Love, What Even Is It, Indigestion?

A wise man once said:

‘What is love, baby don’t hurt me? Don’t hurt me. No more’.

Despite not making any sense, one simply cannot deny the genius behind the lyric.

Up until about five months ago, I would have told you love was just this thing people thought they experienced in lieu of what they were actually experiencing, namely indigestion from eating the eggs too fast. The questioning of love and the affirmation that it hurts is one of life’s greatest mysteries, hence why early 90s pop music attempts to evaluate it by way of disco analysis and backing vocals. But in truth, I no longer believe that love is an enigma. Instead, I’m here to tell you that it’s real, it exists and maybe it’s similar to the feeling you get just before you dip real fast down a rollercoaster while holding a burrito.

My epiphany arrived on the wings of a whisky-laden evening and I thought I dreamt the boy into existence. Maybe I did. The jury is still out on that one. Somebody pinch me.

The opening scene starts with me waiting in line for a popular underground bar.

ME: ‘There’s something about tonight. I feel like I am supposed to be here, waiting in line with these peasants!’

(Technically I didn’t *really* say that, but in hindsight I very well could have).

All of a sudden I saw someone I recognised popping out for a cigarette. The very sight of someone familiar validated my decision to wait in line to enter a bar, on my own, on a Friday night. I had recently met this French guy who worked with my friend, meaning the aforementioned friend was also there at the bar. So now we have ourselves a party.

As I greeted the Frenchman, I didn’t have a chance to look too closely at the unexpected yet excruciatingly handsome chap that followed after him but I saw him in my peripheral vision, and gasped slightly, for he was wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt and my peripheral vision has good taste. We exchanged pleasantries and a few ‘oui oui monsieurs’. The bouncer, Freddie, also of a French-speaking background, spotted me and playfully chastised me for waiting in the line when I could have just sidled up and walked straight in (I’m there so often, they include me in the company’s expense report). As I am swiftly ushered in, I only briefly glanced behind me at the exquisite yet strange male presence that hovered in the alleyway with my French buddy. I quickly glimpsed them both, embraced by the dark shadows and the smoke from the cigarette. Yeah. There’s something about tonight, I thought to myself. And it’s smoking.

I walked down the stairs and even before entering, I could smell the familiar dark wood, the swirling whisky as it hit the hand cut ice, and the burning wax candles hanging ornately on the wall. I spotted my friends with relief and walked confidently to them. Overjoyed to see me, and a little surprised as they did not know I was coming, they quickly plied me with a potent Tomy’s margarita. I regaled them with stories about running in to French people and we laughed jollily, floating and hovering around the bar greeting our good friends, the bartenders. We may have been wearing top hats and monocles, I’m not sure, my memory is hazy about such details that don’t involve ‘The One’. End scene.

Act two, or something.

The mysterious dark figure in a Bob Dylan t-shirt from earlier has appeared from out in the alleyway and into the romantic confines of my favourite place. With my back to the brick wall, the candelabra above my head, and a pile of warm wax pile nudging my skin, I  try to blend into the background somehow, like some kind of lizard doing the ‘brick camouflage’ trick. He walks past and quickly glances at me. My camouflage has failed. The candlelight has betrayed me. My stomach dives behind my liver because it wants no part in any of this and my whole body reacts by way of spasmodic twitching and I might have been sweating too much. So, basically, I was playing it cool.

Not a word was exchanged as he continues past. I look into my glass and the giant ice cube looks back at me rather menacingly, like the iceberg that murdered the Titanic. And when I look up again he’s standing right in front of me, inches from my face, holding his whisky. He looks at me, but not just at me, he looks at something behind me. In my flummoxed state I assume he must be looking at something more interesting, like a fat man in a clown suit, but in hindsight I realise there is a brick wall behind me and not a painted clown face in sight. He must, in actual fact, be looking into my eyes. But why would a person need to do that? They’re just eyes we use to see things! Wait a minute, is this the set of a Nicholas Sparks movie?!?!?! I did not sign a waiver authorising any clichéd filming or generic posters of heterosexual couples madly kissing and embracing in the rain or non-rain! But before I can say ‘unhand me yankee with your intense gaze!’, I realise that I want him to look at me like that.

At that moment he looked so deep into my eyes, I became suspicious about what he might find there. Abandoned toys. A second language. That time I stabbed my brother in the leg with a pencil in a fit of rage. And then he sees beyond even that because he already knows who I am and accepts the angry little 8-year-old girl within, yielding pencils like a crazy person. I don’t mean this in a figurative, meaningful, destiny-filled way. I mean he literally knows who I am because his friends explained who I was and he was intrigued. He introduces himself and we chat.

It’s not long before I realise that that I have met my match. The second thought that crosses my mind is “I think he’s the male version of me.” And the third thought? OH GOD OH GOD, HELP ME, I’M FALLING INTO A PIT OF LOVE. Game over everyone, you can all go home, thanks for your attendance; I must now plan our wedding in my head.

When he looks at me with his large, round, brown eyes, I feel as though he sees something that no one else has seen before this night. He sees me for the first time in a way that stays with me. He sees me as I am, as I want to be, as I should be, as I always have been. I never realised just how intensely you can look into a person’s eyes and know right away that everything is right with the world and maybe, just maybe, they won’t turn out to be a serial killer.

You are where you need to be. You can stop looking now. You’ve found an important piece of yourself in them and now you can lie down and rest because it’s been a long 24 years of searching, you need to freshen up and powder that nose, and while you’re at it could you maybe do 100 sit ups because you let yourself go for a bit there, okay tubby?

Most of all, what I want you to take from all of this love ranting is that you don’t go out searching for love (while eating cheeseburgers). Instead you let it come to you, like a puppy dog or a boomerang gone AWOL (and then you treat yourself to a celebratory cheeseburger).

And it will come to you when you’re ready for it, and possibly a bit drunk on tequila.

It always does.

And it won’t hurt you. No more. (x 2)

And to answer your question Haddaway, well truthfully, you already did, via the female vocal back up lady.

What is love? Love is:
‘Whoa whoa whoa, oooh oooh

Whoa whoa whoa, oooh oooh’.

PS. this is the bar.

a bit about fly

If I had a peanut for every time someone asked me about my novel, I would have sixteen peanuts.

I REALLY LIKE PEANUTS, OKAY?

Peanut-related psychotic outbursts aside, I feel like it’s time I gave some kind of overall insight into this work of fiction I am attempting to create. The last straw was when someone joked that I must have spent the 19 hours writing 25,000 words of a Mills and Boon novel. I cannot allow such rumours to gain traction, not until I have at least one decent novel under my belt. Right now I don’t even have a belt. I am just a baggy Hessian sack. The other issue here is that most people expect a succinct one-sentence answer. They don’t take too kindly to you sitting them down for a 2-day marathon workshop sesh (or so I’ve learnt the hard way).

Right now I have a great big fat rock on my shoulder that I have named ‘THE UNFINISHED THING IN MY LIFE’ (TUTIML or Tim for short). Tim crushes me often, weighing me down with the knowledge that I have taken on more than I can handle. So when someone asks me about it, they’re basically jumping on that rock and gyrating on it, and there I am trying to remember what the story is even about. What we end up with is a flustered response along the lines of ‘something epic, Fly girl, I can’t talk about it, you’re not the boss of me!!’

I forced myself to buck up when one of my fellow RABBIT HOLE team members asked for the synopsis of the project I was working on. I won’t lie to you. I was caught off guard. I knew that synopsis meant ‘lengthier than thou outline’. Naturally, like all struggling writers with a full time day job and no time at all in the world, I didn’t have one. So I wrote one on the spot and thought I’d share it with you. And the next time someone asks me about it, I will hyper link their faces to this blog.

Deal?

Here goes nothing/everything

It’s an epic story about love and the universe and how everything is connected. There’s a Gaelic spiritual theme with some faint feminist undertones. On earth there’s a constant, subtle presence from a parallel universe called The Lost Chord and it surrounds the earth in one giant invisible glass dome. The main writing style is magic realism when writing about earth (most prevalent) and elements of fantasy when describing the other universe.

It starts with an old man who we discover is The Keeper of Souls. He knows about the lives of every single human on earth and even has access to all of their memories. But when the earth ends in a cataclysmic event, he has no idea what caused it, because the only survivor and person most likely responsible for it all ending, doesn’t have a soul. He can’t read her at all. He was not even aware that the girl without a soul existed.

This is because she was created by a woman named Destiny (her name is also her job title), a powerful and feisty woman who forgot to mention her side project: Fly. When Destiny first predicted the end of the world, she panicked and tried to prevent it from happening by creating a powerful girl named Fly and sending her to earth. But what happens if the world was always destined to end? What if she couldn’t actually alter destiny (ironically) or even the fate of the world? What if, in actual fact, sending Fly down was only going to exacerbate things?

Destiny realises her mistake, that she got too carried away and was overly ambitious because Fly is *too* extraordinary to fix the world. She is the catalyst. She feels the emotions of the universe through a larger-than-life bout of empathy. When she feels normal human emotions like sadness, heartache, loneliness or mourning, she feels it on such a scale that her small actions have the effect of leading to a chain reaction of terrible things, which lead to mass disasters. This unique part of her is meant to start a chain reaction of wonderful, happy things. But she can’t create happiness and goodness from nothing. She has to channel it from somewhere. The thing about Fly is the way she’s extraordinary but so completely oblivious to the effect she has on the world. Her only concern is searching for the goodness, love and happiness in humanity, so she can fulfil her mission (a mission she’s not even sure about).

The story traces back the steps of her life, how she came to exist, the tiny yet extraordinary and inexplicable happenings, the story of the woman who adopted her and how all of it leads to the end. And of course, like all narratives, only Fly can breathe life back in to the world….BUT AT WHAT COST?

*ominous eerie music to take us out to the sponsored advertisement*

florence my machine

Florence Welch picks up a champagne glass and takes a sip before returning to the microphone, her throne.

‘That’s pure vodka by the way’ she adds.

It was her, all her: voice, mic, the magnificent Opera House backdrop – they were all meant to be there. In contrast, the crowd is a delighted accident.

The Opera House lights up for VIVID Sydney

She floats onto the stage for the first time in a cream coloured Victorian gown with flowery lace patterns and puffy sleeves, her signature soft red hair framing her face. It’s as though the crowd was holding their breath, waiting for her.

Did it matter that the songs were composed a little differently to suit the orchestra that accompanied her in place of her usual Machine band? A little, but only in that it resulted in a kind of stunned confusion at the now unfamiliar terrain that her voice was headed for. I still sat forward with my face cupped in my hands, mouth slightly agape, staring like a child seeing the stars for the first time. I looked at my buddy and she was doing the same.

Florence’s voice carried the entire concert; hypnotic, ethereal and powerful. Like hymns in a cathedral we worshipped her. Your eyes couldn’t help but follow her every move and if she left the stage momentarily because of a technical problem, your heart sank, despair kicking in, waiting for her to reappear again. The moment she did return, you instantly felt your mood change back to unbridled happiness.

The first time I heard their album, I remember going home and writing thousands of words. I didn’t know at the time that I was writing the beginning of a novel, I just created some crazy arse world with characters lifted straight from my imagination and Flo was there, singing the soundtrack to that other world. Her songs brought them to life, particularly Cosmic Love and The Drumming Song. Needless to say I adored her rendition of these songs. The Drumming Song with its earth shattering notes and satisfying crescendos and Cosmic Love, another winner in the Opera House with Flo proclaiming she ‘wrote this one when she was hungover’.

Similarly I recall attending a random house party with some friends and taking over their iPod music in our kitchen. ‘Dog Days’ came on, and just like that, a spell was cast on us (hey it has a harp and a clapping pattern, that’s a cult right there). Arms flailing, legs taking us to every part of the house as the party attendees stared at us in disbelief, mainly because they weren’t sure who we were and how we knew the owners of the house. We danced and sang in a kind of manic moment that can never be repeated for as long as we live (although we tried to repeat it on Saturday – not quite the same). It should come as no surprise that one of our dancing entourage members passed out later in the living room hugging a disco ball.

The harp signalled that Dog Days had arrived at the Opera House as Flo cued the harp man in via an elegant curtsey, spreading out her long limbs in a graceful gesture. That’s all it took for the crowd to go wild. She gave us permission to stand up from our seats but I was already on my feet.

‘I feel like you should be sober in the Opera House though’, she added, her cool, casual tone making it seem as though she was just one of your friends who happened to be on stage. Then time stands still and you realise where you are. It’s hard to wake up from that kind of reverie. Some of us never do.