No, don’t worry. This isn’t one of those fan girl entries where I describe how I would like John Mayer to sign my chest.
I don’t know who John Mayer is.
But I know his music. I listened to his stuff since I was in college, which was years ago. And after many years of listening to just his music alone (no interviews or documentaries), here's what I know.
He had a relatively happy childhood, and somewhere along the line his parents were divorced.
The divorce affected him even as an adult. He sang a lot about the dynamics of his parents' relationships and how he perceived them.
He has a terrible issue with growing up and grasping responsibilities. It affected his ability to sustain relationships. Every album discusses this.
He fell in love a lot of times, but there is one girl in particular he truly loved/loves. There is at least one song about this specific girl in every album in the past few years. These songs are almost always thematically the same - associated with his feelings of regret, and never forgetting her.
I don't know John Mayer.
He's probably a scumbag in real life. Who knows? But I know his music.
Art, whether it is music, painting, writing, photography, poetry, is an expression of a reality. They always come from some kind of truth, an actual story that happened.
I have been receiving a lot of feedback about the book. A lot of these feedback is an inquiry of whether the stories I wrote were real, or if the people in the narration are real.
Is it really fiction?
Is it 100% true?
Does this person really exist? They sound too good to be true.
It is always amazing to hear these feedback. It teaches me that humans are elaborate and unique, that we all interpret things differently and take away different notes from a similar story.
Perhaps John Mayer made all these things up so that you paint a picture of him in a way he wants you too. Or perhaps those songs really are stories of his life. But I’ll tell you this; from a perspective of a writer, art is never completely fiction. Sometimes, through knowing someone's art, you'll know more about them than their own person will ever tell you.
So there it is. You don’t really need to wonder about what is real and what isn’t in the book.
I think you already know.
Note** So excited to share with you that we’ve sold out all the first 1000 prints of the book! We are currently printing more copies, and hopefully you’ll be able to grab a copy if you didn’t manage to before. I know some people were disappointed last time – we’re trying our best to get them to you!
I got so many constructive feedback about the book, particularly about the main character. Thank you so much! Most people loved her, some found her a little unbearable, and some just downright despises her whole premise haha.
Now here's a little elaboration about the girl from the writer's perspective.
When I designed the character on paper (and whether this is fiction/non-fiction/semi-fiction had no effect on this process), I was very specific about how I would paint this protagonist. Although perhaps I began with no expectations on how the protagonist should be like, subconsciously I realised that her built had a purpose to the story. It wasn't done carelessly, and it wasn't done without a goal.
And I designed the main character to be these things - gullible, flawed, naive at times, but most of all, human.
I had zero interest in making her perfect.
As a writer, there is nothing I can learn from narrating about a perfect character who makes perfect choices. As a reader, there is no added value for someone else to read about a flawless person who makes all the smart decisions.
Honestly, I do enjoy the occasional read of a fantasy story - about meeting Mr Darcy or designer bags or a world where everyone says all the right things, but I'm afraid the frivolity of it all could not sustain my interest. Of all my years reading, as much as there is a yearn to escape through literature, I also love stories about real people and real lives. Things that could happen to me, you, and people around us. Tales that assure us that life is funny, sad, colourful and most of all, amazing.
It is then up to the reader to evaluate the piece and decide whether it is an inspiration, or a lesson learned about what not to do.
And ultimately, that was the purpose of her - to allow us to use her to reflect and resolve the fickleness of youth, the value of mistakes and the beauty of growing older through experiences.
I hope the protagonist served you well.