Teaching Your Lover to Drive by Lou Sanz

 

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Over the last few months I’ve been teaching my boyfriend to drive. Life got in his way and he never got around to getting it. I’ve learnt to accept this excuse as an ingrained narrative of how his life has played out thus far. Relationships I’ve learnt, for the most part are a lot about letting things slide. I’m good like that.

The first thing you’ll realise when teaching a lover as opposed to a child to drive is that deep down you still have a need for them to not leave you and to like you, really like you. You also have to make sure their self-esteem is propped up at all times, regardless of your own personal safety and reassure them that everyone nearly runs over a pedestrian from to time.

Also as you’re not a parent to your lover, well hopefully you’re not, you can’t say the following:

‘Sharpen up’

‘You nearly killed someone’

‘You nearly killed that whole school bus’

‘Stop being an idiot’

‘What do you mean you don’t know how to reverse park/ do a 3 point term/ merge…’

‘Get out of my car’

‘Fine! Walk home!’

‘You wanna drive an automatic? And I guess you wanna get your legs waxed after we finish?’

‘This car is worth more than it was to raise you, remember that.’

‘Stop!’

‘For the love of god stop!!!!’

‘Shit we’re going to die’

‘Merge…merge, merge, merge, MERGE!!!!’

‘Have you put your seat bell on?’

‘Hand brake! Hand brake!’

‘Do that again and you’re grounded!’

‘There’s still so much I want to do with my life!’

When you’re teaching a lover to drive it’s all about wanting to say those things and finding other ways to say it.

‘Hey babe, maybe the cars not turning on because you haven’t put the key in the ignition? Must have been a really tough day at work. Here, let me turn the car on for you. Love you.’

‘Hey babe, I know technically you’re in the right and that pedestrian shouldn’t have j-walked but remember regardless that you’re in a car and as such you have to be the more responsible one. Yes, they were definitely in the wrong. Yes,  I reckon they got quite the fright. Yes, you were right and they were wrong. Love you.’

‘Hey babe due to a traffic incident happening right now we’re about 10 seconds away from impending death if you don’t stop right this minute…or whatever makes you comfortable. Love you.’

‘Hey babe there’s a park…there’s one there and there and there and there…that’s ok, we’ll find another…there’s one…and there’s one and another one, and another one…nup you’re right, let’s circle the block and see if we have any luck next time.’

‘You look very handsome today, have you done something with your hair? No? Oh you’re sitting in the drivers seat, that’s what it is. Makes you look all sexy and full of authority. Wanna drop me at work? Sure you’ll have to leave the car there and catch a tram home but I’ve got a real hankering to be your passenger, sexy driving man.’

‘No babe,  I only grab the door like that when we get really close to trucks going 110 on the Hume Hwy because I’m working through my own stuff right now. Love you.’

‘Indicators are cars ways of expressing their feelings and intentions to each other and sometimes even when they don’t feel like talking to each other, they have to.’

‘Hey babe,  you’ve got to understand that sometimes when I tell you do something, it’s not as your girlfriend beating her man down, but as a woman who has over 16 years of driving experience and a responsibility to other people on the roads telling you not to do something. Love you.’

Teaching your partner to drive can either cement your relationship or tear it apart limb by limb, leaving a rotting carcass by the road side with nothing but a smear of blood; your only reminder that once you deeply cared for each other.

At the time of writing this blog we’re still together.

 

2014: I’ll probably fail, again.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve still got a script submission to finish so I’ll be brief. I’ll try to be brief. Look I might fail to be brief and so what? Who gives a fuck about failing?

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I do. We all do.

I failed a lot this year. I even wrote a show about failing. That failed too.

2013 was not one of those years that I’ll look back on and think ‘that’s the year that defined the Sanz legacy.’ It is most likely a year that I will look back on and need reminding that it fell between 2012 and 2014 – ‘Oh that 2013….!’

But of course with failure must come success – they’re like Will and Grace. I had some of that too. I moved in with my boyfriend, properly, not just both of us living out of suitcases in various states of the country and undress! BAM!

I overcame rickets. (I think, I have to book a blood test but I’m feeling less bendy).

I moved house again with my boyfriend (twice in one year without breaking up. Win)

I discovered you can lay-by holidays.

I finally decided to count listening audio books as ‘reading’.

I was published.

I made a film.

None of these things were resolutions. I resolved for none of them to happen in 2013. In fact last New Year’s Eve I decided the only resolution I was going to do something great in 2013. I didn’t specify what. Just something really great.

How I thought an ambiguous mega goal would be more achievable… slow clap Lou, no pressure there.

It turns out that was the hardest resolution I’ve ever had to keep and I failed at it. In fact I failed so badly my social anxiety only seemed to get worse as soon as I decided to really make my mark. My stage fright returned with the vengeance normally only associated with recurring thrush, I drove my partner crazy with sleepness nights (and not the sexy ones). By saying I would do something great I somehow managed to mangle it’s meaning beyond recognition and question my own relevance in the world.

It’s only sitting down tonight and making myself write a list of all the things I did in 2013 that I realise I did do something great. I made stuff. I did stuff. I got frightened. I got excited. I felt disappointment and happiness. I was betrayed. I suffered loneliness and made some great friends. I got through to the other side. I made it to 2014. I get another year and I will no doubt fail and succeed in 2014 as well. It shouldn’t be how will I change’ in 2014, it should be where to from here.

I think that’s what New Years Eve should be about. Not about what you’re going to do differently next time or how much weight you’re going to lose, how many times you’ll go to the gym or about quitting sugar or finally filling out your E-Harmony profile honestly. It’s about what you have done and where you might go from there.

Which leads me to my new resolution. I did write down ‘thigh-gap’ but it seems everyone’s doing it and much like a Big Brother contestant I want to be ‘different and original.’

Looking back on 2013 I realise I need to get stronger. I need to get to a place where people’s opinions don’t affect me as much (we all need to do that). I need to not constantly be getting out of other people’s way in the street and apologising for taking up space in the world.

I would also like to crush a walnut with my bicep.

I’ve also learnt that if I don’t manage to get stronger by 2015 than no doubt I would have accomplished something else, something I didn’t resolve to do….like crush a walnut between my thighs…I don’t know, anything is possible.

Happy New Year.

x

 

 

 

Being fat in the ’90s.

1476484_10151783278006039_1435343232_nI was fat.

See this photo.

In this photo what you see here is me, sitting, being fat.

I was probably being funny too, cause that’s what fat girls do best, funny.

You can’t see it, but I reckon everyone in the room was laughing at something I’d just said.

Somebody probably peed his or her pants.

So back to the photo and me being fat in it.

I know I was fat because at the time this was taken I was constantly being picked on for my weight whether it be by ‘friends’ in the playground, or ‘friends’ of my parents commenting on my ‘full figure’ or my grandmother who would purposely buy my clothes too small for me and than make me wear them in front of her. Boys called me names.

One of my more humiliating moments I recall was when my grandmother returned from Spain with a bra for me. It was a 12AA. I was a 10DD. It didn’t fit. In my head now I know it didn’t fit because I wasn’t a boy, but at the time with very little around me to compare my figure to, I assumed that it didn’t fit because I was fat. And my grandmother didn’t correct me. My mother, I think burnt the bra. It didn’t matter how much my mother told me that I was OK how I was, I didn’t hear her. She was also wise enough to let me know there was nothing wrong with being fat either, lots of people were but that didn’t matter, all I heard was fat and now at 34 years old, I still hear it and the worst part is I view it as negative. When it comes to fat shaming myself, I’m my own worse bully. When this photo was taken I was 156cm tall. For those that know me, I had a very minor growth spurt after that (a whole 4 centimetres…small victories). And I was roughly a size 4-6 if not smaller. I weighed about 40 kilos.

It did not help that I didn’t look like all the other girls at my school. They were all so tall, like beanpoles, like all the girls in Australian magazines and soap operas. Thin, blonde, worthy. I had a tiny waist, boobs coming in and hips. Some adults often described me as ‘womanly’ or ‘sexy.’ I was 13.

And so it began. The great disconnect with my appearance. It’s been over 20 years since that photo was taken and I still struggle to see what everyone else sees. I hide behind mainly baggy clothes; I’ve been on a diet since I can remember. I get sick to my stomach if I break 1200 calories in a day. I exercise constantly. I honestly think that when I look in the mirror, that if I could just lose a bit more weight I’d be able to wear clothes that draped. I’m an idiot. I’ve got curves like a Kardashian minus the personal tailor. There will be no draping in my lifetime unless I make friends with flesh-eating bacteria…but hey you can only cross your fingers for so long…

The narrative of my chubbiness has informed so much of my creative work that I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was imperative to my identity. I write from the perspective of the outsider looking in, the best friend character, the strong personality driven girl, the underdog, the alien. I’ve done pretty well out of it, whether it’s the truth or not. Here’s the thing, it shouldn’t matter whether I’m chubby. I might not be. I might be. I really have no gauge anymore. I know I can wear children’s pyjamas but I’m not sure that means anything.

The thing is when I saw that photo the other night I got upset. I wanted to go back and tell my 13 year-old self to not listen to all the fat shaming and than maybe the next 20 years would be different. Social engagements would not be so crippling at times, I wouldn’t always think somewhere in the back of my head that my relationships didn’t work out because of my appearance, I would write populist chick-lit fiction that opened with lines like ‘the clacking of $700 heels only served to heighten her enviable calf muscles and say to the world that she was ready for anything’ as opposed to ‘she masturbated quietly to a poster of Zach Efron as her boyfriend sat in the study on the phone to his new girlfriend.’ But telling my 13 year old self that if anything I was actually almost underweight at the time that photo was taken wouldn’t have been enough, after all it wasn’t myself that thought I was fat, it was everyone else saying it, making excuses for saying it and shaming me into thinking it was the truth, a truth I’ve lived by ever since. It takes up a lot of my time thinking I should like myself better, sorry correction – it wastes a lot of time. My time. No one else’s, mine. I’ve decided next year I’m going to have a body shaming detox and take up sword fighting or podcasting, I don’t know, I could do anything. All I know is, it’s got to be more productive than what I’ve been doing.

What Would Miranda Kerr do?

I’ve started keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve been told it’s something Miranda Kerr does.

The idea is that you find at least 5 things to be grateful for each and everyday and by keeping a list of them you can reflect back on the good things in your life, making the bad things, well trivial and in making them trivial give them less power in your life.  It sounded right up my alley so I was eager to get the gratitude ball rolling.

Before I started though I had to give myself some rules so that my daily entries didn’t read like an ode to just ‘making it through the day’:

So NO –

  1. Woke up – still alive!
  2. Passed urine without trouble
  3. Still breathing
  4. Bowel movement regular and unforced
  5. Internet usage rolled over 🙂

Basically no gratitude was to be given for just being alive. I needed to be grateful for more.

So here’s Day 1:

  1. Heaters! Heaters are amazing.
  2. Mango’s – how good are mangos?
  3. Really good Crunchy Bar – are there any other types?
  4. Bath – how good are baths?
  5. Went to gym and it was awesome. Caught up on James Spader’s The Blacklist.

Sure my period was on it’s way, my credit card wasn’t rejected at the supermarket, they’re letting me pay off my computer in installments and the fuckwit across the road did me the honour of letting me park out the front of my house and sticking his truck there – but that’s too ‘poor me’ to be really grateful for it. It’s not really gratitude, not the sort of Miranda Kerr grateful I was aiming for.

Day 3:

  1. Glass of Rose. Wine is awesome. Thanks life.
  2. Bought a new hairdryer 🙂
  3. Weather’s pretty good
  4. Accomplished Pilates
  5. Really great raw dinner due to my strict no grain-diet. Raw is well, raw.

Didn’t need to mention the new hairdryer was a result of the fact I couldn’t afford to get a haircut that week…

Soon I was grinning so hard with gratitude that my face hurt.

Day 5:

  1. Friends. Yep, just generally friends are pretty good.
  2. Heat pack for menstrual cramps – phew
  3. Nice outfit  – looking pretty good today. Thanks clothes.
  4. The RTA wants to keep me alive by sending my rego reminder to me – how considerate
  5. Oh look, gas and electricity is due on the same day as rego – how convenient? Can just put one reminder in my diary.

Hmmmm….

Day 7:

  1. Sever sinusitis aside, it’s great they’re back burning to prevent further bush fires
  2. Periods are great. They remind us of fertility and that our bodies are efficient machines.
  3. It should always be further than you expect to walk to get an ice-cream on a really hot day – makes you appreciate it more.
  4. Airplane turbulence is just life’s way of saying ‘Boo!’ – Happy Halloween Lou!
  5. The broken drawer at home is just its way of telling me it needs to fixed.

Day 8:

  1. Parking fines are fine by me. Thanks for the reminder not to be selfish and hog parking!
  2. Scratching my car on a wall makes me grateful for insurance.
  3. Not having up-to-date insurance is just life’s way of saying ‘gotcha!’ – oh how we laughed…
  4. The best thing about not bring lunch into work today is seeing it still sitting on the kitchen counter defrosting and leaking everywhere – buzz me swimming in soup water FIRST when we get home!
  5. Someone better than me got the job. That’s better for everyone in the world, gotta be grateful about that 🙂

After days of working out what I’m grateful for, I feel I’ve found a happy medium. I think Miranda would be grateful that I was finding my own path.

Today:

  1. Woke up
  2. Passed urine without trouble
  3. Still breathing
  4. Bowel movement regular and unforced
  5. New security light installed. New security light doesn’t work. Can’t wait to see what fun that leads to…

 

Review of latest show ‘Lou Sanz Speaks Easy’ Melbourne Fringe 2013

I decided to do a show without a safety net, something that was different every night. It’s the show I’m the most proudest of.

This is a review from Crikey written by Patrick O’Duffy.

Review: Lou Sanz Speaks Easy | Melbourne Fringe Festival

Lou Sanz Speaks EasyPatrick O’Duffy writes …

Eighteen months ago, Lou Sanz was sitting pretty thanks to the success of her award-winning comedy show Neverending Storage. It should have been tours, yachts and rent boys from that point on. But the thing is, when you’re on top of the world you have further to fall, and instead of moving on, Lou found herself paralysed by anxiety, fear of failure and crippling stage fright. The only way to overcome it was to push through and create a new comedy show—leading to this, a show about her efforts to create that show.

If this all sounds a bit introspective, metatextual and personal—well, that’s because it is. But Lou Sanz Speaks Easy is also a very clever, funny and playful show, even at its darkest and most emotional points. Lou talks about the power of denial (and panic), the invention of the telephone, bad Rock Eisteddfod shows, ex-boyfriend conspiracies and how to pitch a festival show when you’re still not sure what it’s about.

The show is low-key to start and never becomes super-high-energy, but it’s honest and smart—and it’s very funny while also remaining very personal. Sanz has a calm, deliberate style that works for her material, which is at times disjointed but deliberately so. She amalgamates the material by confessing her own anxieties, reading from old diaries and getting the audience to change up some of the material (it’s a different show every night, after all), stitching it all together into a relatively neat package.

Lou Sanz Speaks Easy isn’t always an easy show, especially towards the end, but it’s a funny, clever show that has a unique voice. With its metatexual content and commentary on the comedy industry, it’s a show that will speak to veteran festival-goers and even more to other performers while offering plenty for those on the fringes of, um, Fringe. It’s well worth checking out.

Sanz Surprise Birthday by Lou Sanz

 

It’s my birthday tomorrow and what I’m doing for it is a surprise. Yep, I’ve been told to just wear something that makes me feel good.

‘So I can wear my new fluoro pink tracksuit then?’ I asked.

‘Sure.’ My boyfriend replied.

‘Really?’

‘Yes, but understand, you’ll be more embarrassed than me.’

Well played, well played sir.

The first surprise birthday I ever had was when my sister was born, the day before my 8th birthday. As such my party and life as I knew it was cancelled – SURPRISE!

This naturally brings me to the second surprise ever thrown for me. In an effort to make up for their below par parenting towards me proceeding my sister’s arrival, my mother took me for a birthday breakfast at Denny’s (yep, in the 80s the Nepean Highway was littered with American icons…Sizzler, The Keg..did I mention we had a f**king Sizzler!). As we walked into the completely empty shrine to the pancake and hope, a 16 year-old girl called ‘Becky’ greeted us at the door. Aside from a real name the only other thing Becky lacked was an adequate education in hospitality. From the moment I met her, Becky’s lack of professionalism appalled me.

“Hi, welcome to…’ she glanced at the menu for clarification ‘…Denny’s?’

Brilliant. Happy 9th Birthday to me.

My mother only made things worse.

‘We have a booking under Sanz, but not a birthday booking just to be clear *wink wink*, just a regular breakfast booking. Yep, I’m just a mum taking her kids out for a pancake breakfast for no particular reason.’ *wink wink.

We waited while Becky took some reading and basic comprehension classes and finally she found our name on the otherwise blank reservations page.

‘Yes, for 14?’ Mum glared at her – you’re letting the team down her eyes seemed to say. Becky’s eyes on the other hand seemed to say ‘don’t be surprised to find me on the side of a milk carton one day.’

‘Um, well look if you don’t have a smaller table, we’ll happily take the table for 14 – after all we are only here for an impromptu breakfast, but not a birthday party, absolutely not a birthday party.’ *wink wink.

My mother continued on with her charade even as we stood only metres away from a table of 14 made up for a birthday party, complete with birthday banner that read ‘Happy Surprise Birthday Louise’.

But for Becky, well the tipping point had finally come.

‘So you want to have a breakfast on a table for 3 and then go to the birthday party?’

My mother’s eye’s narrowed.

‘Look given there’s a table made up for 14 already, we’ll just sit there. No problems.’ She snatched the menus from Becky and led my brother and I over to the table. Looking back at Becky coming to terms with life, I wanted to say something like ‘kill yourself now’ you know, in an act of sisterly solidarity but it was my birthday and so it was important I focus on myself, at least for one day. It was the right thing to do.

‘Well look at this’…you had to admire the woman ‘…a party for another Louise on your birthday and we’ve been sat her table! I mean what a coincidence!’.

I looked over at my brother, my only ally in this farce, but ravaged by hunger he had taken to sating his appetite with snot. I suddenly felt very alone.

Of course the only thing that could make this surprise birthday party more surprisy would be if, say we were seated right next to the car-park, you know, just so I could see my friends arriving armed with gifts and listen to my mother proclaim over and over again ‘oh the coincidence, oh the coincidence’ – made more coincidental by the fact most came clutching the invitation my mother had sent them – oh the coincidence.

I’d like to say the surprises in my life got better, but you know me by now, we’re all friends…let’s push on.

My 16th Birthday party.

‘Come meet us at the Pancake Parlour Lou’…giggle giggle.

I hung up my landline telephone chuffed. I had friends, they were awesome, they’d organised a surprise party at the Pancake Parlour and sure it was another fast food family fine dining experience, but I’d grown, we’d grown – my friends liked me and now was their chance to prove it. Life was awesome. Their life was awesome cause they were friends with me.

Finally pancakes would redeem themselves. I was glad I was about to give them the opportunity to do so.

But then the bill came, after the pancakes and my friends firmly cemented themselves as dicks. Not one of them had bought enough money to pay the bill, let alone my serving of ‘All You Can Eat Maple Pancakes’.

‘Yeah I guess in 1954 pancakes were a lot cheaper. Inflations a bitch.’ I found myself saying in attempt to emphasise with my friend Gavin, who stood before me clutching 20c and a hard-on.

‘Well if you hadn’t had the extra side of butter Lou.’

‘Totally’ I said ‘you’re right, far call. If I’d known you were working to a budget…’

I couldn’t blame it entirely on them – I had low self-esteem , I’d been the one to settle for them. Slow clap Sanz, slow clap…

Thank god the money I’d gotten for my birthday to buy a bra that did up at the front was enough to cover the shortfall. Oh the coincidence.

 

 

 

 

How You Made Me A Bad Person

I’m going to write something in a moment and straight up it’s going to come out sounding like I think I’m a better person than you. It’s not the case, trust me, I’m so self-deprecating that I still don’t think I’m ever going to top this one day in 1984 when I received the ‘Best Cursive Writing Award’ in primary school – an award I had to make and give myself, an award deserved nonetheless.

So here it goes:

In recent months my partner and I have given up gluten.

Yep, notice how I used the partner as opposed to boyfriend and yep, we’ve given up gluten, as in, this is not an action I could do on my own, it’s something that can only be done in pairs like playing weekend tennis, shopping at Ikea and watching Mad Men Season 3.

Of course the exile of gluten from my diet is not the only one thing that might be considered ‘wanker-esque’ – I also don’t drink dairy. Yes, I refer to dairy as a drink. I don’t do it, can’t do it, won’t do it. But most café’s accommodate that these days, just as they did yesterday…

‘I’ll start with an English Breakfast tea if I can, with soy milk on the side. Thanks.’

I watched as the waitress walked away, briskly, making sure not to look back as my boyfriend and I hung mid sentence – ‘could we see a men….’

‘You’re cursed’ He said to me, as he pulled out his iPad, so as to enjoy another meal with me.

‘She probably just didn’t hear us because she’s wearing her hair over her ears.’

 

He checked his Facebook account.

I checked how my life had come to this…

With all faces checked and accounted for he looked up.

‘Maybe we should just get up and grab the menus ourselves.’

‘No, I waitressed for 25 years – ‘

‘ – really, you started waitressing when you were 8?’

‘- yes, JF I did. It was what you did in the 80’s.’

‘- endorsed child labor?’

‘- had a work ethic JF, a work ethic.’

‘And so it’s this work ethic of yours that’s the reason I’m sitting here starving?’

‘Collateral damage.’

And so as is often the case in our relationship, against my wishes JF got up, and like a Dickensian orphan went to find some menus. I wondered if the winter cold my get him and if he’d ever return….

Moments later, he did, just as the waitress placed our drinks down.

Clocking our self-secured menus she asked the question that was on everyone’s lips.

‘Are you here for breakfast? Would you like to see a menu?’

‘Are they different to the ones we have?’ I asked.

‘No’ she replied ‘Would you like me to grab you some?’

My boyfriend sensing I was well on the way to making a new best friend and couldn’t bare the competition for my affection, stepped in.

‘I think we’re ready to order actually.’

Unsettled by the uniqueness of the situation the waitress enquired ‘food?’.

‘Why not?’ I said ‘Let’s shake things up a bit.’

And it was then I noticed I been bough Earl Grey tea, not English Breakfast. Normally when presented with something I had not intended on drinking I would just smile and swallow but having just returned from the US where it’s custom to send back things you didn’t order,  I decided to mention it.

‘I ordered English Breakfast. This is Earl Grey.’

Her silence masked her confusion.

‘And?’

‘I’d like English Breakfast.’

‘That is English Breakfast.’

‘It says Earl Grey on the label.’

‘That’s how they spell English Breakfast sometimes.’

I smiled through my mouth, the way I’d been taught.

‘If you could just take it back and get me the English Breakfast that’d be great.’

‘And if we could order…’

She left before the words could leave my boyfriends mouth.

‘Really? You couldn’t have just drunk the tea?’

‘Milk with Earl Grey? Never, like sure if I had some lemon and honey on offer I could possibly make do, but look that’s not the point. The point is, I ordered English Breakfast. It has the full-bodied flavour I need this morning. I’m not the bad person here.’

She returned, only to inform me that they had no English Breakfast tea but her boss had told her that Earl Grey tea was the same. It was like comparing Britney Spears to Keisha – a waste of my time.

I won’t bore you with the details, but we ordered. Nothing flash. My boyfriend, something with croquettes and bacon, myself,  an omelette and a side of gluten-free toast.

Surprisingly our food arrived with little fuss. I felt we were all turning a corner. Mornings can be hard on anyone and I was in a mood to forgive and forget. That is until –

‘Um, I ordered a side of gluten toast?’

She looked at me, as if unsure of whether we’d met before…perhaps earlier that day…I watched as it all fell into place for her.

‘Yes, and?’

Tumbleweed…

‘Is it on it’s way?’

‘No.’

‘Why?’

‘We don’t have any gluten free bread.’

‘Were you going to tell me that?’

‘No.’

‘Ok, glad we cleared that up.’

With her tip clearly in the bag, our waitress wandered off, leaving us to our meals.

‘Is it me?’ I asked JF.

‘I don’t see anyone else here’ he rhetorically replied.

After breakfast we wandered the streets for a cup of English Breakfast tea and some toast with a passion not often seen outside the finale of any season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’

Finally we settled on a little café that boasted a menu of quinoa’s and goat’s cheese and on the bottom just under the surcharge disclaimer, there it was, gluten free toast.

We sat down, smiling at the waitress who waved at us as we came in. With pure joy we ordered English Breakfast tea, not the Earl Grey variety, and when all was said and done and they asked me if I’d like to order some food I said ‘yes, I’d like some gluten-free toast with jam thanks.’

I kissed JF lightly on the face mouth, even allowing the waitress to linger a little longer than was appropriate to watch us, but even after our chaste embrace ended she remained.

‘I’m sorry, we don’t sell gluten-free bread.’

‘But it’s on the menu.’

‘Doesn’t mean we have it.’

There was nothing more to say. She was right…just because it was written down on a menu of goods for sale, it didn’t mean they had to have it.  And so I walked away knowing that when this story of one woman’s search for the breakfast she ordered would be passed down through generations, that I was going to come off as the wanker and years from now, they’d still be right.

Matt Day Homewrecker aka Australia’s very own Angelina Jolie

Last night I was woken by an anxious friend calling me from overseas concerned that her boyfriend was on the verge of cheating on her.

‘It’s horrible, like I know he’s not right now cause he’s making me a smoothie but when he asked if I wanted avocado I just thought of my god that’s her vagina and him making me the smoothie well that’s just him metaphorically f**king her.’

‘With the avocado?’

‘No, she is the avocado. Don’t you see?’

‘He’s not going to cheat on you with an avocado, there’s not enough room’ I mumbled as I rolled onto my side and was greeted with my flashing clock and the reminder it was 3am – clearly finest advice given hour.

‘It’s my own fault you know, I hired her for this campaign and she’s his ‘free walk around the park.’ Oh my god, I’m Jennifer Aniston. I can literally feel the pity of others dripping off me.’

‘Not that this is important, but you do know it’s free to walk around a park?’

‘Not in LA Lou.’

‘Since when?’

‘9/11 Lou.’

My pillow fell on my face but to my shock and horror I was still able to breathe…f**k I can’t even muffle myself properly at this hour…

‘So what she’s his ‘if I could cheat on you it would be with her’?! Everyone knows they’re just the thing of fiction, something couples do to add meaning to a relationship.’

‘You so know this is how it started with Brad and Angelina.’

‘You don’t know that.’

‘Him and Jen were just kicking back at their house in Malibu and Jen’s all like she’d so go Captain Picard – ‘

‘-Captain Picard, from Star Trek?’

‘- yes Lou, he’s very commanding and anyway I thought you liked bald?’

‘I’ve done bald, but it never set a precedent.’

‘That’s a shame; I think you and the Captain would work well together.’

‘He’s not real’

‘Those things from your past you’ve called relationships aren’t what we’d call real either but let’s not split hairs, I was talking about Jen and Brad.’

‘Yes, back to those close friends of ours.’

‘Don’t get sarky.’

‘I’m tired.’

‘And so am I Lou, from this constant fight to keep my man.’

My pillow smelled nice, I could feel my oxygen levels running low…

‘Fine, continue.’

‘Well they were just hanging and she’s like her night on the town would be Captain Picard and Brad laughs and knocks back some carb-free popcorn and Jen tickles him until he admits he’d so go Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and then they both laugh cause they know they’ll never cheat on each other cause their cheats are fictional characters and then Jen’s like ‘hey Brad, we just got this script, it’s called Mr & Mrs Smith I’m thinking of producing it post Friends and then BOOM he’s suddenly adopting Asians.’

I hung up, still alive.

Now a few years back when I was living in London I’d had this same conversation with my then boyfriend who at every turn made it very clear he was never out to impress me.

‘Any page 3 girl’ he said. ‘You know just for something different.’

‘Different how?’ I asked

‘You know naked with boobs.’

‘Oh as opposed to myself?’

‘Well I can see you naked any time I want so it doesn’t count.’

‘I can guarantee you from this point on you will not be able to see me naked anytime you want.’

‘You going all frigid or something?’

‘Yes, that’s it. I’m going all frigid or something.’

The conversation had been prompted when my ‘night off’ guy had moved into the same street as us, Matt Day, previously of A Country Practice…ok, so it had been a long time between long term relationships and I hadn’t gotten around to updating my list. It happens to the best of us.

‘You have to change your guy’ my boyfriend stated.

‘Why?’

‘Cause he now lives next door.’

‘And?’

‘You’re more inclined to have sex with him if the he’s next door. It’s a presented opportunity now.’

‘I don’t want to have sex with him.’

‘It doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t.’

‘I think you’ll find it does both legally and human rights wise’

He closed his copy of the Mirror, Sandra from Cheshire’s breasts saw the light of day no more…

‘No. You see if we’re together forever then he’s your only way out, whereas I get page 3 ladies and Julie Sawahla but only from her Press Gang days, you’ve should’ve given yourself more options.’

‘So you’re saying I either sleep with Matt Day, cause that’s bound to happen at some point when he walks past our flat with his baby and wife, or never sleep with anyone but you ever again?’

‘Yes. It’s really a concept that doesn’t involve that much thought Lou.’

‘There’s a lot things in this room at the moment that don’t require much thought…’

We’re not together anymore. 15 years on (yes, it was that long ago I made him my ‘get out of jail free card’) and Matt Day is still a hottie, but as my relationship ended and I matured with age I was very aware of the severe limitations I’d placed on myself with only one option, now I have more, starting with Ron Weasley and ending with Shaun Micallef (yeah, I just haven’t made my career more awkward). That is why there is now a chair on my front porch, just in case they move in down the street.

The Reader: Your Literary Career: Choose Your Own Adventure by Lou Sanz

 

Ok, so someone once told you that you bear a striking resemblance to Harper Lee and you thought yes, yes I do, and so of course the only logical thing would be to become a writer. And so that’s what you’ve decided to do. Great. Welcome. Pull up a chair. Can I get you a drink? No? Of course, me too, I never drink before midday either. Now before we go any further I’m going to get you to grab a pen, because to be a real writer you’re going to need a few things: latent carrier syphilis, a cravat and a Twitter starter account for writers (follow Stephen Fry, Benjamin Law, Marieke Hardy and current left-wing political poster boy – insert applicable name here). It would also do you good to develop an irreverence to Augustus Burroughs (e.g. he’s just like me, but I’m not gay, he’s the symbolic cock in the arse of my life), an apathetic and uneducated understanding of Cloudstreet (e.g. everyone knows it’s New Zealand’s answer to Angela’s Ashes) and an almost anecdotal dedication to Margaret Atwood (try you need a certain amount of nerve to be a writer at your next Camus cheese-and wine appreciation night). Done? Great. Now you’re a writer! Might I be so bold as to say the hard work is over? So what next? Should you start a blog? Sure, why not?….

So you’ve decided to toss acid in the face of the teen queen we like to call conventional publishing and start a blog. You call it Thinking of You, the story of a young boy spurned by his father’s love exploring his relationship with his now deceased mother, set in a seaside town. It’s a really good blog, too, so much so that after encouragement you decide to upgrade it and expand your readership. An ex of yours, who to this day believes it wasn’t cheating as long as you didn’t know about it, offers you some career advice, the only thing they’ve ever been good at getting up. They suggest funding, but what path to take? You could apply to the Australia Council which is, after all, about the promotion of new vibrant and diverse talent, which you have in spades, if you do say so yourself or you could register for Google Ads?

You decide to apply for an Australia Council Grant….

It was five months ago but you did it: you applied for an arts grant. Unfortunately, blogging isn’t recognised as a legitimate artform and your submission is denied. But hey, we encourage you to apply again in the future and might we suggest you try your hand at short stories. You can pick your sorry self up from the pub floor and apply for another grant for something else in four months?  or – fuck it – just throw in the towel here. Your choice.

You apply for an arts grant, again, and you are denied, again. But hey, they encourage you to apply again and encourage you to keep writing and thus the dance begins again (if you want to apply for Google Ads go for it.) But congratulations my friend, that empty or almost chronic feeling of failure accompanied by a burning desire to keep on trucking, well, that’s the feeling of being a writer, a real writer, so don’t despair, you’re a real writer now. Go buy yourself a t-shirt! Your career begins and ends right here.

You decide to apply for Google Ads….

After carefully accessing your blog traffic with Google Ads, you finally start to see some revenue from your writing. You celebrate by buying a stamp to put on the envelope that holds the letter to your Year 10 English teacher – a rampant alcoholic and failed writer who once had an open letter published in The Sun (yes, before it amalgamated) – telling them you’ve made it, you’ve finally made it. You celebrate by writing your own open letter to the Green Guide about a recent episode of Two and a Half Men asking why a wifebeater is allowed on prime-time TV. A Herald Sun writer hits upon this small but poignant letter and they demand your resignation from The Australian, which is fine given you don’t write for The Australian, but as the writer from the Herald Sun doesn’t actually read, they weren’t to know. Bless ’em. As a result you are commissioned to write for online publication The Drum. With your Twitter followers now around the hundreds, the possibilities open up before you. You could submit an article to some indie fashion / badgesavvy culture mag – let’s just call it Spankie ? –Sign up for a radio course at some public / volunteer-funded station?  or record a spoken word single of Mandy Moore’s ‘Crush’ on rhythm guitar and enter it in triple j’s Unearthed contest ?

You submit an article to Spankie, then wait for a reply. You can hear crickets in the background. You bide your time by subscribing to it, maybe they’ll notice? Nice try. Should you do the radio course while you wait? If not, your career ends here.

You decide to do a radio course at a hip volunteer station ’cause after all you have heaps of cool ideas… wait… there’s a really long waiting list. To bide your time you subscribe, maybe they’ll notice? Don’t worry, someone will die soon enough.Should you enter Triple J’s Unearthed?

Otherwise, your career ends here.

You decide to record a spoken word cover version of Mandy Moore’s underrated hit ‘Crush’ – and it’s cool now ’cause she’s married to Ryan Adams – and enter it in triple j’s Unearthed. It does so well it pretty much kicks the latest indie comedian’s single in the dick, and not only does it win but it goes on to become the number one most requested video – a homage to Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ directed by some guy who used to play the drums in Powderfinger on Rage. Invited to headline at Splendour in the Grass and various other summer festivals, you finally find the time to draft that short story you’ve been meaning to write, and then when you’ve finished writing it you decide to have a crack at a book? Wait, no, fuck that, you apply for an arts grant to write that book, like any clever sod would?

You decide to write a novel aimed at a local indie press entitled I Forgive You, the story of a young boy spurned by his mother’s love, exploring his relationship with his now deceased father and the brother he never knew he had, set to the backdrop of a once prosperous mining town. But before you do that you’ve got to complete a double shift at a Portuguese chicken family restaurant and then go to rehearsal because the band you manage is playing a venue where the boys ride fixies and the girls work in PR, and the gig is tonight and you promised them you’d be there, and then you’ve got your writers’ group like the next day and you haven’t done anything for it yet and it’s your turn to read and that girl’s going to be there, the one that’s really into Janette Winterson and Sarah Waterson, and sure she’s got a girlfriend but that’s nothing: the well-placed whisper of a Hunter S Thompson quote will wet the legs of any writer girl. Look, you’re just too busy right now living life to write about life and win the Vogel and anyway, MasterChef is about to start, so it really isn’t a good time.

Your career ends here.

Your Literary Career: Choose Your Own Adventure was published in The Reader November 2010

http://www.emergingwritersfestival.org.au/reader/