Love’s true purpose

Here's a rose to show my love — or not. Last three standing on The Bachelor.


When I write about love, I try to avoid the romantic.

Love, for me, isn’t about romance.

That is reserved for reality shows like The Bachelor where gender stereotypes of how we should behave when we think we love someone are liberally screened. The red roses and candlelit dinner dates from the man, the coquettish looks by the woman, more roses and the copious flicking of hair.

Real love is clumsy, awkward and unpredictable.


It leaves you breathless, filled with longing and crazy.


I am talking about love on a panel at Writers in the Park at Centennial Park in Sydney on Sunday Sept 27 at 1pm.

From the Profane to the Romantic is the topic I will be dissecting with Pamela Cook, Joanne Fedler and Shelley Kenigsberg.

I suspect my inclusion is because my book Losing February contains profanity in some of the sex scenes.  Yet writing those brutal, cold and sometimes cruel sex scenes was easy. Using profane words was easy too.

Writing about love was way more difficult because I didn’t want it to be romantic.


I wanted the reader to feel the love, to be crushed by it.



When every cell in my body was bursting for a man I couldn’t be with, I sought to punish myself and grieve for my lost love by having meaningless, loveless sex with men. Lots of men.

When I read this poem by Lang Leav, I understood the depth of my grief.


Are you okay; because I don’t know how to live without you.

I know how wonderful that is and I know how much it hurts.

A writer friend had different thoughts about the poem.

Gillian: The poem is beautiful. I find that kind of love truly terrifying though. I would rather be alone – which is just as well.
Me: I find it the opposite. Life affirming and freeing.
Gillian: I wish I did. It’s such a responsibility being someone else’s everything. I don’t think I was made for that.


Isn’t that love’s true purpose? To take us out of our comfort zone beyond the boundaries of who we think we are.


To new places.

To intimate places where we see ourselves.

There is nothing in the world that changes us as much as love.

It is a universal cross-cultural transformation and when it happens we gain so much and at the same time have so much to lose.


Join the conversation, profane and/or loving at Writers in the Park, Sept 27. Full program here. The festival is free and you can bring your dog. How good is that.

6 Responses to Love’s true purpose

  1. By Susanne Gervay, September 22, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    The panel of women writers: From the Profane to the Romantic is going to be an amazing panel. Can’t wait for Writers in the Park on Sunday 27th Sept.

    • By Susanna, September 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      You have done so much already Susanne. I’m going to give you a huge hug.

  2. By Shelley Kenigsberg, September 23, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Thanks for these insights and the delicacy of your thoughts about the meanings and expressions of love. I love the idea of going beyond boundaries.. indeed, to being boundless and that, that’s the best kind of love, I think.
    Here’s to a fabulous conversation on Sunday and continuing…

    • By Susanna, September 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Ask anything you like. Can’t wait. See you Sunday at Centennial Park.

  3. By Gillian Clive, September 28, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    I really think the ‘way’ you love needs to be a conscious choice. If you’re secure in yourself the way you love someone else reflects that. Your love becomes what you want it to be, not what you are taught it ‘should’ be.
    I belong to me, not my lover. I love for myself because I am in love with myself (I am aware that this sounds arrogant as hell and I do not care – I am also aware of how that lack of care likely sounds and again, care not a jot).
    So I do not ‘need’ a lover to renounce all others in order to ‘be mine’. He (or She – whatever) isn’t mine. He belongs to himself. Either he wants me or he doesn’t. It’s a choice either or both of us can make and if we choose differently, we move apart. I don’t pretend it won’t hurt when this happens – but love is about the Now not the Forever. Why place those expectations on it? That’s the ‘conditional’ part everyone gets so hung up on. It feels fear-based to me and unlikely to lead anywhere good.
    What if there is no ‘One’? What if there’s only you loving You and loads of people get to experience a part of that wonder as you move through your life?
    Some can keep up because they change and grow with you; some not and the real truth – the ‘one love of your life’ – surely that magnificent being is You Yourself? The man who steps up to touch it is the reflection of You, as you are of him to himself. He is everything you want because a great part of your energy created the flow between you. It’s You. You’re Love.
    I’m still working on it and I am sure it will keep changing as I keep changing. I also think ‘Love’ and ‘in love’ are not the same thing at all.

    • By Susanna, September 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      This is an all-nighter, this discussion. Thanks for coming on Sunday.

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