For the last few weeks I’ve been writing and trying to write. I’m not sure what my writerly voice is, but I do know that I have a tendency to edit as I type. I sit in my chair, uncertain about the tone that I want to strike and then I start to work the clay. At some point, I’ll use a word like ‘clay’ and I’ll go, whoa, there it is, a metaphor in waiting. I’ll start to mold it and then suddenly I’ll be thinking about the eloquence of the metaphor and forget about where the bit of writing is taking me. So, I’m calling out this tendency and I’m just going to see where this goes.
I’m listening to a song called “Stupid Love” on loop. It’s one of those songs, a pop-writer’s dream. It has a gentle, rolling groove, and hooks so sweet that I imagine people rolling their eyes at the taste. I’ll listen to it on loop, play it loud in my car, and feel the perfect mixture of calm and quirky while I drive.
I’ll smile because it reminds me of “Beautiful Soul” by Jesses McCartney while I make my bed before school. It’ll give back memories of my grade three crush, going to the drive-in for the first time, and lying in a backyard hammock under summer Christmas lights. It’ll remind me that I pretended not to like the Backstreet Boys because I was short, liked my teachers, and followed the rules. It’ll let me off easy because it was important not to give the boys something else to make fun of me for.
It’ll make me smile at those memories, in the glow of tonight’s sunset, and wonder if I’m yearning for a time more painful than the light will let me see. Stupid Love will send me spinning towards my last true love, standing on a hilltop and wondering out loud if it’s possible to feel this way. It’ll show me the kiss on the couch, a night spent in our jeans; I love you, with tremors; and the night it ended, driving home, windows down, rain drifting in. The last part will make me pause. The rest will feel like syrupy-sweet nostalgia, but the end, in the rain, that’ll feel different.
Stupid Love tells me that even this is more complicated; even endings aren’t without nostalgia. They’re moments of release, tension broken. Yet, where it all leads won’t be pure sepia tone. Stupid Love will push me to think about the lakeshore, sand under the tree, and hiding from what hurts most. It’ll push me back to a time when I needed to escape, and it’ll ask me, point blank, do you want it back, all of it?
And then because it’s called Stupid Love, it’ll leave me alone. It won’t make me face it, it’ll let me put a wistful grin on my face and cock my eyes towards the ceiling.
Stupid Love will give me the best parts, if I want them, memories for tonight. I’ll get to build dreams behind closed eyes while the music takes me to sleep.
I’ll fight it for a moment and try to answer the question, but it’ll already be gone. I’ll wonder, is it okay to want some of it back?
I’ll yawn, look at the clock, and realize that I’m not asking the right question.
“Just when I thought that I kicked that habit, you work a little midnight magic, and there I go again, falling back in that stupid love.”
I love that about a good pop song.