Thursday, April 30, 2009

And Papa Bear Said

The encroaching cold isn't all bad. There is one side-effect of winter that I cannot complain about, that I adore and love and welcome with open arms and handcuffs in the hope it never leaves again.


The nights are so cold, my hibernation engine goes into overdrive. You have no idea. It's light speed, warp speed, ludicrous speed. I'm actually a bear, and my body listens to the signalling seasons and goes, "Right then! Time to get my coma on!" The sleep I sleep is incredible. Deep enough to drown in. My brain shuts down entirely, I know, because when I wake up I feel wonderful, so sated and rested and utterly blissed out. I reel about the day drunk on sleep, and can't wait to get home and do it again.

This does occasionally mean I miss my alarm, wake up four hours after I'm supposed to get up, and being very late for work. I must confess, though, that with sleep like that, I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The last year broke my inner thermostat. That heat wave in February granted me all sorts of resistance to heat. Before, a thirty degree day would have been utter hell, now, well, that's not that hot, no big deal, barely notice it really.

Last winter really, really, really wrecked my cold immunity. I spent the whole winter without using the heater because of a electricity bill snafu, and it was miserable enough to leave me with a good amount of dread. Now the cold has returned, and I am a) still too scarred by the bill to turn the heater on and b) have a very good idea of how cold it gets in this flat and am just about gibbering in horror at the months ahead.

I hate the cold now. It gives rise to some half-remembered panic that I'd really like to not remember at all.

I shall buy woollen things (actually had four conversations today with people who were desperate to go buy gloves and scarves), new socks that don't have holes in them, another blanket for the bed, even use the heater now and then, but I feel I should warn you appropriately.

From here until spring, the content of this blog will mostly revolve around bitching about the cold.

Remove from your feeds as necessary.

I'm going to put my scarf of +10 cold resistance on now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Cholera doesn't taste that bad, you know. They made a huge fuss about how it was going to taste awful, and gave me a lollipop, and made more fuss. It tasted a bit like salty lemonade. Kinda like it. The nurse told me I was a freak.

Apparently it's typhoid that does the wreckage - makes you feel like utter shyte and gives you a massively sore arm to boot. Not feeling too bad now. Yellow fever is also cheaper than typhoid. [insert sigh of relief here]

Monday, April 27, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 17:36 @poukledden ........can i be the psycho instead? i think i have the PR skills necessary. #
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 00:53 Oh yeah, drunken domestic on the station platform, with awkward guy trying to start a conversation by standing shyly and not actually sa ... #
  • 11:02 @scribblefly @poukledden i am not nearly badass enough to be second. those boots are far too badass to fill. and my butt fails also. #
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Rabbit Hole

What a day! Melbourne flounced around in a great huff, throwing out her skirts and crying, "Winter! Winter! I shall give you Winter!" The wind is not yet armed, it carries no knives, but is still more than eager to slip cold fingers beneath coats and scarves. It's what my Mum calls a 'wild and woolly' day. And so I sally forth! An excellent day for an expedition, a perfect day to be swallowed.

I'd never been to the Hopetoun Tea Rooms before. Odd, I know. I've lived here how long, walked past them how many times? There, I met Mrs Bishop and we hid from Melbourne's weather tantrum. A huge pot of loose leaf tea, a baked potato, and welsh rarebit. I didn't know what welsh rarebit was, and read it as rabbit. Mrs Bishop informed me that it was not rabbit, but something with cheese. And mustard. Which was good enough for me. It was indeed something with cheese, and mustard, and was just spectacular. I need to find a recipe similar to what they served, and then when Melbourne has finished her flouncing and plunged into Winter proper, have a slumber party, and force everyone to sit around in flannel pyjamas, and eat welsh rarebit.

The tea rooms are green, and deep, not large, but the colours are deep, and small enough to be quiet and snug.

We went halves in a Portuguese tart. Mrs Bishop assured me I wasn't the only one having trouble with my short story, which gave me some odd peace of mind. Makes me think that Gillian was onto something huge and hidden when she chose that theme.

I'd never been in the Nicholas Building before. Odd, I know. I've lived here how long, walked past it how many times? Mrs Bishop wanted to visit Collected Works, a specialist bookstore that was, alas, not open on Sundays. It got us to the first floor, though, and what a fascinating little floor. A button shop. There's more, and we explored the second floor. More buttons? The Tuxedo Cat, but actually the pigment bar, showing German comedy. A kimono store that was also not open on Sundays. Tiles on the walls. Different tiles. New tiles. Smooth wooden banister and wrought iron. An internal old-fashioned elevator. Up another floor? Why not? Things changed gradually. We found an odd well in the building, a court yard that was not a court yard, accessed by the windows, a square shaft to the sky, with internal windows looking down.

One floor had blocked windows, with what looked like books piled chaotically against the glass on three sides. No, not books. Boxes?

Each floor changed just a little. Lighter doors, different wood, different tiles, different light. The wiring was wild and free. Not all the lights worked. We found The Museum of Electrical Philosophy, which must have had a motion sensor, as it came to life as we approached and peered through the mail slot at a white white room.

We found a door, oh, a door I would love to open, but nothing behind it will exceed the expectations of my imagination.

The note card reads 'nest architects'. I assume these tiles belong to them too.

So many artist studios, workshops, concealed spaces for strange things. They marked their various territories as only creative types can.

We stood for some time outside this door, wondering what organisation or individual had claimed this space and what they used the space for, with a name like that? Not, as it turns out, the end of the world. Not directly, at any rate.

Milliner, costumer designer, carpenter, graphic designer, painter, creator creator creator.

I went to the toilet in the gents. Ladies was nowhere to be seen.

We reached the floor on which the windows blocked by boxes. We found a door with a damaged mail slot. We looked inside.

This is where shoes come to die.

Boxes emptied and throw in lazy piles up against the windows and walls, the shoes in great piles on the floor, having lost their partners and just lying there. The smell of old shoes, old shoes that have never been worn, a strange unsettling smell. Some shelves, showing an effort at display, but still a mess, a garbage dump, a shoe grave yard.

And we fled.

I must return. With my big camera and tripod. The building is a wonderful alternate dimension. I want to catch the wear and tear and dust.

I'd never been to the Ian Potter Gallery, a different sort of art in a different sort of dimension. Odd, I know. How long have I lived here, how often have I walked past it? The Kirra Galleries sucked us in and bedazzled us with glass. So much beautiful amazing glass. I did not spend all my time staring at a wooden fish, nor did I spend any time talking myself out of a $100 wooden fish, no, not at all.

I'm not sure how to engage with the art gallery. The Indigenous section gave both of us some pause, as not all pieces were listed with explanations, and given the nature of indigenous art, that it is usually so laden with story and symbol, this seemed an inexplicable oversight.

Perhaps, though, the fault is partly with my own perceptions. I come to exhibitions from a museum point of view - to learn. Art, being art, does things differently.

I was particularly taken with the Shared Sky exhibition on the second floor. There was a piece there by Albrecht Dürer, whose work I'm quite fond of, which featured a great rendering of (what I think is) Cetus the whale. Cetus featured on another star map nearby, and neither of them depicted a whale. Cetus is somewhat more awesome than a whale, and whales are pretty damn awesome.

After outwitting the public transport system, I bid Mrs Bishop adieu, and took myself out of the city, got off a station early, and had Melbourne flounce around at my back as I walked home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 20:38 Lesson For The Day: don't ever fuck around with time and space, because you will, inevitably, do it wrong. #
  • 20:50 @snarkattack even the Time Lords. Most of their messing around with time and space is to undo previous messing around with time and space. #
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The Tortured, Impoverised, Starving, Whinging, Self-Pitying Arteeeeest

(aka, Week Four of beard growing attempt)

Oh Porker, there you are, hello Porker.


Are you okay, Porker, how you doing? Have I told you you're my best friend, Porker? I love you, Porker, no, seriously mate, I love you. You're my best friend. Only you understand me, Porker, only you.

OMG wow really that's so cool thanks so much wow!

I'm having a terrible time, Porker, I really am, just terrible, terrible.

OMG oh noes really that's terrible!

Badly timed bills, Porker. I could have made it through the fortnight on $300, but my health insurance bill turned up. Badly timed bills, Porker. Badly timed.

OMG that totally liek sux!

Truly it does, Porker.

OMG you should totally do something to cheer yourself up!

I am, Porker, I am. I'm going to see School of Seven Bells tonight, they're playing at the Corner.

OMG that's great wow!

...they don't start their set till 11.30.

OMG cool!

They don't finish their set till 12.30.

OMG wow!

Porker, that's after the trains have stopped. I'll have to take a taxi home.

OMG cool!

No that's not cool, Porker!

OMG really wow that sux bad what will you do?

Go anyway. I'll just cut the beans out of my diet and live on rice. It's fine. I'm okay, Porker. That's why we have credit cards, right? In case of emergencies (and vaccinations). But oh, that's not the end of it.

OMG no wai!

Eighty-three thousand, three hundred and seventy-four words into this story, Porker, that's a long way in. That's good, Porker, real good. But it's a real bad place to make a mistake.

OMG really?

I made a terrible mistake, Porker, a terrible mistake. A mistake that renders at least the last five thousand words null and void and not covered by warranty, possibly even more than that, and makes utterly useless all that is to come that I've plotted out, and oh, Porker, what have I done? What have I done? What am I going to do?

OMG really what are you going to do?

The only thing I can do, Porker: keep drinking.

OMG wow yes that makes sense what happened to your face?


OMG your face your face!

Oh, this? Yes. This five o'clock (six fifty-two, to be precise) shadow. Yes. This is what happens to artists who are caught up in the passion of the craft. They get hairy. And drunk.


OMG, indeed, OMG.

Friday, April 24, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 13:53 cannot escape the reach of this conversation. #
  • 15:41 is erased by the noise. #
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thirteen days to get by

I have been paid I have paid (some of) my bills and I think I'll just keep drinking. And if the little pig even thinks about acting as my conscience, I'll set the fucker on fire.

Here is a video of a song that doesn't sound like that when I listen to it;

And here is a site I'll just leave here. You can click on it if you like. Or don't click on it. Doesn't bother me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today I:

- was knifed by a police officer.
- drank cholera.
- was stabbed with typhoid.
- was jabbed with lurid rabies.
- and paid more money than was in my bank account for the privilege.

I have to go to bed right now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

say what is it it looks like you've seen a ghost

I sat in an Italian restaurant on Wellington Parade with some friends, some people I knew, and some people I didn't know, and ----- leaned across the table, and said:

"So, Tessa, are you Australian?"

And for a moment I couldn't answer. It was just a touch too perfect. It was almost scripted. I was waiting for a laugh and joke and revelation that ----- read my blog and was just messing with me, and I kept waiting, and it didn't come, so I took a touch too long to answer an emphasied affirmative.

Which was followed by:

"Oh, because you have a bit of an accent."

aldkfja;lskdjfa;lskdjfa;lskdjf;laskdjf. It had to be a joke, because if the first was too perfect, then this was far, far too perfect, and occurring before witnesses.

The conversation rolled away, but not before it was established that the particular accent I am (allegedly) sporting is American.

Where I'd get an American accent from, I don't know. I don't think spending a couple of weeks over there with friends who happen to have a wide variety of accents between them a couple of years ago is quite enough to change my vocal patterns entirely. That's three times in one month. I'm now self-conscious of and angry at my voice and don't want to speak any more.

Today is a giraffes using their heads like morning stars because they don't like each other and it's the only sort of fighting they're capable of sort of day.

Is eleven in the morning too early to start drinking?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We shall not be distracted by no freakin' mo.

Week Three of the beard growing saga.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 07:26 was not scoured from the face of the earth by a nigh biblical wind, but only because she's a heathen and doesn't believe in scouring. #
  • 07:26 still got a face full of dirt for it thought. Eyelids crunch when I blink. #
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Good Karma Right In The Vein


Did you know that this Saturday is International Independent Record Store Day? No? Actually, neither did I until a week ago. It is only my duty to play chinese whispers and pass the message one.

Of particular note, I'd like to draw your attention to Polyester Records, who on top of celebrating their independent record store-ness, are doing a charity drive. 20% of all proceeds for the day will go to the Cancer Council Victoria.

So if there are a couple of albums you've been meaning to pick up for a while but just haven't got around to it, Saturday is the day to do it. Not only will you be supporting the musicians (something they always appreciate), you'll be supporting independent record stores (something they always like, and we must keep these babies alive or be bereft of so much joy), and you'll be donating to an organisation that is truly worth donating to. That's enough good karma to last you at least until the next time you jay walk.

I've carved a slab of my pay out for this day. A list of targets has been compiled. It will be ludicrous.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


When I'm in a good mood, I tend to indulge the world, and myself. So if you're a clean, neatly dressed, not unattractive young man, and you come plant yourself beside me on an uncrowded train, and jostle your paper about to get some good shoulder-rubbing, elbow-pressing action happening, I'm not going to cringe away. I'm not going to push back either. I'll sit there, with you in my space and me in yours, like we're some comfy old couple who don't need to talk anymore.

And just like some comfy old couple, when you finish reading the paper and start sighing in that 'I require attention' manner, I'm going to ignore you, because I'm reading my book.

And when you start casting sidelong glances at me, I'm not going to look at you, because I'm reading my book. I will tilt my book a bit, though, so you can read over my shoulder if you like.

Because I'm currently reading William S Burroughs' Naked Lunch and I'm hoping that my giggling will get your curiosity up and you really will read over my shoulder.

Because when I'm in a good mood, I tend to indulge the world, and myself. Which means that you are not the creepy perverted space invader; I am.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 21:25 @mythopoetica NO. #
  • 21:26 @mythopoetica HO. HO. HO. #
  • 21:36 @mythopoetica Tally ho! #
  • 22:09 I am no mood for tomorrow. Therefore, I have no choice but to swallow the sun. #
  • 22:09 Sorry, but this decision, once made, cannot be undone. #
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Tomorrow is a great day for a hangover.

It's just that sort of a day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

writerTess (is slighty more accomplished than beardyTess)

Week Two of beard growing.

This is very demoralising.

I'm consoling myself with the fact that I have written another 1500 words. This time we hunted about for the actual domed reading room, which involved getting lost in some Escher-inspired architecture, a mad library labyrinth that was quite unsettling. We did not encounter any cannibals. Possibly because the cannibals were as lost as we were.

When we not only found it, but found egress, we were confronted with ancient wooden tables with leather raised reading ledgers and wooden chairs that were more comfortable than the squishy wheelie chairs in the other reading room. I had myself a fine time writing epic panoramas. With explosions. (Note to self, find more words for 'boom'.) Only had to give my fellow explorer a couple of dirty looks for faffing about (he did take this excellent photo of the dome).

Yesterday was another engagement with the comedy festival. And I will never let Deb buy tickets ever again. Even if we did use kids as body shields. Which I have no ethical or moral issues with.

To those of you coming through from VanderMord's blog, I'm sorry, but he has completely misdirected you. There is nothing but bullshit here. Pure, high quality, complete and utter bullshit. With a side order of bullshit. Followed by horseshit on ice cream.

And some crapping on to boot.

Alright that's a slight exaggeration. Sometimes I post photos of my dog, too.

Enter, The Petite Porker

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Blogger really needs a cut feature.

I was invited to submit a story for an anthology. Normally I view such invitations with equal parts surprise and bemusement ("You want me to write a brand new story? To a deadline? And not suck?") but just for once in my life the theme lobbed a perfectly good idea in my lap. What a rare and happy occurrence! So I ran with it.

I had four false starts. I even had some false middles, and at least one false ending. When I looked at the draft, it didn't work, so I scrapped it, and came at the idea from a different angle.

In each case, the further into the story I got, the harder it became to write.

Not because the idea sucked. Not because I was blocked or didn't know where I was going. Short stories are easy to find rhythm in, and I knew where all the beats were to fall. It wasn't because the story wasn't doing what I expected it to do.

It was because I didn't know I couldn't write about cultural identity within Australia.

It shouldn't surprise me. I've tried to write blog posts about identity before, and they remain locked away in the drafts and will stay there. Writing fiction about a sensitive subject is no different from dealing with any sort of issue, I suppose - you do it when you're ready to.

Except I didn't realise I had an issue until I couldn't write this story.

After I'd sent off two utter miscarriages of first drafts as proof that I'd tried (but hell no not for submission), I spent one evening lying in the dark and thinking. Chewing over the subject like a bit of gristle, because I don't like being thwarted and damned if this story was going to get the better of me just because I had 'iss-sews'.

Errrrm. Wasn't quite prepared to end up in tears. Bit of a surprise, that.

I did it again a couple of nights later, just to be sure I wasn't having a bad day, and nope. Same thing happened. Apparently I have Iss-sews with a Capital I.

Dad is Chinese-Malaysian, which means the family is Chinese, but living in Malaysia and has done so for some generations. To my knowledge, there are no actual Malaysians listed in my ancestors. The race riots of some 40 years ago, largely polarised between the Malays and Chinese, still appear regularly in conversation. Racial divides within Malaysia are not something I'm prepared to tackle right now, but suffice to say they're present, and I can't help thinking at least they're hell of a lot more honest about them than here in Australia.

Malaysia is where he started life, but politics and history meant it has never really embraced him. The fact that the family has been there so long means the culture, such as it is, is a hybrid of imported Chinese and environmental Malaysian with a bit of British occupation thrown in. Amah, his mum, is Hakka, eternally displaced. Dad has never been to China. There are no roots there.

He came to Australia to finish high school, and never left. A harbinger of the end of the White Australia policy.

He's saturated with Australia. Even in that intimate, private, silly and circumstantial culture that families grow entirely on their own, Malaysia doesn't know him any more.

He's saturated with Malaysia, but not Malaysia, and China, but not China. Australia sure as hell doesn't know what to do with him.

Mum is half English, half several generations of white settler. There's a convict back there, some handful of generations ago. Sir Thomas Bock was caught acquiring an abortion for his mistress (not his wife), and ended up on a ship bound for the colonies. Some of his paintings are up in the National Gallery in Canberra. She grew up in a normal middle class family without special circumstances or events.

If anyone in my immediate family should not feel out of place in this country, it's her, but she went and dated a Chinese-Malaysian, and was told she should be ashamed of herself, spat at and the subject of such vitriol, and then she went so far as to marry him, and have children, and have to point out to store attendants that no, she is not the baby sitter, these brown monkeys are hers and only hers.

We joke that she's adopted.

And down the bottom of these family trees of people who don't belong where they are either because of the circumstances of their birth or the decisions they've made, there's me and mah bro.

I was the first person of any sort of ethnicity in my primary school, and boy did I suffer for it. At the time, I thought was being bullied because, you know, they didn't like me. They'd taken the time over the years to single me out as victim because I was too smart or the like. Because it never occurred to me that people would treat me differently because of my colouring.

I can't say which is worse, being scorned on a personal level, or on a skin-shallow level.

High school was an amazing eye-opener. So many different people from so many different backgrounds, and amid them all I didn't stand out. I wasn't deliberately ostracized, but I did discover a new way to not belong.

All the Greeks would flock together. The Chinese would form groups. The emphatically White Australians closed ranks. Even though as individuals they may have nothing in common, they had a shared understanding of background and common assumptions, of where they came from, what they faced when going home. It perplexed me, and still does to a degree. Why would you seek more of the same out, when you can get that at home at any time? But it’s a means of belonging. One of the easiest means. And I belonged nowhere. Both my backgrounds have been mixed and diluted and I'm comfortable with the pure form of neither side and neither side knows what to do with me.

I remember a group of exchange students from Hong Kong spending a term with us. They latched on to me at sight, and could not at all fathom that I wasn't an exchange student either. They didn't believe that this was my home, and my normal school, until they realised I couldn't speak Cantonese. Then they ignored me for the rest of their stay. I cop it from both sides.

My brother said it best; to everyone else we're asian, but not asian enough for the asians. He's a bit better off. At least you can see the Chinese in his face. Makes him easier to pigeonhole. Me, I don't look like anything. Even Dad says that.

Australia thinks it is white. The fact that I am clearly Not White, regardless of how Not Particularly Asian my behaviour/language/personality/values may be, is some sort of brand, and people keep trying to squeeze me into categories I don't fit into. I'm sorry, but I'm not Malaysian. I'm sorry, but I'm not Chinese. I'm Australian, and I’m sorry for that too. I stopped eating with chopsticks at work because it was more hassle than it was worth, the attention made me embarrassed of my lunch. Now people are asking what accent I have. Within Melbourne, when speaking to other Melbournians, I should have no accent whatsoever.

I just don't belong here. I wish I could say that out of self-pity or melodrama. That would then make it an exaggeration, maybe even untrue. But. There's an overarching cultural assumption entrenched within Australia, and I'm as guilty of it as anyone else. I see brown monkey children with one white parent and think 'babysitter' before realising I'm making the same assumptions that were made with Mum. I see full-blooded Chinese on the train and am surprised at the Australian accents in their mouths. It's entirely unconscious; in the words they choose, the jokes they make, the remarks they don't think about before they say, all because of facial features and colouring.

It doesn't matter now. It's twenty-seven years too late. I don't belong, and the foundations have been laid, and I will never know what it is to belong to a people. I don't think that's something that can be learned, not now. There is no tribe, group, culture for me to belong to. I don't fit. For all my life, and the rest of my life, I'll encounter people who look at my face, and try to pin a classification on me, and then I'll see their faces and the pauses they make when they're wrong, and surprised, and in that moment trying to find another category to put me in. There isn't one.

What this means is that no one, beyond my brother, understands what I'm built on. The nature of mutating cultures and changing social permissions means that for the rest of my life, there probably will remain no one who understands me. And you cannot grasp how lonely that is, and how lonely that will stay.

I'm lucky. My life is full of awesome people who accept me, but acceptance is not the same as wordless understanding, which isn't the same as assumed and doubtless belonging.

You don't understand. Chances are, if you're excluded from the majority, there's still a minority you're a part of. I can think of maybe a couple of you, reading this, who will have some idea of what I'm talking about. And yes, I know, none of us feel like we belong. But there is difference between not feeling, and not being given permission.

Makes me wonder how much harder this life would be if I didn't have parents who taught me to do what I want, be what I want to be, go where I want to go and go with no flow whatsoever.

With mixed families becoming more common, people like my brother and I will pop up everywhere. I like to see this as a good thing; a rising tide of mongrels who take the best of their various backgrounds and mash them together to make something unique. People who have no easily taken-out-of-the-box identity, and have to construct their own, and are free to poach and steal and take from all the cultures of the world all the things that make sense to them. People who understand what it means to not be understood, people who can't be judged at face value and so refrain from making judgments themselves. People who have had to be themselves, and so are not afraid to be themselves.

What I suspect will happen is just another shape of tribalism, with gangs of one sort or another. Music and lifestyle cultures will fill the void. The amorphous masses of potential each identity may be will just be dictated by a different sort of family. And they'll close ranks, and try to fit you in a mental pigeonhole anyway.

It's somewhere in the middle there.

I was born here. I've never lived anywhere else in the world. I don't speak any other languages. When people ask, "So, what are you?" I answer, "I'm Australian."

And then they say, "Yeah, but really, what are you?"

I don't know.

I was asked what my take on the Race Fail conflagration was. I said nothing. Thinking this over is like standing on the edge of the abyss. I'll smack down homophobic comments, sexist throwaways, people who are religion-ist or elitist or otherwise judgmental, but I'll let all the racist comments in the world slide. Because they come back to me, and the ground I stand on.

Because I can't start that fight. If I do, I won't be able to stop. And I won't be able to win.

Just writing this has taken days and is like pulling teeth. It's badly phrased, badly worded, who knows how many people I've offended, but I don't want to think about it anymore.

The person who invited me to write this story said it took them twenty years to be able to address the subject in fiction. I have until May.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

You don't run down your list of things to do that would quiet your howling heart, because you know that here, now, none of these things will work. You spend the morning prowling from bedroom to lounge room to kitchen to lounge room to kitchen to lounge room to bedroom to bathroom to bedroom to lounge room and stop in that one place from which you can see all three rooms, turning and turning and turning and turning, looking for something, anything, but there's nothing to quiet your howling heart, and you pace again to kitchen to lounge room to bedroom to bathroom to bedroom to lounge room to kitchen to lounge room.

You have nowhere to go but you go anyway. You stride out into the rain and the wind, putting all your fury into the stretch and pull of your muscles carrying you down these streets and past these homely houses and lazy Sunday afternoons, but not all angry stalking in the world can quiet your howling heart. Your feet take you to the theatre, and you buy a ticket to the next movie starting, and sit in the dark, and wait.

You read The Reader for university, all of nine years ago. You remember pantyhose, and distaste, and a sense of the interminable number of pages between beginning and end. You remember thinking it was silly, pointless, too in love with its own tragedy, and the characters needed a slap upside the head.

You realise, sitting in the dark with these strangers around you, that you just hadn't lived long enough to understand. You wonder how many things you disdain now that in another few years will be clear, and expose you as small, narrow and foolish. You're too young. You don't know enough. You will never know enough. You can feel all your ignorance unfurling around you, and no one is listening, the piano is playing, but still you can't quiet your howling heart.

You stride out into the rain and the wind, and now it is dark. You choose the streets with no lights, and walk in the shadows of trees. You can't see where you're going, but that's okay, because you can't see with tears in your eyes, and you can't be seen here, between leaving and arriving.

You can't quiet a howling heart.

You can only wait, until you can raise your voice above it.

And you say-

And the dust

What happens in sleep?

I went to bed really happy last night. Sort of delirious and giggly and stupid and quite in love with the world. Which is just ace, by the way, I heartily recommend such a state of mind.

And I woke up furious and bitter and toxic. For no reason whatsoever. Mood set before getting out of bed. Before even checking the time on the clock. Which is not ace, by the way, I think that's just fucked up.

Makes me wonder if maybe my brain is so unfamiliar with happy hormones that it treats a good mood like a dose of methylenedioxymethamphetamine, pumping out the serotonin gogogo, and then hitting me with the appropriate withdrawl and backslide. Stupid brain.

I think my unconscious is still out to get me.

And I've run out of tea.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

beardyTess (is not very beardy)

Week One of my beard-growing foray.

Clearly, I still have a lot to learn.

Today, I WROTE.

Myself and another masochist decided have a go at making a writing group. Not a submit-stories-and-meet-up-and-crit-them group, but a get-together-shut-up-and-write-then-go-have-cake group. We ventured deeper into the State Library than I have ever been, and whoa. Apparently desk space is prime real estate on a Saturday afternoon. We made rounds of the rear reading room, whispering and waiting for cannibals to eat us (well, I was waiting for cannibals, I don't think Andrew is much phased by cannibals), and eventually found a desk on the upper level. Always good to have a view to stare blankly at when you're between sentences.

And wrote.

Well. I read. According to Eddie's records, I haven't opened the document since November, which is a terrible, heart-wrenching thing. Has it been so long? I'm sorry, novel, I really am. But things came up. Did you know, in the last three months I've crit three books? That's a lot of critting. Let me confess to you; I love critting. The fascist dictator psychopath arsehole in me likes nothing better than to tear through your baby and point out everything you're doing wrong and then get all arrogant and obnoxious and tell you how to do it right. It's atrocious, I know. But I think you'll agree with me when I say it's better for me to get these fascist dictator psychopath arsehole urges out of my system by critting than by ruling the world, wouldn't you say?

Critting a novel is a huge timesink, however, and I'm constantly underestimating not just how much time it takes to do a thorough job, but how much space in my head it takes up. For the moment, the decks are clear, and oh me, oh my, the novel and I are going to have some hot keyboard-on-wordprocessor action.

After a quick catch up read (argh I don't remember where in the story I am or where the characters are or where they're going oh shit wait when did that happen I don't remember writing that) I got typing, and holy shit it's appalling. It's the sort of shit you don't find because it never sees the light of day. It's me figuring out what the hell is going on, there's absolutely no character in there because I haven't quite remembered how the characters work yet, but I got every one off the ground, and ended with the first shot being fired, and I'm SO EXCITED. 1500 words!


And then Eddie's battery got low and we stopped.

There is still the matter of an uncooperative short story I must address, but that is...something strange and complicated that has nothing to do with writing. I've given myself leave to not think about it for a while. There are battles to be waged! (And action scenes to write, oh, yes, joy, ugh.)

Now I cannae wait till next Saturday, to do it again. Hopefully with additional masochists. Which will increase my chances of escaping the cannibals.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Today, work was struck by lightning.

It was very exciting.

Mr Aanimal, Mr Miller, Mr Moles, some fiction is navigating the Earth's postal system, seeking you out and hunting you down. Be wary. It may find you.

And now here is a photo of the Best Dog Evah!