Love Struck (Miss Match #2)

By: Laurelin McGee



Now her career was number one on her priority list. It was much easier to deal with than people, and it needed her since it had hit a devastating standstill. Any moment she could spare was devoted to getting her dream back on track and, except for participating in a handful of support groups, with as little social interaction as possible.

At home, Lacy sank into her desk chair and opened her Internet browser. The SoWriAn site was her startup page. Song Writers Anonymous. Her favorite support group. Her home. Her family. The only people she could really talk to because they didn’t know what she had been through. They knew only what she told them. They didn’t talk to her with pitying consolation. It was refreshing and exactly what she’d needed.

She’d stumbled upon the site accidentally in the wake of Lance’s death, seeking a less traditional outlet to grieve. It wasn’t that Lacy was anti-therapy. She’d even gone to that grief counselor a few times. No, it was that she’d been taught by the great masters since she was small: Joplin, Plath, Beethoven, Cobain, Poe, Winehouse. They didn’t sit on a couch and talk about their struggles. They put them into their music, and she related to that. Music got her through everything.

She didn’t plan to follow any of them into an early grave. Really, she didn’t. But all of them produced their best works when they were at their worst. So she planned to follow suit, to channel the—“heartbreak” was such a tiny word to describe the yawning emptiness in her life. But she wanted to channel the heartbreak, as it were, to turn it into a masterwork that would now and forever pay tribute to the love that she and her fiancé had shared.

She didn’t want the rawness of her loss to leave her until she’d wrung every last drop out of it, made it not worth it—nothing could ever be worth it—but worthy, and hopefully healing as well.

The competing emotions in her brain left tracers of songs she could write. The desolation, confusion, loneliness, and if she were honest, anger, had all the makings of beautiful music. Yes, all the pieces were there.

If only she could access them …

She scrolled through a couple of message boards. One of her favorites was called SadCore, and she found it perversely hilarious. Songwriters posted links to news stories about people who died the night before their wedding, to disaster videos, to articles about the homeless. The idea was that it was a place people could come if they were too upbeat to write a “real” song. A few doses of depression later they’d presumably wander off to write something sad—and saleable.

It was perverse because she’d lived through the horror of finding her fiancé’s lifeless body, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It was hilarious because she completely understood the creative impulse.

Maybe she did need therapy.

The other board she tended to lurk around on was far more straightforward, Write or Die. If that were an actual option, Lacy was certain she’d fall into the wrong category. But it did sum up how she felt about music in general.

Ping. A private message came through. Finally! She tried to suppress the thrill that ran through her. It was the ping she’d been waiting for all night. She flushed as she took in the message.

Hey, you. Just got your message. What’s up?

FolxNotDead27. Her online bestie.

Screw that, calling it an online friendship cheapened it. Folx and Lacy, or LoveCoda as she was known on the boards, were real friends. Real friends in a false environment. There was probably a song in there, too.

Hey, yourself. Did you have band stuff? Now that she had him online, she didn’t want to rush to her drama. She enjoyed the easy banter too much. There wasn’t anything she looked forward to more each day than their nightly conversations.

It was logical that Lacy had formed such a tight bond with a fellow musician, especially one as talented as this one. She’d read his words and tabs and given feedback on a number of them. Each one was better than the last, simple lyrics underscoring complex emotional stories. It was natural she’d enjoy talking to him. Natural for her to crush on his words.

What wasn’t natural, not even a little, was the rush she got when they were messaging.

Yeah. Getting ready for tour. But you’re avoiding the topic. What’s going on?

Not natural at all, considering she didn’t know his name, or what he looked like, or whether or not he chewed with his mouth open.

You’re going on tour?

Here was where things started to get tricky. SoWriAn. An, for “Anonymous.” It was that component of the group that made it so successful, and the moderators enforced it above all. Designed to be a safe space, the forum attempted to eliminate all the hierarchies of fame and power and who-banged-whose-girlfriend by keeping the members identities sheltered. There were supposedly famous people on the site, as well as people on their way to being famous, and those hoping they were on their way. Complete privacy was a necessity. Personal details not allowed. To even join the boards, musicians were required to sign a legal disclaimer agreeing not to share or request personal information in order to prevent lawsuits and slander as well as petty jealousies and gossip. Writers helping writers—that was all the forum allowed.

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