The Love of My Life by J. Storbakken

Submitted into Contest #100 in response to: Write a story that involves a secret or magic ingredient.... view prompt


Romance Adventure Drama

“I have gained some ideas for my cosmological theories, but none of them is entirely new or surprising. I have also kept dreaming of the model I have talked about for so long, with which I should like to demonstrate all the things which are running through my head but which I cannot make others see in nature.”

 -J. W. Von Goethe, Italian Journey

"J. Storbakken is a poet, a starving artist, and apparently an artful blogger of some kind or sort. He has dropped out of college more times than he has been accepted into college, and he is very proud of this feat. He is a vegetarian and a yogi and suspects his prior life was lived on Mars or whereabouts. He is a lover of all things poetic, as in, life. At times, he is a galavanting postmodern cartoon of himself. Some aspects of postmodernist literature include self-reflexivity, metanarrative, second-person narrative, hypertextuality, multiperspectivity, unreliability and anything else we can come up with."

-From the poet's bio

A love story. There is always more than meets the eye, they say. Right now, at the outset of our story’s berth, gentle reader, we see the poet sitting comfortably on the beachside in Ventura, with his pants's cuffs filled with sandy gifts, a few hundred feet south from the pier which has been made something like famous through the few films it has starred in as stage and prop, along with its coupled landmark, the Crown Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel; certain film names arise in the poet’s mind as he sits there squat upon the sands, staring about the ocean’s skyey limning; he is squinting, thinking. He is dreaming. The year is 2016.

Films like LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. He thinks of Paul Dano, the actor who played the Nietzsche reading son in the film. He has been likened, both in his looks and in the varying moods of his facial expressions, to the rising actor by not a few passing girls. In a good, well-meaning, and serendipitous way, he thinks (it is a mentionable fact here that Mr. Dano, among his other roles, and here one thinks of BEING FLYNN, played the role of Pierre in the 2016 film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace). On one of these occasions, many weeks prior to his beachside perusal here, as he was off on a stroll about the ferreted street-corners which take up the stark rise of hill behind Chinatown, Los Angeles, where exists one of the most beautiful and well-hidden viewpoints upon which any Angelino can appreciate the listless grandeur of the golden city of Los Angeles, a platform of hill-crest located just east of Dodger Stadium’s ridge and bowl, the poet was strolling along, and two young ladies, just up the street from where he was walking, had literally mistaken him for the actor. Such were and still are his looks, and his poise, and his poetic and fleshly encasement. He was walking down the street and reading a passage from a book aloud to himself (the book, Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels), the following passage, "holy, just outta jail, martyred, tortured by sidewalks, starved for sexual companionship, open to anything, ready to introduce a new world with a shrug," he read the words clumsily and with a blank, ethereal composure, and, quite to his surprise, both girls suddenly began running toward him, yelling, “Oh my! Paul Dano! I love you!” The poet, as you can guess, made off quickly in the other direction. He didn't even get a chance to see the irony in the situation, so quickly did he take off. To this day the two girls still think they chased off their dream man. They did.

The skies over the beachside are genuine, true, beautiful, and filled with the elegant shamrock-wine of wind and sunlight. A coastal clover of plain bliss.

The poet is watching intently the varying folks strolling along the water’s play-side. His searching sight finds a woman in a bright red dress. The wind strolls about her figure, gilding it with invisible prayers. Spirits of Love. She is standing before a series of folding chairs which are set up in rows of ten, leading up to her place about 35 feet back from the shoreline, all set up in the sand. A wedding will take place soon, the poet thinks. Now, this lovely, dark-haired woman in a red dress, be she the bride? Or the wedding organizer? The seats seem complete in their numbers and placement there in the sand. Aligned. The poet starts dreaming about his own wedding. Would he, too, have one on the beach? When? And where is his beloved? He sets his chin upon his hand, and lets himself drift off into reverie. Driftwood. There’s a reason why some artisans use its texture and composition to create works of art. There’s a reason, too, for the poets and their lazy afternoons spent dreaming.

And five years later, truly, the poet is about to get married.

It is 2021. He sits in his old room, in his parents’ house, and types out his memories. Of the beach. Of the poet he used to be. He thinks fondly and almost egotistically of the mature artist he is now becoming. Of the woman of his dreams whom he is about to marry. He, too, will have his dark-haired woman in a dress on a beach. The romantic enchantment which he is overwhelmed and thrilled by upon any single smidgen of a thought of his fiancée approaches an expressive and viral composition akin to an ancient blood-thirst. The poet he was, sitting in the sand back in 2016, he had no idea. Our poet’s name is James Storbakken. He is no actor, though over the years, as he grew up in one of Los Angeles’s boroughs, there have been many of those who have told him confidently that he should have gone after that style of life. Those who were, veritably, living that style of life. He is no actor, though he has lived among them, among them and producers and directors and screenwriters. No, poets are not actors (a common misapprehension). 

Allora. Here begins the story of James Storbakken. He is to be married. Across the Pacific awaits his lovely bride. Here is where we shall begin- memory take on all of the rest of the autobiographical bargains as they arise sporadically and beatifically in his mind while on his Italian travels, his J. W. von Goethe in hand. He is preparing to depart for Rome, where his beloved awaits him. Two years ago they did meet, these two lovers, along Greece’s southwestern-most coast, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. A seaside being a more poetic place than the oceanside to meet one’s one and only beloved, so we think.  They are soon to be married to each other. Their lives will combine. Here is where we shall begin. Her name? Ah, what’s in a name, dear reader? She is the sea and a cohort navy, to the poet’s splendorous, swelling, and earth-bound army. She is who she is, and he is hers. As Rumi once said: Let the lover belet the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be.

Here, we shall let them be. Drenched in dream and poetry and the very purest grains of star-worn earth-dust. Loam of Cupid, clay of Psyche, reigned sandstone of dear Penelope. Gruesomely detached from the world’s growing troubles. Let the lovers be

Ah, what a wonderful life it is to be for them. Somewhere legions of Clarence-like angels are about to gain whole wing-spans never before blessed, never before unheard but intuited. They will fly. A red dress? She darns all colors, dear reader. All the rays of mist and sunshine lay an encampment upon her soft and ever-renewing shorelines. White foam of Odysseus, returned. Dreams do come true. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. The secret ingredient to the wonderful life is the love we bring to it. And it is.

            It is.

Surprised at the stunning admixture of joyful stress and stressful joyousness that has become Life Itself, the poet, dreaming, writing, playing, leaves here two recently written poems of his, linked arm and arm: the past with the glorious present, ah. Achso!

The poems, morning by morning:

The first morning, light one, bright one, ah, bring me a meal of readers, God. A nice,

Plump, hungry, fat, and hardworking


Who, being busy, will love to read of my not being busy,

My only being busy with myself and my emotional repertoire and scattered


Oh, I've been trying to be a writer,

And I make time only for myself,

Hours of staring out the window and

Staring at the books stacked on my desk,

Hours of checking my e-mails and Facebook to see

Nothing, and many little minute-schemes

Checking e-mails from publishers and magazines and major blogs

Turning down my work.

Oh, give me something real to write about,

For, I guess myself is a bore. But, I

Do not think so. I am quite thrilling to 


In fact, at the moment, I'm watching 


Happy that the movie isn't a rendition of same said man's

Sorrowful story, one which I'm over. It's a 

Good read, but I'm done with heartache. It

Just no longer exists for me.

Yes, watching the man who plays Goethe in the film YOUNG GOETHE IN LOVE,

The same man who played the drunk, happy, young German father

In the basement bar shoot-out scene in

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (an actor I like, in fact,

I would guess that anyone here in the States and elsewhere

Who happened to see the film

Also likes him, he's a very likeable fellow, indeed, no wonder they casted him as the

Happy, young drunk),

I enjoy the feelings of rapport which I feel

With him, the character he is playing, (in this film, not BASTARDS) and him,

Feeling myself akin to him in personality (or, his character, in this film),

The way he portrays Goethe, the way he acts:

Very eccentric, and unwilling to bow down to convention, and oh, so self-absorbed

(Oh, true poet!)

Ah yes, and as I've become awakened in Heart and inspiration (coffee, anyone?)

I cannot help but write little poems to myself

And maybe send them off

To people who will think

"What in the fuck is this crap?"

Ah yes, and I've got my head on crooked, yes,

It comes from living squished among people

In a city for so long, and maybe from the fact I'm soon to be married, I no longer

Blame anyone, 'specially myself.

Go on, poet, write the little poems

No one will read, Or maybe some will,

God only knows.

And they didn't like Goethe at first, either, der vergangen Dichter,

(Don't compare yourself to Goethe, you fool, you wise fooler).

Il secondo mattino, luminoso, ah, the morning began, and I thought of her.

I got up, and, after I went outside

And sat out in the sun for a while, I had the idea to watch THE REBEL IN THE RYE

Again, yes, again, as I'd watched it a year ago, one of the Salinger bioflics.

It is inspiring, highly, but I feel like I'm leading myself on, though

It was the little voice in my head that's on my side (artistic)

That told me to watch it again,

But yes, I feel like I'm leading myself on,

As I sit here, watching it, and losing myself in a salivating and half-baked


With the Salinger character (same actor who played Tolkien in the bioflic, ironically).

I'm just so tired of this, I get up, think of my beautiful fiancée,

Think of my departure for Rome next week,

Don't write much, wander around the city in my head all day, and I

Write sketches that don't even get transcribed when I get home, let alone

Read by anyone.

What is all of this? Where is it leading? I've already heard the good voice (artistic)

Telling me that I shouldn't set my sights on continuing trying to be a poet and a


Yet, I wake up some mornings and I wonder where the ducks go during the

Colder months,

And that same voice tells me to watch it again, REBEL IN THE RYE,

Which I am, and the professor character, the Story magazine man,

Just now said to Jerry on the flatscreen,

"Holden deserves a novel. Imagine the book you would want to read, and go write it."

Then I read the following in a spam e-mail leaked to me by some leaky, inspirational

Weekly newsletter:

By giving voice to an aim, you're creating what's called a social reality, and this has

Negative consequences for real reality.

The act of telling someone about your goal gives you the feeling that the goal's

Already been achieved.

It releases the dopamine you're supposed to get afterward, prematurely.

And with that neurochemistry comes the feeling of satisfaction.

Satisfaction that makes you stop.

Once you've already felt that high, it's difficult to get back up for the hard fight

Required to actually earn it.

Ok then, now that I have a wonderful future to support, and very potential family

Matters to

Begin planning and

Settling, I think I ought to set my pedal to the medal.

June 29, 2021 04:56

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