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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we made it. It's officially the only day of the year where a large amount of chocolate is a sign of popularity, and people are willing to brave the trains and buses at peak hour despite holding far too many flowers. And nobody's allowed to judge them for it!

Everything is cuter when they're
under-aged (Courtesy: karen horton)

As I have been mentioning the last few weeks, today is also the day of my first proper publication. While most Facebook feeds will be littered with corny messages to loved ones and somewhat saddening "I don't need no man!"-type responses, mine has been coming up almost entirely with pictures of coffee shops and little stories on napkins. And that's super exciting! So I'd like to say now a huge thanks to Tiny Owl Workshop for organising the whole thing. They've been so generous and helpful the whole way through, and I hope I get to do something like this again. Here's my spot on their website for those who want to check them out:


Now onwards to the promised Valentine's post!

Since this is a semi-literary blog, I originally thought I would write about romance in novels. That was my first thought, and it could have been a good one. In fact, I was pretty happy with that as a starting point. But then I found this:


So that was that.

I then thought that I could write about an alternative kind of gift-giving (you know, something other than roses and chocolates and elaborately printed Valentine's cards). I was thinking something along the lines of writing letters or stories or poems or drawing a doodle on some scrap paper for your friends and loves. And I didn't hate that idea, either. In fact, this is something that David Levithan (the talented YA author who knows a thing or two about these matters) does for his friends every year. And honestly, if he hadn't already come up with that himself, I probably would have written about it here.

Damn them and their wings
and suits! (Courtesy: plaisanter~)

And this was the part of the post where I thought I should really get a handle on what I'm going to say. Most readers would have given up after three or four paragraphs, so I'm rapidly losing my audience! So this is what I have to say about Valentine's Day, and I'll keep it short... ish.

I have, in my life, had only one (mutually recognised) relationship. At that, this relationship was what you would call a brief high school encounter, although to my deprived teenage mind it was more like an epic piece of destiny. My point being simply that I've lived through at least twenty Valentine's Days, and only once have I come close to having someone to share it with. So you could never really say that it's ever been "for me". So I wonder if there's really nothing in it for the single crew. What can Valentine's be for the rest of us?

Now I'm at least smart enough to know that it's a little my fault. I mean, if I really want to give flowers to a girl on February 14, I only need to be a bit proactive in the months leading up to it, right? If I REALLY want to give flowers to a girl then I probably shouldn't let the fact that I've never met her stop me from doing so... right? And this is when I imagine a world where creepiness is just enthusiastic sweetness, where it wouldn't necessarily mean anything except that someone wanted to make someone else a bit happier, where nothing in the world is ever misunderstood!

And I wonder if I'll be the same in the following year. If I'll still be at home tapping keys to pass the night away, or if there's something a bit grander coming my way. I wonder how many others are out there who are wondering the same things, with their insecurities the only company that really seems to want to be with them. I wonder why every time I try to write something about love I end up writing about painful nights and loneliness, as if those are the only parts of it.

I figure this is cute enough that I don't care if
it's relevant or not (Courtesy: vtdainfo)

But I know I've got my friends. I know there are things that can still make me happy despite it all. So that's what Valentine's becomes for me. It's not about my fancy lovers in foreign countries that barely remember my names (to be clear, I don't have multiple names and I have not nor will I soon have any fancy lovers in foreign countries), or about the adorable brunette with the blue flower hairpin who works in the cafĂ© around the corner (My Lord, she's so cute). That's why we keep our friends with us, to love us when our fantasies are still serving mochas around the bend. They stay with us when they're the best of types, and for that, I must remember mine. I remember that, despite all the commercialisation and abhorrent herd control, there is still something inherently innocent and honest that even the lonely can get into. And that's what Valentine's is for me. A day of knowing what's around you and loving that its yours.

John Back, the one who maybe went a bit far this time

Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Hello there!

I have a special treat for you today, in the form of some words and TWO pictures! Neither of these pictures are mine, but aren't they a special treat all the same?

Here's a napkin, complete with hipster novels,
coffee and doodles! (Courtesy: John Althouse Cohen)

So today is the day before Valentine's Day. Ordinarily I would have nothing to do with Valentine's, given that I'm hopelessly alone and all that. In any/every other year, it has never been unlike any other day of February -- except that I hike up the sub-conscious self-denial to unparalleled amounts, which would explain why I always feel so blissfully unaware for the entire day -- and so I've had no desire to think much of it. But this year I finally have something happening. That's right. I'm getting printed onto napkins! Naturally, since lots of girls will be touching those napkins to their lips, I'll also be counting it as a massively successful day. But enough about my delusions.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about (only the ones who haven't read my previous posts. Nobody really knows what I'm talking about), one of my stories will be appearing alongside 11 others in select coffee shops around Brisbane. Sixteen coffee shops, to be exact. The link to the list is below:

My story is called To You, though I don't want to give any more information. It's only a flash-length story, though, so by the time you decide whether you're interested or not, you'll already be finished reading! Neat, huh?

Expect mine to be equally embarrassing
but far less meaningful. Also expect
equal amounts of grammatical errors
(Courtesy: quinn.anya)

Tomorrow I will be writing a theme post for Valentine's Day, because I figure I should do things like that. And I'll include a picture of a heart, just to be a bit traditional (and what more is Valentine's good for than a little bit of traditionalism?)! Please look forward to it.

I hope everybody has a charming night and wakes up to the most sincere and beautiful of surprises... like a chocolate breakfast or something!

 John Back, the softie

Sunday, 10 February 2013
So Valentine's Day is only a few days away now, and we all know what that means... no, not the thing about your girlfriend/boyfriend wanting to/not wanting to get all smoochy and loving (honestly, you people with your partners sicken me with jealousy!). No, of course the important part is that my story is getting napkin published in only a few days.

Now, my lovely Brisbane readers, you know what you have to do. Hop down to your local coffee shop on Thursday (assuming it's one of the 16 involved), order a coffee, a tea, a carrot cake, or whatever you'd like. If you're really dorky, you'll do what I do and order an iced Coke in a glass, but if you do that you will likely end up alone and end up most excited on Valentine's Day about 300 words on a piece of trash paper.

Sure, there's caramel. But where's
their napkin story?! (Courtesy: 3oheme)

For those who haven't memorized the list yet, here's the details again of the participating parties:

Not long now!

John Back, the loner