Friday, 15 January 2010

LOVE, ACTUALLY?



I’m in a relationship.

It’s very new indeed – only a matter of months - though we spent about a year eyeing one another and plucking up the courage to approach. There was a lot of faffing about, of blowing hot and cold, of agreeing to meet and then standing one another up. Nothing new there, then.

Now, two months in, we spend time together almost every day. I feel more and more attached – and more afraid. I find myself wondering if this can possibly be The One?

Already it’s becoming hard to find time to fit in the everyday stuff – clean the house, for example. Dust-balls blow down my kitchen floor, and unmentionable mould is populating my attic.

But oh, I’m a flighty thing at heart: my feelings fluctuate all the time. Somehow, this relationship brings out the best – and worst – in me. One day, it’s potentially the most exciting thing ever to happen to me. Another, I want to scream at it to get the hell out of my life. But this is, I guess, the transition from Honeymoon Period to Reality.

You may be wondering how I find time to write, given all this?

Well, I have to. Because the relationship is with my new novel.

Relationships are usually (in my experience, anyway) equivocal, infuriating, powerful, terrifying, and time-consuming. As is writing. Both demand commitment. Both wither in the light of too much expectation. Both require large amounts of quality time spent together, and both are about learning to communicate effectively and truthfully.

Clouds already loom. Recently, I’ve noticed myself making the odd excuse not to meet (dustballs and mildew figuring prominently). And I can already see a lot of flaws in the Beloved, and wonder whether these will be too numerous to allow us to reach the finishing post of Happy Ever After. I’ve also begun to notice substantial flaws in myself: procrastination, pernicketiness, impatience and hyper-criticalness being just a few.

And I’ve noticed that when I get bored, I turn to sex.

Oh dear, I didn’t do that with my last relationship. Sex was occasional, a quick one-night stand at the most, or hardly referred to beyond the first kiss. Only at the very end did it rear (as it were) its ugly head, when of course it was a fitting orgasmic climax to the building relationship. I was a New Celibate, or nearly so, last time round. This time, I seem to have become a Whore.

Trouble is, I’m getting bored with it. There are only so many times you can write: ‘Do it to me – harder!’ without laughing hysterically and falling off your chair. I had to interrupt coitus recently by bringing in a third person throwing eggs. It’s a bad sign. I need to get back on the straight and narrow. Otherwise this novel is in danger of reading like a porn mag.

So is this the Real Thing? Is this just fantasy? Who knows? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by going through it.

Therefore, I promise:

- to Have and To Hold from this day forward – to sit down and spend Quality Time Together, whatever the temptation to a) eat chocolate b) play silly computer games c) ring a friend or seven d) write Strictly blog

- To Honour and Obey the Muse, for Better, For Worse, For Richer (hah!) For Poorer, in Sickness and in Shitty First Draft

- To Forsake All Others – including poetry, short stories, non-fiction and novels by other people – even if they seem infinitely more promising than the one in hand, and

- To Love and To Cherish, till The End do us part.

I just hope that somewhere out there, someone is buying a hat.

17 comments:

emmadarwin said...

Oh, Susie, that did make me laugh. And so, so true! (says she, who's got to the stage where the Beloved and I trade our scruffy, cosy little starter flat for something altogether larger and more solid... and more of a liability.)

Samantha Tonge said...

LOL, Susie, great post and i love the photo.

I really hope this is the one - i went so far as to buy my wedding outfit for you last relationship. Some things just don't pan out at the last minute.

But you never know...

Fionnuala Kearney said...

Just do it harder Susie!
That did give me a giggle - as always a great post...
Let me know whether to buy a hat?
fX

CarolineG said...

Brill post, Susie, and oh...I do know what you mean. I have exactly that response to new projects but fear I am becoming a serial monogamist, never quite giving anyone reason to buy a new hat..

Geraldine Ryan said...

Lovely post, Susie and great pic too. Looking forward to the wedding, or should that be publication?

Hilariously the word verification underneath this comment box is NOOKERO!

Blossom said...

Very funny post ... and so true.

I think I've now found true love, though. I pine for my beloved when we're not together and am counting down to when the weekend starts.

Helen Black said...

Oh this made me laugh.
Due to my deadlines I swap lovers every twelve months.
During that period I ignore him quite a lot and dream of other, more interesting dates. My eyes roam constantly.
Then when I'm perilously close to losing him, I get down and dirty.
I spend all day every day with him, swinging from the rafters til we're both sick of the sight of each other.

Then I dump him.
HBx

Old Kitty said...

Aw but it sounds like this time, it's True Love.

Good luck

x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Glad it made you smile, and thanks for your lovely comments. :)
Emma, hope your new place turns out to be a mansion.
LOL, Geri, and LOL Helen! That last post of yours could be extremely incriminating, Helen, if sent to the Wrong Place!!!
Susiex

Derek said...

Blimey Susie, that is so spooky. I'm getting twilight zone music in my head - I scribbled something similar in a blog today.
If you're writing differently then it's probably a good indication that the characters are telling their own stories and having you scribe what they need. In short, they've come alive! I look forward to a lively writing group gathering and reading session next week. I only hope someone brings along some cigarettes for afterwards!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Blimey, derek - sice there are five of us, it will be an orgy (of writing, of course.);)
Susiex

Julie P said...

It's definitely a love-hate relationship!
Julie xx

Colette said...

Oh that is too funny!

Balesia said...

This sounds somewhat striking. I suppose one shouldn't stress so much whether or not their 'partner' is 'the one'. People die, people get widowed and other people come along (grim view but unintentionally so).

I think you just have to make the relationship work. Live your life as you would - the only difference being, you have someone who's got your back now (and vice versa) and whose input you should value.

Then again, love <3

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks Colette and Balesia.
Agree - focussing on the relationship is the most important thing. Whether you can 'make it work' is another matter, I guess, since some things are out of our control: we can only do our best with the material we've got!
Susiex

Ann said...

So funny.... I hope this one stays the course!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Me too, Ann!
Susiex