of love have you missed most, this year?