Author guest Post: the Lore of My Jungle by author of Cupid F*cks Up

Cupid F*cks Up –Ruth Roth is a straight shooter. Pity Cupid’s not.

Smart-mouth Ruth is an inspirational humour columnist for a popular women’s magazine. Recently divorced, she has found the love of her life. Without any help, mind you, from the little fat love god. Ruth has decided she herself is her one and only.

And she’s in a comfy place. Why wouldn’t she be? No need to yell ‘Put the bloody toilet seat down!’ No need to hoover toe-nail clippings off the carpet.

But then a silver-tongued Prince Charming fronts up in his shiny Merc and tickles her discarded, little-girl fantasies. He tells her their love is written in the stars.

It must be a misprint.

A romance with this particular PC is not so PC! Still …

Ruth’s life plays out more like ancient myth than fairytale. And what hot-blooded woman can resist forbidden fruit?

There’s a problem, though. Ruth does not have a hot-blooded mum. Ruth has a pain-in-the-arse mum whose squawking disapproval cranks the taboo up a notch.

All the more reason to take up with the stud! But it means taking on the harpy.

Tensions mount, and even Ruth’s man can’t protect her from the trash-talking voices in her head. It looks like he can’t muzzle his own either. When an earth-shattering revelation causes him to give her grief, it makes her feel like she’s dating her mother.

Taking the kind of advice she doles out to her readers is not so easy, and Ruth wonders if this love can survive. More to the point, is it worth the trouble?

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I ‘heart’ mess. Yyeah, baby!

But wait up … that doesn’t mean I’m a slob/slug/layabout/slack-arse. I’m not. It’s just that once you have kids, any sense of structure, order,and control goes down the crapper.

Pre-ankle-biter days, I was analretentive. Example:the bathroom of our very first house had a stainless-steel rim around the porcelain hand basin. Water spots on that shiny metal lip were verboten. My injunction didn’t cause any friction betweenhubby and mebecause he was an accountant, a neat-freakwho colour coded the pegs when he hung the washing.

But in the early stages of parenthood,when he had to hang cloth nappies and mini-onesies, there wasn’t a whole lot of energy left for military precision. By the time we got to toddlerhood, we would have both been dishonourably discharged.

Now, all these years on, I’ve found new reasonsto keep up the chaos. Nine of them:

  1. My messy place was custom-designed by my kids. They’ve long since flown the nest, but I’m nostalgic. I’m reluctant to rearrange the twigs, leaves and feathers
  2. I have 7 episodes of whatevI need to see on Netflix. Spruce up or watch TV? It’s a rhetorical question
  3. I have a bone in my leg
  4. A perfectly clean house is a sign of a misspent life
  5. Women with tidy houses don’t get important shit done
  6. Women with tidy houses rarely make history. And by God, I’m determined to leave my mark … a more indelible one than water spots on stainless steel
  7. Fifty Shades of Grey has become a synonym for success. I want that level of success (only, with quality writing).Still, my process is disorganised. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. So, the working title for all my books has beenFifty Shades of Look Who Did It and Ran. It had to sound real, which meantthe research involved wasakin to method-acting, you know, cultivating the experience
  8. I’m subversive. ‘Don’t edit your manuscript till the very end,’ they say. I edit as I go. ‘Tidy as you go,’ they say. I wait till the very end. Then again, I don’t subscribe to linear time; I respect circular time—no beginning, no end
  9. I like to keep up with the times, and apparently cluttered is the new clean*

All of the above notwithstanding, when my place is tidy, even if it doesn’t last long, it makes me feel good. So, modern woman that I am, and as an author who thinks outside the box, I tried turning to my Google Home Mini for help.

Google Assistant is happy to tell me the time and current temperature when I ask for it. She also offers a whole lot of unsolicited, useless information. But she gave me attitude when I asked her to straighten up my apartment. Her response:‘Let me try’—shimmery, sparkly, fairy sound—‘Did anything happen? Sorry, I guess I can’t.’

Lazy bitch!

Then again, maybe she’s not lazy. Maybe her developers programmed her with a tough love sentiment. In other words, to not rescue her users, but instead, to encourage them to find another way. Now thatis the nature of creativity. And creativity is a messy process. See. We’ve come full circle!

For those of you who don’t consider yourselves creative, think again. Maybe you’re not a writer, artist, actor, singer or musician, but the I-don’t-have-a-creative-bone-in-my-body won’t wash. Living in itself is a creative process. You’d never get through the day if you couldn’t problem-solve. And God knows life is unpredictable and challenging and full of curve-balls.Ways to do things can stop working, and what worked yesterday won’t work today. No one knows this better than a parent.

And like me, your children might have left home, but you need to ensure your inner child hasn’t. Without mine, I couldn’t write. Or laugh. Or experiment. Or trust or be curious and open to new experiences. Or be flexible. It’s like playing in the mud again. Messy joy.

There’s one more reason—and probably the best I can think of—to celebrate disorderliness/mishmash/omnishambles/dog’s dinner … or whatever you want to call it: apparently the chronically messy are intelligent.

That makes me a frickin’ genius.


Author Bio 

Paula Houseman was once a graphic designer. But when the temptation to include ‘the finger’ as part of a logo for a forward-moving women’s company proved too much, she knew it was time to give away design. Instead, she took up writing.

She found she was a natural with the double entendres (God knows she’d been in enough trouble as a child for dirty wordplay).

As a published writer of earthy chick lit and romantic comedy, Paula gets to bend, twist, stretch and juice up universal experiences to shape reality the way she wants it, even if it is only in books. But at the same time, she can make it more real, so that her readers feel part of the sisterhood. Or brotherhood (realness has nothing to do with gender).

Through her books, Paula also wants to help the reader escape into life and love’s comic relief. And who doesn’t need to sometimes?

Her style is a tad Monty Pythonesque because she adores satire. It helps defuse all those gaffes and thoughts that no one is too proud of.

Paula lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband. No other creatures. The kids have flown the nest and the dogs are long gone.

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