B for BTS

I can’t live without music. It might seem like an overstatement, but it is really not. It might be because my thoughts are too loud and too intrusive that I need rhythm to keep them at bay, I don’t know.
I listen to music when I walk, work or write.
So when I talk about music and musicians, it’s not just your usual fangirlness, (although I AM a fangirl. I mean come on, my name starts with “Fan,” what did we expect? :D) I think of them as part of my immune system, my shield against the noise of the world.
We will talk about piano under P and you’ll hear about my queen, Taylor Swift at the letter T. For B let’s talk about BTS who might dethrone her for my most listened to artist in 2022 (unless Taylor brings out a new album. And even then…)

I discovered BTS in a time of darkness and need. At the end of 2020/ beginning of 2021 my life was falling apart and honestly if you offered me a tiny ray of light, I took it. And that’s what my friend did. For context, I was no a stranger to K-Pop, I actually was quite into it a decade ago when I studied East-Asian cultures at university. (East-Asia coming up at letter E!) I just somehow moved on from it as I started my “serious adult life.” (Grave mistake, serious adult life is overrated.) So in the bleak days of my despair, my friend started my conversion 😀
I could go on a very long tangent here, which I actually did in the first draft, but I decided to spare you and deleted it 😀 (But go and listen to Spring Day. It’s a song about loss but mostly about hope, believing in spring after the long winter. I needed this hope more than anything. Honestly, looking at the state of the world, I think we all need to hold onto hope with both hands.)
For a long time I resisted becoming a full-time fan because I’m a very loyal and monogame type and I thought I didn’t have space for anyone in my heart besides Taylor. But this year, after getting rid of a useless crush, I found some free space in my heart. And my heart needs to be full. It’s only happy when it’s overflowing – so I allowed BTS to move in.
It’s largely thanks to them that I started learning Korean that is one of the steady sources of joy and wonder in my life. Firstly, because I allowed myself to be a beginner again. To be not good at something. I’m a perfectionist and I’m so strict with myself, you can’t even imagine. And I could let that go. I could sit there and feel powerless. I could say “I have no idea, I understand nothing.” There is a strange power in letting go. After a few months of struggling, words start to make sense. I catch myself understanding full sentences. I revisit lyrics and things that used to be a string of pretty but unintelligible syllables gain meaning. And it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

They also gave me the dream to go to Korea. A few weeks ago I’d found myself lost in a dreamless desert. I need to have goals or a direction or else I feel numb. And even if at this moment this dream feels painfully out of reach, I won’t give up.
Beside a dream what I need is a muse. Someone I can hang my stories on. It doesn’t have to be real, god, it’s better if it’s not real because if you get too close to your muse, you find out that he too, is a mere human. Often at this point the magic disappears.

On Valentine’s Day this year I was planning to sit down to write a list of how I imagine my perfect boyfriend. (As a thought experiment really, but also for the universe to know what to deliver :D) Things I expect from men have greatly shifted from my twenties and it is sometimes good to get our priorities sorted… I never got to do my list because Nathan Moon and the whole story of Moon Over Pale Water (Pinterest Board here) LITERALLY exploded into my head. He is the crystallisation of my ideal man and it is the love story I wish for myself.

MOPW is a poetic love story of new beginnings. A man, a woman, in their thirties, after a long relationship (one after a divorce) slowly getting closer to each other. There is no real “drama” just people dealing with themselves and their baggage. It’s set in Paris but I find that Paris – just like love- is often a cliché in stories, when in reality it’s imperfect, messy and just as lovable for that, so I try to change that and show it as I see from inside not from cheap souvenir postcards.

So yes – in the beginning Nathan was just a Namjoon insert, but it was just a little seed – he bloomed into his own self. The reason why I like Namjoon is manyfold – he just has the body type that screams boyfriend to me – someone tall and solid next to whom I could feel safe. He enjoys the slower things of life – biking, reading, going to museums: finding the beauty in the every days through nature and the arts – this is the principle I wanted to put in the core of MOPW. I see it as an Asian landscape painting but in a novel.
Nathan doesn’t do anything fancy – he does his job, runs around the lac de Créteil (<3 more on that under the letter C!) and tries to be a good person. He is the kind who gives too much then gets hurt because of it. He is there when you need him. He sits with you on the floor when you cry. He tells you that you are okay, that you are enough, that you can be loved. These words which are so basic and yet they still make me cry.

I think the appeal of BTS (besides their obvious talent and beauty) is that they give their fans this feeling. And their worldwild success shows how desperately people – myself included – needs this. This is the feeling and the comfort I would like to pass on in Moon Over Pale Water. 🙂

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