La La Land Made Me Do it

2016. Ben and I had just returned from another sailing trip in Greece.

My manuscript called to me from the desk drawer. ‘Hey, remember me? I’m about falling in love on a sailing trip in Greece. You could, um, you know, give me a new lick of paint or something?’

I ignored it.

I’d had an agent the year before. He’d loved the book, but he couldn’t get any takers. I was done with it. I was done with the whole ‘being an author’ lark. I was giving up on my dream.

Then we saw La La Land.

La La Land, which will forever be known as ‘the film that changed my life’.

Yes, really.

You see, towards the end of the film [spoiler alert, but really, you should have seen it by now—it’s incredible], Emma Stone’s character, Mia, is at the point where she wants to give up on acting. And Ryan Gosling’s character, Sebastian, convinces her to go to this one particular audition.

She does, and it is a beautiful audition. La La Land is a musical, so she sings it—a song called ‘The Fools Who Dream’. In a perfect Oscar-winning moment, she lays it all out there, her heart bare and raw.


[MAJOR SPOILER] She gets the part and she becomes a huge star.

The rest of the film devolves into a flash forward and then completely the wrong ending, but that scene!!!!

After the film, we caught the tram home and I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. When we got home, I told Ben I wanted to be alone, and sitting at my desk, I had a serious talk with myself.

No one was going to knock on my door and ask if I had a completed manuscript lying about. No one was going to ever read it if I didn’t do something—if I didn’t at least try.

This was my dream. I was a fool who dreamed, and if I didn’t give this everything I had, it would never happen and I would always be heartbroken that my dream hadn’t come true.

So, I had to try—again.

And I did. I re-wrote the book and self-published and queried it and wrote more books and queried those. I kept going. I gave it everything I had—all because of that one scene in that one film. Yes, eventually I may have had a nudge from somewhere else, but I will always remember La La Land as the film that changed my life.



I had the craziest dream last night


It’s a little-known made up statistic that 9/10 people who insist on telling you about the dream they had, start re-telling it with these seven dreaded words, seven words that would make even your mother cringe. Because the truth is, no one wants to hear about your dream, not even your mum. I know that inside your head, it’s a vivid, incredible collection of imagery, heightened feelings, and impossibilities, but you won’t be able to tell it well enough to convey even 1% (*) of what it felt like to dream it. No, really. You might have dreamt you’d been to Shangri-la and back again, and it still won’t make a good story.

That’s why I would like to publicly apologise to my significant other. This morning I regaled him with the particulars of a dream that left me so out of sorts, I woke up in a panicked state at 5:45 and couldn’t get back to sleep.

I mean it was a particularly crazy dream. My X-boyfriend was in it, except he had an afro (he’s white), and so was Kevin Smith – the director and podcaster. We were at some kind of festival up a mountain, where the staff were paid to sweep the snow. I didn’t like that we slept outside, or that I didn’t get to do any ablutions in the morning, or that I couldn’t get home before midnight that night. I also didn’t like not having my mobile phone with me, because I couldn’t tell anyone where I was. A former friend was there too, telling me about all the mistakes she had make at work, and apologising for being a crappy friend. Finally, I teed up a ride home with one of the snow-grooming help on his motorcycle. And then I woke up.

See? Boring, weird and enough to make my mother cringe.

Sweet dreams!


* Another made up statistic