One of my goals this year is to date. Like seriously date. To the point where I can say, “x is my partner”. It’s hard for me to explain why I think I should make a serious effort to date this year. Some of my friends have said, Awww you’re finally admitting that you want somebody. I’m not convinced it’s that simple. I wish it was. I just feel like I should make an effort to invest emotionally in someone else (apart from my conglomerate of best friends, family and friends). Like that would be a good thing to do, and good for me. I’m aware that I am emotionally distant – especially from men. And that’s something I have deliberately cultivated because that’s the only way to have the number of fuck buddies that I have had without being emotionally scarred. And surely that can’t be good for me? The emotional distance I mean. I am writing this on a KLM flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam. I have just spent 10 or so days in Visby where I slept in a narrow room overlooking an 18th century church and the Baltic Sea. It was the perfect place for any creative to undergo a residency. I am constantly surprised by how welcoming the people appear to be. They don’t cross the road when you walk towards them. They speak to you in Swedish, until you say, “Sorry I don’t speak Swedish”, and then they switch almost seamlessly into English. I watch the cashier at the co-op intently when she scans my money. I look to see if the money any of the other customers hand in is being scanned but everybody else seems to be paying by card. The next time I’m in the co-op another identikit blond cashier scans a 20 krona bill and says, “Sorry do you have another one? The machine is not accepting it.” I don’t feel targeted in any specific way and say, “I can pay by card”.
I have been working on a collection of short stories about sex and sexuality. I have been assigned a writing mentor. She discusses my very thin manuscript with me and gives me what I think is helpful feedback. I am not sure how I am going to make the very helpful changes she has suggested. I start another short story instead. I find it easy to start new things. I write a story about a woman who is remarkably like me. Except that she is older, and hotter. The women protagonists in my stories are always way hotter than I imagine myself to be, and yet whenever my writing friends read my story they comment about how much the protagonist resembles me. My friend V even tells me that the similarity between my characters and I reminds her of the writings of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I am flattered. I am a proud Chimamanda girl. I suspect that the real issue is I am not as imaginative as I would like to be. I cannot conceive of writing a dystopian novel, or science fiction. I write best from my own experiences and sadly my lovers, family and friends will suffer the consequence of having their lives thinly veiled, elaborated and exaggerated in a collection to be published one day I hope. I think a lot about the ethics of non-fiction writing. I change events consciously. Sex that occurred in a car with a musician becomes sex in a car with a poet. I become a 40 year old woman with a great body toned by hours in the gym, and a mass of short, spiky hair.
My writing mentor gives me feedback about one of my stories. It’s entitled ‘Getting a boyfriend”. Somehow she doesn’t quite believe that the protagonist in my story really wants a boyfriend. “Why does she want a boyfriend?” she asks. “Is it because she just turned 40?” “Fosua just seems so emotionally detached. Somehow I don’t believe that she actually wants a boyfriend.”