It’s a simple idea, really – but the best ones usually are

… and that sort of thing

Those who know me well will tell you I’m an incurable, hopeless romantic. I’m not ashamed of that fact. It’s part of the undeniable force that pushes me to write poetry and essays trying to make sense of my life, of who I am, of who and how and why I love.


I’ve been extremely lucky in the past few years of my life to have the resources to get what I need and want in my life when I want it. I have a few possessions that I consider superfluous to essential living: gadgets, toys and other devices of entertainment and luxury. So when it comes down to answering that question: “What do you want for Christmas?”, I can’t easily respond, because I don’t find myself wanting material things very often.

The most meaningful gifts are the ones that couldn’t have come from anyone except the person giving them, and that couldn’t be meant for anyone except the person getting them. I unwrapped such a gift today.

A simple painting – a bright red heart painted on a field of blue & aqua swaths like love carved in the bark of an aspen, adorned all along the frame with quotes perfectly capturing the relationship between myself and the one who sent me this gift, signed with a Neruda quote and a short, sweet personal note on the back – touched me more closely than any other gift I’ve ever received.

She had written her love — in the words of others — on the frame of the canvas upon which we were together tightly stretched.

The moment I held out her gift in front of me, I knew. I felt completely understood, loved without bound, and joyful for a small token that will always have unique and special meaning to me.


A few days ago, I sent my girlfriend a box of cupcakes. I spent about an hour on the phone tracking down a place that could deliver —with the help of a young woman who made it her personal mission to find a replacement driver just so I could get a few cupcakes to a girl. My girlfriend’s reaction – such glee and excitement – left me smiling foolishly the rest of the night.

Earlier that day, a friend of mine tweeted: “I think I found her kryptonite: CUPCAKES.” Though I already knew DG loved cupcakes more than just about anything, my friend’s words stuck with me.

The next morning I reported back: “so I tested the kryptonite cupcake theory last night. Works like a charm!” Something about those three words remained with me; sometimes a throwaway phrase or arrangement of letters sparks the first few tendrils of fire, still nascent, smoking, not yet ready to burst into flame.

Good relationships inspire each partner to the best of themselves; the best inspire both partners to create — together — something of special significance, a greater good, a union of two individuals that bears the fruit of something even more sublime than possible on their own.

I have a tendency to date creative people; almost all of the people I’ve loved have been poets in some way – with a pen or a camera, or brush and paint, with needle and cloth, or even just with the life they lead – transforming the raw materials of their lives into art.

This romance – the one that’s captured my heart – is no different. We’re a pair of poets, a few photographers; we see the world through a lens and share what we see through images built of dots of light and of letters and words.

So I wrote my girlfriend an email; those three words — kryptonite cupcake theory — had sparked an idea for a project to nurture and engage our strengths. I hoped she would love the idea and say yes.

She surprised me with something better than yes: she loved the idea so much that she let it simmer and evolve. This morning, she offered her own take on my idea – like a jazz musician riffing off another – improving on and refining it. I loved her interpretation, and we excitedly agreed to make this happen.

Together, we’ve sketched out the idea, something truly shared, a sculpture shaped by four hands working together, in unison. True romance: to create something new and beautiful, born of two spirits dancing and improvising together.

Starting in early 2010, the two of us will be launching a shared new blog — Kryptonite Cupcake Theory – a collaborative place of back-and-forth, of creation, of the romantic dance – that I believe will truly express the repartee and chemistry we share.

It’s a simple idea, really – but the best ones usually are: gifts to one another that could only come from and be meant for each other. And our gift will be to share it with you.

I hope you’ll join us.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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