it’s complicated

listening to: Hot Chip, Shackleton, Kode9, The Teenagers

It’s been two weeks since my last confession and I am annoyed at myself for letting so much time slip by without posting. Part of the reason was the short story I was writing for a vampire-romance anthology called Love Bites: the title is I Need More You and it’s about a vampire and an angel playing an addictive love-game that spans decades and takes them to various places, this time Burning Man.

I’ve been wanting to set something at BM for years, and I realize (now) that I’ve been fascinated with issues of addiction since I made a major character in my first novel Bloodangel an ex-rock star struggling with heroin, which makes him extremely susceptible to my novel’s Big Bad. Vampirism is often used as a metaphor for addiction, and although my books aren’t vampire novels exactly (they are, as I like to call them, “vampire novels without any vampires in them”) they are concerned to some extent with the nature of addiction, which is also the quest for the transcendent turned upside over and made corrupt. It’s this quest that seems to be one of my obsessions as a writer, one of the things which will keep resurfacing in various forms throughout the future. I am an atheist who believes in the necessity of spiritual connection, which is not the contradiction it might seem. It raises some interesting questions.

I’m also — pleased? bemused? — to say that I finally met Talulah, my ex-husband’s new girlfriend. She spends quite a bit of time with my children, given the 50/50 custody share. E and I had agreed that he and T would throw the twins’ fifth birthday party on April 18. E wrote to me in an e-mail, “You’re invited!” which, given the state of affairs of the last nine months, was no small thing. Talulah sent an email introducing herself and suggested we meet beforehand, rather than amid the chaos of a children’s birthday party, which I appreciated.

We had breakfast. More than one friend pointed out that meeting her for a couple of stiff drinks might have been more appropriate, but carbs are good too. We had previously agreed to leave aside the uncomfortable topics. At one point I heard myself say, “I am so much happier now than I was this time last year” and realized this is true, there has been a reclaiming of time, friendships, interests, life in general. My sense of myself as person and mother is stronger now, and my writer-self, also going through some lessons, revelations and adjustments, is not far behind.

“It’s kind of like a French movie,” observed my friend Sam.

He had a point. His comment also reminded me of a comment of my father’s, made ten years ago when I told him how I’d tossed red wine — I am so not proud of this — on a bedroom wall during a heated argument with E, after which we immediately made up (we made up pretty quickly in those days): “You have this tendency to live life like it’s a French film”.

So I said in an email to Talulah

I would rather live out the French-movie version of events (the ex-wife and new fiancee become friends and various philosophies are pondered) than the American version (one is ‘good’ and one is psycho, there’s a big catfight sequence and someone gets thrown off a balcony) — the latter of which seems vastly overrated.

She responded, Let’s do as the French do.

To say that my presence at the birthday party wasn’t awkward, however, would be a straight leap into Disney fantasy, where the birthday cakes (pirate theme for one twin, Buzz Lightyear for the other) do pirouettes and everyone breaks into song for no reason. But it wasn’t a David Cronenberg either, so it could have been worse.

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