Barley Festival

Sunday, 28 December 2008

It's taken me three weeks of having my house back to myself to get my equilibrium back. That peaceful soft centre has returned (strawberry).

Speaking of chocolates. Doesn't matter how good you are at Christmas, there's still always bloody chocolates falling out the sky that people push on you like legitimate drug dealers. Should have seen my Mum on Christmas Night as I was leaving. "Take some pavlova," (I did, don't need to be asked twice, not for pavlova. I had it for breakfast the next day). "Take these chocolates." Shoves them in my bag so I see them when I get home and eat a few at 3am. And I wonder why I have gained 4 kilos in the past few months. Then my friend gives me chocolates yesterday. My landlord gave me a box of truffles the other day. Which is all very well except that then I eat them, you know? Like I am now. There is more than one chocolate wrapper on my desk, and now I am polishing off the last of the liqueur-filled truffles. This is the second day out of three that I have had chocolate for breakfast.

But that's okay, 'cause I'm on holidays. So they don't count :) When you're on holidays you can do whatever you want and none of the normal rules apply. My holiday is akin to one of those festivals they used to have in the Dark Ages where all the standard rules did not apply for the duration of the festival (today I imagine we would call it the office Christmas party). As people celebrated and danced and feasted and hung out together, I'm sure many pregnancies occurred that would not have otherwise occurred, and many horrid things came out into the light that normally would have been hidden (make way for the healing further on down the track). It was kinda like a giant scapegoating festival for the senses. We have one of those, it's called Easter. We eat 47 tons of chocolate each and miss the point :)

I want to live in a Catholic country. I'm tired of how goddamn boring Protestantism is. We are a bunch of bloody killjoys, and we're not even a Protestant country anymore. Worshipping the economy is even more boring than worshipping a God that sends everyone to hell. I think maybe the whole purgatory element is like a safety switch for all of those Catholics. Richard Rohr was telling me yesterday in a book that at one stage, two thirds of the days of the year in Italy were feast days. Now, that's the flipside of the Protestant work ethic coin, but one I'd like to sit on for a while. I've wanted to go to Italy and France forever. I want to loll about in a country that doesn't know how to stop partying. I imagine Italy and France have probably largely forgotten now also. Too much worshipping of the Beast.

I think that's why people drink in our culture. We need to be taken out of ourselves to behave in all the silly ways we are yearning to but can't because we are boring. We want to be rescued out of the tiny confines we have built ourselves into. Life in Western civilisatiion these days is so monumentally boring. When was the last time you saw someone cutting loose? Laughing too loud in a public place? Wearing purple hats? Saying something vaguely controversial? This is the space the Church should occupy in the culture. Once she gets the hang of the fact of how free she is, maybe she will. I think the second follows the first without even trying. Actually, I reckon if the Church, in Protestant countries, was to be a Church that had no more fear of a very small God sitting there waiting for people to mess up so he could throw them in hell forever, if we could have that stupid notion dispelled out of our hearts, then we would be the most amazing countries on the earth, countries full of free people. Just dreaming out loud :)

I remember when we played chasey at school, there would be a place called "barley". This was like Switzerland. It was neutral. If the person who was "it" came and found you, but you were in the barley place, they couldn't get you. Well, my holiday is like barley. No one can get me unless I allow them to. I am not doing anything except things I want to do. It's why my brother called me the other night and it went to messagebank and he asked me to call him back and I just haven't. Because I don't want to deal with anyone else's shit except the shit that I allow on board, or the shit that is contained within the pages of the latest book Im reading.

How nice it is to tell the world to just back off and bugger off for a couple of weeks :) Very nice indeed :)

I wish for my holidays the neutrality of barleyed Switzerland, the military defensiveness of the US, and the festivity of old time Italy. I think I can feel a creativity return forthwith. Not a moment too soon :)

Later: Okay. I am pretty sure this is not a cop-out retreat back into old known patterns. I am pretty sure this is instead a demonstration of my newfound boundaries. I hope. In my freedom I have just spoken to my brother on the phone. He is heading out to South Australia (hopefully) on Tuesday and needs a place to stay tomorrow night on his way through. He will be at my house tomorrow dropping off some stuff that I have suggested he could store in my garage instead of paying for self-storage. He will be here anyway. It makes sense if he stays here. For one night only. He is out in a state forest past Bacchus Marsh, camping with his dog. He is making good plans, I think, ones that will propel him forward rather than keep him stuck in the same old crap he's been stuck in for years. In my great grandiosity I said yes he can stay here for one night because, surely, my equilibrium will not be buffetted by one night. Because those are the rules in my newfound boundary zone. One night only, no more. I am happy to help him out, but not at the expense of my equilibrium. Not for nobody :) This feels good, I tell you what. This feels like some sort of balance where I don't lose mine.


  1. Swiss chocolate, perhaps???

  2. maybe you should give your brother a lovely parting gift about... CHOCOLATE??? :-)


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