Growing

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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sometimes growing feels like dying.

Hell, maybe it always feels like that.

Unfreeze some part of your soul and suddenly you feel every little bump, cry three times a week.  You start feeling like the Princess and the Pea, the uber-sensitive soul who had to sleep on 100 mattresses and still could feel a small tiny pea at the bottom of it all.

You start talking in the third person again.

Or maybe you're just going through early menopause.  Either way, an expectation that life should be easy is one you need to put aside on this journey, otherwise you'll just keep on tripping over it, over and over again.

Loving the Distance

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Sunday, 26 June 2011

"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky."

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters

Illustrator Shaun Tan Draws Conclusions

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I first saw some of Shaun Tan's work in a Children's Texts class I did at uni several years ago.  His wonderfully illustrated book The Arrival tells the story of a migrant's arrival in a new country and all the bewilderment that entails.  Check it out here.

I have quit Facebook but joined Twitter (and I'll be deleting that bastard too if it takes up too much brainspace - that stuff's precious).  I noticed on Twitter a link to this lovely interview with Mr Tan.  The interviewer speaks in words;  Mr Tan gets to speak in illustrations (a far better type of word, sometimes.  Far more limitless :)

See it here.

Oh, and Happy Solstice.

Eating at Aunt Leonie's

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Monday, 20 June 2011

The air of those rooms was saturated with the fine bouquet of a silence so nourishing, so succulent, that I never went into them without a sort of greedy anticipation, particularly on those first mornings, chilly still, of the Easter holidays, when I could taste it more fully becuase I had only just arrived in Combray:  before I went in to say good morning to my aunt I would be kept waiting a moment in the outer room where the sun, wintry still, had crept in to warm itself before the fire, which was already alight between its two bricks and plastering the whole room with a smell of soot, turning it into one of those great rustic open hearths, or one of those canopied mantelpieces in country houses, beneath which one sits hoping that in the world outside it is raining or snowing, hoping almost for a catastrophic deluge to add the romance of being in winter quarters to the comfort of a snug reatreat;  I would pace to and fro between the prie-dieu and the stamped velvet armchairs, each one always draped in its crocheted antimacassar, while the fire, baking like dough the appetising smells with which the air of the room was thickly clotted and which the moist and sunny freshness of the morning had already "raised" and started to "set", puffed them and glazed them and fluted them and swelled them into an invisible though not impalpable country pie, an immense "turnover" to which, barely waiting to savour the crisper, more delicate, more reputably but also drier aromas of the cupboard, the chest of drawers and the patterned wall-paper, I always returned with an unconfessed gluttony to wallow in the central, glutinous, insipid, indigestible and fruity smell of the flowered bedspread.

Marcel Proust - Swann's Way

That is one single sentence.  Mr Proust, you may argue that there are colons and semi-colons in there and that this is in fact three combined sentences.  I would tend to take your side, if that's indeed what you would say.  However, every English teacher in the world would probably lambast you, and Microsoft Word would castigate you, for your ridiculous sentence lengthiness.

And yet what the hell do they know about miracles?  My mind, ill fit for concentration and memory, read straight through that entire sentence, not having to stop once to go back to find itself again, only going back because it wanted a second taste.

You, my dear Mr Proust, are the literary equivalent of a chocolate eclair (as I do not believe I have ever tasted a madeleine).  Thank you :)

Let it Be

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

And when the broken-hearted people
living in the world agree
there will be an answer.

Let it be.

3 MUJERES Y UN SOMBRERO - Mercedes GarcĂ­a Bravo - artelista.com
Pic by Mercedes Garcia Bravo under a creative commons licence .

As above, so below.  And as without, so within.

A different world, without and within, feels so believable and possible to me when I'm sitting in meditation, outside in the morning sun, with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, and I'm at peace.  Peace from whatever warring factions are scratching their nails down my damn insides at any one time.

The torment and the peace are such completely different states as to make it almost impossible to believe they can be contained within the one body.  I suppose this is partially why I still (sometimes) hold to this crazy notion that this is not the best of all possible worlds.  Sometimes I can smell the change bubbling underneath, like I can smell the yeast in the bread dough that's rising beside me on the table.

Two Types of Dark

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Friday, 17 June 2011

Once upon a time
all that could touch
the dark was
the moon,
the stars,
the fire.

~

On a charcoal beach
the moon runs silver
fingers through the water.

From the cradle of the sky
the dead stars live,
stream light through time.

For bottomless Apollyon
fire forges iron to
cage that bitch up.

It must be ...

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You can feel it slipping out from underneath you, your sleeping patterns.  Tired, but can't sleep.

It is 11.30 pm and you can't sleep and so you read until you can.  Which in your case is when you put the book down at 1.48 am.

This nocturnal sort of behaviour means it must be getting close to the winter solstice ... oh, look, there it is, four days away.

On the minus side, this whole deal is disruptive.  You can feel it rising up as anxiety in your body, gripping around your heart.  On the plus side, you work from home (this whole deal is one of the reasons why you do) so it's not too disruptive.  On the plus side, you are getting to read a whole lot :)

Advertising IS Noise Pollution

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I am, undoubtedly, old.

One of the cliches of getting older is an increased desire for silence - or at least more regulated noise - and a decreased ability to handle the stuff that comes in from everywhere else, especially when it's noise from a generation below your own.  Hence the stand-off between parents and their teenagers and the "crap - that's not music" emanating from said teenagers' bedrooms, wafting under the door and mingling with the hypocrisy of parents on the other side who were once listening to their own version of said music crap some years prior :)

The MCG sports stadium is like a teenager and I am like its mother.  From the time I got there early to watch my football team be beaten by its nemesis again, and in every moment when the teams weren't playing, I was bombarded from the big screen.  Advertisements from the home team's sponsor, on-the-ground spruikers bleating whatever crap the home team Marketing Department has come up with recently, stupid promotional games sponsored by optometrists involving members of the audience being willing to put on stupid big glasses and make dicks of themselves in a bid to win some cash.

It's just not to be borne, dear reader.

Now, it's said that the world is noisier than it's ever been.  It certainly feels true for our public spaces.  (If, however, you walk around some of the suburban streets of Melbourne, you'd be forgiven for thinking a giant plague had swept through killing everyone in its wake.  Such silence).  Publicly, though, it's a different matter. Whenever large groups of people congregate, so too do the giant TV screens to continue plying their wares at us.

When do we say "enough"?  Is it just me and my partner, being old fuddy duddies who object to the public advertising bombardment?  I know I've written about this before, but this really shits me.  These are public spaces.  We peeps are losing the ability to interact face-to-face with strangers without despising each other or glassing each other.  We are losing our community and drowning in our consumption.  The communal spaces we have left for the former we should not allow so easily to be taken over by the latter.

So tell me ...

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Does this white text mess with yer eyeballs at all?

Hell is empty, all the devils are here

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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hell is empty;  all the devils are here.
~ William Shakespeare.

It's a funny sort of coincidence isn't it, considering the narcissism and self-absorption our culture encourages us to dwell in, that it has not yet become an acceptable idea in our Western cultures that your normal everyday Joe or Gina on the street - or you - have a deep, dark, nasty side.  A side that we may see occasionally, but flinch from.  Our shadow sides.

Even more so the idea that contained within that shadow side could be something scary, destructive, diabolical.  Sure, we like to examine the darker depths of those who we perceive as "monsters" or "animals".  Those people we examine under microscopes, horrified and compelled, at the levels that some humans can stoop to.

But just not us.  Or at least, not me.  Maybe you.  Maybe everyone I come into contact with, but certainly and definitely not me.

We find it very hard, almost impossible, to believe that we could be capable of the same sorts of things as those people.  We scrabble to distance ourselves from them because we cannot bear to think about the alternative - that we are all capable of abhorrence.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the storyteller and Jungian analyst, talks about the predator, the part of our psyche which is unredeemable, which cannot listen to reason.  The demonic part of our souls.  Many of us in the nominally Christian West rail at that idea on several different levels.  Firstly, the Devil has been perceived via the childish abomination that is the Christian religion to be something outside of ourselves, some stupid caricature.  It all seems so childish.

But what if the demonic lives in here?  What if the Devil is a part of us all?  It would mean, yes, that we have to face and fight that which we are terrified of, which we almost cannot bear to admit lives in us.  But if the Devil is a part of us all, then for balance and hope's sake could we not also believe (and maybe even experience in oure more enlightened moments) that the God is in here too.  To help us.  Whether you see God/Devil as individual personages or as archetypes doesn't seem to make all that much difference in the outcomes of things, from where I'm seeing it today.  But then that's another story for another time :)

To face and do battle with these elements of our own psyches is, from where I'm sitting, turning into a matter of life and death.  Because if we do not face the dark elements of our own psyches, we will find it harder (or maybe even impossible) to face those same dark elements in the world.  And those dark elements are routinely and systematically destroying our earth, even in the face of climate change, for their own shortsighted ends.

As above, so below.  And as within, so without.  Those destructive forces that I see in my own soul, they threaten to overwhelm me, to destroy me, just like they are threatening in the outer world.  Those same forces are in you.  It is only by acknowledging them, facing them down, learning to not bow to them, learning to not be terrified in their presence - owning them - that I  learn, almost in disbelief, that these elements only have the power that I give them.  And that I can take that power away.  

It is where anger comes into its own.  It is an energy.  It fires itself slowly in your belly, into flame, into the energy that it takes to rouse yourself into productivity, into movement, out of torpor, out of stupor.