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“do you still need a sign to let me drive?”

You know that incredible feeling, when you’re only just meeting someone but you get this inexplicable, sparkling excitement that you’re connected to each other somehow? That was what it was like meeting Michael. One serendipitous night I ended up out at a queer femme party, inadvertently chatting up a cutie who’d come with somebody else. It didn’t take long to figure out what connected us when we found out we both had Tori Amos lyrics tattooed on our bodies in her handwriting. A week later it somehow turned out they’d months ago written a short story featuring a character with my name and eerily similar physical and personal features. Two weeks later we were dating, healing from respective past painful relationship breakdowns in each other’s stimulating, scintillating, sweet company. Ten weeks later we tearily tried to hold together a relationship too large for romance alone, and by twelve weeks we had come apart to free me to travel to New Zealand to fulfill my passion to become a consent educator, leaving him free to soon after meet his now fantastic partner of three years. Our friendship continues to deepen and broaden, and I am inestimably grateful for Michael’s love, insight and place in my life.

While we were together, Michael happened to mention that they wanted to do a pilgrimage around America, following a reimagined route reminiscent of the road trip mapped in the Tori Amos album ‘Scarlet’s Walk’ and write a book. I frothed with excitement and promptly invited myself along. Michael shared the same dream with Teague, a wildly talented photographer who grew up some in the States who also asked to share the experience. I was willing to give up my place on the journey, even though I’d returned to Naarm, but soon we three realised that the trip needed a service I could absolutely and gleefully provide: I could drive.

I’ve long loved the liberation and creative focus of the road trip – many of my favourite memories of life involve jumping in a car and transforming life over the course of many kilometres, country town bakeries, horse-piss and salt-lake scents and top-of-our-lungs-Shania-karaoke. I also consider myself a maternal person in my own ways, so to shepherd two treasured people in my life in an expression of care and a task I deeply enjoy? What a gift. 

So here’s a little insight into what’s happening on the road:

  • Michael will be writing their powerful memoir about surviving a 15-year abusive relationship, in a very healing process shared with their two joyful relationships that followed. They’ll also be interviewing Tori fans about their experiences along the way.
  • Teague will be photographing to visually accompany Michael’s book and also express his own interpretation of the trip. 
  • I will be writing too, my third poetry collection which will be released in 2023 with sonic, visual and video elements. Themes are already set to explore connection to land/place, the overwhelm/consumption of American culture, and the bonds of friendship and flirtation that transcend distance and endurance when linked by a powerful woman musician.
  • We’ll be arriving early June to catch the tail end of Tori’s tour for her most recent (brilliant) album Ocean to Ocean, spending a lush time being queers on the West Coast.
  • Once Tori’s tour wraps, we’ll be kicking off an anti-clockwise circumference of the United States, with a few flights across the middle to keep time, and a few journeys inland to crash with pals, see important sights and make sure we’re visiting every Scarlet’s Walk song-girl to connect with her as artists. 
  • We will absolutely be visiting the homophobic bigoted capitalist antisemitist-descendant deplorables at Disney World for a day, and we’ll be stopping in New York for a chunk of time to see loved ones, treat ourselves and farewell Teague who has to return to Australia. Michael and I will take a break to process/write and then strike out on the rest of the trip back to LA via St Louis, Denver, Washington, Seattle, Portland, Fresno etc.

The whole shebang is going to take two months to undergo. It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime (seriously, we’ll probably all die of nuclear poisoning within the next five years, or heatstroke in ten so spend your term deposits now, ladies). 

So if by now you’re doing what I hope you’re doing – thinking “how can I stay connected to this mind-blowing adventure?” – I’ve got you covered:

  • Follow the journey on our socials (@littleelfman @manifestrxss #MichaelsWalk)
  • Donate to the gofundme to help us come, go and create without too much debt waiting for us at home – there will be some delicious exclusive incentives available to donors
  • Buy trip merchandise to help us along the way as well
  • If you’re in the States and can offer a crash pad or a meal or other kindness, there’s a Google Form and everything – or slide into our DMs – and we’ll see if we can configure sending our pinball careening your way
  • You can also PayPal me individually if you’re feeling generous. I happen to be doing tarot readings through April so if you want one, that will help me with multiple concurrent expenses. I’ll also be selling my second poetry collection along the way so keep an eye out for that.

I can’t wait to see what the muses have to offer in America, where on previous visits I’ve found myself incredibly inspired by the energy, people, landscapes, cityscapes, music and styling. I can’t wait to share the work that gets created with everyone! I can’t wait to get on the bright right side of the road again.

’cause I can drive all night, said I can drive all night

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