If you look to the top of the page, right under Frannie Loves Marie, you will see the line treasures, dress ups and stories of a wonderful life. Well, caring for my puppy Gracie means that the treasures and dress ups don’t come about as frequently as they used to for fear of their destruction and lack of funds, but the life becomes becomes even more wonderful. I last wrote about Gracie graduating from puppy school over 3 months ago and boy has she grown from a fluffy little youngin’ in to a stinky, slobbery real-life dog!
Here’s a FLM update on her canine capers of late because I know you all adore cute dogs as much as Marie and I do…
I have heard famous actors say in interviews that they have the best job in the world. That they never had to grow up, spending their days playing make-believe and dressing up. That’s sort of the way I feel about writing… like it has kept me well and truly in touch with my inner child. Hopefully, in turn, that will help me to understand my own future children better.
I have mentioned before that one of my most vivid childhood memories is from the day, 6-year-old Frannie asked to be excused from class to go to the bathroom and instead found herself wandering down to the playground singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow to my adoring, albeit invisible, munchkin fans. More recently, I found my Grade 1 journals that further supported the idea that I was born to lie, i.e. write fiction. When I asked my Mum if she was ever concerned about how much I lied as a child, she said that she didn’t believe I lied, just that I stretched the truth to create a more magical reality.
There were stories of fairies, of animals I befriended and recounts that my adult brain knows are ridiculous exaggerations but my child brain would have believed wholeheartedly. So I’m glad my parents hoarded all of my ‘stuff’ while I was younger. Now my journals, as embarrassing as they are, take pride of place on my desk serving to inspire and stir my imagination. They’re also a reminder that I picked the correct creative path by choosing words over art… the illustrations leave quite a bit to be desired.
Look, I don’t want to name names *cough*Frannie&Marie*cough*, but two besties recently set out on a mission to re-watch the entire six series of US TV drama Dawson’s Creek. This fraught with emotions journey back to Capeside circa 1998 began last Saturday where in the pilot episode, the audience is introduced to way-too-self-aware-to-be-15, 15-year-olds Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen. Stories ensue that centre on friendship, family and the confusion that surrounds puberty, young love and whether 90s fashion was ever a good idea. Joey’s incessant eye-rolling and lip-biting aside, I know this is going to be a rowboat ride down memory lane that I will thoroughly enjoy.
More terrifying to me than the fact that I really love what most people would call ‘bad’ television, is the realisation that I’m a lot like young Dawson Leery. The same Dawson Leery who I find infuriatingly dramatic and oblivious to the world around him. The same film-addicted Dawson Leery who said “I reject reality”.
The moment he said that, was the moment it hit me – if life does ever get too ‘real’ for me I retreat to a world of books, film & television. I often wish I could enlist Tim Burton to create a world just for me where days were spent resting in fields of daisies, where the hug of the warm sun would always be felt and seen in the rosy blush of everyone’s cheeks. Other times I dream that my house has been swept away at night and that I have awakened to the songs, colours and wonders of Oz. I am 25 however and reality does tend to smack you really hard in the face at this age, so while I will probably always turn to fiction first for comfort, there a few very real things that come to mind when I need some reminding that reality can be just as magical as my imagination.
My family didn’t have the greatest weekend. My parents have just moved in to a beautiful, brand new home that they built with my little brother and after only a couple of weeks living there and while they were upstairs, someone broke in to their home smashing the glass pane of their door out back and attempting to steal my mum’s handbag and her car from the driveway. My dad actually caught the guy holding him there, with my brother’s help, until the police arrived.
Being faced with this and knowing that my dad and brother are the protectors of their home and their family, I got to thinking… Thinking about the ways they have looked after their girls, my mum, sister & I and also about the high bar they set for any other man who comes in to my life (luckily, I’ve found someone who reaches those dizzying heights). I have learned so much from my dad and even though I thought it was me handing out the life lessons to my baby bro, I have learnt invaluable lessons from him as well. These are the things they have taught me:
I am in the process of setting up a completely ‘zen’ and inspiring workspace at home to write in. I mentioned this in a post before and noted that the desk is actually my great, great Grandmother’s dresser. I adore it. I flipped the mirror of the dresser revealing these incredibly untouched, dark panels of wood which gave it a kind of rustic feel. So I have my old copy of The Glass Menagerie sitting atop a pile of my favourite books, have bought a bunch of dried lavender to hang as well as some twine and wooden pegs to string up and hang photos from.
Self-help lessons in love for us girls often refer to two types of guys, Mr Wrong and Mr Right. Sex And The City threw a third type of guy in to the mix, Mr Big. Or as I like to refer to him, Mr Big Mistake. I know you either love or hate Sex And The City, but I often refer to it because it is a great look at human characteristics and choices (especially in love) that aren’t always rational or right but that are common and for me, pretty relatable. If you watched the show *spoiler alert* then you know that Carrie Bradshaw ended up happily shacked up and married to Mr Big. However, along the way there were many times that I wanted Sam, Charlotte and Miranda to tell Carrie to walk away from him and never look back. Especially when he left her stranded at the altar. Mr Big wasn’t a villain (Mr Wrong) and he wasn’t a hero (Mr Right) either. He was a third category of potential suitor. Someone who, because of their own emotional impotence, is bad for us but we stay with them anyway, because there are seven days in a week and on at least one of those days we see glimmers of the person we first met.
So what makes a Mr Big?
I may have grown up looking at life through hazy, Disney delusions but Never-Never Land I could do without. That place petrified me! To a child who couldn’t wait to ‘grow up’, the idea of a place that froze the age of its population was horrifying. Young Frannie couldn’t wait for adulthood, imagining days full of sipping on coffees while hanging out with adult friends doing adult stuff not having to worry about school assignments – what could be better?
^ Me being an adult ^
The thing I didn’t know was that adults actually spend time worrying about money and superannuation and whether they should use their savings for a house deposit or for travel. They worry about getting a license, keeping within the rules of the road and owning & maintaining a car. Adults have health insurance or back-up plans for medical emergencies and they always know what to do in those situations. Adults know when the right time to start a family is, how much children cost and how to properly hold a baby. Adults know how to cook healthy meals, how to look after their mental health, how to budget for bills and groceries and how to balance a work and social life while always allowing time for themselves to exercise or relax. Right? Well I’m 25 and I can honestly say I have none of this figured out. I assumed it would just come to me as I got older but it turns out these are all life lessons and generally we learn them from experience or the dreaded hindsight.
So now I’m forced to wonder whether those hours I spent in maths class learning about algebra and navigation were worth it? I would much rather have taken an elective called ‘adulthood’ or ‘real life’ where I was taught about all of the above. It seems that it would be more beneficial for me to know how much money is needed for a house deposit and how best to save said dollars rather than how to calculate the distance between a lighthouse and a boat based on the position of a star.
I spent the first two and a half years out of school studying to be a teacher, so please don’t misunderstand this as a dig at conventional schooling (especially as my school at least taught me the basics of resume writing and job interview skills) or at our wonderful and oftentimes undervalued teachers. More than anything it is just a thought. A thought that perhaps I would know exactly how to manage my superannuation fund and may have had a license by 18 instead of 21 if more time was taken to teach me road rules and how to parallel park a car instead of how to dissect a toad in science. Maybe it’s an assumed job of parents to share this knowledge with their kids, but between figuring it all out as they go themselves, when would they have the time?
Marie and I have had this conversation a couple of times… have you ever had similar thoughts? Or maybe you have ideas worth sharing of how you’ll teach your kids these ‘real life’ lessons?