Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Remember when a blog was a diary? Not a statement, or an art piece, or designed or crafted or sculpted or any thing that was intended to be appreciated by and audience. When an account of the day in all its minutae was expected, accepted and not disrespected.

I think I want to go back to that mode of blogging. I think I want to talk about getting motion sick on the bus in the mornings, and how the bus air conditioning is always too strong, just like the office air conditioning which leaves me stiff and uncomfortable and thinking winter has come. It's a surprise to step outside into what is not dry Melbourne air but humid thick Sydney air, always warm and wet in the lungs, always like an accidental violation. And maybe talk about the things I need to do but don't. And how I was disappointed in my toast but remembered to buy toilet paper so that's a victory.

I think I want to write for me. Really for me. Not for the me who may read this later, but the me now, who is ever narrating and consciously casts sentence after sentence into the timestream unnoted and unspoken because no one need listen to this narration, this narration does not require an audience, it need not be recorded, it's okay for this narration to leave.

The posts shouldn't matter. Don't need to matter. Let's not sculpt them into some shape that makes narrative or emotive sense. Stop this. If you can.

Just let go.

I sat on the beach today. For some reason, I decided I wasn't going to swim. Some strange compulsion to deny myself the things I enjoy, so as to save myself from that moment when I realise they are not enjoyable at all, so they always remain what I enjoy. But I still went and sat on the sand. It's lovely sand, cool and fine. The pumice scattered throughout are not pain traps for bare feet. This is a manicured beach. They trawl it like a tennis court, little landscaping every day, so the sand is neat and even. At the end of the day there is no sand that does not bear the impact of feet, it is a great swathe of the memory of footprints. I wonder, when I look at these prints, what the beach would look like if we left it alone. If it were simply wind, rain and the ocean giving shape to the sand, it might look very different indeed. It might be a beach of a different language entirely.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The first indication of Poppy's thawing was the call outs. She didn't want anything to do with us, until we made to leave the room, and then she would call out. A specific tweet, projected, definitely a question. 

Here, where there are no dogs and she has run of the flat, she has no second thoughts about following us out of a room. She'll call out, and if an answer isn't coming off she goes. 

She still calls for J, but for me she started to make much softer, meeker, sleepy little pips, which begin as my face is turning away, before my feet have moved. Warm little fuzzy squeaks which cuddle my heart snug.

In the last couple of weeks she has come to discover that fingers, too, can be used as scratching posts, are in fact capable of doing all the scratching themselves, and allowing me to so scritch her funny little feathered head until she croaks from bliss. She'll contort her head impossibly to get the best angle, pause to nibble at me furiously before slamming her wee forehead down on my knuckle, ready for the next scratch. 

She brings me such delight, such delight.

I do so miss the dogs. Dogs and birds provide the same, immensely uncomplicated love, but differently. I can wrestle with a dog. I can chase a dog around the table then touch their tails. I can curl up with a dog and feel the warmth of comfort. A love you can wrap your arms around. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I saw three owls today. One was white thread on a black singlet, grey tie dye at the bottom. It didn't get on my bus. The second was on t-shirt, this a sort of rose and hibiscus hue, the owl in black paint. The third owl was on a canvas tote bag, and also in black paint.

While they were not identical images, they were siblings in design and size, the owl with eagle ears and enormous round eyes.

It was the same owl, just looking out different windows. 

You Must Learn

A default assumption of mine is that I know what's going on in my head. Any particular malaise, energy, flavour that comes on, I can usually attribute. That article I read connected to that ad I saw connects with a comment I misheard. Hopes were deflated. A small triumph. The tea was good. It's been a roiling year.

As such, I don't keep tabs on this assumption, and as a result there are periods such as the here and now, in which my lapse in attention has gone on so long that I've only just noticed these turbulent moods and quick rages and honestly can't trace the roots.

I was very depressed late last year. Circumstances changed, and I don't know that the depression went away, so much as I became distracted by those changed circumstances. When my adaptation was sufficient to settle, I moved to Sydney and smashed my New Circumstances KPI right through the desk.

There's nothing familiar here. I've had to learn my way around a new city, one which I have no sense of geography for. I've no idea where what suburbs are located in Sydney. A new home which means learning the home necessities of where the nearest supermarket is, what's available where and when, what can't be found within walking distance, when not to go out the front door. A new climate; fuck subtropical weather patterns fucking what. A new home, I mean, learning how to close the shower door without smashing it, not to step on the loose stones, getting used to the sound of the buses, where's the best place to put the mugs. A new job which means learning absolutely everything from the ground up in a field I've never worked in or taken personal interest in while trying to balance my RSI with being able to sleep at night and still do my own thing.

The brain is a sponge, and it soaks up information! Right?

The sponge is full.

When your whole environment is an exercise in learning there is no fallow time, nor any fallow space. It's not a question of balancing things so I don't get overwhelmed; I am already overwhelmed and all that's left is for me to manage that.

Social media. Gone. Done. Might dip my toe in various sites for a minute a day, but that's all. Some stimulation had to go, and what time I spend online is one of the few things I have control over, so it went. Without announcement, and without planning. It happened before I was conscious of it. The knock on being I'm finding the idea of anything social to be daunting right now. If something is close to home I can be brave, because I know I have a bolt hole. But if it's further than walking distance I start to get a little wild-eyed and teeth-bared.

As always, I'm frustrated by the conditions imposed by my mind, the limitations that attempting to retaining some form of stability places upon my activities, and the apologies I owe to people because of this.

But then, the tired and far-seeing part of me that sometimes almost sounds wise is aware that this, too, is but a distraction. When I've learned what I need to know, there'll be nothing left but the wet wool blanket.

Poppy just dropped from my head to the keyboard and is now attacking my fingers while I type. The sombre and serious mood evoked by this topic has now been shat on. Three times already. Little fucker I AM TRYING TO TYPT GIVE ME MY FINGERS BACK wait no, she doesn't want to fight she is demanding head scritches.


I guess it's not all bad, heey.


(That last 's' is from Poppy.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dream Drool

The last two nights I have had such cruel dreams. Because my dreams are so far from the norm they are always semi-lucid, I am never unaware that this is a dream even though I never quite gain full control over events. Probably the writer in me has too much respect or expectations of the narrative. A wasted faith. The narrative of a dream is shoddy at best.

There was such abuse, cruelty. It was bullying, a word which will always bring to mind, first, the school yard. This is a dangerous distraction. Worse bullying happens much, much later. I was the victim, and I watched the victim, and so experienced simultaneously the terror of being targeted, hunted and toyed with, and the helpless empathy of the audience unable to intervene. I don't want to remember the details. Only that when I woke, even I found the dream to be out of character for my treacherous sleeping mind.

Today I had the fate of all souls. Some green vials, for the pure. Blue for the good. Red for the mean. And there was so much red. I had to decide how to disperse these colours over the course of history. The first, simplest model was to release them one at a time: green first, then blue, and then red over took all the lights in the cube. There was no way to recover from this. We'd distract ourselves, hiding in folded pockets in buildings for which there was no physical space, while the people whose souls we were determining went about their primary school graduation parties. I tried mixing the colours, all at once, but there was too much red. There just wasn't a way. The cube of light always ended red.

Helpless. I had the power to decide the fate of the world, but was unable to change a thing. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

City Unknown

There's something in the Moreton Bay and Port Jackson fig trees which line the streets and parks of Sydney, some shuttered tension which, while still, is not waiting. A motion that is unaware of its stasis. As though these trees, with a sprawl of roots and shapes that can only be described as tendons and sinew were frozen mid-pour. All thick dark leaves, waxen and lush.

When I think of Malaysia I always recall the threat of the green. There is no stopping the growth, it overflows and erupts and encroaches and yet, the whole country carries on living perfectly functional ordinary lives as though no one has noticed the floral occupation. Sydney emulates this luscious creeping.

Then there are the frangipanis, which don't seem to know how to stop blooming. I can't relate to these flowers. They are, to me, sugar and marzipan, perfect replicas on the pages of a Woman's Day birthday cake cookbook. Yet here they are, lying crushed on the footpath, as if it is not an atrocity. The air is always thick with their joy, and it limns that sublime salt crush with rich smiles.

Magpies. They're half dressed here, having started the day wearing only their white hoods and not the accompanying cape. Other than this there is no difference in their carriage or attitude, yet this one, small, irrelevant thing unsettles me each time.

The streets twist and turn. Melbourne is a wonderfully forgiving grid, with main thoroughfares clearly marked by the presence of trams. Sydney, Sydney is, I think Sydney sneezed and ruined the topography, geography, cartography. I've never had a sense of direction, not in either side of the equator, but straight lines and landmarks have always served me well. Not here.

Melbourne now should be lovely crisp days, fog sneaking around in the mornings, cool evenings and turning leaves. My body expects this, and is flummoxed by the wet season. This is not the time of year for rain, and yet.

It isn't yet two weeks. I will learn to swim with these new currents. Eventually.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Too Much Men

Last night we watched Noah, a film that fails spectacularly in all aspects. I've never made any sort of religious study so I can't comment much on the liberties it took with the source material, but I'm sensitive to storytelling, and it was a spectacular pile of confused asshattery. I'm honestly not sure what point they were trying to make, and harbour the horrible suspicion that the whole shitfest was in fact an exhibition of the Nobility and Tragedy of Manpain. That while making Noah a complete shitstain they were putting his manpain up on a pedestal and asking the audience to bow before it because there is seriously nothing greater in the world than manpain. Not all the explicit violence against women. Fuck no. It's about men, specifically cast as white men, and their manpain.

They could have written the story so many different ways, but this is what they chose. And I've had it up to hear with the Tragic Hero's Manpain.

This morning, it was men being oblivious and privilege-ignorant online. As it always is. That's not new. That's never new. It's never absent either. I can't even be bothered highlighting the specific incidents because it'd be like picking out grains of sand on the beach. Most of the time I can ignore it, because all who haven't lived the heteronormative male life learn to ignore it. That or drown. But I can't do it all the time. Sometimes, I just need to get away from it, the same way I try to get away from sand before I get worn down by sandblasting.

The book I'm currently reading, The Savage Detectives by Robert BolaƱo, is wonderful. I really enjoy his writing even if I do pop out the end of his books somewhat bemused. This book hasn't disappointed me thus far. Yet, when had my cup of tea and settled on the couch, opened to the bookmark and started reading, all I saw were men. For a couple of chapters, nothing but men. Not even a waitress. They weren't engaged in any overt misdemeanours of privilege, other than the fact that they were there, not a single woman anywhere, because only men and what men do are worth of attention.

Constantly consciously deciding not to be bothered by the fucking patriarchy is exhausting. It really is. Those times I decide I shall be bothered require admitting and giving voice to my anger, which is also exhausting.

This so called progressive Western culture is exhausting.

And guys, I don't hate you.

I hate what you've internalised and are unwilling to even consider critiquing. I hate that your instant reaction is to say, "Yeah, but what about men-". I hate that you talk over the top of me. I hate that you hear me, but don't listen, and barely even consider.

I know what's internalised can be addressed and amended, because I have had to do it with myself, and am still doing it, and will never, in fact, get to a point at which I can say I'm 'done' and it's all fixed.

I know if I can do this, you can too.

It's your callous refusal to try that I hate.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


My unconscious plagiarised both Pacific Rim and Halo, and there was-

Wait, remember that other dream? That dream in which I was part of some massive intergalactic military fleet and there was a massive intergalactic and interspecies war going on – pretty much just riffing off Halo – and I was an officer on some grand battleship somewhere in the outer rings, with some special fancy dignitaries needing pampering while on board and me being the last person to piss the captain off so getting that duty, and running around trying to do I don't even know what when a massive alien battleship dropped into space right next to us. Massive. Standing by a window watching it glide past, taking whole minutes, and my ship wasn't exactly wee. This was deep shit. We had to get a message to fleet command or Earth or whatever, and warn them that the aliens were here, and being the last person to piss the captain off for some reason this rather important task was my responsibility and...and why the fuck, this far in the future, is Microsoft Outlook being used? For intergalactic communication? Are you fucking kidding me? Do you think I could find the appropriate position-based email account to send a message to? Was I 100% certain that most of these accounts were monitored? Captain shouted someone's name at me, to email them, and sudden onset dyslexia screwed that up. Also my first message was something like "omg we're fucked" which when I told the captain just got me in more trouble as it wasn't useful and I had to send another email.

And then there was that dream that was riffing Pacific Rim, with kaiju coming up out of somewhere and being shit, being utterly shit. Some people were special super soldier x-men type people with special powers made for dealing with the kaiju, and I was one of them, although I don't remember what my power was, just that it's hard to look after a wetlands exhibit with all the animals AND slay kaiju at the same time. I remember being underwater. I remember being pretty awesome. I remember that it was established there was one giant kaiju which, if eliminated, would solve all our problems. I was sent to slay this kaiju. The kaiju in question was the sun. The fucking sun. It was a blue network of nodes, with a small gold segment in the middle. My ship was a special shipperson designed just to trump gravity and, you know, the sun being the sun, so I could get inside an just...turn off the gold bit. Which extinguished the sun. Completely. And me and the shipperson, we just turned around and started on our merry way back to Earth, patting ourselves on the back for a job well done because we'd totally just saved the world, while the other me, the me that can't help but critique the fucking narratives of my dreams even as they're unfolding, is stomping and yelling all what the fucking hell did you just do? You extinguished the sun? THE SUN? Just killed all life in the solar system?

And then there was this morning's dream which was totally just copying Game of Thrones with the five bazillion various parties involved in machinations and manipulations in order to gain more power, land, resources, kingdoms, etc, treehouses and magic trains and women with poisons and kings who are really fucking dumb, I mean really. I'm some sort of conscientious objector, or some other faction which has no interest in gaining power, nor do I appear to be championing any party over the others. My sole purpose appears to be to sabotage the lot of them. All of them. I'm some nazgul banshee made of quicksilver and smoke. I kidnap kings. I foil queens. Eventually, everyone becomes aware of me, and that none are able to outwit me, and thus they all give up their silly games and just settle down and let people get on with things. For a while. They meet behind my back, in someone's mother's house. Quietly. They think it is a secret, but it isn't. I waltz in as they're discussing how to displace me, usurp me. It never works. All this, and I have a sick budgie. I can control kingdoms, but the store attendant won't listen to me when I tell them I have a sick budgie.  I'm not elegant dealing with the crime lord because I don't have time to make the story perfect, I have a sick budgie. 

Unconscious is writing shit fanfiction, clearly. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Evolving Idea of Home

A year after J & I staggered in the front door after our vagabond days and all our stuff, items, things have been loaded on the back of a truck and are headed north, to the new nest.

The family home has never changed. My whole life, the family has lived in this square house of wood painted white and a corrugated tin roof which gives wonderful voice to the rain. This room, which catches the afternoon sun and is just horrendous in summer, has always been my room, even when I haven't been in it. Chances are, it always will be. 

We've never moved. Not once. It's only recently that I've come to realise this isn't the norm. Most people move at least once as a family unit, then move out and don't boomerang back quite as often as I have. These lovely old gum trees and the soft rush of the wind through them is such an anchor. The way the floorboards creak is an old familiar voice. My idea of home is rooted hard into this one place, this kitchen where for over thirty years we have eaten so many meals. 

I made a good nest in Fairfield. Scotland let me make a marvellous nest, to the point where I do consider some idea of home to have permanently come to rest there. Something about understanding the currents of an ordinary life in what was once an unknown place. Something about feeling comfortable, about being allowed to be comfortable.

Ideas change, however, and while this house will always be 'Home', the day that J moved to Sydney it became a temporary abode until I joined him. 

Places can be home, can be sanctuaries from which the world is shut out and you are safe. People can be homes as well. 

I'm really, really, really excited about my new home.