“Can you please tell me a love story.”
And so it began, with Brisbane’s best loved author, sitting on the corner of Adelaide and Albert Streets in my hometown of Brisbane. Trent Dalton placed before him a simple sign reading ‘ Sentimental writer collecting love stories. Do you have one to share? ‘ As the crowds hustled and bustled like busy bees through our fair city, some of them looked and stopped, and eventually sat down warily, on that blue fold out chair next to him.
People of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs and stages came to tell their love stories. They cried and laughed and poured out those stories from the depths of their souls, because Trent has a superpower. It’s the power to listen, the power to listen with warmth and attention. He listens….. and then with his gift for words he creates something beautiful. Love Stories is that something beautiful.
Love Stories is the antidote to a world weary of death, disease, disruption and uncertainty. We all know it was the ones we love, who we needed nestled around us as the world went dark. Love is not always pretty or kind but it is certainly the reason we are put on this earth. To love and be loved is the most wonderful feeling of all. But what is love?
Trent’s story began with one woman, Kathleen Kelly. Kathleen was the wonderful mother of Trent’s best friend, Greg. She collected all of Trent’s stories and stored them with care. One of her greatest loves was words and she typed those words on her beloved sky – blue Olivetti Studio 44 typewriter. She must have been a wise lady because she bequeathed this typewriter to Trent at the time of her passing. She knew he would treasure it and it’s because of her kindness and love that Love Stories was born.
Trent decided to write something special with that typewriter. He wrote stories of young love, family love, forbidden love, the love between friends and love gone wrong. He shared his own loves and the love for his family. He even convinced his beautiful green eyed wife, Fiona, to put their love into words.These are tales that will touch your heart. Each story is a little gem polished with Trent’s insight and kindness.
A blind man longs for just a moment of sight to gaze at his wife’s face, a floss dancing boy who only wears pyjamas every…. single …..day …. loves everybody, construction worker, Moana, says her greatest love is the city of Brisbane. I love it too, Moana and as the old tune said, “ There’s no place I’d rather be.”
Inspired by a personal moment of profound love and generosity this very Brisbane love story was born. It’s an ode to the people, the places, the sights and the faces. I even know some of the names mentioned! Yet you don’t have to be local to enjoy this story. These stories, musings, snippets of poetry, songs and memories will make you feel the gamut of human emotion and that is what the very best writing can do.
I was there at the launch of Love Stories at Brisbane City Hall , along with 1300 others, and the love in the room was palpable. A huge heart was projected onto that iconic domed roof. There was music, laughter, poetry, weeping and stories, so many different stories to be told.
We met the jewellers who shared their love with their four beautiful children they’d adopted from Africa. We met Jack who is head over heels with his love, Naomi and we heard from Trent himself, who held the stage captivated with his musings on love. He invited us to hug someone today for longer than the usual three seconds and to search out the moments of pure happiness in every day.
For me personally I cried at weird moments whilst reading the book. The references to Austin, Texas where my gorgeous rock star son resides were eerie. I send my love across the ocean to Texas daily. Being a bookworm, I loved the story behind Archive Books and some of the funny things that have happened there. I loved the story of Later Ron. I loved the stories of friendship unbroken through the years and those of people bought back from the brink through the love of just one other person. This book will restore your faith in the power of love and kindness.
Many moments I recognised from the city I’d grown up in. Meeting dates on that same corner, outside the Wallace Bishop jewellery store made me smile. The beauty to be found in Brisbane City Hall and our big brown cuddly teddy bear of a river that can suddenly transform into a beast during floods. And I really weeped seeing the letter to Eric, Trent’s sponsored child from Africa. I love Africa and her people. I’ve seen first hand how much difference a little help and love can make in these children’s lives.
I think every person will read this book differently depending on your own experience, but it will lift you up and have you reminiscing on your own loves – old or new. You will hold your sweetheart that bit closer, you will hug those adorable kids a bit longer and you will ring your friends and family to say, “ Hey, how was your day ? “
To me, this beautiful, collectible book is Trent Dalton’s best yet. What can I say …. I do write romance. It’s sincere, honest and heartfelt. It promotes kindness in the world and will make you stop and think , reserve your judgement and approach the world in a softer way. Everyone has a unique story to tell if only we listen.
Love Stories is a book like no other. I can see this beautiful tome sitting wrapped with love under many a Christmas tree. It brings pure joy and that is something we all need more of right now. It is a story from the heart. Trent sums up his story best, “ A heartfelt , deep, wise and tingly tribute to the greatest thing we will never understand and the only thing we will ever really need : love.”
Before we left City Hall the whole audience was urged to sing. We sounded like the best pub choir ever and nearly blew the roof off that famous clock tower. Cue the music, “ All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. “
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).