The long and the short of it

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Sunday 31 August 2008

I dreamt of my auntie and uncle the other night. They departed this mortal coil 10 and 12 years ago respectively but two nights ago there they were again. In my dream I offered to make us crepes with lemon juice and sugar. I went looking in the pantry but couldn't find any ingredients :(

I don't understand why some people leave when they do. It doesn't make any sense at all that a father would die three days before his only daughter's wedding. On the morning of her wedding, my darling cousin sat at the dining table of my parents, her eyes so red with crying that I can see them clearly in the photograph taken from 10 heartbreaking paces away. My auntie got to see her first grandchild, Alexander, before succumbing to the cancer that also took her husband two years prior. Neither of them got to see their second grandchild, Campbell, but my stubborn childlike hope is that one day they shall, that Andrea shall get to hold her parents in her arms again.

It feels so unfair that people should die in their early 60s. But then, death always seems unfair. Even my grandmother's, and yet she died three years later, on her 91st birthday. Took a look at the beautiful flower arrangement someone had sent her, said, "Oh, how lovely" (she was always an avid gardener), and promptly died. Very practical and efficient, in dying as well as living. My uncle fought his death all the way through. I saw him, yellow with jaundice, in the hospital and knew that the D word would not be spoken of out loud. He didn't want to go. My auntie, following on his heels, went quicker, without a whimper, but perhaps with rather greater curiosity about what she would find. But who knows what people are thinking about their own death?

It's been a windy, rainy kind of day today. I felt a cold or some other invisible monster threatening my body when I awoke, sluggish, at lunchtime. From then on it's never been out of first gear and so today I got around in pyjamas till 6pm, drinking green tea, neem tea, black tea. For my late breakfast at 1pm I cooked the dreamed-of crepes, ate them with lemon juice and sugar, in the same fashion and from the same recipe that I have done since I was 10 or 11 years old, making an afternoon tea for my mum and dad of a Sunday afternoon. This morning I used Grandma's white glazed ceramic bowl and ate each crepe as they came out of the pan, fresh off the press, standing up, in some sort of passover homage, but much more akin to a communion. A communion with unseen ancestors. I hope if such things occur that they somehow shared in my eating in their honour. Did they yearn to taste what I was tasting? Did the yellow of the lemons shine brighter for them now that they can't pick them up in their hands, run their fingers over the smooth bumpiness, smell the bitter richness? Perhaps so; or yet again, perhaps they are wondering at my enjoyment of the colour yellow when the yellow they now see makes the yellow I experience some kind of beige. Who knows? When Sting was on the television earlier singing Elizabethan songs with lute accompaniment, everything seemed possible.

Yesterday I saw a man about a dog. The dog was Lester, and the man was George Schofield, animal chiropractor extraordinaire. We chugged out to Yuroke, and into his yard for the first time. This dog whisperer adjusted Lester - who in exchange bit him. Didn't pierce the skin, but bruised it, and goodness, it makes one feel guilty when your dog bites an 89 year old man. I should have known, and I should have muzzled him, but I thought it would be okay. He was rather gracious about it all but I still feel very guilty. It was my fault for not taking adequate precautions. Perhaps next time I go visit him I shall take him a small token of apology, this man who has framed photographs around his shed of happy dogs and their owners. My favourite: "To the only man who I will allow to play with my bum". Signed Bella the dachshund, who surely must require continual chiropractic, being forced by genetics and stupid human breeding to carry around a body completely too big for it's short little legs.

This man is 89 years old. On he goes, strong. Receiving people and their dogs from 10-4 six days a week. What a bloody inspiration he is. Passionate. As I get older, I am increasingly drawn to people who in latter years refuse to be confined by this childish society's conceptions of what it means to be old. Who refuse to be cloistered away because it upsets the deathfear of the rest of us who stubbornly think life is billboard life. Who have spent their life discovering what their passions are, refusing to give away their power to others, instead shoring up their own God-given themness. That inspires me. I read an article in The Big Issue last week, by someone in Beijing for the Olympics, about the large amounts of elderly Chinese she saw out in the parks, doing tai chi, exercising, keeping themselves young. Occupying public spaces without apology. Perhaps because they didn't have the shame level white Westerners carry, the shame of age, of lined skin, they don't hide themselves away.

I shall refuse to hide myself away. Shall dye my hair bright red, like the artist I saw on telly last week, a local woman, 70 years old with bright red hair.

How I wish I could have seen my auntie and uncle venture forth into their 70s and 80s. There seems no rhyme nor reason for the long and the short of our lives.

A luvvly pome


Friday 29 August 2008

A Brief for the Defense

by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

Beyodifol. Seen at Abbey of the Arts, where the latest poetry party is ablaze which, unfortunately, ends in about 3 hours. Now, poems tend to just fall out of my brain fully formed, having been cooking themselves on backburner number 138 without me even having any idea there's anything cooking at all. So who am I to say that one won't pop out in time? But I doubt it. My brain is as mushy as the Collingwood Fremantle game on the telly.

Afghanistani cat psychology


Thursday 28 August 2008

Okay. This is the next instalment of my writing challenge. Way back in June I asked people to suggest topics for me to write about. Please feel free to add more topics as this is the second last one on the list :) I promise to write about all the topics suggested, as evidenced by this latest instalment :)

Anonimo said:

My cat keeps chewing on my books, does that mean she would like to read or that she hates my doing it?

This is a philosophical quandary, really, isn't it? It's so difficult to say, having never seen Anonimo's cat, nor indeed how much he feeds him. Perhaps the cat is partaking of a portion of paperly afternoon tea, disgruntled with tuna with truffle portions, or tuna with chicken flavour, or tuna with smoke flavour. There's only so much fish a cat can eat, and really, while we're thinking about it, why do we force so much fish on them? Me personally, I can only eat fish once or twice a week at most. My dog could eat chicken every day, almost, especially chicken necks. But then, I'm not a dog. And neither is a cat.

Alternatively, perhaps the cat's book chewing is a psychological reaction brought about by her owner's walking around with piles of unidentifiable objects on top of his head. (If, indeed, that is Anonimo. I'm presuming, from his profile that firstly he is indeed a he, secondly, he is not the bemused woman in that picture, and thirdly, that he is anyone in that picture. Indeed, I am also presuming he is a he and not a 12 year old Latvian transsexual bell ringer. On top of the mystery, Anonimo's blog is written in Spanish so who the hell knows?

Thankfully, however, part of that problem can be answered with the likes of Babelfish. We don't need to be kept in the dark, despite languagish encumbrances. We can find out a tiny bit more about the mysterious Anonimo from his profile, and Babelfish tells us:

Happened cheap psychologist by force of the existential circumstances of my to happen.

Okay. That makes it a bit clearer, doesn't it? Now, where were we? That's right. The dilemma. You know, just making this all about me for a moment - which, I seem to recall, the whole writing challenge deal was all about not writing about me, but anyway - if it was a perfect world and I was going to do this writing challenge in the way I would wish, tonight I would have written a thousand word magical realism short story to ponder your question. Really, it screams out for it, doesn't it? What a lilting, jingly story that would be. But alas, I am unable, at least at this portion of my journey, to write any stories. Now, that might have caused me a bit of distress a few weeks ago. But this last week, courtesy of the insights and encouragement of Julia Cameron, I am returning to the coloured breathing space of knowing that right here, right now, there are small things I can do today, where I am. (Like, for example, work on the rather adorable little sprite boy who is my latest clay mask). And so, I am choosing to look at the positive. While indeed I did not write an amazing magical realism story that would catapult me to instant fame, this evening I did paint in crap watercolour. Which has no relevance to this topic, unfortunately, containing neither a cat nor a book even in abstract form. And so here we are.

So. The cat. I feel funny writing about Anonimo's cat when I don't know it's name. Is it a girl? Is it a boy? I get a picture in my head of a grey tabby, medium sized, quite dainty looking female who nevertheless nibbles her owner's ear on occasion and bites him when he's not looking. And so this is the cat I think of when I look at her and try, scientifically, to determine her behaviour. Something kind of vaguely like this:

Image by McBeth. Entirely unrelated to this post or to Anonimo but, in a strange little synchronous moment, note that the next book this puss is going to eat is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garbriel Garcia Marquez, a writer of magic realism. In totally unrelated news, I was looking at a platypus on the teev before and thinking, if I ever have a cat, I'm going to call it Platy.

Would she like to read? We automatically dismiss it, don't we? We say, "Oh, no. Everyone knows that cats wouldn't be able to be jealous of something that they have no idea about. How does a cat have any conception about reading, for God's sake?" But sometimes I think we are victims of our own scientific knowledge. How can we be sure? Sometimes I think reality is so weird that maybe the smartest beings in the world are actually gnats, and flies carry the cure for chlamydia. So we cannot say for sure that cats couldnt read if we taught them and they understood language. I mean, has anyone done any double blind studies? No, exactly.

But still, nevertheless, one has to surmise, if faced with only these two options for Anonimo's cat, that she is probably indeed not wanting to read, but is indeed wanting to get attention of her pet. Cats. That's what shits me about them, you know - when they want attention, then it's jumping all over your lap chewing your books. But when you come home from a hard day balancing stuff on your head, does your cat come running to greet you in the way a dog does? No. It lifts its head up from its place on the window and sneers. And burps. And a couple of letters escape. And it goes back to sleep again secure in the knowledge that it's snooty outer exterior has hidden the fact that while you were gone, it shat in your bed and ate page 23 of your book.

Urgent prayer request


Wednesday 27 August 2008

Please pray for Harold, my sculpture. She's about to be kiln fired. Heh :)

Wilbur has gone also. I kissed him goodbye on Monday, right on his clayish mouth. Probably give me some horrible disease.

I hope they both survive the kiln firing experience. I mean, I've survived it so far so maybe they will too :) I'm enjoying the respite. The air feels so nice when it's not 1700 degrees celcius :)
I listened to Sirocco by Australian Crawl the other day. Released in 1981, I'm pretty sure I heard this disc rotating several times on the turntable of Andrea's friend, Nadia. It took me straight back to that time and place when I heard a few long-forgotten songs, and Nadia popped into my head even though I have no conscious recollection of hearing it with her.

Later that same day, Even Now by Bob Seger came into my head. That song came out in '82. I loved it then and even though I love it now, I'd forgotten all about it. Andrea and I stood like a couple of dopeheads in her backyard on Monday evening, after I mentioned that song, and got off on the amazing feeling that is recovering a memory :) It's very exciting to me when that happens. It feels as if when the memory comes up, it brings a piece of myself with it, like a clump, a mixed together grouping of feelings and sensations and colours. It's so cool. It's like taking drugs without the unpleasant side effects :)

Becoming what I am ...


Tuesday 26 August 2008

What the....
Originally uploaded by pyjama
It is one of the mysterious happinesses of the creative life that when we become willing to listen, the "still, small voice" seems to grow louder. The web of life is interconnected and an artist's prayer in Omaha is as clearly heard as the same prayer uttered in Manhattan. "Help me become what I am," we pray - and we do ...

Not all dreams will come "true," but there will be truth present in all our dreaming. The Great Creator made us. We are ourselves works of art, and as we work to bring forward the art within us, we express our inner divinity. Perhaps this is why so many artists' stories abound with miraculous coincidence and "inspired" hunches. Art may be the finest form of prayer. Making art is quite literally a path "to our Maker." In the act of creation, the creator reveals himself or itself to us and we, too, are revealed to ourselves as something of the divine spark from which we ourselves are made. It is this primal fact of connection, artist to artist, Great Creator to us as creator, that the truest sense of our own identity is born. We make art not merely to make our way in the world but also to make something of ourselves, and often the something that we make is a person with an inviolable sense of inner dignity. We have answered yes when our true name was called.
Julia Cameron, Walking in this World

But not only medicine, engineering, and painting are arts; living itself is an art.
Erich Fromm

Love alone of all things is sufficient unto itself. It is its own end, its own merit, and its own satisfaction. It seeks no cause beyond itself and needs no fruit outside of itself. Its fruit is its use. I love simply because I am love. That is my deepest identity, what I am created in and for.

For me to love others "in God" is to love them for their own sake and not for what they do for me.

Richard Rohr


All three of these quotes resonate so strongly for me, and they all swell from the same place, the place where art and love and life all live together. None of those three things are separate to me. They are all strands of the same Creator and whenever I walk once again in that space, what I do or what I create becomes secondary to the spacious beauty of being. It's a beautiful thang.

Dear Victoria Police

Thank you for having such handsome young policemen man your booze bus late last night on Ballarat Road. A booze bus on a Monday night? That seems a bit strange to me, I must say, but hey, you gotta do what you believe you gotta do. I thank you that you make it attractive to my eyes in the process.

No, that's not why I'm writing. I see you apprehended Olive doing 67 k's in a 60 zone on Sunshine Road, West Footscray, thus breaking road rule 20 of the Road Rules Victoria Act. Dammit, it's so hard to concentrate on keeping the car at the right speed. I could almost miss looking at the road, spending so much time looking at the speedo.

Anyways, I am writing to inform you that I think your fine of $138 is a bit - well, it's a bit excessive, don't you think? Yes, I know, I know - you want to deter my behaviour. I understand that as a government department that writhes around in red tape and bureaucracy that you just don't know any other way of doing it than the punishment and deterring way. Perhaps there is no other way. Perhaps there is. But I'm not so sure a government department would have enough gumption to enact proactive, life-giving ways of doing things even if those things did manage to make it past the 37 meetings required to institute new proceedings without being chopped up on the floor by the 7th meeting. But I digresseth.

Anyways, I've been thinking. I understand the need for people to do the speed limit. I really do. And I understand your need to instil fear as some sort of deterrent to said behaviour. But you see, the thing is, people can't get around in fear of what might happen - not all the time, not even in this fearful society, where apparently free people with lots of money are constantly encouraged, by their hearts and externally, to be scared of so many things, most of which will never even happen. Sometimes I think your approach is counterproductive to the very people you're targeting to try to get your citizenry to conform to what you want them to do by showing them graphic advertisements at quarter time in the footy about people who have done 7 ks over the speed limit and lived to tell the sorry tale of the people they killed. Or more often, of the damage they have done to themselves. But your methods bring out my childish, inner anti-authoritarian, it must be said. The one that says, "Hey, you know what? People drive fast because they can. Maybe they should manufacture cars that don't go over a certain limit. And hey, you know something else? People drive fast because it's fucking fun. Yes, it is perhaps irresponsible driving fast, when you factor in all the possible bad, scary, awful things that could happen. But that kind of dictum would mean that we should just all stay in bed (alone, because think of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases) because ooh, bad, scary, awful things happen all the time, and in actual fact I would say that the way our society lives here is so mind numingly safe that sometimes it makes me want to drive really fast just to give it some sort of colour to a world that thinks it can legislate the danger out and still have any kind of a life.

I digress again. It's hard to keep focussed this morning. Anyway, the main reason I'm writing is to suggest that perhaps there are other ways of penalising my errant driving than fiscal. Yes, yes, I know, it's difficult to see that in a world that worships money as its god. We love worshipping money. It gets us to wield all our power-loving and fear-mongering with license. We love it that way. But hey, I was thinking - instead of charging me 138 bucks, wouldn't it be nice if there could be some other way of paying back my penalty to society? Like, for example, voluntary community service for a week or two. I'm happy to pay my dues, you know? But maybe if you got me doing a bit of community service at, for example, the TAC, where I could help the people who have come a cropper doing 7 ks over the speed limit, perhaps that might be a bit more of a proactive way to come at things, dontchathink?

Or community service planting some trees. Or hanging with some old people. Just a thought.

Foreign correspondent


Monday 25 August 2008

Learn to be a foreign correspondent
in your own country
question its motives
policies & procedures
laws are dead
without spirit

Learn to be a foreign correspondent
in your own mind
four-wheel-driving through your thoughts
aids stodge dislocation, scale removal
opens up another room
another world

Learn to be a foreign correspondent
in your own heart
hurl against the darkness
a thimbleful of love
pull weeds, let others hoe a little
like snuffling for truffles, let Love root out
diamonds on the inside

Memory, dogs, sculptures and chainsaws


Sunday 24 August 2008

Ever since I was ill with chronic fatigue syndrome, my memory hasn't been so good. Now, my memory has never been all that great, and I suppose five years of smoking 10 bongs a week may have contributed to its worsening. But it's been markedly worse since the whole CFS deal. This doesn't make much sense when you call what I had chronic fatigue syndrome (that is the stupidest, most insulting name ever invented). If you call it myalgic encephalomyelitis, however, it sounds much more likely that a condition involving years of brain inflammation, and neurological messings, will have contributed somehow to this problem. Or maybe I'm just getting older :)

This ponderance about short-term memory makes me think. (Which is good, as long as I realise I'm going to forget that I did, heh :) In some ways, a not-so-great short term memory is a good thing for someone who still harbours hopes that she will actually write and complete something at some point in her life that is not a blog post (nothing personal, darlings :) I remember reading a quote somewhere about writers and compost, about how all the stuff that moves out of our direct memory goes down into that compost and becomes writing fertilizer. My inner Grandma really likes that - what a practical way of recycling my thoughts into something creative :) Coolies :)

Yesterday I took myself off for an artist date. I have begun reading Julia Cameron's successor to The Artist's Way. It's called Walking in this World. I really enjoy her style. One of the things I am agreeing to do while reading this book is to have a weekly artist date. An hour-long date alone, to do things that are festive or that feed my creativity. Because sheesh, the well has been feeling bone dry of recent weeks; it needs refilling. These artist dates are something I struggle with massively. I feel so resistant towards them, which is such a strange thing. Why feel resistant at something that feeds me, that drips down into my days ahead, that renews my focus? I was thinking maybe it was just me that had such major problems with this set playtime, but there must have been a lot of feedback for Julia to write about these dates that their importance should not be denied even though the resistance flourishes. "Resist your resistance," she advises. The ways I will try to sabotage my own creativity never cease to amaze me. What is it? Is it a fear of creativity's power? Or is it, as Cameron suggests, that not facing our creativity means that we don't have to face ourselves? Perhaps that is all it comes down to, and perhaps that is why there must be some sort of ebb and flow in a creative life. I have been facing so much of my own stuff of recent times, there must be days and weeks where the inward gaze stops, or I shall go mad. Or perhaps not even so much the inward gaze - how do you live a life without being aware of what is going on inside you? That's abdication - but more the inward discovery, the realisation of certain unattractive proclivities you have. That is a wonderful thing to have happen, but it is exhausting, and I think there has to be wisdom in the looking and the timing. Like I mentioned at Kent's place yesterday, the ways the Great Creator unravels our stuff is an art form in itself. It's just exhausting, that's all. There needs to be breaks inbetween for rejuvenation.

And so yesterday I took myself off to Gasworks Art Park, after being reminded of it on the telly the other night. This place has been converted from an old gasworks site into a bit of a creative hub. The old buildings have been recreated into about 12 different studios that sit around the outside. Nice red brick buildings they are. Kind of look like stables. On the inside of the site is an off-leash dog park. This place combines two of my favourite things, creativity and dogs, and the combination - even without any directly observed creativity, except the sounds of some sort of chainsaw or such tool from the sculptor's studio - was enough to put a bit of a spring in my step. Creativity fosters creativity the way yeast fosters yeast or hate fosters hate. What organic creatures we are.

I was thinking whilst driving to the park (thank you, Graeme, for changing my tyre) about an idea for a new blog I've got swirling around. Thought I could loosely document different dog-friendly places I visit around Melbourne. The name came to me, seemingly out of the blue: Not Without Lester. Yeah, that sounds alright. Might try that.

Got to the park and began walking and came upon the sculpture that graces the eastern side of the park. Lester barked at it, as he usually does, but it was pretty much bluster, as it often is. Took some happy snaps of the sculpture, thinking that it would be nice for my new blog. Then looked at the name. The sculpture is called Not Without Chomley.

Obviously I remembered that somehow, from last year when I visited this park and read the scupture's name then, while Lester barked at it. But I'd forgotten it, at least in my conscious memory.

Which is kinda cool, I guess. I ... what was I saying?

Flat Olive II


Friday 22 August 2008

It was so cold last night that I added my dressing gown to my winter doona + extra blanket combo that's been on the bed for weeks. Wore socks and pyjamas, and still felt like if I turned over too quick in bed I'd accidentally snap my toes off. But today, on the bus, the sun shone and Spring was definitely in the air and yea, it was good.

The bus. I'm on her again. Oh, yes, I got Olive's puncture fixed. Had the ingenious idea of getting the Beaurepaires man out to supply and fit me 2 x new tyres and voila - puncture fixed. Two parakeets killed with one pebble. I thought it was pretty smart thinking really. (The tyres were desperately required. Like a typical girl, I just don't look after my car. Have been driving around on bald tyres for an extra year since recommendations to get new ones. Hmm).

On Tuesday I drove to the station and left my car there, as usual and caught the train. Yesterday, walked outside to get in my car to drive to the station only to find - flat. Again. Totally flat tyre. Same spot, rear passenger side. But different tyre. So either it's a large coincidence, or else someone is playing funny buggers.

Luckily, Susie is feeling well again and the contemplation of changing a tyre tomorrow is not particularly daunting at all. I look forward to proving my tough girly strength on some wheel nuts (I'm pretty strong, you know). I will be interested to have this tyre checked out and see if they can tell me whether it's been let down. If it has, I shall be expecting every time I leave my house to have a flat tyre. Oh well, I guess I would get to sharpen up my tyre changing skills if that's the case. (And maybe my shotgun skills if they do it again :)

Edit: My dad just rang to offer to drive over tomorrow to change my tyre. All the way across town. For someone who once had real trouble accepting any help from anyone, I'm so much better at allowing people to do stuff for me :) When I was sick, my Mum would offer to do the dishes for me and I would say no, even though I was really ill. On Monday she did them and I just let her. It's nice, for an independent girl with prior pride issues, to let people do stuff for her :)

Latter days


Just placed an order for the next instalment of Over the Rhine into my collection (Ohio). These guys are so deep, such beautiful lyrics and music that opens up more and more layers over time (like the best stuff does). They sing the good stuff, the hard stuff, the painful stuff. Great when I'm feeling depressed (like now), great when I'm feeling God's presence (like, not now).

Despite lack of presence, am sitting here rocking like a psycho, bawling/praying for my friend Tyler (and for myself). Life is so painful, when does it end? (But it does, it does, it does ... the pain, that is. I just don't trust anymore that God is going to go easy on me or anyone else in the pain stakes. His conceptions of what I can handle and mine are vastly vastly vastly vastly vastly vastly vastly vastly vastly forking different).

Listen to this (apologies for crap quality but it was all I could find):

What a beautiful piece of heartache
This has all turned out to be
Lord knows we've learned the hard way
All about healthy apathy

I use these words pretty loosely
There's so much more to life than words

There is a me you would not recognize, dear
Call it the shadow of myself
And if the music starts before I get there
Dance without me, you dance so gracefully
I really think I'll be okay
They've taken a toll, these latter days

Nothing like sleeping on a bed of nails
Nothing much here but our broken dream
Oh, but baby, if all else fails
Nothing is ever quite what it seems

And I'm dying inside to leave you
With more than just cliches

There is a me you would not recognize, dear
Call it the shadow of myself
And if the music starts before I get there
Dance without me, you dance so gracefully
I really think I'll be okay
They've taken their toll, these latter days
They've taken their toll, these latter days

Tell them it's real
Tell them it's really real
I just don't have much left to say
They've taken their toll, these latter days
They've taken their toll, these latter days

PS: Just to avoid possible misinterpretation, this song is not dedicated to anybody in particular :)

Google Maps Street View


Thursday 21 August 2008

How long until there is Google Maps Loungeroom View, or Google Maps Inside Your Undies View? Now there is Google Maps Street View. I didn't even know it had come to Australia until Monday afternoon when my Mum came visiting and wanted to take a look at her house.

(Her house looked fine. My grandma's house, though ... very sad. What once was a blooming garden has now been concreted and looks completely like the rental property it now is. Which is ... very sad).

Seriously, I think I might have a problem with this Street View in some way. It's not because I'm worried about people surveilling my house, or people scanning my house to burg it or any of that safety type of thing. (And anyway, where I live right now, and where I hope to live for 40 million years to come, is not even observable from the road anyway, being in someone's backyard).

It's not a physical concern I have with it so much. It is something a bit more spiritual and ethereal perhaps than that. I've been trying to put my finger on why it concerns me so much all day, but the feeling flits out in gossamer threads and I just can't tie them all together.

I think part of the problem for me lies in yet one more virtual thing to disembody our bodies. Which sounds stupid (and for reasons beyond the complete clunkiness of that sentence :). It's not so much the virtualness of it, it's the disembodiment of it. Which might sound the same but it's not. I don't have an issue per se with stuff being online and virtual. I think concerns about that, at least to my view, are like concerns people once had about the telephone when it was first installed. Online is just another way of communication.

But I do have a problem with the fact that maybe some people will be content to just look at stuff, stuff that they could go and walk around in, and somehow will lose the desire to go and be in it themselves because they will feel like they've seen it. But looking with your eyes is no alternative to actually being in a place, feeling it on your skin, standing on it, touching it, hearing it, smelling it, and seeing the crap bits that the screen didn't show you, and seeing the people that live in the spot. That's the bit that scares me sometimes. That we will forget to keep the differences separate in our heads. And that one day, we will prefer the virtual, nice, cleanness and the real will look unreal. And the virtual will suit us because it's so damn easy, and the real will be stupid and outdated and antiquated.

Finding community


Tuesday 19 August 2008

Susie's resilience-ometer is a bit flabby these days, I must say. I rang the Christian meditation group I've been thinking of for the past few weeks, only to find that the very last session was held last night because the guy running it is getting married and moving out of where he is. And I indulged in a bit of "Oh! I'm gonna be stuck in the desert by myself forever!" thinking.

The guy who ran the classes shared a house with 3 other people who are all involved together in different types of Christian-ish stuff, and who go to the same church building together. He was moving out to get married, and so the classes have ended.

I liked the idea of these people all sharing a house together, in one way. Although the thought of the church building still stiffens my shoulders straight away, part of me dribbles copiously at the thought of all that intentional community. But the rest of me goes, "But when do they get time alone?" And that right there is the rub. How does a person who requires several hours at least of solitude every day to maintain equilibrium dribble at the thought of that sort of intentional community? But still, I do. Perhaps I shall begin my own intentional community, a Zen Universalist Christian Solitudes group, who share a house and only talk to each other for an hour or so every day :) Heh :)

You know, I really do seriously believe that when the door opens it opens, in terms of hooking up with other believers, and you know about it. Not that it is easy to believe that, being part of the great giant swathe of believers stuck out on their ownsomes all over the world. What a strange time we live in, do we not? Such a giant mass exodus from church buildings of people who are thirsty for the real stuff, who ain't gonna buy the control anymore. Hallelujah. But oh, ever since I've gone out of it all, I've been hanging for a coming together. The type which I haven't really experienced before. The type where I don't carry the dragging shadow of my real-but-unshowable self, my secret sins. The type where I get to be myself in all my messiness and goodness.

And so yes, I think the doors open, but in their own time. Even though I have been saying that for years. But I haven't been anywhere near ready to get back into Christian community. Until (maybe, perhaps) now. And not that I have had all that many open doors over the past 10 years in any respect (which may come across sounding rather pity partyish, but is simply the truth of how things have been). I know that there is a place and a group of people for me. When I have been indulging in regular contemplative prayer and swimming in God I can rest and relax in that. I just know it will happen. I can feel it. But I haven't done any contemplative prayer for a week, and have just come off several days sickness, and so therefore today I plot and ponder about ways to find it and force it to happen. Silly silly girl. :) Because the signposts and the gutfeels and the "go there" whispers and resonations live 400 relaxing levels below striving.

Musical interlude


Monday 18 August 2008

Welcome to the Boomtown - David & David

Do you remember this song? I just had this urge to listen to it. Five minutes later, in this gratifying society, thusly I did. I love the singer's voice (who I presume is called David. Or is it David?)

I remember I used to half sing the lyrics to this song. I used to sing, "All that money makes such a circular sound" and didn't really think about how that doesn't make sense, except to think that I wasn't thinking about it enough to know what he was singing about. KNow what I mean?

But "All that money makes such a succulent sound" makes much more sense. I love the word 'succulent'. It sounds like it's succulent, you know? Whereas the word 'succinct' - well, it's not, is it? That gloopy double 'c' thing in the middle makes it feel as if it's got 14 syllables. The extra 'c' on the end just further complicates the situation.

It gets complicated in my head.

Which leads me to Herman's Head. I loved that show so much. I want to buy it on DVD. I loved the slobby guy haha. 'Cause I have one of them in my head.

I thought of this song, Welcome to the Boomtown, that I haven't thought about for years, because I was just watching TV and there was a show on about Port Hedland, a mining boom town in Western Australia, and I didn't feel like watching it and turned it off. But then it translated into a song. As Radio Susie does all the live long day.

See how it goes? Now I'll be singing Working on the Railroad for a while.

But then, maybe it will morph into Working in the Coalmine (Devo). Then I'll be singing about a metaphorical Canary in a Coalmine (The Police).

And so it goes on. All. Day. Long.

Like the wheels on the bus.

Unnamed, unfired. Weird but loved.

Posting my stuff, I feel like a kid just come home from kindergarten *kicks floor shyly*



Stuff Ned Kelly and Bonny and Clyde. I find modern day Robin Hoods like Ron English far more inspiring :)

Saw a doco late last night/early this morning about this dude who's been crusading against Corporate America (TM) for the last 25 years by hijacking billboards and putting up stuff to make some people think.

Rock on. This kind of stuff gets me excited, you know? Culture jamming! This dude does jail time for his passion to use his talent to make people think (and drive his wife crazy in the process, which was quite amusing. He's been promising her for years to stop doing these billboards and do more painting to make some cash. But he seems to have a bit of an addiction going on).

Yeah, yeah, I know - this is illegal. But then so were indigenous Australians keeping their children, or black and white Americans sitting together on the bus. And yeah, I know those things and advertising are a bit different. Or are they? Like he said, corporate America - corporate World - gets to relentlessly, constantly infiltrate us 24 hours a day. I complain on here semi-regularly about advertising, and the relentless, constant infiltration of our own minds. Sometimes I think advertising will be one of those things that the world will look back on in 100 years time (if it's still here) and scratch its head at the ridiculous things humans allow to be done to them.

Now, I think that all things powerful, corporate and controlling are entitled to be criticised. Indeed, require criticism. Which definitely includes religion. Christianity has for too long been a power dome no-go zone which i probably why it's grown an extra head or seven in some parts. However, this one seems a bit "what the hell are you saying here anyway?" to me, you know? A teensy bit childish, maybe. Just plain silly. Provocative. Or maybe I'm missing the point, I don't know.

It doesn't offend me - once it may have. Do you find it offensive? To me, I don't think he is criticising Jesus Christ hanging on a cross. But even if he is - why do the criticisms of other people against Christianity get played so offensive. Why are some Christians so defensive? In fact, this doesn't even seem like a criticism against Christianity to me. It just seems ... well, I guess in some ways it seems a bit dumb. A bit childishly provocative maybe. But surely slightly nonsensical, right? If you believe in any kind of God, to get offended at this seems to me to miss the point of Christianity entirely (a powerful God making himself weak). And so it's surely ironic, Alannis, considering the content, that after they put this one up, a vanload of people began chasing them, while meanwhile someone had gone to grab a baseball bat from their nearby apartment. Started chasing them down the road.


Edit: Tyler went a-searching and came up with this explanation, origin unknown, for the Jesus billboard:
English said the image and message are meant to comment on the hypocrisy of the Religious Right, whose intolerance he compares to that of the mob that urged Pontius Pilate to sentence Jesus Christ.
Well, then, I admire him even more :) That's one powerful joint you're messing with there, dude.;

Drinking cloud


Sunday 17 August 2008

Sometimes when I am relaxed, the most mundane of things appear as meditation, as prayer. The way I walk, the centreing of myself within my own body, the way I breathe. The awareness of the breath going in, going out. It feels like light going into my body.

At those special kinds of times, everything is so beautifully simple, and every moment feels full with the seeds of symphonies. The pouring of a cup of tea evokes the anticipation of the brew drunk, and the memory of all the times drank before, the shared cups with friends. The ritual of it all.

Or like Thich Nhat Hanh said it ~ like this:

When I drink tea it’s very pleasant to be aware I am drinking cloud.”

Or how Kim says it ~ like this: The Tea Party

Kitteh Hotel

1 comment

more cat pictures

That's a lot of kitty litter tray cleaning. Be glad you don't live there, Erin :)

What does it for you?


Saturday 16 August 2008

I have concluded that the thing that does it for me when I am feeling ill or down - that leads me on, keeps me hanging on - is a sense of wonder. Whenever I slip down into a funk, what tends to start drawing me out again is something kind of ethereal, something God-reminiscent maybe, something that makes me sit back and go, "Wow!" A lot of the time it's nature. A lot of the time it's science-philosophy stuff. The nature of time. Quantum mechanics. It reminds me, as I need reminding a lot lately, that this crap boring thing we are stuck in, this dull as dishwater culture, is far less real than the reality of quantum mechanics. That's the sort of thing that keeps me hanging on, you know?

How about you? What things are there that are guaranteed to get you ever so slowly sitting up just a little bit straighter, feeling the stirrings in your heart again?

This afternoon I lay on the couch and watched a show about the rains that come to Lake Eyre, in central Australia, every five years or so and cover it salt bed with water. The life that flourishes in the drought is quite amazing. The land, it can look to untrained eyes like nothing may dwell there but it teems, even in the drought. The colours - oh, the colours make me ache. The red of the earth, the blue of the sky, the pale yellow and green of saltbush. When the rainy season hits, it's quite phenomenal. Masses of pelicans, thousands of them. A frog, which hibernates down under the earth - often for several years - survives in the dryness by encasing itself in a strange moisture sac. Until the rains come, dripping through the ground, onto the sleeping frog. It wakes. The sac becomes the first meal it's eaten since it's long snooze, and then its out onto the surface to dance and mate and eat and drink until the rains depart once more, and it's back underground again.

The thorny devil stands in the rain, soaking it in. In fact, it doesn't soak it in so much as it drains it in, the water running past its spikes, in rivulets directly into its mouth. Ingenious.

The wildflowers bloom in great swathes of colour across the desert, dazzling the senses. Bunches of wild budgerigars, shocking in their greenness, hang about on trees. Their mating style makes me laugh out loud. Big on bouncy exuberance, short on time.

It amazes me, the way eyes are adapted like sun visors to desert conditions, the way the red kangaroo can go for several months without drinking anything at all. The humour that is inherent in so many different things. The bird that does some kind of crazy mating dance to impress its wooee, a seed in its mouth like a flamenco dancer. The origins of how it all came about is irrelevant to me in some ways. I'm far too enamoured with looking at it, far too glad that I live in a time where I can watch the amazing camerawork of people labouring in love so that I can wonder, marvel, joy - and yes, even cry at the Personality that to my mind screams its joy through everything.

Image: Thorny Devil by Nokes

Flat Olive


I'm stressing a bit today over silly things. It always happens when I'm unwell. I got a flat tyre the other night. It's been sitting there now for two days while I try to gear myself up to go and change it. I'm putting it off because I don't feel well, and I haven't changed a tyre in years, and I'm worried I won't be able to get the nuts off, and worried that I will go to put my spare on and realise that it's flat as well because I'm hopeless and don't look after my car. And then I'm worried I will cry in the driveway and look like a fool. And so you will agree, it's best I just stay inside and blog about it instead :)

My neighbour, one of the new blokes who has recently moved into my landlord's house, just came and knocked on my door and handed me his car key. Said he will need his car to go out tomorrow night but until then to feel free to use the car. Gave me a nice warm fuzzy feeling, it did. Isn't that nice?

Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours :)



Friday 15 August 2008

Last Sunday I sat and listened to my friend Jane and her friend Nerida discussing coping with CFS, and was shocked to realise that what I was feeling was ... well, it wasn't envy, but it was something in the same vague vicinity. It was a recognition that I had lost my CFS identity, and in many ways that I am only beginning to understand, I have not managed to replace it with something else.

Which is ironic, considering when I was sick with CFS I felt like I had no identity at all. I used to wonder why Jesus asked the man at the pool, "Do you want to be well?" I wondered if perhaps it was just some sort of social nicety. But the thing is, us humans want to stay where we're comfortable. Even if that's a horrible place. We gain our identity from our experiences and giving that up does not always come without a fight, even if it's a great evil. I don't understand it entirely, I must say. It seems ... well, crazy. But it's true. He knows how hard it is for the rut of suffering to give way to the horizon of possibility, of anticipation, of change. We have no idea how we're going to get there. I don't think we're meant to. Do I want to be well? Oh, yeah, I do. I hope.

Timing is everything. When I knew that I had tried, with all of my might and for over two years, to stay in my marriage but I just couldn't do it, I strongly sensed God, or maybe my own inner great wisdom (or maybe they're just the same thing), saying, "Not yet. Wait." It was so strong, it was something I just hung onto. And it was proved right. When I did finally leave, the most terrified I've ever been in my life, the reverb still enough to easily bring tears to my eyes two years later, it was the most seamless, least messy breakup I've ever seen, really. Which is a great consolation. As is the fact that I can say that my mate Mocca has picked himself up and moved on. He is actually happy. It makes me happy to see him happy. In some ways I have been more concerned that he regain himself than I regain myself. Which is not an entirely healthy thing, I suppose. But I felt like I was lost anyway, you know? I felt (stupidly so, according to him) so responsible for this marriage break-up, and was in so many pieces myself anyway, that to see him go under as a result of my actions (and he did, for a little bit) was more than I could bear, really.

So Mocca has moved on. I am happy. I think now it's time for me to do the same. He was quite flabbergasted about my insistence on claiming that this was all my fault. What is the point of blame, he asks? And indeed, he is correct. Blame is a pointless egoic exercise. It feeds bitterness. Which is something I seem to have carried from the past 10 years. Surprisingly. How surprising to discover these things about ourselves. It is a brave enterprise to venture forth into the discovery of ourselves. It's why many people refuse to, unwilling to look, happy instead to live in the land of unreality, the most unsafe place that ever did be.

Blame and self-punishment. Both pointless enterprises. But I have done both, these two things operating out of such deep roots that I have hardly been able to really recognise it for a while there.

Yes, blame is pointless. But examining oneself is not, and perhaps it is because I am the one who has to pick up and move on with myself that examining the part I may have played in the breakup of my marriage is a necessary and useful thing for me. At least examining your part to play in painful enterprises redeems them somehow, me thinks. The most painful situations drag up subconscious stuff, and when it's dragged up it is of the utmost benefit to take, and look, and drag it into the light. As painful as that is, God is there. As painful as that is, it leads somewhere. It opens up new rooms, new continents, and the reverb extends down through your life into the future. A good reverb, opening things up, revealing a bit more of the mystery that is yourself.

I have been making noises for the past several months to myself, slowly getting louder, that it is coming time for me to move out into some sort of community. Not anything major. Like everything, very small steps lead to long miles walked if you just walk small steps at a time. This is something I need to remind myself. The following verse by Julia Cameron is the way I desire to walk in my life and in my artmaking:

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. How many of us have burned through promising relationships by moving too swiftly? How many of us have burned out in new creative ventures by setting goals too high? Most of us.

~ Julia Cameron, Walking in the World

I desire to share, on a semi-regular basis, my life and spiritual journey with a few likeminded people. I think I am ready. It is never going to not feel scary. Interaction with others is always a vulnerablefying experience. I remember when I stepped out of the whole church building deal over 7 years ago, I wondered if I would ever find people who were looking at things the way I was. These days, they seem to be everywhere. I feel comfortable now within myself about my faith, my God, and what it feels and looks like to be led by God. I know how he talks to me. I don't want sermons on five-step plans to accomplish my goals; I wanna hang and share hearts with some people. As scary as that is.

I don't need to be led. Never have. But I need to share. And it's taken me a long time but I think the shards are stuck together in some sort of vague coherency now that sharing can be some sort of a two-way street. And maybe, like that elderly woman on the bus last night whose beauty shone out through her facial lines, maybe being a blob of shards stuck together will involve some sort of light refraction. Here's hoping.

There is a Christian meditation group that meets on a Monday evening a suburb away from mine. I'm planning on giving them a call over the next few days. God has been saying 'Wait' to me in some fashion or other the entire time I have been a believer. I don't think there will ever be a time where 'Wait' is not occurring in some part of our lives. And it's okay. That word 'Wait' contains promise. It is a risky word, too, because it can feel perilously like, 'No,' or maybe sometimes like, 'Never, you silly moron,' or even, 'Never. Don't look at me. I am a small god and I am not interested in fulfilling any of your desires,' depending on which version of life we are clouding our lenses with at the time. God is the ultimate risk-taker, the ultimate vulnerable lover. And just because we are living in an age of smallness, of greyness, of clamour and unease, maybe we need to remind ourselves that God is love and life and colour and movement and the 'Waits' s/he says to us are for very, very good reasons. But God's heart is always 'Yes.'

Image: Tree of Wisdom by Emin Sinanyan

Is This One of the Worst Songs Ever?


Tuesday 12 August 2008

Even funnier are the comments on YouTube. What is wrong with people?

One person says she's gonna sing it at her grandma's funeral. Yeah. I'm sure her grandma would be wrapt knowing her granddaughter's gonna be singing this crap tripe about how she's bonked kings and priests and stuff. Righteo then.

Here are some more comments from another copy of this song on YouTube (here if you want to read along):

Susiewoose said: "What is wrong with you people? Are you insane? This is the most pathetic drivel EVER WRITTEN!! In my Top 10 crap songs ever"

That was me, haha. Being a nice, accepting Christian girl. But come on, I reckon anyone who loves this song should be sent to hell for 20 years as punsihment)

Pineapplething said: "Oh god i use to cry everytime i heard this as a kid but now she seems like a slut but love the song. "

Nite30889 said: "I have Been to Paradise, I have dined with the Prince of Litchenstine, gone down the canel with a lover in Venice in a gondala, and been best friends with on of the most famous hall of fame singers from 1963 who had the number one hit in the nation that year. He died last year... and Yes I have BEEN to Paradise but I'll never stop loving or missing you Dale...Love, Susan"

Oh dear, Susan. Move on dear.

Hubbelgardner said: "t'was a dogturd then and tis a dogturd now."

j102h3n4n5y said: "I've been to Greece,where I ate a kebab on a chair,I've been undressed by strange men in a dark room and I've seen some things that made my toes curl! Hey baby,I've been to Sainsburys,but I've never been to me...I think I prefer her version."

erdumdumihovedet007 said: "i'm cryin'.. don't now why? love this song:')"

procommenter said: "She was undressed by kings while on vacation in Georgia & California."

lostintimeline said: "maybe the kings visited california and they saw her at the street and they wanted to undress her LOL i mean anything is possible in this life.havent you seen the TWILIGHT ZONE? lol

cloudbusting98 said: "This would have to be one of the worst songs ever written hah! the lyrics are terrible and usually make me want to throw up ;) Especially the talking part, syrupy "Thats truth, thats love" quick grab a bucket!!! haha"

That's my cousin :)


The value of life


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

~ Some dude

Tyler has a take on embryonic stem cell research which is personal and compelling and is called Andy.

The sanctity of life. How much do we value it? These are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves, and each other. If we just take the commodification monster's word for it, he'll commodify us right from underneath our noses and right down to our very bones.

Jane's friend worked in a nursing home for several months, had done a course which required 60 hours' work for her to gain her certificate. Problem was, she just couldn't do it. Working in a place that stunk of urine, with depressed people waiting to die. She felt awful that she couldn't do it. Talked about how starved for affection the people were, that if you reached out and touched someone's hand - not 'cause you were dressing them, just because - it would be enough for some of them to tear up. Living old in this culture must be a hideous thing.

Jane's friend has since worked as a personal carer for a man who required, as part of his help, assistance in the bathroom. She had been positive that she would never be able to cope wiping the bum of a grown man - and yet after a while, it didn't worry her.

Maybe age and death wouldn't worry us as much if we didn't hide them away constantly, where they grow like Gremlins. Some people have never seen a dead body in their lives, apart from the millions of ones on TV, which just exacerbates the unreality of it all. Seeing a dead body makes you realise that you are far more than your body. The essence of the person - though a cliche - has gone.

Imagine growing old in a world where you knew that you were going to be valued for the wisdom you have acquired. That would sweeten the bitter pill just a bit, wouldn't it? In Japan, Jane mentioned, there is a level of social language used specifically for elderly people. Indigeous cultures value their aged and respect them. Us - we shove ours away in nursing homes. 'Cause we're ashamed, 'cause we don't know what to do with stuff that's not shiny.

No shamanic healing sessions for moi :)


Monday 11 August 2008

You know, dear blogger, how I like to go finding truth outside of the bounds of Christianity. It's this love I have of seeing God spill forth in the unlikeliest of places ... in people of other faiths, in people of no faith, in the midst of black suffering (oh, the mystery, the mystery, the abject bloody beauty of that. How do we stay together in one piece, contemplating that? God in the midst of our suffering. My goodness ...

I decided today to not go to the shamanic healing session. I was feeling very excited about it, but at the same time there was a small niggle that built up over the days. Why am I doing this? Do I really need a group of people I don't know hovering over me and going on spiritual journeys on my behalf? Do I not feel already that sometimes I give my own power away when feeling vulnerable, inadvertently - the shadow side of my strong personality, this willingness to follow the leader, a rather subtle thing that remains largely unneeded most of the time when my rather strong opinions are in force :) But nevertheless there, still. How strange it is being in a body that is so paradoxical. Still, it keeps things interesting :) Who wants to be easily understood? Would take all the fun out of everything :)

So I swallowed my pride and rang my art therapist this afternoon. Told her I wouldn't be going for the abovementioned reasons, and a few I didn't mention. How do you explain to someone who is not a Christian that you are not entirely sure that what they are doing doesn't have a dangerous dark side element to it? Well, I mean you can, but this is a woman who is doing transpersonal work with me, who is helping me work through my fears. I would be concerned my thoughts about possible demonic elements would not simply be to her a manifestation of some sort of fear that I don't hold. I have enough fears for us to work on without one that doesn't exist being there :)

Last week, I tried to get there, to the session we had planned. It took me 40 minuts to get from Yarraville to Richmond because of roadworks on CityLink. I was so frustrated I was in tears. At the time I thought it might have been those selfsame dark forces trying to stop me from going somewhere that was going to be a good, healing thing for me. And really, who knows? This was why I decided to do this. I know it appears to be a rather occultish demonic activity, having a person going on a visionquest on your behalf. I'm sure a lot of the time it is. However, I have this strange idea that sometimes God asks us to go places that just simply do not make any sense to our rational minds. I think the good/evil dichotomy is not a sword we always wield well. In our endeavours to have a nice easily sussed out world, we slather labels on things, and they stick. But sometimes something is good, and sometimes something is bad, and the proof is in the timing, the God pudding.

But in the end, I just wasn't sure enough of all of this, I couldn't get rid of the niggles. Began thinking that maybe if God really wanted me to venture into such strange and dangerous territory (I am not adverse to venturing there if asked to do so) he would give me large neon signals (well, which often translate as very small, almost indistinguishable-if-the-brain's-droning-too-loudly, voices). In the end I was praying that something would happen so that one of the others couldn't make it. In the end, I ended up swallowing my pride and calling up Maggie and explaining to her that I didn't feel comfortalbe with giving my power to other people I don't even know. She was, as always, generous and kind and lovely and affirming and so yes, now I feel empowered for speaking my own truth.

And so I guess I am relieved. And feeling the need to go back and swim in God. Some days he feels so very far away, I can forget that he is even there. Indeed, I don't feel it necessarily a bad thing to forget about God for hours at a time. It just amazes me, when I come wthin a coo-ee of the hem of his garment, how I ever could, though.

""Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you."

Poo Shit Bum


Yesterday I closed my mobile phone in my car door. As you do. If I got closed in a car door, my LCD display would stop working too, I guess. All except a pretty little millimetre-wide streak that ran up the screen. Cactus.

As I drove to the mobile phone place this morning, I was thinking, "Right. I'm gonna get this one fixed. They may try to sway me with a new phone, keep the consumerism whirling. Don't give in, Susie. Stand firm. Get it fixed even though it's going to cost you money. Do it."

The man in the shop showed me a lovely new phone that would only cost me $14 extra a month. Now I can't quite bring myself to throw the old phone in the bin. Looking at it, lying in amongst the vegetable peelings, will be evidence that I have been sucked yet again into the jaws of the consumerism monster.

Gee, nice phone, but.



Passover by Primo Levi (as seen on TV)

Tell me: how is this night different
From all other nights?
How, tell me, is this Passover
Different from all other Passovers?
Light the lamp, open the door wide
So the pilgrim can come in,
Gentile or Jew;
Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed.
Let him enter and sit down with us;
Let him listen, drink, sing and celebrate Passover;
Let him consume the bread of affliction,
The Paschal Lamb, sweet mortar and bitter herbs.
This is the night of differences
In which you lean your elbow on the table,
Since the forbidden becomes prescribed,
Evil is translated into good.
We will spend the night recounting
Far-off events full of wonder,
And because of all the wine
The mountains will skip like rams.
Tonight they exchange the questions:
The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.
And time reverses its course,
Today flowing back into yesterday,
Like a river enclosed at its mouth.
Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,
Soaked straw and clay with sweat,
And crossed the sea dry-footed.
You too, stranger.
This year in fear and shame,
next year in virtue and in justice.

Living books


Saturday 9 August 2008

Barry over at Honest Faith said something that completely resonates with me and dovetails nicely some stuff that's been running through my head lately. He said:
I certainly don't believe that God dictated or directly inspired every word of the Bible. It was written by (mostly) Jewish men who had a profound understanding of God, and I believe that they wrote out of that profound understanding, which is what was inspired by God. I believe the words themselves came from the various authors, not directly from God. So the authors were inspired, not the texts they produced. That being the case, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that further writings could be regarded as on a level with scripture if produced by someone who has that same deep understanding of God.
I agree. You know when someone says something that resonates down to your core and you just know on some deep level that this word is deep and high and meant for you, whether you believe it's God or the universe or the flying spaghetti monster or the connection between friends? It goes on all the time. Knowing that someone is going to call before they do. Thinking of someone and then seeing them the next day. We are all interconnected in the very thread of the air that we breathe.

A few phrases from aforesaid book the bible have been rolling around in my head this week. One phrase was about books being opened at some point in the future and another about how we are living books being written. I don't know where those verses are. From memory one of them is in Revelation and the other is maybe in John or 1 John or something like that (I always have been drawn to John and his mystical "go deeper, it'll blow your mind" view of reality. The alternative is unbearable).

That idea of books being opened evokes images of a courtroom, a stern god, and a jury, and people being judged and found wanting unless their good exceeded their bad. But how could it be a punishment deal when it's obvious from our own judicial system that punishment doesn't achieve anything - but even further, if the god has absorbed all of the bad into himself, then how does he punish us for it? What happens if, like Tyler mentioned somewhere a few weeks ago we judge ourselves? What if it's not so much about external holding up to a certain standard and being found wanted in something we can never win, and instead is another process in the transformation by Love of that which it loves? A laying bare of the very fabric of ourselves. But not to shame, nor to condemn or ruin, but to rebuild, from the bones up?

I like what Erin said, in the comments of that previous post:
I think when not taken literally but understood as a book chronicling the evolution of human understanding of the relationship we are to have with our Creator, we learn something...we often do see (esp in the OT) God taking on the attitudes and personalities of the people who were writing about him...because that was the limit of their understanding of him at the time.
This really rings true for me. It terrifies me at times when I think of how much I have changed in the past several years since being drawn to that which resonates rather than what some powerful people tell me. How much freedom there is in this version of reality. But terror, too, on occasions in the middle of the night. What if this isn't true? What if God is actually a critical bastard as he seems so much in the bible? What if this way I am walking is just all about me in the end? What if I am creating a god in my own image who is just too nice? What about if what resonates for me is some weird demonic thing and I am destined for hell?

Well, you know what? I can't do it the other way. I can't live in the mindset that church meetings live in. It gave me claustrophobia back then, and even more so now. That way removes from me any ability I may have to be able to discern things for myself. It turns me into some sort of sitting duck. I feel more in touch with life these days. But the flipside of that is that everything in me is being exposed. It's exhausting inspecting the almost unbearable, so ugly parts of myself. How to stand up under the ugliness without resorting to self punishment? How to accept where I am in the grand scheme of things without resorting to despair? How do I do that without believing that God is Love beyond my wildest? How do I do that without thinking that s/he must be something so amazing that I would sell everything to find him/her?

I can't. And so if this way is wrong then so be it. At least I will have aimed towards something that seems real to me, something beautiful and big and inspiring instead of the shite little small thing that is the religion of bibliolatry. It helps me to be comfortable-ish with being written before my own eyes, wiht half written chapters. Unwritten ones. It means floundering towards walking out my own story, even if that story is unintelligible to some. It means being read. I love the concept of our simple little lives being something that other people read and see things that we can't. I like consoling myself with this concept because it helps to frame things for me. Gives me hope.

I often feel like I don't really know what I think about something until I write it. I also know that I know more than I think I do. Sometimes I will come back and reread something I wrote and there is almost this sense of, "Did I write that?" It feels both entirely me and also something beyond me. It is in this way that I think every human is being written by God and by ourselves. Co-authors. So often, after I have written something (like this post for instance), I will have consoled myself, calmed myself by writing - but not only that, I will have come to a greater understanding about myself. This is what I believe we will feel when we look at the written stories of ourselves. Then, after that, we get to start living. But that, that is for another age. First we have to get through this shithouse one ;)

The beauty of blogland is that we have space and room to tell our stories. The stories I love best are the ones told real, with their blemishes and despair, warts and all - those are the ones that inspire us the most, give us greater understanding into each other, that always tell more beyond the simple sum of their parts.


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"The People's Liberation Army". Really???

That'll be why you've got groups of Chinese 5 ks from the Birds' Nest being monitored by 1000 of aforesaid army. Just in case they need some 'liberating'.


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Been swimming in this dude's art this morning. Beautiful stuff.

Now, going to feed my body by going for a walk. I haven't had any sort of exercise for over a week, and me and the dog are a bit stir crazy :) All this eating for 4 or 9, it's added an extra few kilos to the waistline. Spring is here. Time to try to do something about that.
... I didn't really watch it. It was on the TV the whole time. I looked up here and there to see fantasmagorical fireworks or cute little girls singing or men walking tightropes to light the flame. And yes it was amazing and looked wonderful etc etc but that kind of thing doesn't really do it for me. There's so much breast beating going on at these types of things that is irritating at times, but I guess big extravaganzas don't really do it for me. They're so try-hard.

Not that I am against this type of thing. I've been thinking over the last couple of weeks about my desire to continue walking somehow towards finding the same sort of freedom that Paul had - freedom in want and in plenty. Freedom from both of those things because it's not being an ascetic and it's not being wealthily comfortable that are the points - it's not a matter to me of some sort of self denial just simply for the sake of self denial (although self denial happens to be an enjoyable thing at times), and it's not a matter of flinging myself about in my comfort because I'm too scared to go out there and be without. It's not about fear on the one hand or self hatred on the other. It's about freedom to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself in simply because it's possible with enough lens cleaning.

And so I didn't feel all Judas-ey about how many millions of dollars this ceremony must have cost. Sometimes it's a good thing to spend millions of dollars, I s'pose. I don't think it's always evil, simply because there are people starving to death somewhere else in the world. And yet I guess I tend to think that often it is.

I suppose I was in a particular frame of mind too because I left work half an hour early this evening and went and bought myself a couple of tops. I'm not your standard chick, going shopping for the fun of it. I actually find shopping to be tedious and overwhelming. This was how I felt this evening after spending 50 bucks on a couple of tops - this is nothing to most people, but it feels like a lot to me. I don't like spending heaps of money on clothes. In fact, the last clothes I bought were from the op shop. I like giving abandoned things a home, even if it happens to be a skirt or a top, hehe :)

And so tonight, I bought my two tops then went into the conveniently located supermarket located right next door to Melbourne Central train station. Gee, food stuffs are geting rather expensive, are they not? Still, I am of the opinion that our food has been way too cheap, that it's only us people living on the Standard Industrialised Diet who think that food should come cheap. I might be cheap when it comes to buying clothes but I more than make up for it when it comes to buying good food and spending shitloads in the health food shop. (For example, I had run up a debt at the health food shop because Ed is a sweetheart and he knew I would pay him back. And I did, too, when I got my tax return the other day - all $482 worth of it).

So tonight in the strategically placed, convenient supermarket, as I stood in the aisle with several items I had never planned on buying (like shitake mushrooms, for example. Those bastards are expensive but I bought them to put in a recipe I am making to take to have lunch with Jane on Sunday, and so I am rationalising it away in that way :) Anyway, shitake mushrooms are so wonderfully good for you. I wouldn't call myself a foodie by any stretch, but the more well I get and the better I eat, the more I can see the direct link between how I think/feel and what's going in my gob. There really is some sort of clear-headedness and wellbeing that comes with eating well, that's for sure. But anyway, I digress slightly, and perhaps waffle (it is after all 2.29 am as I speak and I should have gone to bed at least two hours ago :)

So I left the supermarket having spend 30 bucks, along with the 50 bucks I've spent in the clothes shop. Some people routinely spend 80 bucks on not very much at all. I used to do it all the time in my earlier incarnation as the wife of an accountant but these days Susie's salary is reasonably skimpy. And I really don't mind, even though I would love two weeks' holiday away from capitalist hell and the tedium that is my job, but maybe I will just have to write something to fund it, huh? (Now there's an idea. As I mentioned to a friend the other night, maybe in this job I am actually wrting myself into a corner, literally, where the only way out of tedium is to earn a few bucks here and there writing stuff). And anyway, although I am living on far less money than I have been accustomed to, and barely enough to have any real kind of social life, I am completely utterly conscious of my rich status as compared to the rest of the world.

Painfully reminded of it as I stumbled onto platform 3 with my bags. There was a man looking into one of the rubbish bins. There was something terribly strange about him. I couldn't work out if he was blind, retarded, drunk, wasted or insane or what but there was a long stream of dribble hanging out of his mouth that I could see from 15 paces away and man, I seriously thought I was going to puke. And I walked my feet away from him because the sight of that drool hanging out of his mouth just make me want to puke. I feel sick just thinking about it. He reminded me of the small black dog that lives in my street and roams up and down. It too has a perpetual stream of slobber hanging out of its mouth but unlike this man, it gets several square meals a day.

My 80 bucks would have fed him for two weeks. The money spent on the Olympics opening ceremony could have fed all of us for the rest of our lives. But the first part was the worst. The Olympics opening ceremony didn't see this man picking around in the rubbish bin. I did. And I could have slipped him a fiver or 10 bucks, surely, even if i didn't want to do anything else, even if he made me feel like I wanted to throw up? Because sheesh, if our ugliness is the definer of whether we should receive love, then surely we are all cactus.

I don't know how to love with the love I've been given. I am developing the Buddhist mindset that says that we all have the seeds of love within us. None of us is unable to love, even though many of us don't know how to. I need to do some major watering. I think we all do, really.

(I have this weird idea that as the world gets darker and darker and zombier and zombier, that many other people are getting lighter and lighter and waking up and coming to terms and sorting their shit and I don't know what it all means, and it kinda scares me, but this blog post has already been a diarrhoeic spewing forth of about 17 posts at once, hasn't it :) I don't have enough brain that's not mush to launch into an 18th :)




Thursday 7 August 2008

At Christmas we stood at the fence & toyed with the barbed wire & joyed
at holidays, the smell of horses, the pleasure of being filmed by myuncleyourdad
(girding his loins for six weeks of empty threats to whispering girls to go to sleep)
& he filmed us at the fence the horse chewing on my hair & it sent squeals & chills
down my neck & each minute opened up like lotuses & the chills stretched all the way
down through the days of acting all the parts in our own dramatic soap opera &
music & swimming in our nighties & the twilight of our childhood so sweet through
the yellow lens of 25 years & I join with you cuz in saying
I'm ready to grow young again
Up ahead



I'm online. At home. Noice :)

Except I need a telephone extension cord, and the one I am using doesn't seem to be working properly so instead of sitting at the table, I am crouched on the floor, with cords and cables all over the place, like a junkie who just drops everything and shoots up on the train station toilet floor.

Yay! Now I can be online in my pyjamas again! Yay!!! :)

*does dance*



Sunday 3 August 2008

*Slide the lattice across for her confession*

I confess ... oh, boy, this is hard. I ... gulp. I confess that Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven by Bryan Adams makes me cry. Oh, God!! I feel so dirty.

I confess ... I really think Stairway to Heaven sucks arse. I am so sick of that bloody song.

I confess ... I've got a bit of a crush on the latest Dr Who, David Tennant :)



Saturday 2 August 2008

Feeling thankful this afternoon. For very small and very large things. Thankful for trees :) Thankful for good health. I can't tell you how good it feels to have glands on the side of my neck that just sit there, and I can't feel them. It has taken me another few years after recovering from CFS to get to this point. It feels absolutely wonderful.

Feeling thankful that today has troubles of its own and to stay in today feels a bit easier than it has in the past.

Thankful for getting to the place where I can sit with the knowledge of bad mistakes made in my past and be relatively okay with it. Or at least, more okay than I have in the past. It took many years for me to get to this place. Had this strange idea in my head that somehow I would get through life without fucking it up. How weird! Feeling thankful that I can look at my ex and not whack myself over the head with a guilt attack about my role in the breakup of our marriage. That is so huge for me. Feeling thankful that he is happy. In fact, as we speak I am at his house using his wireless connection (inside, so I get longer than 20 mins before the battery runs out :) and he has gone out for lunch and a movie with his girlfriend. Does that feel weird? Yes, it feels totally Picasso. I don't know how long it won't feel weird. Mocca reckons about 2012. I think so too.

Feeling thankful that I can say from some experience now that the crap that lives inside of me - the deep, deep wordless stuff, the stuff I could not look at for too long - is the stuff that God is committed to rescuing me from, and restoring to what I have lost, and that this is his personality, his heart, no matter what we have done and no matter who we are. I would stake billions on this. But then again, I don't feel like I need to persuade other people of that. And I'm thankful for that, too :) Feeling thankful that I can say that I love myself a bit better than I did a month or two ago, and feeling thankful that I know that the maxim "love others as you love yourself" means loving ourselves is an absolute imperative.

Thankful for feeling okay. Thankful that whenever that happens, my focus starts naturally extending out to others. Thankful that self-absorption is not my natural inclination even though it's been my standard state for the last few years :) Thankful for the opportunity to pray for my friends (that sounds naff, but it's true).

Thankful for music. This morning I ramped up the stereo and swam in one of my favourte albums, Trouble by Mr Ray LaMontagne, then whirled Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor and ended it up with Alchemy by Dire Straits. I get taken back to my teenage years with Dire Straits. The instrumental in Tunnel of Love just does something to me, I cannot explain it. Makes tears well in my eyes. Thankful for this strange beast called music that has a whole lot of different sounds that make my eyes cry, or my heart swell, or my brain explode with creativity.

Thankful for food. Thankful for the existence of curry laksa :)

Thankful for weird creative shit that happens when you make clay face masks and being dialoguing with them, and asking who they are and why they look the way they do. Thankful that some wiser part of myself is committed to sharing in the gentlest way possible new things I need to learn. Thankful that I like doing weird shit like dialoguing with pieces of clay even when it makes me feel like a bit of a silly fruitcake :) Thankful that the lessons come these days like a gentle spring breeze, even with the furnace turned up high. Thankful that God is so beautiful.

Thankful for colour. Thankful that all of the colours mixed in together make up white. Thankful that God is all of the colours.

Thankful that I am finally beginning to learn, like a very young child, that peace and mindfulness are a breath away. Thankful that even when I forget that, or life is too painful and I whirl off, that there's good stuff in there too, even though it's painful and I say fuck a lot.

Thankful that it is Saturday. So thankful for that :) Thankful for my friends and family. So thankful for them/you :)