SW – Stephanie Wood. SW – Super Woman

“Limerence and forelsket thrive in the fertile grounds of desire and uncertainty” – Janette Waterson

The journalist author of FAKE, and survivor of love scammed and betrayed, Stephanie Wood, offers a life revelation. Hers, certainly as a warning to others, but also offers self-revelation to the reader. This is my personal tribute to her work, her strength and sincere gratitude for contributing an interview to our Word Fest Toowoomba 2022 program.

The whirlpool of emotions running through the book evoked, for me, the strength and skill needed to separate the skin on a chicken breast from its muscled meat – the hand holding down the promise of a satisfying future morsel bearing ll a light touch to avoid bruising; the other hand pulling the flaccid skin away and using a sharp knife to detach it.

Like the pieces which tip from a jigsaw puzzle box, the words from her pen create pieces of character with edges that need to find a place in a bigger picture. Initially I sensed her reactions of vulnerability, and the feelings of “patheticology” at being part of a con. Then I saw her gently placing the pieces, at first randomly reflecting the brain flurries, then watching the sides materialise.

Then came the vocabulary of insecurities; the hook, line and sinker sinking feelings; the treading water around ego, and vile self-loathing; and then seeking escape from the truthless, while keepsakes of the magical moments were keeping hope alive.

Then it was the fake fabulist culture of Swipe Right on the online dating deals – masterfully dissected.

Emotions were already churning when SW moved on to exposing the red flags of the impostor syndrome and the blinds that cover eyes when love overrides rationality.

Emotions became like the discarded chicken skin sheared from its original whole – separated from the reality of a future full of promise.

Gullible, ensnared, needy feelings kept resurfacing in the writing – then the feelings of discovering fraud followed by the grief of loss of the dream, hopes and pride – leaving the scars. Finding the balm and reconstructing a fine future was never a given.

Stephanie Wood is my Australian Maria Popova. Her literary allusions, her anecdotal style and honesty are refreshing in a world of current affair competition for ratings which produces stale subjects and even staler writing.

So my humble tribute to the keepsakes of FAKE, and the recommendation to read this compelling warning is here:-

Wunderkammer – the cabinet of curiosities

Each drawer a life chapter

Each curio a chink of memory

The cabinet of curiosities a constant reminder of the vulnerability of age

Each momento a nail

Each handling a spike, a splash, a sigh

The cabinet of curiosities is the rosary of penance

Each misstep, each misspoken word

Each gullible drop in time

Slam the drawer, walk away, close the door

But the drawer handles beckon me back time and time again.