Familial Faux Pas


Tuesday, 30 June 2009

On Saturday night I sat next to my cousin's husband on the couch and we went through old photo albums. It was a really nice thing to do. I don't think he is the type of person given overly much to introspection. Indeed, he hadn't looked at his photos for years and so we went through book after book of photos of a younger him and his younger wife and their two kids as they grew.

For someone who had just carried his wife's body out of a church a few hours earlier along with his sons, he was holding up remarkably well. Denial and numbness are pretty effective at this stage of the game. To help it along, he nursed a straight scotch in his lap as he turned the pages, pointing out different people to the friend sitting next to him. A continually rotating round of people draped themselves over the back of the couch for a gaze too.

It was actually a really nice day, you know, apart from why we were there. It was good to catch up and it was good to reminisce. Losing a family member that quickly (I didn't even know she was ill until the week before) causes you to count your blessings, indeed. Us cousins did at the end of the night make tentative plans to meet up down in Melbourne in October. I like my cousins and we barely see each other any more. Surely it cannot be impossible for us to meet up at least a couple of times a year.

Andrew picked up a loose photo of his brother-in-law Grant (my cousin) with his ex-wife. He explained to the friend next to him who this couple was, and that they weren't together any more.

"I didn't like her anyway," I confided to Andrew, with a broad grin. After I said the words, the sinking realisation set in. Sort of in slow motion.

"That's okay, neither did I," said Grant, smiling at me from behind the couch where I hadn't see him. "That's why I divorced the bitch."

Oh, the shame, the shame :)

"It's alright," Grant laughed later on, as every time I looked at him my capillaries vomited forth 14 litres of blood into my cheeks. "You only said what everyone else was thinking."

Some things are better just thunk :)

Changed My Mind


Monday, 29 June 2009

Okay. So I changed my mind, for those of you who read the post here before.

There is rationality behind my mad ambivalence and irrationality. I just do not wish to speak about it, is all :) I am embarrassed by it. I feel like a goddamn fool.

I do not mean to be obtuse. I despise obtuseness as a way of mystery-creating. But still, this is as much of an answer as I am prepared to give.

Ambivalence is the strangest of beasts. Holding two opposites in your body at the same time is disbombobulating. I suppose I should stay then, in that case :)
Sometimes I wonder just how much stuff we see in one day, but filter out by necessity. If we registered everything we saw, our heads would blow off. But still, sometimes we see the same things again and again and wonder why we are noticing them. Portents maybe. I like portents. I keep seeing flocks of birds. When I am gazing at the sky (a common occurrence) groups of them swoop past my line of sight.

It feels like a new week. After last week, it's nice sitting here on a common Monday. I am planning a few interesting, fun things this week. The concept of meeting new people feels not only do-able but enjoyable (in a friendship way. The thought of dating is quite uninspiring to me at the moment). I feel like I am settling back down into the folds of the material I know so well in myself. It is a delight to feel once more able to fly, after feeling so long like the pigeon who flew into my house the other day.

This is the second one to do so in as many months. Lester's mouth had a couple of feathers sticking out of it by the end of its torrid experience. I do not know if he bit the pigeon or just pulled out some of the poor thing's feathers. It flew into the bathroom, same as the last one. Flew towards the greatest source of light and came up against the glass.

Like the last one I grabbed it quite easily; it was frozen by fear. I so wanted to convey to it that it was okay, that the danger was now past. Its eye looked at me but I cannot read pigeon. I so want to know how pigeons think. When I took it outside and put it carefully on the roof of the garage, it flung itself up and over the apex to the other side. I do not know if it flew off or if the poor thing just continued rolling down onto the ground. I do hope it recovered its senses.

I know those high anxiety fits. They are simply a part of my life, of most of our lives. This is one of the prices we pay for the technology that swirls its currents through our bodies unnoticed. I do many different meditative things that help me feel tethered in my own body, to feel my feet on the ground. High anxiety makes you feel like you could go spinning off into the stratosphere. Conversely, flying on wind currents is a different thing again, an enjoyable, controlled, grounded sort of flying. This is the type of flying that is coming for me now, not stratospheric pingings.

It is a nice thing to think in this way after my cousin Sharon's funeral. I walked towards the church saying like a mantra, "I don't want to do this, I don't want to do this." But it was a lovely tribute to her. I think of all the cliches that surround deaths. You can feel them threatening to fall out your mouth if you don't keep watch. It is funny to me the guilt those who stay behind are inclined to feel. It is a strange guilt. It is as if we think we have got away with something that the other person hasn't. Just turns out that she has left earlier than some of us.

Me, I think I'd rather leave earlier than later anyway. Nothing like the thought of a nursing home and having your bum wiped to prefer the earlier exit. Anyway, I want to find out what pigeons think. But if I have to be here long time, can I make this exit request? It is that I enter the soil in the way of my great aunt, who died the week before last (there's been a rush of exits lately, hasn't there??) She was 90 years old. Lived in her own house, gardened her own garden, and just died. Or like my grandfather. He was 84 years old. Had ridden his bike that same day, came home, had a bath, collapsed. That's my exit request, if such a thing may be requested :)

But everything is so seemingly random. How can we explain why some people live this way, others go on for way too long, and some leave too early, with husbands and sons behind them? Life surely is many things, but not fair.

In the meantime, with all the dark that accompanies, and the pain and the emotions and all of that stuff, I am looking jollily forward to much more flying before I do make that last exit. A bit more living before I die. It still surprises me, the way I feel a young child would be surprised, at how much pain there is in the world. Where does that strange universal whisper come from, the feeling that it should not be like this?

For all of that, it's still beautiful. I guess it's even more beautiful because of the bad stuff. Still, I bid its depths a fond adieu. Me, I've got a bit of flying to do from now on. My anxiety and depression come along with me, but so does my optimism and joy, and I can fly with all those appendages. Funny how even after your wings have been coated in what feels like masses of ocean oil spillage, they heal. You can fly again. The amazing regeneration of Life. Spills out all the pores. Once you see it, you see it everywhere.



Saturday, 27 June 2009

You know, this would not have happened when I was sick. Getting up at 5.30 and actually being up and not feeling too bad? It just wouldn't have happened.

I have been stressing all week about having to be up at this hour. Turns out the stress has been actually worse than the reality because I've managed to slip in about six hours' sleep.

Which is good, 'cos I need to not drive off the road on the way to Horsham to my cousin's funeral. My dear cuz Andrea is as we speak worming her way across to my house to pick me up. We are thinking about maybe staying up there the night. Perhaps the combination of getting up ungodly and driving four uninspiring hours to Horsham (how aptly named; what else is there to do there but bonk?) will have us conked late afternoon, unable to return in the evening. That's not such a bad idea anyway, apart from the cost of a motel room. But then, I have borrowed so much money off my mum this week (rego and insurance) that another hundred bucks isn't gonna make much of a dent.

Don't miss me too much. If you miss me too much while I'm gone, you can always console yourself in your grief with what I've posted here :)

The World as Blog


Thursday, 25 June 2009

I just ordered this book today, in my quest to make the world more talkative (and to make myself broke with continuously ordering books online. Try, however, here, for a good place to do so):

Salons: The Joy of Conversation

A Touch Taste Smell Salon with attached gallery. That sounds good :)

In-Between Days


I love people who are openly sitting in the in-between days. There is a beauty about our truth-questing which is delightful to see. And a courage too. It feels like you are being so stretched out of shape that your fibres will disperse. It feels like everyone is against you (and because of what you are leaving, the people who have not got up the courage to begin the walk themselves will demonise you as you walk. As they must).

I love that my friend Erin wrote this post, and I love what she quoted from in that post:

I have found in most circumstances, a complete divorce from the cult-god is necessary. Getting to this point is the hard part because most people are terrified of what might happen if they were to actually abandon the god they grew up with. They also fear the in-between time where they won't have a god at all. This is precisely why most of us opt to fix the cult-god rather then leave him altogether. Unfortunately, fixing him is not an option, so divorce and complete abandonment is the only option.
Sometimes it takes my breath away to think of what could be. Of what once was. Of what I believe, with all of those frayed fibres, is what God is leading us to. To himself. To the truth.



Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Several months ago I was phoning chemists trying to find molecular iodine. It's sort of difficult to get, but I have found it very helpful for my thyroid, to help get it going again.

Was starting to get sort of paranoid, wondering why this particular pharmacist was being rude and giving me the third degree about why I would want it.

Turns out, I find out just now as I am transcribing a police interview with someone caught with a clandestine laboratory - ie. cooking up methamphetamine in a frypan in his garage - that the two main ingredients of this charming little substance are pseudoephedrine and iodine.

It's all come clear to me now :)



Had an interesting conversation with two friends the other night, both whom I have invited to read my blog in the past and neither who do, from what I can see. I asked them about it, about why they don't read my blog. Both of them basically said that in one way it feels strange to them to read something I have written on my blog if I haven't been speaking to them about it personally. Sort of like it feels like they are invading my privacy, in some way.

I do understand what they mean. It kinda makes sense to me. Especially because I am so personal on here. It is just my style; I cannot seem to change it (although I have been considering going out and actually finding some things to write about that aren't about me. Just for something different and rather more interesting :) I think of Helen Garner's finely wrought observations on morgues and such places. She's a bit of a hero of mine. I do wish to turn my gaze outward and get out there, rather than just blubbing about my inner landscape, as patently fascinating to me as it is, heh :)

But for someone who considers herself a writer, who still harbours a desire to write for publication in some way, shape or form, I'm interested too in the perception differences between a blog and, say, if I had an article published in The Age. I would imagine both of those people would most likely go out and buy a copy of the newspaper if I had an opinion piece published in it (I hope so, anyway :) And from a writer's point of view I guess I kind of don't understand the discrepancy, in a way. It's like one form is socially sanctioned, and blogging is seen very differently. I totally understand where my friends are coming from when they say what they say. And yet, for me, the position I come from is totally different once again. I guess for me, blogging and writing in other formats are much more closely linked. I guess I sort of presumed that everyone else thought the same way, too.

(Unless of course I am going on assumptions that aren't there and neither of those friends would bother buying the newspaper to read my article in it. Hopefully one day I shall get to see whether that is the reality :)

It's funny when it comes to blogging. Even though I do love the community aspect - I love the conversation that sparks up sometimes cross-blog, with different people talking about the same things. I love the whole comments aspect of blogging too. And yet for all of that, the basic urge to write and express myself is what sends me back for another post.

Having said that, I am struggling to find inspiration to write the last week or so. It's not a particularly common thing with me; I do not like it when it happens. I have three half written poems; they sit there waiting. Which is okay. I'm more confident in the process these days - it is tidal and sometimes percolative and slow-burning. Anyway, I talk far too much as it is. Good to put a sock in it every now and then :)

I have such a love-hate relationship with the internet sometimes. It feels like it gives on one hand and takes away on the other. Depending on the particular situation, sometimes it can make for outright paranoia if you take it too seriously. What does that person mean by that statement, etc. Why did they say that particular thing? What were they talking about? How can you tell, just from flat words on screens what people are really thinking or saying, in the end? So many avatars, smoke and mirrors if you take it anything but lightly.

Conversely, the opportunity for good conversation is there too and I have made a lot of good blog friends. But honestly, sometimes it just creeps me out so much I feel almost revolted by it.


Okay. Let's take 2 in going to sleep. I am exhausted with my standard winterly circadian discombobulations. Most people sleep more in Winter - I sleep less. I'm cactus. Plus, my cousin died yesterday. She was only 49 years old. We weren't really ultra close so in all honesty I'm not grieving horribly in a personal sense. But even though we weren't close, it is always a shock to lose someone you have known all your life. And I grieve for her husband, for her two sons. She was a lovely lady and they were a lovely family. They must be reeling right about now. If you are of the praying persuasion, then please feel free to go right ahead for them.

Happy Solstice


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Happy solstice to you. Shortest day of the year, or alternatively the longest day of the year tomorrow for you people up there ^

*Waves at people in summer. Chugs down a handful of vitamin D and St John's Wort tablets*

To celebrate the solstice, the darkest day, when the days begin lengthening once more, I'm going out to dance nekkid around a bonfire.

Actually, not really. I'm going out tonight with some friends to see some impro theatre. Much more pedestrian :)

I actually did some workshops with Impro Melbourne, several years ago with my mate John and our mate John. It was terrifying and exhilarating. In hindsight I was a bit too still-unwell to do something like impro and I ditched it after a few terms.

Facebook Limitations


Friday, 19 June 2009

I walked the several blocks to my Christian meditation group last night (you can read vague references to it - insert cross-promotional link - here).

On the way, I noticed, coming towards me, one of my Facebook "friends". I have a funny feeling she noticed me too.

We walked right past each other :D


Edit: I'm a bag of laughs, aren't I, hey, wot wot? Every post a drear and dark whingefest of whingeing :) But hey, whaddaya expect from a lonely seasonally affectively disordered woman who is just about impaled on the solstice? Come back in Spring, I'll be gushing geyserly by then :)
Thanks, Sherry, for mentioning this poem, in our little discussion on loneliness from my most recent post. It is true that loneliness is not a shameful thing, that it is common. It feels good to share that simple small thing, that embarrassment.

I really fell in love with this poem, by Carl Sandburg. It was published when he was 85 years old!!

I'm really looking forward to my poetry workshop next week :)

Love is a Deep and a Dark and a Lonely

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of the wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting in a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken



Tuesday, 16 June 2009

How easy it is to splatter words into this little white box here, knowing that people are going to be reading it, and write for the wrong reasons. Writing not because there is something bubbling in me to share, whether good, bad or indifferent, negative or positive, black or white, but because I am trying to prove something. Trying to say, in some shape or other, "Love me, love me!" Writing out of my lack instead of out of something real.

I think people can spot the resulting difference from 20 paces away. I know I can. And yet I still do it. Writing out of loneliness, it just doesn't work.

As I waited for my mediterranean vegetables with feta on focaccia to be toasted today, I leant on the counter and chatted to the woman serving me. I speak to her at least twice a week every week and I don't know her name. And she was feeling monumentally underwhelmed by the boredom of everyday monotony. And I know past ages were as drugerous in other ways, but I said to her that at least other cultures have had built into them festivals and get-togethers where they are forced to come together and actually - concept - have fun and mingle and be with each other, instead of just being the dude in front of you on the road who has jumped out ahead only to bung his indicator on to turn right.

Ya knoh?

I am going to a poetry workshop next week. Going to a Christian meditation this Thursday night. Going to any bloody place that will get me out amongst some fellow earthlings for if not a general cultural festival, then a bit of a word festival, a silence festival.

I find it excessively difficult to admit to feeling lonely, even though it is probalby obvious to you, dear blogger, that I am. It is something that I drag out of myself, this admission. Because admitting I am lonely feels like I am admitting that I am somehow a failure, that it is because of the big "something wrong with me" part of me that am lonely, rather than because of circumstances that in some respects have been beyond my control.

And yet the world is full of lonely people. How difficult it is to identify long enough with the poor parts of yourself to be able to sit with them out in the world, instead of trying to project this "I am shiny shiny shiny love me have my babies look at me living an exciting life no flies on me jack" exterior. How deep that propensity runs.

So yeah, memo to self: blogging because you're feeling lonely just really produces turd-like posts that are dull and dreary. Sort of like this one :) And the 2 million other ones that lonely people are writing round the world right this second :)

*Sigh*. Looks like I'm just as much a turd as everybody else :)

Look, do you perceive it?


Monday, 15 June 2009

"Look," You said, in one of those moments where every second is suffused, suddenly, the normal made magical. Where plastic looks transcendent. You had spoke, as you so often do, through a three minute song, a song that I pass over time and time again with very little interest. But then, this is what you do with that band, isn't it? They seem to be put away for special occasions where You speak to me, and You stroke my face, after I have sobbed, and heaved, and it feels like I am going to collapse into my sadness and never come out the other side. In the middle, sometimes You speak, and more often You are silent.

I know it is You speaking. I hear Your voice. At the very same time I do not know that it is You speaking and I am very conscious of claiming to hear Your voice when I cannot claim anything. But I know. I know it. If I am deluded them let me be deluded by Love.

And you say, "Look." And I look, and there is a chink where before there was a brick.

These are special occasions. They happen randomly from my seeing, at Your compilation. They are like milestone markers on the side of the road, like some happy snaps of the journey you are taking me on, blind and weak and stupid.

This sin is becoming no shame, but worship. Oh, no wonder dervishes whirl. What other response is there?

It is a gently sunny Winter's day this morning. It feels like it is just for me.

I will never get over You. If I saw You face to face, I would dissolve into a pool of honey.

Thank you.

Communitas Collective


Sunday, 14 June 2009

I have begun blogging weekly over at Communitas Collective along with Erin the Word dude and Gary Means and other new bloggy people I haven't got to know just yet:
Communitas refers to “the sense of sharing and intimacy that develops among people who experience a transitional period.”

Today there is an unprecedented exodus of people from institutional churches, yet a heightened awareness of spirituality. Many of us are weary of institutions, but hungry for community. There is a declining desire to be part of a system and a growing desire to be a part of something that is real - something that provides the opportunity for self expression and living out the life of Christ, rather than just talking about it.
Communitas Collective exists to encourage people who are discovering new ways to be the church, and seeks to help people live out the good news of Jesus.

There are three blog sections, with three posts each week, so all up there will be nine different posts. Mine are at Sanctuary, and you can find the first waffly blather here.

Music Head ... Part 1


Saturday, 13 June 2009

Grrrr. This thing'll be the death of me!

I spent about 15 hours on this the week before last. Built it up, collapsed it down, built it up, collapsed it down before I could work out how to put the music notes inside the head without it looking too shabby or collapsing.

Finally I sort of worked it out, but then unfortunately decided at the end that I would bend the head back, as in ecstasy, you know? Now, there's a certain sort of charm in handmade lack of uniformity (luckily for me). Unfortunately, the other end of that spectrum is ... well, wobbly gooberliness. Already teetering on the edges of wobbly gooberliness, tilting back the head just stuffed it all, really.

So it's back to the drawing board once again for me and my mate, Music Head :)

A New Pet


This guy was lonely and so he decided life would be more fun if he had a pet. So he went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet. After some discussion he finally bought a centipede, which came in a little white box to use for his house.

He took the box home, found a good location for the box, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar for a drink. So he asked the centipede in the box, "Would you like to go to Frank's place with me and have a beer?" But there was no answer from his new pet. This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked him again, "How about going to the bar and having a drink with me?"

But again there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation.

He decided to ask him one more time. This time he put his face up against the centipede's house and shouted, "Hey, in there! Would you like to go to Frank's place and have a drink with me?"

A little voice came out of the box: "I heard you the first time! I'm putting my fucking shoes on!"

Thanks to Norm
"Don't think about things that sap your confidence. If I had your qualities and talents my confidence would be sky high!!!"

This is a comment from one of my good friends Jane, who has qualities and talents of her own in abundance.

But she is right. I tend to dwell on certain things, on areas that relate to my area of greatest woundedness. Dwell on them over and over, as if thinking obsessively about them will give me control, or something.

It is such a difficulty to tear myself away from them, to look at the fabric where golden threads have shot through and changed everything, somehow, and to believe that one day I shall say the same about this area. Even though I know it is true. Even though I don't have a fucking clue.

All I know is when I live loved, it changes something about the way I see things. This comes easy to me in some ways. In others, I'm just a fucking mess, really. And my problem with this isn't because I want to be perfect, it's because I want to be whole, without the gaping hole. I do not want to live in the darkness because the light's beauty makes me cry.

I don't know how God does his stuff, his changing of people. Sometimes I doubt that she does it at all. Sometimes I even doubt that God is there at all, but it's all part of the mix. The times when I do believe God does her stuff, that he is in the midst of people, working from the inside out, this belief has accompanying it such a strong gut feel that somehow, even though I can't see it or touch it, I can't help but believe that this is how things are, underneath it all.

My most beloved friend of all, my cousin Andrea, with whom I have 30 years of impacted and compacted sharing and dreaming and creativity, messaged me last night about a comedian we both know of (and who I had a gigantic crush on, heh) who unfortunately has cancer. Saying she'd like to go to the benefit concert being held for him but didn't have the dosh at the moment. This message came on the tail end of a day where my mum had rung me in the morning to tell me that my great auntie Rene had died the day before, and in the evening to tell me that one of my other cousins was in hospital having an operation for bowel cancer and chemotherapy for liver cancer.

So it was one of those days, you know. And my response to my dear cousin Andrea was just full of all my own petty little concerns, my stupid illusory thoughts that I lack something when I don't, my inner questioning, my sadness that oases proved just that.

And in her kindness and gentleness she did not berate me for being a self-absorbed twit but came alongside me and gave me a cyber hug and shared out of her own experiences, and I honestly don't know what I would do without my friends. My lovely loving friends.

I flail myself around the house, impaled on my own shit, and in the midst of the flailing God creeps and it surprises me, sometimes. And other times I look across the chasm of laying down my flailing to begin to see, and I don't even believe there is anything to see.

These days really turned out nothing like I had planned. How long, dammit, does it take to stop reeling in some sense from that? Get over yourself, Susie Q, and get a giddy-up. The future is doing its beckoning. It's time to move out and move on and move forward, to find myself some community. To believe, somehow, as Julian said herself, that despite appearances all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

The Good News


Friday, 12 June 2009

Here is the Good News proclaimed by our Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus began to preach in parables.
The Kingdom of God is like two brothers who were called by God to give up all that they had and serve humanity.
The older responded to the call generously, though he had to wrench his heart from his family and the girl he loved and dreamed of marrying. He eventually went off to a distant land where he spent himself in the service of the poorest of the poor. A persecution arose in that country and he was arrested, falsely accused, tortured and put to death.

And the Lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You gave me a thousand talents' worth of service. I shall now give you a billion, billion talents' worth of reward. Enter into the joy of your Lord."The younger boys' response to the call was less than generous. He decide to ignore it and go ahead and marry the girl he loved. He enjoyed a happy married life, his business prospered and he became rich and famous. Occasionally he would give alms to the poor.

And when it was his turn to die, the Lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have given me ten talents' worth of service. I shall now give you a billion, billion talents' worth of reward. Enter into the joy of your Lord."The older boy was surprised when he heard that his brother was to get the same reward as he. And he was pleased. He said, "Lord, knowing this as I do, if I were to be born and live my life again, I would still do exactly what I did for you."

Anthony De Mello, from The Song of the Bird, as seen and stolen in its entirety from Brian's The Beautiful Heresy

Like Me


Thursday, 11 June 2009

This little boy wanted to touch Obama's hair, to see if it was the same as his.



You look into yourself
and it's a dark cave, lovely,
lit by candles,
something holy.
A holy common pot that,
plonked on trains & on
park benches is unseen,
devalued, out in the world.

You look out at yourself
at your ageing face mirrored.
The lustre that once attracted
the eye of a man or three has
seeped out your eyes & into
the beginning lines collecting powder
your top lip. Your face has
begun its slow collapse.

You look out at the world &
suppose you could ring out your thirties
and the West's end with some
listless hearted fucking, some mindless
shopping but the approaching
beginning is setting you despising
cheap baubles & trinkets when the wind
brings thundery scents.

You look into yourself &
see Life dwelling amongst your folds &
you think you could give up cane
sugar & apathetic masturbation &
boredom & caving into fear.
But those things live nevertheless
held in the tension that feels at times like
stretching beyond endurance but for Love.

You look out of yourself &
you see diamondshine
in the eyes of crappy people &

you matter I matter we matter.
And you love, but not so you bloat, but so
that when you stand on the toes of your enemies
you occasionally remember to take off
your sandals, on holy ground.


Ooh, don't you love it when a musical bubble bursts? You've been going along in your life swimming in the bubbles that have already burst previously (is not a much-listened album something that mellows into your heart like a thousand dollar bottle of good red? Something that becomes to you a friend?)

And then suddenly, here appears a new bubble. Or a new old bubble. One that's swum past you eleventy four times before but you've watched it pass with less than mild disinterest.

Then one day. Suddenly. It bursts. You're ready to be able to hear it. It's the right time.

The Tori Amos bubble has burst into my lounge room this evening. I have fallen in love on first listen to Little Earthquakes. Her first album. Surely it will prove to be her best.

Oh, I feel rich. I feel rich. Think how many more experiences there are like this! How many as-yet unexplored albums that lie waiting for me to open them. Who needs sex? :)

Is it not an anomaly that there exists atheist music lovers? Or that late Western Christianity with its small stupid egotistical god came after Bach?


~ End lyrical wax ~

I Don't Live in a Brand


Monday, 8 June 2009

Apparently, according to some talking head on the dumber-than-ever television news, Victoria's "brand" is being damaged because we have the largest amount of people with swine flu per capita in the world outside of Mexico; combine that with the rascist attacks on Indians that have been going on lately (fuelled by the media, I don't hesitate to say), and the Black Saturday fires, and we have a problem with our image.

Maybe the problem is with the media, and with stupid talking heads who insist on calling the space in which we live a "brand". Maybe the problem is that we are just so patently stupid and dumbass a group of people that our news would even dare to feature a variety of different people surmising a whole lot of fluff. The fact that everyone is still bleating on about this bloody swine cold just makes it all that bit creepier.

People eat this fluff without thinking twice. Chuck some chicken salt on it and chug it on down and call it news. Because it's on "the" news. Mistaking the form for the content. That's scary.



His approach feels entirely different this year. Much less Old Man Winter. While in the past decade he's felt decidedly like a palliative 87 year old, this year a younger and more virile version is presenting himself to my senses, all black eyes and smoulder.

It is true that if you can cope with Winter you can cope with anything, but it is also true that you have to have some sort of baseline of health to be able to do that in the first place. Now I have that, my Summer lovin' self is climbing on the Winter horse and sorta enjoying the feel of the saddle.

Feels kinda dirty, as if Summer is going to find out I'm off having an affair with his nemesis :) Still, that golden haired boy will make his return soon enough and when he does I will be willingly enfolded (he is my true love), but until then, let's just love the one we're with, shall we :)

This dark man Winter grown young, he's alluring me into his depths with promises this time where in years past he just sneered.

I know, I know - it's not even officially winter yet. How can I be all enamoured with romantic notions of black eyes and mist when I don't even enter the darkened doorway for another two weeks?

That's true :) Still, skipping up the approach instead of being dragged and dumped on my arse by sister Autumn is a pretty good start :)



Saturday, 6 June 2009

I suppose it would be a mathematical necessity that a sleepover planned a few days' prior must require one of the participants to be childless :)

It is sort of cute that Deb's youngest daughter is having two friends over for a sleepover on the same night that her mum is :)

Hooray for almost-40 women having sleepovers! I'm tipping Deb won't be up to setting up the kitchen chairs in the loungeroom and draping a sheet over them as a makeshift tent. Lucky her eldest daughter is away for the weekend, giving me a bed for the night :)

I love my friends.

First Motives/Second Motives


Friday, 5 June 2009

One of the things that struck me about Michael Leunig last night was that he is a person who operates out of what I call first motives. There are several people like this who I know. Things have become quite simple for them, and they have become quite easy to be around. These people are vulnerable enough to operate out of their heart, their soul, their mind and their guts. You come away from them feeling like they have given you something, somehow. And they have. Themselves. And you are richer for the gift.

The second sort of person is the one who operates out of second motives. They are the hustlers. Their intent is on building themselves up at every turn because they feel so fragile. It's all about the brand. You come away from a hustler feeling like they have taken away something from you, somehow. They have. Your energy. Sucked through a straw.

Often with a second motive person you have the strange sensation of wondering what the purpose is to their actions. Second motive people often speak loudly promoting their own brand while looking over your shoulder to see who is listening. It is like talking to an empty glove.

I guess we are all a mix of the first and second types, aren't we? But oh, how it fills me up just to be in the presence of a first motive person for a few hours. I have a few friends like that. They are cherishable. The first sort of people are gold and when you find them you should treasure them and dress them in fine robes and put rings on their fingers.

They have suffered to get to this place and they suffer to stay here. Part of what keeps them tethered here is the knowledge that they too are second motive people who have simply discovered where the life is.

You can smell first motive people. There is a richness, an earthy loam about them that makes you want to be around them. Second motive people smell like they're on the make and on the take. You can smell the difference.

It is a brave, courageous act to be a first motive person. I just cannot shake the feeling that one day we shall all be first motive people, that this is God's intent. That this is our reality. First motive people are what we look like naked and unashamed. And it's a beautiful thing.

But in the meantime it's all a bit ugly, really.

This all sounds simple and childish, I'm sure, but so do all of the priciest things these days.

Michael Leunig


Thursday, 4 June 2009

I am not an Artist. I have never had a show. I don't paint on canvasses. I never will. But everything Michael Leunig said about the artistic life had me nodding my head this evening because I happen to be to the very crusts of my toes an artist. When I sculpt clay I am an artist, when I sculpt words, when I cook dinner, when I look at the world, when I plan my day with the creative, the life, in mind. When I fall down the meaning well (yes, Mr Eric Maisel, I concede I am a meaning slut) and drag myself up in the space of five minutes from despair back to equilibrium, via some sort of creative approach, I am an artist. And so are you.

It's been a bit of culture shock getting back into work after a four-day weekend. The train ride tonight felt like a giant shithole of people who all hate each other's guts. It is tiresome living in a city in the twenty first century. People's conceptions seem so limited on what it is to be human.

Or perhaps I make the biggest mistake of all in presuming this about other people. Make the mistake of presuming people are as flatpacked as the culture conforms themselves into. Maybe this is the worst sort of creepiness about our culture. It could lead to all sorts of horrible evil.

And so tonight on the train I felt lonely. It feels like it's some sort of great failure to admit you feel lonely. Only losers feel lonely. I must say, it has been quite lonely returning to a quiet life living alone, with a job that gets me down due to its computer-focussed nature, and a cold culture. A culture where I suspect almost everybody feels lonely.

I was almost not going to go tonight to see and hear Michael Leunig speak at the Victoria University Rotunda session, of conversations with Australian writers. I am so glad I did. It only took about 10 minutes of him talking before I felt this overwhelming urge to weep. We forget so easily what we are, and to have it spoken back to you by someone who is not afraid to talk of love and innocence - it felt too much. I admit I was halfway through a glass of red wine by that time but I swear that had little consequence :) It's not Mr Leunig's speaking style that does it so much - he fiddles with his hands, he stumbles over his words, he is nervous. I can see the twinges of depression hitting his eyes in certain lights. I can see the anxiety that twaddles the fingers.

It's what he says that makes me want to cry. All this talk about the culture being too sharp and hard, and the ideas that come from your brain often falling flat until you dip down into your guts and your subconscious and into infantility and somehow drag something back up that is good, that has twinkles in its eye, and the fact that Leunig was sitting in a university that would not have let him in when he applied there and at which, if he did attend, he would want to do a Bachelor of Eye Twinkles. It was because there was someone up there talking about God, about cultural holy fools and the role cartoonists fit within that, about enchantment, about whimsy, about writing from the gut. And the duck. Of course he talked about the duck.

And it's also how he can manage to say these sorts of things and it doesn't fall embarrassing or twee. Instead it makes me want to weep.

But what I liked the best was the way he talked about the concreter he saw in the city one day who was concreting the edge of a gutter. He was doing it with love, crafting it. And yes, it sounds "wet", to use Leunig's word, to talk about this sort of thing. That's the problem. Many things sound wet these days which ultimately are about love, and craft, and the divine living within the human. And I'm so glad I went tonight because I need to keep reconnecting with the things that give life its breath in a culture that considers such things as side issues.

One of the audience asked him why he came here tonight. Contained within his typically charmingly rambling answer was the fact that he grew up in the area, that he could look out the window and see the Maribyrnong where he used to hang with his dad, that Henry Lawson slept in Footscray Park one night and maybe wrote a poem in there, that the Leunig Street round the corner was named not after him but after his dad. And that he had spent most of the week alone and how lovely it was to be there in this room with these people after he had been feeling a bit lonely. And I felt much less lonely :)

And so the end of the night was the converse of the lonely train ride at its beginning. I love you, Mr Leunig. A man so nondescript that even though I have seen him before (I saw him and Gyan doing a spot together at a writers' festival a few years ago where he drew pictures while Gyan sang the stories) I sort of forgot what he looked like. A man who looked much more beautiful at the end of the night than when I first saw him because the divine and the whimsical enveloped him like gossamer.

All those people on the train are just as beautiful. We must begin to change our culture which demeans us at every turn. Makes us forget who we are.

Mr Leunig helps me remember :)

Bedtime Stories


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

This is my mummy, Joy, reading a story to her great niece, Chelsea. Who reminds me so much of me when I was little. Screws her face up the same. Same hair. Same stubborn will :)

This makes me sort of clucky, looking at this. I stayed at Chelsea's mum & dad's place on Monday night. Chelse had three costume changes before Tuesday lunchtime, all centred around the colour pink :)

On Monday afternoon, Chelsea's mum Janine and me engaged in some bartering. I fixed up her computer for her and got the wireless router installed. She gave me a riding lesson. Good teacher, too. And a good horse, Norman. Stopped every time I got unbalanced. Which was, like, once every three seconds.

Janine told me to come back and stay for a fortnight and she'll have me trotting well by the end of it. Think that'll be an offer I'll be taking up :)



Monday, 1 June 2009

All the king's horses
All the king's men
Could not drag me
Back again
To Adelaide
Paul Kelly ~ Adelaide

You know, there's an awful lot of pretentious nonsense that goes on with people about size. Melburnians generally consider their town a cut way above Adelaide's. And of course I agree myself because that is the city that I have grown up in, and I love it dearly. But bigger ain't always better when it comes to size.

Adelaide is sort of like a large country town, really. A really really large country town. But hey, that's a way big compliment. When we flew in on the plane, I was sorta charmed. Flying in over the bay, Adelaide is bounded by the sea on one side and the hills on the other. Like, 49 million times sweeter than the descent into Melbourne and Tullamarine Airport.

Still, the eye of beholder sees beauty not just simply in the aesthetic but also in the known. Is it not true that people dearly loved become more attractive to you than before you loved them dearly? This whole emphasis on size thang sort of loses its lustre when your roads are becoming clogged and there's bloody people everywhere getting up each other's noses. People on the whole are friendlier and more relaxed here than in Melbourne (except for the tossbags at AAMI Stadium, but then sport makes everyone a doofus to some degree ;)

My auntie lives about an hour's drive away from Adelaide. To get here from the outskirts of Adelaide she goes through something like two or three sets of traffic lights the whole way.

I'm not so bedazzled by size anymore (unless it's chocolate bars). I'm more interested in friendliness than impressiveness. And I quite like this place.

I think I might stay :)