Talk to Me #14: Cassie Stocks

Jan 27, 2018 by

Talk to Me #14: Cassie Stocks

Where you learned to love.

I’m still learning. I wish I could love everyone the way my dog loves me.

Your first cut, was it the deepest

Brings to mind this scene from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail
ARTHUR: Look, you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms left.
BLACK KNIGHT: Just a flesh wound.

Your love who got away.

It sounds like perhaps I had him tied up in a closet and he escaped…
I was 13 he was 15. He wrote me poetry, wore a button on his sheepskin jacket that said ‘Fuck the draft” (though it was Canada and the 80s), and had his own roller skates. Last I heard, he was a linoleum salesman in British Columbia.

Your “type” – and why.

Intelligent, a sense of humour, well-read, empathetic, interested in the world and/or a philanthropic handyman.

Your favourite literary romance.

Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

Your thoughts on friends being lovers.

The best lovers are also friends.

Your thoughts on the net amounts of pleasure and pain.

I spent my youth as a hedonist, seeking nothing but pleasure, which often led to a great deal of pain.

Your story about unrequited love.

University. A slightly mad, handsome, artist who had a penchant for exotic, dark-haired women (which I most assuredly was not). We slept together a few times, I was wildly in love, and then he was emotionally gone. But we shared the same circle of friends and were all involved in projects together. I remember sitting in the darkened living room of the shared house waiting for the house mates to return, cutting out pictures for a collage work, a documentary on Charles Bukowski on the television. Down the hall, I could see the bright doorway of the kitchen, could hear him drinking wine and laughing with a glamorous violinist from Poland. I was surrounded by paper scraps and Bukowski kicked at his wife on the television. I thought I would die. But I didn’t.

Your favourite author/artist on love.

Tom Waits for the dark and Matisse for the light.

Your reconciliation of the domestic and the erotic.

I’ve never been domestic.

Your thoughts on marriage.

I don’t understand why non-religious people get married. If you need god’s blessing, then go for it. If not, then don’t. I’ve been asked three times and said no each time (a good thing as I’d probably be divorced three times by now). I was never interested in the white dress, losing my last name, hullabaloo. I’m not chattel and have no desire to be ‘given away’. That said, I’ve been known to weep at weddings. I think it’s seeing the pure hope and innocent belief in love made manifest.

Love changes when you have children.

I was single when I had my son and stayed that way for some time afterwards, so I can’t say if having him changed the love of a relationship. However, the love I felt for my son was tender, fierce, protective, and unlike anything I’d felt before.

Your thoughts on resisting temptation.

It can be good to resist temptation but pay attention to what tempts you. External temptations can be signals of what we lack inside (often in the wrong form).
Ex: Shoes, Drugs, Fudge, Tequila do not = Love

Your advice on breaking up.

If you are the breaker: Be as kind as possible.

If you are the breakee: Drink champagne, listen to Leonard Cohen, hold your head in your hands, and murmur to yourself that Suffering will make for better Art. Give yourself a short time of this then go out, buy yourself some new underwear, and begin making ‘To Do With My New Life’ lists.

The influence of love on your work.

Being a bleeding-heart lefty it’s my love for the underdog that most influences my art. I once said to someone in publishing, “Why is everyone I write about lost?” He replied, “Because those are your people.”

Your lessons from love.

Not to expect perfection from your partner (or anyone). Expecting perfection leaves you constantly disappointed and the other person continually failing. We’re all flawed, it’s a part of being human, of being alive, and having consciousness. To ask for or to ask ourselves to give unconditional love seems a lofty goal. Perhaps accepting that another’s flaws are not failures is a path to love.

Your greatest regret in love.

I’m selfish. I’m always torn between fiercely protecting the time I need to write, or sleep, or stare at the wall, with giving enough time to the other person in a relationship. I feel like I’m always saying No, and then feeling guilty that I’ve said it.

Having spent years as a single parent and working or going to school full-time, I had to be protective of any spare moments. If I hadn’t been, I’d have never written anything. Perhaps those hard-scrabble years have left me over-protective of my time. Perhaps one day, I’ll feel like there’s enough time to give bounteous amounts to everyone and everything.

Your thoughts on infidelity – one night stand, fling, or affair.

If you have a monogamous agreement with another person, don’t do infidelity. If you can’t resist, do the other person a favour and leave them first. If the infidelity doesn’t seem worth leaving your partner for, it’s probably not worth doing.

Your feelings about the existence of a soulmate.

The idea is troubling in that all you need to do is meet that ‘soulmate’ and then the two of you will waltz off into the sunset together. Tra-la-la-la-la. Every failed relationship can be chalked up to the other person not being the soulmate. That way, you never have to look at your own issues.

Your ideal love: madness or redemption?

Hell, I don’t know.

Your advice on making love last.

Last for how long? A week? A year? Sixty years? If it’s the latter, you’ll have to ask me later when/if I ever manage to accomplish it. Unless by that time I’m the crazy cat lady living on your block. In that case, don’t ask questions, just bring Friskies.

Cassie Stocks has a three-legged dog, a cat and the Stephen Leacock Award for humour for her novel Dance, Gladys, Dance.

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