Primarily to entertain. This brings up constant conundrums about anonymity, ethics and finding the wisdom to see what should stay on pen and paper and what should be shared publically. When does a person become a ‘character’ or a shallow stereotype? When does brevity lead to lazy writing? What should be exaggerated for a laugh or believability? It’s cathartic to write baddies into my personal narrative because then I’m the hero, but sometimes it’s dishonest, uncompassionate and unethical.
Secondly, for solidarity with single people. I was encouraged to write by reading someone else’s dating blog and the community that it had inspired. I loved sitting around with my single girl friends in Alice, cackling at my own misfortunes. I somewhat arrogantly think my stories are worth telling and that someone might get something out of all the crap, all the magic and the shame.
Thirdly for self reflection. For the cathartic process of writing. Of remembering, daydreaming and hoping.
Fourth, writing is the only real practical creative outlet for me in the desert. I thought I’d publically practice a craft that I’d been secretly practicing since the 9th grade.
But really, I just want to tell stories. I dedicate so much of my life to my work in the desert. Sure, I write lots about living here, about issues in remote indigenous communities. But not eloquently or well researched enough to share them. Re-living these dating stories and analyzing and telling new stories helps me remember there’s a bigger world out there than where I work. When I feel like it’ll never happen for me I write and remember that I have loved and felt loved, been attracted and been attractive. Sure, many times I’ve thought ‘Fuck, if I die, I hope my fucking legacy isn’t just a bunch of badly written stories about bad dates and my unfulfilled clichéd romances.’
But my search isn’t for great writing material. Every date that I go on, no, every time I get on a plane, go to a party, leave the house, I think ‘Maybe this time I’ll sit next to a nice boy on the train, maybe I’ll meet him at Woolies. Maybe he’ll be the one I’ll never write about.’ Every time I listen to a shitty love song I wish I had someone to sing it to. I’ve written my final ever blog post in my head so many times: ‘Dear Readers, I’ve been on three dates with the same guy. Totes excited. What I have now is too precious to share. Have great lives. With love, desertdates.’ To live in constant hope is exhausting, when it’s dashed I turn into a Jilted Psycho, then a Jaded Philosopher, then an amateur humorist. To find humour and insight, then to share it, is uplifting.
I’m not searching for bad dates or baddies. I’m searching for love. But I keep failing. The journey is smoothed over by sharing it and laughing at it so that I can brush myself off and start again.
I also shamelessly want people to laugh at my jokes, empathise with my stories and like me. Really, I’m a hopeless romantic. That’s why I write.