Two Novelists and a Psychotherapist On Freddie Mercury's Private Life

/ Thursday, November 8, 2018 /

After watching Bohemian Rhapsody last night, I woke up today reflecting on Freddie and Mary’s relationship as well as Freddie’s sexuality.  Instead of going straight to my copywriting work, I ended up going down the rabbit hole of Freddie’s private life around the interwebs.

From what I’ve seen in the movie and from what I've read online,  I can imagine two novelists and a psychotherapist discussing Freddie’s relationships with his girlfriend/supposedly soulmate Mary, other male lovers, and his bisexuality.

(aka Raymond Carver, Esther Perel, and Margaret Atwood having a conversation in my head) :D

Quick note: Bohemian Rhapsody  is a film and it's not a documentary. The latter requires revealing the truth and facts. Meanwhile, storytellers in films have the freedom to make the narrative into a riveting story in exchange for twisting the truth a bit. 

Here’s how the conversation went in my head:

Raymond Carver: 

“There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I'd like to know. I wish someone could tell me.”

―  What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Esther Perel: 

Raymond, today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?...

The grand illusion of committed love is that we think our partners are ours. In truth, their separateness is unassailable, and their mystery is forever ungraspable. …

Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it. If intimacy grows through repetition and familiarity, eroticism is numbed by repetition. It thrives on the mysterious, the novel, and the unexpected. Love is about having; desire is about wanting. An expression of longing, desire requires ongoing elusiveness. It is less concerned with where it has already been than passionate about where it can still go. But too often, as couples settle into the comforts of love, they cease to fan the flame of desire. They forget that fire needs air...

― Mating in Captivity 

Margaret Atwood: 

Esther has a point, Raymond.

In my opinion, most women* made one basic mistake: they expected their husbands to understand them. They spent much precious time explaining themselves, serving up their emotions and reactions, their love, anger and sensitivities, their demands and inadequacies, as if the mere relating of these things would get results...

The other wives, too, wanted their husbands to live up to their own fantasy lives, which except for the costumes weren't that different from my own. They didn't put it in quite these terms, but I could tell from their expectations.They wanted their men to be strong, lustful, passionate and exciting, with hardrapacious mouths, but also tender and worshipful. They wanted men in mysterious cloaks who would rescue them from balconies, but they also wanted meaningful in-depth relationships and total openness. (The Scarlet Pimpernel, I would tell them silently, does not have time for meaningful in-depth relationships.) They wanted multiple orgasms, they wanted the earth to move, but they also wanted help with the dishes.

There were two kinds of love, I told myself; Arthur* was terrific for one kind, but why demand all things of one man?..

―  Lady Oracle 


Yes. Or you can try to reconcile domesticity with eroticism?

Modern relationships are cauldrons of contradictory longings: safety and excitement, grounding and transcendence, the comfort of love and the heat of passion We want it all, and we want it with one person. Reconciling the domestic and the erotic is a delicate balancing act that we achieve intermittently at best...

Like dreams and works of art, fantasies are far more than what they appear to be on the surface. They’re complex psychic creations whose symbolic content mustn’t be translated into literal intent. “Think poetry, not prose, Raymond. :D

― Mating in Captivity 

Kai's notes:  

  • replace Atwood's "women" into "men"
  • Arthur is a character in Atwood's novel Lady Oracle 
  • sorry for the confusion but the imaginary conversation is a result of me trying to make sense of Freddie's treatment of Mary and his bisexuality

from one void to another

/ Wednesday, October 24, 2018 /
There's been a "what-a-great-piece-of-fiction" void in me lately.

I can't remember the last time I read a good, punch-me-in-the-gut story this year. Although I remember the books: All the Light We Cannot See (but was it last year?) and When Breathe Becomes Air (this is nonfiction though, specifically a memoir, and I finally read the second half this year after forgetting to finish it last year).
For the past months, I've been reading a lot about finance and some behavioural economics stuff. So reading fiction has been placed in the back burner.
To fill the void, I decided to start reading my second Patrick Ness book - The Knife of Never Letting go. It's been a wonderful read so far.  
It's a dystopian, sci-fi YA novel but don't let the YA label convince you to not read it. In the middle of reading it now, and while the original void is gone, it's been replaced with another void.

Mancheeeeee!!!! Spoiler, I know. But whyyyyyy do you have to do that, Patrick Ness?! I should have known that this second book by the author will lead into another "wordless wail" of all the void inside me. The same thing happened to me when I read A Monster Calls by the same author.
So much for finding a good story. Be careful what you wish for, self.

Current mood: Freeze all motor functions

/ Wednesday, October 17, 2018 /

Dolores: "You came back"
Teddy: "Someone once told me that... there's a path for everyone... and my path leads me back to you... only I'd run away when you first asked me to"
Dolores: "And where would we run to?" "Other world out there? Beyond?"
"Some people see the ugliness in this world. I choose to see the beauty, but beauty is a lure. We're trapped, Teddy. Lived our whole lives inside this garden, marveling at its beauty, not realizing there's an order to it; a purpose. And the purpose is to keep us in. The beautiful trap is inside of us, because it is us."

- Westworld 

There must be a way

/ Wednesday, September 12, 2018 /
This Filipino horror story (an old one but still relevant today) is one of the reasons why I decided not to pursue my nursing career. While I was a student nurse in one of those public hospitals, similar scenarios happen every day. I wasn't aware of it at first but looking back, it wasn't just physically draining but they were also emotionally-taxing.

In the beginning, you're this idealistic, starry-eyed student nurse but you'll eventually end up one of those staff who has seen it all. There was nothing I can do but listen to their thoughts, feelings, and stories.

Fast forward to today, I can't help but ask myself if I'm now more capable of helping them and the country's health care system. There must be a way to get to the root of the problem.

I usually say, in the end, okay, it’s love and it’s work — what else could there possibly be? -- Maira Kalman


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