06 December 2008

we all bellow hello

Sometimes it helps to shout out into the trouble + see what comes back. I've been feeling pretty isolated + messy. The messiness might kick around a little while longer, but my sense of acute isolation has lessened. Thank you so much to all my beautiful friends who've written or called. It makes a huge difference to know that you're there, even though I wish you were RIGHT HERE!

Last night I got to see Kristy for some real live cuddles + company. She's in town for a spunky new librarians' conference + we hung out after her cocktail soiree. Actually she snuck me into the tail-end of the cocktail soiree for a weird window into a world that could have been. Then we moved on to the Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant for feasting + talking. Six months to catch up on. So so good to see her.

02 December 2008

battling the black bat

Today's probably not the right day to be making a return to the blog. I've been unconscious or embracing the toilet bowl for most of it... knocked over by a mysterious tummy bug... + now I'm feeling pretty darn sorry for meself, it must be said. But I kicked this exercise off, many moons ago, to help capture the smooth AND shave the edges off the rough. Now I need Atomica's help to get through a rough patch. It's not as if I haven't done it before.

I've spoken pretty openly in the past about my struggles with depression. It's a force that's been present since my childhood + will probably always be with me. Some of us have the force + some of us don't. The good news is that my confidence in managing it grows all the time.

Depression's more highly-strung sister is anxiety, + she's a whole other beast. If depression is a black dog then anxiety might be a black bat. She swoops down in the dead of night, cloaking my heart in something dark + heavy + making my nerves sing. I've been receiving her visits since I left WA + the results are many + varied. I've only had three or four solid nights' sleep; I wake most mornings with a sense of dread humming from my stomach; I'm on edge + prone to teariness; I'm questioning absolutely everything; + there's a big hole where my self-confidence used to be.

Last time I experienced this level of anxiety I was a lucky girl, surrounded by people I love. Right now I'm in an utterly new place with only a small handful of friends. There's no Carolyn + Jen, that's for sure! So it seems to be mostly me + my thoughts + my fears. And even though I know this isn't a permanent state, it is a scary one. I think it's probably time to fess up to that.

I don't know what comes next. Hopefully I move out of my current weepy phase, pick myself up + start focusing on the good again. I've got a GP appointment on Friday to discuss my treatment options + a return to the Gong planned for next weekend. It's a start.

26 November 2008

feeling grateful

For a room of one's own.

24 November 2008

a home for a while

Holy moly. Where to start? I moved into a new house yesterday + it felt like sanity increased by a degree. I'm only here until February but it's a gorgeous, warm starting point of a home, with the very lovely Gretta, Huni + Tom. (Oh, + let's not forget Leo the dog.) There's a vegie patch + a bounteous supply of tea. We've scraped together a thimble-full of furnishings, with a little bed to lay my head on + a light to write under. I've almost finished unpacking. I squealed with excitement when I got to hang my clothes up for the first time in six months.

I am bone, bone tired after a crazy couple of weeks + I'm starting a new (casual) job tomorrow. So this is a brief update only. Obviously there's a lot to be discussed. I will return. I will. I will.

15 November 2008


I'm stuck in front of the confuser on a Saturday night, writing another bloody job application. Meanwhile the fat horns, stomping percussion + ecstatic cheers of the Johnston Street Fiesta reverb off the walls from only a block away.

Please Universe, give me a job + bring back my dancin shoes.

07 November 2008

if these walls could talk...

...they'd say thank you!

Melbourne is a serious street art hub. Everywhere I turn there's a new image or pithy catchphrase. It makes every walk an adventure + I'm digging it. I'd momentarily forgotten about street press + that's fun too. I've picked up copies of Trouble + Vice in the last couple of days, along with an assortment of general weird stuff.

My favourite so far is a stapled two-page photocopy, called 'On Wednesday...', which documents an anonymous chick's Wednesdays in time-based increments. Complete with urinary tract infection. "Distributed weekly on the day after Wednesday." Vice would call this a prime example of boring white people. But I kinda like the documenting of the uneventful everyday. Hey, I do it all the time.

04 November 2008

kickin around

Big breath in. Big breath out. Big breath in. Big breath out.

The chaos of my first week in Melbourne has passed + a semblance of normality is starting to settle around me. Thank goodness for that! I'm still a tad apprehensive about the future but more accepting that this might, somehow, be an understandable feeling for the right here right now. My head's reeling at the distances I've covered + the changes I've seen since mid-June. So my only goal, for the right here right now, is to carve out a little breathing space in this big bad town + GO SLOW.

(You know as well as I do that the last sentence is an out-+-out lie. Moi? One lonely goal? No creative projects? Not a single item on the To Do List? Not likely! But for now I'll attempt to keep stripping it back. Go slow! Go slow!)

Anj, Brad + I visited the very cool Rose Street Artists Market on the weekend + did plenty of mooching about Fitzroy. Lots + lots of gems which I will spell out at another time. Somewhere on our travels I came across the 'The Slow Guide to Melbourne', an alternative city guide which focuses on "a calmer world, a place to celebrate pleasure over pressure, quality over quantity + midfulness over mindlessness". Just what I need? Sounds like. I haven't done anything more than the preliminary glance-over yet. But it's sitting right by my bed + making me feel better via its eco-sensory calm-making vibe.

This neck of the woods has an almost eerie quiet to it today. Melbourne Cup morning + Brunswick Street is a mere shadow of its bustling self. I know it's the calm before the storm of discarded heels + dishevelled fascinators. Which is why I'm taking my Babka gingerbread men + high-tailing it to suburbia. Roll on an afternoon's respite with my old high school mate Vassie.

01 November 2008

for weeze

PS: Full credit to Adi for the image second from the bottom. A very cool little sticker she whipped up for an exhibition catalogue way back in the 90s. All other images created, collaged, pilfered, cut, pasted + assembled from my collection of bits n bobs.

29 October 2008

feeling grateful

For sisters. For mine in particular. For having someone in my life who I can lose my shit with + know that's okay. We all need someone who's there at the end of the phone when we're weepy + nonsensical. And I've got you. Thanks Weeze.

for weeze

28 October 2008

feeling grateful

I read about a project in Frankie magazine. A girl who takes a photo of something she's grateful for each day. Sounds slightly cheesey + I definitely hit cheese when I sought it out minus the magazine reference. Lots of happy folk out in internet land, taking daily photos of flowers + kittens + sunbeams. Not that I have an objection to this... clearly. But the initial project was heaps cool: lovely, grainy, light-saturated polaroid aesthetic coupled with meaningful, personal, poetic subject matter. I dug it. So much so that I thought I might adopt it.

This was Sunday's photo. I was grateful for feet that could embrace movement of a non-clutch/brake/accelerator variety + for legs that could take me somewhere other than another roadhouse or skeazy toilet.

By yesterday I'd lost the plot slightly (still blaming insomnia + general panic) + forgot to take my photo. I knew exactly what it would be: Adi + Angelo tucking into a plateful of amazing four dollar pizza. I felt the blessing of familiar faces in strange places. I lapped up the hugs like a starving puppy. I got a strange kick out of Angelo's poetry tangent + Adi's low blood sugar moment. But I forgot to take the photo. Maybe the daily practice project isn't for me. Or maybe I'll kick it off again today + ignore the blip.

PS: I promise I'll give credit where credit's due + reference the '365 days grateful' polaroid project properly. I just need to find a copy of the mag first!

26 October 2008

times they are a-changin

Hello my lovely little handful of loyal readers. I'm back + hopefully this time it's for good. Such an enormous couple of weeks/months/years. In the last five days I've travelled across three states + several thousand kilometres. And now here I am... IN MELBOURNE. On the verge of overwhelm. Riding a wave somewhere between terror + excitement, + seemingly nowhere near the shores of sanity.

Another horrible insomnia run, coinciding with the travelling of vast distances, hasn't helped matters much. I've just seen the back of Night Five. My nocturnal brain churned out a few (dozen) doozies before finally agreeing to pop a chill-pill + fade into oblivion. Four + a half hours shut-eye on my cousin Ren's air mattress. My best sleep all week. I now feel calm, collected + semi-sane. I'm looking back over last night's assortment of thoughts, wondering if they have merit or are merely the rantings of the sleep-deprived. I think I can pluck a few moments of sense from out the dross...

--FEAR FACTOR #1: the Big Smoke. Melbourne is a city, in the same way that Sydney is a city. What makes it scary is that I don't know it yet. This will change fairly rapidly. If I can live in London + Sydney, I can live in Melbourne.

--FEAR FACTOR #2: the unknown. This is one of those points in time where the unknown is the default setting. There's no avoiding that. In fact it would be counter-productive to have any set idea of what comes next. I'm open to it. I'm ready + willing + able. So lay your cards on the table.

--FEAR FACTOR #3: loneliness. Toughen up princess! I know a few people here. I know lots of people elsewhere. There's a friendly voice as close as the phone + someone I can call on for a cuppa. That means there's very little to whinge about.

--FEAR FACTOR #4: cash. If it runs out it runs out. There's always the dole + my mum's couch. I'm not going to end up in a cardboard box. And if I purchase a few less snacks + fripperies I could maybe even stretch my cash further.

Countering the fears are always the glimmers of hope. There's one key glimmer... writing, creating, making, putting the inside out. It keeps the smart beans ticking along in my brain + the black dog in her hidey hole. That's why I kicked off this forum for sub-atomic musings + that's why you can expect to see more of me from now on. Promise.

14 October 2008

hello stranger

It's been a while but, boy oh boy, do I have some stories to tell. I've had a lovely couple of weeks... catching up with family, soaking up some culcha in Perth, chilling in the forest + exploring the south-west. The wildflowers are lighting up the bush, the wineries are buzzing + I wouldn't be surprised if Fremantle has more gelato per capita than Rome. All good!

Some highlights...

--OUR FAMILY GET-TOGETHER: We had a long weekend in Perth to celebrate my Nana's 90th birthday. Such a treat to see my immediate fam for the first time in three months + to hang out with 'the kids'. Most importantly, I think Nana was thrilled to have us all together for the first time in a long time.

--MY BIRTHPLACE: There's been a bit of whinging about Perth but I thought it had a good laid-back feel. And actually it felt like a laid-back mega-metropolis after all my quiet time in the country. My flying visit gave me just enough time to hang with the monkeys, explore Freo + the city, devour the contents of several galleries, catch a good flick + spend way too much bookshop money. I was stoked with the state gallery's Wonderlust exhibition. It included several old favourites and a handful of pieces that I've long loved from afar (i.e. in books + not in the flesh). Culture Warriors (the National Indigenous Art Triennial) was on too + was a stunning, challenging, moving show. Really, bottom line, it doesn't take much more than art + gelato to keep me happy!

--PEOPLE: I had heaps of fun with my Mum's mate Kath in Perth, then was the esteemed first guest at Libby + Martin's new farm. After bidding some sad farewells, I started my slow drive back to Albany + spent a night with the very gorgeous Billy + Elaine. I was shy about rockin up on a stranger's doorstep but am sooooo glad I did. Billy has built their place from scratch in the forest near Pemberton + it is serious fairytale stuff. The creative inspiration continued - beautiful home, delicious slow food, amazing stories, a few sneaky joints. (Honestly, those older folk are corrupting!) I've been such a lucky duck, surrounded by wonderful warm people in my time away.

--NATURE: Holy moly this is a beautiful part of the world! The southern forests are majestic, enormous, ancient. Billy + Elaine recommended a fabulous sculpture walk at Northcliffe, which combined art + nature + even more wildflowers. I could have spent another 100 days just wandering about + breathing it all in.

Unfortunately there's no 100 days left at my disposal. The last moments of my wild west adventure are flying by. It's hard to believe that next week I'll be making the long trek back to the eastern states but that's the truth of the matter! More sad goodbyes + happy hellos to come.

11 October 2008

02 October 2008

24 September 2008

my life as a list (g)

gold, gilt, metallic

23 September 2008

float along

The gorgeous + talented Ms Virginia Mawer is launching her solo show - Surface Tension - at Kudos Gallery tonight. Her beautiful, evocative work is certain to impress, so those of you in Sydney or surrounds should get along now. Wish I could too!

21 September 2008

for weeze

Oooh... what a terrible slacker I've been. I HAVE been sending Weeze her cards - at a very snail-like pace, I must admit - but I haven't posted any since JULY. Good god, where did the time go? I'll try to make up for it... soon... ish...

18 September 2008

first egg out of the pot

I've just hit 'apply now' + sent my first job application off into the ether. That final click was almost a letdown after the protracted trauma of Clairey Re-engaging Her Brain. Wham! Biffo! Ouch! The pulling teeth metaphor is kinda apt as it felt like every sentence had to be yanked from my sleepy head with a strong piece of string + a slamming door. I had several near tanty moments + had to bribe myself with an entire packet of honey jumbles. But it's done. And miracle of miracles, I think it's okay.

It's such a funny process, isn't it? I always feel like a wanker when I start out - "I am this + I am that + oooh, look at how brilliant I am" - but I have to admit that by the end of it I'm often believing my own spin + thinking "SHIT YEAH! I can do that!" Hmmm... I suspect that I am now sounding like a wanker as well as feeling like one.

In news of an animal nature... I was invited over to a neighbour's place for lunch yesterday + spent a divine couple of hours playing farms. Tambo the dog greeted me at the front gate, followed closely by Baaarnaby, the cutest black lamb you've ever seen. He was so soft + cuddly + I got to feed him his lunch after we downed our pumpkin soup. Then I hung out in Jan's rare breed chookery with the most the most beautiful birds - silkies + sussex + lots of others whose names I can't remember. I was sent home with a dozen fresh eggs. Animals! Aren't they incredible?!

I uncovered a boiled egg mystery yesterday. You know how some eggs won't peel properly after you've boiled them? Well they're the fresh ones. Eggs have to be at least a couple of days old before they're peel-able. Now I just need someone to explain asparagus pee + I'll be sorted!

13 September 2008

my life as a list (f)

found objects/text/drawings
feedback loop (drawing/redrawing/drawing)

12 September 2008

friendships, adventures, parties

I've just walked in the front door of the Palace + I'm basking in the scent of freesias, picked from the roadside this afternoon, + the glow of Ferguson Valley shiraz cab. I've had a gorgeous night - starting with a couple of drinks at the brewery across the road + finishing with dinner at the local pub. I'm pretty much in love with Libby + Martin. There's no pretense, no bull... only generosity, warmth, humour, joy. They are both lovely, open people + it's great to spend time with them. It's like we've been friends our whole lives + not just occasional, long-distance, old mates of my folks.

Tonight they told me the most fabulous stories of friendships + adventures + parties. I threw in a few of my own, for good measure, although they weren't the cream of a wild crop. A costume party where everyone came as either Merv Hughes or Dolly Parton. Turning up to a random bar in full bridal party gear + demanding to know where their reception was being held. Libby's visit to the specialist last week...

Lib goes to the doctor + has to fill in a form. She thinks it's important to be honest in this particular area + so she fesses up as a smoker, nominating twice weekly as her frequency of vice. When the doctor questions her on this she takes the admission further + reveals that it's not cigarettes she's talking about: she actually smokes two joints each week.

"Oh good." says the specialist, "Is it for pain?"
"No." says Libby, "It's for sex."

Well, she explains... I'm 61 years old, I've been married for 35 years, gimme a break.

Please let me be this much fun when I'm 61. And ditto on sex twice a week... even if it is "assisted".

10 September 2008

gift processing + document controlling

Okay, okay... I know I've been slack. I have lots of excuses, if that helps.

I had a wonderful weekend OUT OF THE HOUSE... novelty of all novelties. Hanging out with my friends Libby + Martin; hitting the oppy motherload (which I'm not going to talk about cos I'm supposed to have quit); walking the hills; communing with birds; watching 'The Diving Bell + The Butterfly' + having an enormous cry. Aahhh... so good...

Since returning to the Ferg I've been all go in my quest for employment, or at least a bit go. Trawling recruitment sites + wading through shoddily worded appeals to Senior Sewer Modelling Engineers, Gift Processing Assistants, Field Works Schedulers, Associate Document Controllers + Conventional Supervisors. Searching for the Right Job. Who knows what that might be, but hopefully it will leap up + bite me on the bum before I have to write a gazillion applications. Lord it's a dull + time-consuming business.

My newfound addiction to late night telly isn't helping either + I'm determined to break it. I've discovered this weird window between 11pm + 2am when good things beam into life + trap me in the la-z-boy. Boston Legal + 30 Rock, for example, as well as crazy foreign films + a great selection of anime. Last night it was an odd Romanian movie about teenage love + life under Ceausescu. I kept waiting for it to make sense but by the time it wended its way to an end it was 1.30am + there was no sense in sight. And no raunchy sex scenes either. Cmon SBS... what's the story?

I am still ENGROSSED too, as Toni astutely picked up on. I have about 57 new art pieces on the go + am struggling to tear myself away. I still don't understand them well enough to talk about them but it's exciting. It's lovely to be back in the zone. Watch out for an exhibition in a loungeroom near you!

PS: I didn't make up any of those job titles OR the la-z-boy... that reclining action is pretty bloody good actually.

05 September 2008

my life as a list (e)


04 September 2008

gone fishin

I'm falling behind on the ol blog + know there are gaps to be filled. Late last week I journeyed to the Palace - a world of green parrots, rolling hills, pristine interior surfaces - + left the Shack behind. A new chapter unfolding. But somehow I don't feel inclined to put any of it into words. Once again I find myself in an introspective space where words don't fit. Not bad introspective. In fact, the handful of people I've spoken to in the last week have all told me how good I'm sounding. Oh, you're sounding so GOOD. Am I? Well thank you, I guess I am good. Although, to be honest, I can't quite put my finger on how I am. I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a giant pool, peering in + wondering what's going on in there.

The pool at the bottom of the vineyard is full of trout. Every evening I wander down to feed them + marvel at their beauty. They embrace the dinner delivery vigorously, launching their shining bodies out of the water in flashes of silver, red, green. I can only hope there's something as exciting going on in my pond. I'm happy to wait + see.

I've been hanging out
with a pond full of trout
+ not one has a pout
so what's all that about?

01 September 2008

puff n stuff

Hanky drawings by ME. Words by Interpol, The Muttonbirds + LCD Soundsystem respectively. I've just finished uploading the latest instalments of Pattern Diary Two to Flickr, braving a painfully slow internet connection to bring the goods to ya. Please make my pain worthwhile + check out the full collection!

31 August 2008

sunday self portrait

my life as a list (music)

The Cure turn 30 this year, which makes me think that the Stones must be approaching 100. A celebratory radio special had me lost in my own history – the body moves, the memories flow. I doubt there’s a single memory of mine that doesn’t include a soundtrack. I understand the role music plays because it’s always been beside me, strapped into the passenger seat. My first stories reside there. Wiggling + giggling to Ry Cooder’s version of ‘Little Sister’, my favourite when I was three or four. The forbidden record player: the turntable, the needle, the delicate mystery of its mechanics. So many albums in their glossy storybook sleeves; each one an adventure beyond my little girl understanding. Women backed up against the jungle in see-through underwear, an airbrushed superhero dancing across giant piano keys in even bigger platform shoes, soft-focus princesses + cowboy kings. My first rudimentary glimpses of sex, love, magic. And the magic remains.

Music has been one of the few constants. Music + friends + boys. Using the first to woo the other two. Crushes on a million musicians. Passions fuelled by favourite songs. Lust + loss + lyrics, all sweatily intertwined. The best kind of lifeblood. I don’t think of the Cure as my lifeblood, particularly. My friends Emily + Tina were truly obsessed. Bought all the albums, sourced rare live videos, pored over every detail. Once they signed up to something there was no limit to their intensity. I stood at the periphery: wore out my tape of ‘Standing on a Beach/Staring at the Sea’ + let my teen heart swell with the dark romance of it all, but usually from the privacy of my bedroom.

You flicker + you're beautiful
You glow inside my head
You hold me hypnotised, I'm mesmerised
Your flames, the flames that kiss me dead

A high school friend tracked me down last year (the facebook phenomenon), saying that the trigger had been a Cure concert. She couldn’t help but think of me as she watched Robert Smith moping around the stage, reliving the eyeliner days. It felt strange to have Mel link me to the Cure in the way that maybe I link Emily + Tina. I don’t own an album anymore, wouldn’t consider going to see them play live, but me + the Cure occupy the same space in Mel’s memory bank.

I remember a detested first year lecturer trying to win the class over with the Cure. Dropping in a line about them being the one band that was always cool, the constant throughout his teaching career. And he was wrong. At that point in time, in that brief window, he was wrong. I thought the Cure would never be cool again because in 1997 that was the truth. They were making shitty new songs, they were fat + old. They had fallen from the chariot + were being mauled by the hard hooves of the sell out. Then that window closed + another opened. Suddenly Vaughan is no longer wrong. He might even impress the class of 2008, although I’m sure he’s still a nob. Suddenly the Cure are everywhere again. A best-of pulled out as soundtrack to a friend’s dinner party. The classics making a return to the radio. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ catching my ear on a regular basis. Influence obvious in scores of hot new bands. And now the 30th birthday party. The surprise lesson, which I learn over + over + over again, is that nothing ever dies.

26 August 2008

the minutiae

I've just learned an important lesson about life in the west. I'm working on Claire Time right now... one of the many benefits of being an unemployed bum. Maybe I go to bed at 11pm, maybe I go to bed at 2am. Maybe I get up at 7am, maybe I get up at 10am. Maybe other westies do their grocery shopping during daylight hours. I do mine at 6pm. Or I try to + then discover that supermarkets here CLOSE at 6pm. Not sure if it's the Bus, or the weird western trading hours, or what... but I'm now devoid of real food + cooking my first ever frozen pizza. Pretty much the only option the corner shop had to offer. Wish me luck.

In other exciting news for the day...
--the Shack is ready for Libby + Martin's return. It's 37 times cleaner than when they left. That's not me trying to bignote myself. It's just an obvious result of sticking a neat freak in a mess factory for 6+ weeks.
--my stuff seems to be multiplying at an alarming rate, as revealed by packing for my move to the Ferg. I know I bought a few new things but the growth isn't proportional to my shopping activities. I may not be able to fit it all in the car.
--a care pack arrived from Ethan + Holley with the new Holly Throsby album + the cutest letters on 'morning glory' paper. My mood did an immediate 180. Those guys are the best.
--my mates Mat + Sarah launched a fabulous new website to showcase Mat's gorgeous jewellery.
--Birdsworth called me for a chat. She is very sweet.
--I saw a small girl riding a bicycle down the highway, wearing bright pink crocs + reading a book, all at the same time. There's scope for a new olympic sport in that, or at the very least a circus routine.
--I'm getting stuck into 'Love Is A Mix Tape' by Rob Sheffield. I'm enjoying it so far in spite of the startling realisation that all the books I've read in the last two months have dealt with death on some level. Spooky. Although maybe there are just a lot of books about death.
--one underwire came free of my favourite bra, rendering it completely useless. Don't ya just hate that?
--frozen pizza is really pretty average.

And that, my friends, is the minutiae of my day.

24 August 2008

sunday self portrait

Cheating again. Yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day + I went + visited a lighthouse + it was fun. Today it's rainy + cold + my hair is dirty + I can't be bothered + I wish there was something chocolate in the house but there's not + I'm too lazy to even walk to the shop. So there.

my life as a list (d)

dark (on dark)
domestic textiles
daily practice

23 August 2008

itty bitty goodness

My best mate is preggers with Bun #2. I probably shouldn't be broadcasting it to the entire internet (aka my devoted handful of readers) but I can't resist sharing the method of momentous news delivery. We were talking on speakerphone, which means that I listen to the joyful chatter of the household + occasionally try to cut through the chaos with questions/comments.

Mumma: What's in my tummy? Is it a monkey?
Two-year-old: Noooooooo.
M: Is it an elephant?
T-Y-O: Noooooooo.
M: Is it a digger?
T-Y-O: Noooooooo.
M: Is it daddy?
T-Y-O: Noooooooo.
M: Is it a baby?
T-Y-O: Noooooooo.

In actual fact it IS a baby. (You'd be pretty alarmed if a digger popped out, eh!) So more teensy weensy baby joy in my world. Yay!

22 August 2008


I'm not going to write much tonight. I'm in the throes of two new pieces + finding it hard to tear myself away for more than a few minutes. But I thought I'd post a couple of pics of the wonder that is my new crocheted blanket. Isn't it the bomb?

Interesting pattern + GOOD colours, based on bright pinks + extending out into yellow, orange, purple, green. It's acrylic, which I suppose goes without saying. Enough yarn for a pure wool blanket is outside my budget, so I can imagine how far that idea would get with the pensioners. It's a little leery, I'll admit, but coordinated, matched + well executed.

GOOD colours. Honestly, I can't overemphasise the significance of this. It's such a rarity in the swathes of handmade blankets I come across in oppies. Most of them have colour schemes that may as well have been inspired by dog's vomit. They're beautifully, lovingly made but completely unusable. I do understand the appeal of using up the odds + sods of your yarn collection. And that yarn is very expensive. And that not everyone is as bloody fussy about colour coordination as I am. But I can't help thinking that the grannies are shooting themselves in the crocheting collective foot. Not my anonymous crochet hero of course. She is a champion among crafters + I will be sleeping well under her jewel-toned treasure tonight.

20 August 2008

outgoings vs. incomings

Ouch! I went slightly ballistic on the ol bank balance today. Poor little Plum was in desperate need of a visit to the car doctor... a decent service to remedy the cross-country onslaught + the exploded tire to be dealt with. Turns out I'd blown a headlight + stuffed my wheel alignment somehow too. (Weeze, do you remember hitting anything at any stage?)

I'd expected it to sting, but the compounding factor was spending the day roaming the Bun. The plan had been to work in the library + I packed books, pens + pencils accordingly. Turns out the library is a building site: closed for complete rebuilding. So instead of working I adopted the motto of when in the Bun + did what the rest of the little cream buns seem to do... shopping + lolling around over mugs-of-chino. I know I sound like a right royal snob, but it's a bogan town really, + the only attractions I could find were malls + shopping strips. That's my excuse + I'm sticking to it.

First I thought I might as well sort out a job interview outfit. I mean, y'know, that's going to swing around soon enough, + I can't show up in jeans + a scruffy pair of cons, can I? I found some cute corporatey dresses which solved the I-hate-suits problem nicely. A tailored black dress should see me through any interview. Then there were t-shirts... oooh... I love those coral-y, watermelon-y pinks. Hang on... the jewellery's on sale too... + those silk scarves are a steal. Uh oh! You can see how the momentum got going.

I still had five hours to kill so I hit the oppies. What else was I going to do? I won't bore you with all the details, but serious treasures were found, the most significant being a crocheted blanket in wild zig zag pattern for $5.75. (Photos soon Tones, promise.) I don't think any purchases past the interview frock fell in the category of NEEDED. Being unemployed + of finite means, what I actually NEEDED was not to spend money unecessarily. In future this will link closely with NEEDING not to visit shopping districts. Maybe even oppies. (Gasp!) As lovely Linda from next door observed, "that's the trouble with shops - if you don't go near em, you don't spend money".

Leon welcomed me home with an offering of rabbit paw, eyeball + vital organs, laid out in a neat row on the doorstep. A show of excess + greed for a show of excess + greed. Lesson learned, thanks mate.

19 August 2008

puff n stuff

Recent pressies for my girls. Odd pink puppy for Smokey + starry scarf for Tones. Made with much love.

my life as a list (c)

cut out
couch stitch
carbon paper

18 August 2008

shack grafitti

'Look for the answer inside your question.'

16 August 2008

we are not the poem

The problem is we think we exist. We think our words are permanent + solid + stamp us forever. That's not true. We write in the moment. Sometimes when I read poems at a reading to strangers, I realize they think those poems are me. They are not me, even if I speak in the "I" person. They were my thoughts + my hand + the space + the emotions at that time of writing. Watch yourself. Every minute we change. It is a great opportunity. At any point, we can step out of our frozen selves + our ideas + begin fresh. That is how writing is. Instead of freezing us, it frees us.

The ability to put something down--to tell how you feel about an old husband, an old shoe, or the memory of a cheese sandwich on a gray morning in Miami--that moment you can finally align how you feel inside with the words you write; at that moment you are free because you are not fighting those things inside. You have accepted them, become one with them. I have a poem entitled "No Hope"--it's a long poem. I always think of it as joyous because in my ability to write of desperation + emptiness I felt alive again + unafraid. However, when I read it, people comment, "How sad." I try to explain, but no one listens.

It is important to remember we are not the poem. People will react however they want; + if you write poetry, get used to no reaction at all. But that's okay. The power is always in the act of writing. Come back to that again + again + again. Don't get caught in the admiration for your poems... It is very painful to become frozen with your poems, to gain too much recognition for a certain set of poems. The real life is in writing, not in reading the same ones over + over again for years. We constantly need new insights, visions. We don't exist in any solid form. There is no permanent truth you can corner in a poem that will satisfy you forever. Don't identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-+-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down + capture.

(Natalie Goldberg, 'Writing Down The Bones', 1986, pp.32-33)

14 August 2008

my life as a list (insomnia)

Sleep has always been my friend, refuge, escape. I've sought out her still veil whenever the noise of waking life has felt too much. Feigning illness as a primary school child + retreating to the sick bay. A kind of broom closet for the unwell where I would slip in + out of darkness on a hard camp stretcher, lulled by the clack of typewriter keys from the adjoining office, waiting for someone to come + fetch me.

I developed an illicit addiction to Days of our Lives + longed for our sagging, rose-patterned couch, for Brooke + Beau + the full parade of unlikely hair-dos to leap back into my life. My understanding of plot was limited. I would have struggled to keep up if I'd seen it every day, no chance with a handful of episodes each year. But it didn't matter. There was something about the drama, the intensity, the long soapie stares, that was soothing + infinitely preferable to school.

After my fix I would head to bed + sleep until someone came to coo over me. I felt more noticed in sickness than in health. It was definitely the only time I had access to trash tv. Sometimes Mum would bring home a bottle of dry ginger ale, the forbidden elixir of soft drink, one of the best attentions available.

I was at home alone when Brian died. Danny called to tell me + I knew from the first sound that came from his mouth, the first breath, that Brian was gone. I was thirteen. I think it was November. It was my first real experience of loss. It wasn't unexpected, but when it came I didn't know what to do with it, where to put it. The emotions stormed around me + I went straight to bed, waking only to relay the news to my family.

The tears wouldn't stop the next morning. I walked into school + the corridors cleared in front of me, like parting seas. Burly Year 10s making way for this little girl grieving. The only time I felt space + respect within that first tumultuous year of high school. Our grief was real + it was treated that way. We gathered in the school hall + cried together.

Sleep had always been my friend, refuge, escape. My Saturday afternoon luxury. My healer, rejuvenator, loyal companion. My retreat in times of grief + sadness. Pete used to say that if sleeping was an olympic sport I could win gold for Australia. Then he went + broke my heart. Insomnia made itself known as my unpredictable nemesis. Sometimes the bed is a saviour. Sometimes the bed is a battleground. Perhaps we all know that on some level.

13 August 2008

my life as a list (b)

body (body parts)
black (on black)
blanket stitch
beautiful (grotesque)
botanical drawing
brown paper
broken (fixed)

shack grafitti

The smart talked of history + politics + we got bent!

12 August 2008

this week i ave mostly been...

I'm in a very dreamy, non-verbal space tonight + wondering whether I'll be able to squeeze out anything worthwhile. It's been a huge couple of days by this Lady of Leisure's standards. I drove down to Albany on Friday, to spend a much-needed weekend with others of my own species, + got back late last night after unexpected adventure. I blew a tire on a teensy weensy road between two teensy weensy towns + was rescued by the most gorgeous older couple - Mike + Linda. After changing the tire + discovering my spare was flat, they then drove me to Manjimup + back again. I was counting my blessings the whole way... not raining, not dark, not in the middle of the desert, not raped + murdered, barely even embarrassed by my total lack of dealing-with-emergency skills. A pain in the arse, but a very lucky pain in the arse nonetheless!

To summarise the remainder of my week. I ave mostly been...

smiling at...
--the verdant + varied land I find myself in. It's like stumbling into the wardrobe + finding myself in Narnia. Rolling green farmlands, magnificent karri + jarrah forests, the cutest of tiny towns, brutally beautiful coastlines. I love it here.
--my wild west family + the rare opportunity to spend time with them. It would be hard to pick a lovelier bunch of people.
--the first signs of spring. It's already so alive with growth here. I saw (+ smelled) my first freesias on Friday + immediately thought of Carolyn. Fingers crossed for a good show of the famous WA wild flowers before I leave.
--being looked after when the need arises. Be it seriously generous help with a blown tire, a hug from my rellies, or a game of backgammon with the next-door neighbours. I'm fibbing when I say I'm alone here!

--a leaf out of Kristy + Trina's book: with a big dhal + love week before my mini-holiday. It's amazing what you can scrape together from a cupboard that seems bare. Leftovers of many colours/shapes/sizes, odd-but-tasty toastie combos, odds n sods salads, carrot + date muffins.
--birthday pizza: made for my cousin Anj by her talented hubby Brad. Seven of us got through eight pizzas, made from scratch from a Jamie Oliver recipe. Scrumbo yumbo.
--retro cuisine: at the 80s themed dinner party we had on Sunday night. Prawn cocktails, beef olives, cordon bleu chicken + chocolate mousse, all washed down with 'Fruity Lexia' fresh from the cask. Heaps of fun!

listening to...
--a veritable smorgasbord of tunes on my new iPod, Mark III. Praise be to Apple for doing the right thing + replacing my last dud.

--bad 80s movies: from a three-pack that my step-mum loaned me as a parting gift. So far I've watched 'About Last Night' + 'Perfect' + seen enough of Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, John Travolta + Jamie Lee Curtis' nudey bits to give me nightmares. Those brat packers certainly weren't shy of a little rumpy pumpy. I've saved 'St Elmo's Fire' for last + am genuinely excited.
--too much bloody Olympics: I'm completely over it already + not willing to even touch on my political take on it here, for fear of being automatically deemed un-Awstraylian + blacklisted by the Chinese government. Thank goodness for my return to the Shack + bad 80s movies!
--too much bloody advertising: which is inseperable from the above + makes me want to knock all my teeth out with a hammer. There's an insidious side to the combination of games hysteria + soulless jingoistic advertising that Get Up have just shed some light on. Their attempts to screen a human rights statement during the opening ceremony were blatantly stymied by the commercial big guns. If you haven't had a chance to read about it you can do so here.

--more Cormac McCarthy. I'm stuck into 'The Crossing' now, the second book in 'The Border Trilogy', + STILL mustering (haw haw) enthusiasm for wild teenage cowboys. McCarthy regularly engrosses me in subject matter that I wouldn't generally give two hoots about, which I think says something. Of course the experience would be heightened if half the dialogue wasn't in a language I don't understand (Spanish). The lengths artists go to for authenticity, eh! The first part of the book, where Billy Parham captures a wolf + attempts to return it to Mexico, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I've read in a long time.

And that'd be me. Hugs to anyone who made it this far! xxx

10 August 2008

sunday self portrait

Tired but happy after a big weekend in Albany.
(And just to predict any smarty-pants comments... no, there's no one else in bed with me!)

07 August 2008

play pen

I read an interview with American artist Jill Bliss yesterday. She creates very beautiful, whimsical illustrations + products, which I was first exposed to via the gorgeous framed posters on Annie + Genevieve's kitchen wall.

In the interview, Jill talks about "incubating" ideas + not being able to talk about them while they're in the early stages of life. It's one of those YES! concepts for me. I'm unable to verbalise my creative ideas until they reach a certain point... part + parcel, I thought, of my general (+ uncharacteristic) inarticulateness when it comes to my work. So it's a relief to have someone else express the same thing. Incubating is a term I might happily borrow from now on.

I've continued tinkering with a couple of play projects this week + feel just about ready to let them out of the warm, dark confines of the incubator. The first are the Pattern Diaries that I started on when I arrived at the Shack. The idea was to ease myself back into drawing, without any pressure to take it seriously or produce anything "final". I've been collecting patterns/motifs/ideas from nature in Pattern Diary One. Doodles based on bits n bobs I pick up whilst walking + exploring.

Once I'd had a few days to reconnect hand + heart + eye, I began drawing from some favourite white hankies. They're part of an enormous stash found in my local oppie in Dulwich Hill, many moons ago, + carted around ever since. I'd like to make some work with/from them but have been stumped on where to start. So Pattern Diary Two is a space for playing with them. I've taped them to the brick wall of my makeshift bedroom + made some loose line drawings from there. I've also been incorporating lyrics from the music of the moment - poignant, ambiguous, personal fragments that catch me while I'm working. I'm loving it cos it lets me listen to the sad songs + then DO something with them. Brilliant!

The third project is one that was seeded during my annual art camp at the beginning of the year. Ruth + I came up with the idea of creating an encyclopedia or index of ideas that have come up in previous work +/or spark inspiration for future work. Hopefully this will ease the feeling that there's too much swimming round in my head + not enough focus. It should also be a valuable reference point. And on top of that it's heaps of fun!

For the last week I've been transforming two Golden Book Encyclopedias into the inaugral volumes of the Encyclopedia of Claire. Collect, arrange, cut, paste, paint. It reminds me of the hours I'd spend covering my books for a fresh year of school. Collecting images + arranging them to express something of myself + my undying love for whoever/whatever inspired it in that fleeting moment. They were with me every day from there on in + I can still recall some of them vividly.

I've been a collector for as long as I can remember. By the end of primary school I had a shoebox full of drawings, souvenirs, magazine clippings, flyers, discarded books + other ephemera. By the end of high school it was a big packing box. By the time I got to the Gong there were several of them. Then there's the collecting of words, lyrics, poetry, lists, letters, cards. It goes on + on... all these fragments that I hold onto, or that hold onto me. Why am I drawn to them? What do they say to me? About me? For me? I finally feel like I have an opportunity to turn them into something. I'm like a diabolical scrapbooker let loose on the world. Mwahahahaha...

my life as a list (a)

absence (presence)
allusion (illusion)
? anxiety
? anger
? abandonment

05 August 2008

han solo

I'm into week four of life in the Isolation Tank + have a feeling it might be make or break time. I'm still doing things I love, keeping busy, smiling, but all of a sudden I feel very 'internal'. I can't find another way to put it. I feel like I'm resident in my own head, whereas previously I'd been a child of the world.

There are tell-tale signs that the hermitisation has begun. My outfits are no longer colour-coordinated. My glasses are often grimy. My legs are very very hairy. I'm staying up til at least midnight most nights. Yesterday I struggled to hold up my end of a coversation with a checkout chick. I'd rather send an email than make a phonecall. (Okay, so that last one pretty much always stands, but I was running out of signs.)

Help is at hand. I'm heading back down to Albany on Friday to hang with the fam + reintegrate into society. It's my lovely cousin Anj's birthday + I'll get to share in the celebrations. Who knows, there may even be the opportunity to get mildly drunk. Actually I may NEED to get mildly drunk in order to talk to people like a normal, socially-functioning human being! Wish me luck!

04 August 2008

sunday self portrait

This one's also cheating - a Monday self portrait. (Hey! Sue me!)

I had a great day.

02 August 2008

sunday self portrait

This is cheating just a teensy eensy bit. It's actually a Saturday self portrait, taken at the lavender farm near Cowaramup. Do I look cold? It was right before the rain hit + bloody freezing. I had a lovely wander round Vasse + Cowaramup, moving from one foodie attraction to the next in spite of my best intentions. My excursion got completely flooded out again, which kinda limited the options for non-foodie fun. That's my excuse anyway! I'm still hanging for forest walks, but even the little I've seen has been stunning. Huge, majestic trees + beautiful birds. It's a very pretty part of the world.

31 July 2008

losing my edge

I've continued to think a bit recently about the nature of youth. I guess we all hit a point where we realise we're not there any more. There are Young People + then there's Me. At some level I've felt middle-aged for most of my life, so it hasn't really come at me with teeth + fangs. But I have a memory of my mate Mat which kinda crystallised it for me.

It was a couple of years ago + I was on a bus, headed down King Street with Mat + his glamorous missus, Sarah. It's a great trip when it's occasional + not a day-to-day battle. You're at a perfect vantage point for people watching. All the freaks, geeks + hot young things parade in front of you, as the ribbon of traffic slowly unfurls into the city. The three of us were headed out on the town + our spirits were high. Then Mat throws in this fabulous old man line... "Jeez, there's a lot of Young People on King Street these days". It was poetry on so many levels. First there was the Poetry Of Mat, who is one of the most genuine, down-to-earth people you'll ever come across. There's no pretence or bullshit with Mat, + I reckon one day he'll be a champion maker of Dad Jokes. The line popped out without a hint of irony or self-consciousness. There was also something poetic about us being on the inside looking out. Because he was spot on. A couple of years earlier we had been the Young People on King Street, but suddenly, blindingly, we weren't anymore.

This tiny moment comes back to me again + again when I consider the irony of ageing. When you're young you have no concept that you'll ever be anything else. I mean, you can consider it, theorise about it, make grand statements about where you'll be when you're 25, 30, 50. (I thought I'd have kids by the time I was 20 for feck's sake.) But there's no REAL understanding of the fact that one day in the really-rapidly-approaching-future you'll be sprouting hairs from your nipples + waiting for the next pregnancy/wedding/mortgage to be announced. As far as irony goes, it's a particularly cruel one: Young People think they're the first + only; Old People understand that everyone has a moment of first + only, + that it can never be more than fleeting; but they can't tell Young People cos they'd never believe it. You can't be at the forefront forever. (And let's face it - few are there for more than five minutes at best.)

There's a brilliant LCD Soundsystem song called 'I'm Losing My Edge'. It's so spot on, I can't resist torturing you with more lyrics.

I'm losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night on the decks.
But I was there.
I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City.
I was working on the organ sounds with much patience.
I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band.
I told him, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime."

I was there.
I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.
I played it at CBGB's.
Everybody thought I was crazy.
We all know.
I was there.

I was there.
I've never been wrong.
I used to work in the record store.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan.
I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes.
I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice.

You mighta had the edge. You might want to hang on to the edge. But no one has the edge for ever. And the kids are ALWAYS coming up from behind. Dems da breaks.

PS: The full lyrics are here, if anyone's nerdy enough to care. And James Murphy talks a bit about where the song comes from here.

29 July 2008

patience, patience, patience

The beach is not the place to work, to read, write or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real mental discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carries down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists + good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points + the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even -- at least, not at first.

At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one's mind, against all tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the seashore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city + suburb, time tables + schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea, bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today's tides of all yesterday's scribblings.

And then, some morning in the second week, the mind wakes, comes to life again. Not in a city sense - no - but beach-wise. It begins to drift, to play, to turn over in gentle careless rolls like those lazy waves on the beach. One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind, what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps a channelled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.

But it must not be sought for or - heaven forbid! - dug for. No, no dredging of the sea bottom here. That would defeat one's purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience + greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience + faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach -- waiting for a gift from the sea.

(From Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 'Gift From The Sea', first published 1955.)

28 July 2008

shack grafitti

Life's a garden... dig it!!!

27 July 2008

this week i ave mostly been...

Well, this week I have mostly been lazing about, let's face facts. But I've been enjoying meself 99% of the time + I figure the lazing is an important part of the whole dropping-out-of-society process. Aside from that I've been...

...smiling at
--me: I mean jeebus, if I can't laugh at myself it's not worth laughing at anything! Favourite I'm A Goose moments of the week were 1) tipping a tray of very small beads all over the floor. Given that the floor generally looks like this it was definitely worthy of an F-bomb. But I didn't even swear, I was too busy laughing. And 2) going to check my little car's tyre pressure only to discover, after many minutes stuffing around with nozzles + gauges + the like, that I'd actually been attempting to fill the tyres with gas. Ooops.

--calla lillies: + my mad roadside collecting mission. I know they're weeds but they're filling the shack + bringing me joy. All of a sudden life here has turned all Frida Kahlo. Although I have just read up on them + discovered that they can be fatally toxic. Ooops again.

--people: + the dumb stuff they do. Weeze sent me a side-splittingly funny article on names that eejits give their kids. It kinda put Taaylah + Taneysha into perspective.

--boys: I succumbed to a selfish + completely silly Men Suck Mood the other day. Within the next few hours I got a couple of lovely emails from boys, my bro Slim + mate Scott both called + Doug the neighbour dropped over to check that I was okay. If that isn't the Universe telling me to pull my head in, I don't know what is. Thanks lads.

--the little things: as one must do when one's experience is entirely domestic + largely solitary. (Sorry... coming over a tad Queen Mum there!) My wranglings with Leon, the cat from hell. The Triple J soundbyte of Muph + Plutonic calling their drum sound "boom bappy"... possibly the best onomatopoeia I've ever heard. Sunbathing on the back lawn during an afternoon of unprecedented sunshine. Oppy discoveries.

--my baby sis, Bella: she's recently started emailing me + is hilariously gorgeous in a way that only nearly-12 year olds can be. Example: all my fingers are crossed that you will meet the cutest guy in history, get married and have kids! all in one week!hahamy inbox is full too!love you so much i think im going to die!

--gourmet grub: I don't know what's happened but I'm right back into my cooking, after several months of feeling uninspired. I've had such a great week of food! The deliciousness has included: herb + chilli stuffed mushrooms with polenta + tomato sauce; homemade lamb-+-olive burgers with hummus + salad; + soy + sesame tempeh with stir-fried greens. Mmmmm... good homecooked food.
--decent coffee: at home always, but now in the outside world too! Hooray! I FINALLY found a cute cafe in the Bus after pretty much giving up in despair. The coffee is great, the menu looks fabulous + the staff are friendly. No one seems to mind me + my notebook setting up camp for hours on end over one cup, which is always a plus. Oh, + the chef is hot.

...listening to
--Hot Chip, but I'll stop rabbiting on about that.
--lots of radio. Running my laptop through the Shack Stereo is equivalent - in sound terms - to running it through a small aquarium, so I'm relying on Triple J more than I'd like.
--Paul Kelly's '...Nothing But A Dream'.
--a new hip hop mix for walking.

--a little bit of bad telly, while I've been beading, it's embarrassing, I don't want to talk about it okay?

--'The Bride Stripped Bare' by Nikki Gemmell. (Oh, the shame, the shame.)
--'No One Belongs Here More Than You' by Miranda July
--'The Horse + His Boy' by CS Lewis

sunday self portrait

26 July 2008

half nelson, full nelson

It's official. I'm ADDICTED to Hot Chip's new album. I can't stop. I have to share some lyrics from a favourite track, 'Wrestlers':

the gloves are off
so why'd you have to go + fight dirty
don't fight dirty
don't bite me in the face
the gloves are off...

now what you gonna do
when i come for you with all that i've got...

here we come, drop kick
half nelson, full nelson
willie nelson, willie nelson
body slam, suplex, headlock, summer slam
elbow drop, jelly flop, cage match, grudge match...

it's me versus you in love
i learned all i know from watching the wrestling
i think you think i'm about to throw the towel in
everyone knows monday night means wrestling

It could simply, literally be a song about wrestling but it also provides some lovely analogies for love + sex + relationships + the wrangling that goes on within them. Musically the Hot Chip boys describe it as "a barrage of different lyrical hooks and melodies one after another" + I describe it as pure F-U-N.

Apparently there's also an LCD Soundsystem link, with both bands "wrestling" over the same guitarist - Al Doyle. Man... I love it when favourite bands turn out to be mates with each other! Then I love to imagine turning up at a party + they're all there + we end up hanging out. Anyway, my weird music nerd moment for today...

24 July 2008

flat pack

I survived my first slightly flat day yesterday. Nothing major - just generic listlessness + a teensy bit of beating-myself-up. I guess the crux of it is that I've been feeling lazy + that's been pissing me off. Not physically lazy, creatively lazy. I've had this floaty week were I haven't focused fully on anything much. I've been active but not applied, + the bits + bobs that I have done seem more like pfaffing than working towards something. So far there hasn't been a lightening bolt creative breakthrough... in spite of me not-so-secretly wanting one. Patience isn't my virtue here. I want it on tap! Now! Go! And it simply doesn't work that way. Maybe the downtime is a necessary precursor to the lightening bolt. Maybe there's no lightening bolt in store for me right now. It will be what it will be. Let go.

21 July 2008

jack pot

For anyone who doesn't know - I'm a keen op-shopper. I dragged poor Weeze into every charity, community + opportunity shop we spotted between Canberra + Albany, with very little to show for it. My only real roadtrip treasures were a couple of knitted toys (selected from the available hundreds), a fabulous old-man hat, + the best-ever hot-pink hand-knitted arm warmers.*

I'm pleased to report that I finally hit a bit of oppy paydirt today. My haul included:
--some insane 80s earrings
--a perfect-fit pair of cords
--a really pretty summer dress
--a cute blue + white stripey top
--a book on dinosaurs with great illustrations
--a felted mohair jumper, perfect for a couple of crafting projects

Jack pot!

*As an aside I can now confirm that it's scientifically impossible to feel the cold whilst donning a combo of ugg boots + arm-warmers. Yes, I'm all class.

20 July 2008

see the sea

Glorious sunshine. I AM friends with the rain, don't get me wrong, but there's so much to be said for the sun. I had my first full day of it since arriving in the Bus + boy, did I bask! Several hours whiled away on the back lawn: stripped down to my undies, reading + developing an unfortunate grass rash. It was sooooo worth it. This afternoon I took another long ramble down the beach, soaking it all up + looking for treasures.

My most recent memory of this beach is from New Year's Eve 2000/01, when Pete + I stopped in on our way down the coast. The mid-summer sea was calm clear sparkling blue + stretched on forever. I was astounded by the debauchery of the backyard party the 50-somethings threw. (Never fear, I know better now!) There was an unforgettable moment when my ma passed me a doobie. The boys went out in the dinghy + came back with a mountain of blue swimmer crabs which we devoured on the balcony.

It's different here now but still beautiful. I've always been amazed by the infinite variety of the sea - glistening like a bright gemstone one day, churning with dark violence the next. This winter beach is plagued by seaweed. Not a little, a helluva lot. The sea heaves dark with it, a seething cauldron of witches' brew. In some spots it's banked up metres high, like strange soft rocks. The birds are loving it + perch in their dozens. The weed is probably teaming with food for them. The mere thought of it gives me a shudder. There are all sorts of living or once-living things littering the drifts along the shoreline. Some I can't even look at, others I can nudge with a foot, until finally I progress to the few I deem safe to poke with one finger.

There's not much in the way of shells but there's an incredible array of sponges, different shapes/textures/colours/sizes, fleshy + alive. I feel guilty about the couple I've collected + will return them once I've had a chance to draw them. Like most sea-things, they seem to lose their magic once they're removed from the beach.

The walk back took me past a beachfront retirement home + some very elderly residents who were also enjoying the sun. One asked if I'd been fishing + when I looked confused she pointed to the plastic bag I was toting my treasures in. I explained that I'd been walking + collecting, + pulled out a lump of old fencepost I'd found to illustrate my point. The lady looked at me, nodding + giggling, + told me I was very lucky. I'm taking her words as wisdom rather than confusion. I can hear the sea now, the gentle thudding thunder + roll of the waves, + I FEEL lucky.

meme me, part three

This blog is experiencing technical difficulties. I can't get my comic meme images (below) to open in a separate window, + hence be read + understood. Makes the whole exercise a bit useless really. I'll revert to Plan A. Stay tuned... again...

sunday self portrait