She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

Interview With An Aardvark


Valentine's Day is only a week away, and it occurred to us that many of you may not be familiar with the Valentine Aardvark.  Well, we're telling you right now that everyone needs to know about the Valentine Aardvark, so F2 is doing our part to spread the word.

Even though the Aardvark is very busy preparing for the upcoming holiday, he was gracious enough to tell us a bit about himself and share his perspective on what Valentine's day is really all about.

* * * * *

F2: Tell us a little bit about how you came into the world.

V. Aardvark:  I was created by a little boy who wanted to help a mad scientist and his monster feel loved on Valentine's Day. Valentine Monster author Chad Mitchell grew up with a biologist father who loved teaching his 8 children about different animals and their habitats. Ron Mitchell, Chad's father, started the tradition of having the Valentine Aardvark come on Valentine's Day eve to put little treats and presents into the pouches the children had made and set out on the couch that night. The Mitchell children grew up with this fun-loving tradition and were surprised when they found out that none of their friends had even heard of me! Now that the Mitchell kids have all grown up, they have passed on the Valentine Aardvark legend to the 28 grandchildren and all their friends. Ron Mitchell started a tradition that has helped others feel loved, and let me sneak into their houses and leave behind treats every February 14th!

F2:  There are plenty of holidays that don't have mascots. You could have chosen to represent National Cheeseball Day (April 17) or Make a Hat Day (September 17) or any number of other holidays. And besides, for a lot of people who are alone or in situations for which Hallmark doesn't make cards, Valentine's Day is hard, so why choose that holiday?

V. Aardvark: I'm really very happy that the book that started it all wasn't called Cheeseball Monster or Make a Hat Monster.  It's true that a lot of people feel left out of Valentine's Day. But Valentine's Day isn't a day JUST for romantic love! It's a extra special day to tell everyone we know and appreciate that we love them: fathers, mothers, siblings, neighbors, teachers, friends, anyone who needs to know that they are loved. I think LOVE is the most important and powerful thing we've got going on this planet, so why not celebrate it every chance we get? My mission is to make everyone feel like they can either GIVE love or RECEIVE love, or BOTH! It doesn't have to be romantic. It's fun, and it makes people happy!  So my advice is to make an effort THIS Valentine's Day to search out people who need to feel loved, and DO something about it. Try that little trick. I bet it puts an ant or two in your snout (which is a really good thing if you are an aardvark)!

F2: What, in your considerable Aardvark opinion, is the key to true love?

V. Aardvark: The key to Valentine's Day (aardvark style) and true love in general is SHARE THE LOVE. There's an old poem that says, in part, "Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, love isn't love 'til you give it away." That is so true. Do something to make someone smile. Nothing makes me happier than helping others feel loved.

F2: Where can people find more information about your story and about how to participate in this fun Valentine's Day tradition?

V. Aardvark: I have a website where you can read the original version of Valentine Monster (click on the "book" tab and then the image of the book), learn how to make Valentine pouches so I can leave treats for you (click on the "pouches" tab), and find other fun treats and games and poems. You can also find me on Facebook and, of course, Twitter.  Stop by, be inspired and please spread the word!

F2: Thank you, Valentine Aardvark, for joining us here today and for your commitment to carrying out your very important mission.  We can feel the love, and we'll pass it on.

V. Aardvark: You're welcome.  Happy Valentine's Day!

A rare photo of the Aardvark in action:


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