Sunday mornings

The sweet, earthy smell of my father’s car in the morning. It wasn’t until he quit smoking that I realised it was stale cigarette smoke that I had associated with his car. It’s light tan, leather seats squeaking as I fidgeted and moved around. From this distance, the morning light was golden, diffused as it shone through the tall gum trees lining our quiet, middle suburban court.

On Sunday mornings, his only day not working, I would join him in the car and we would drive to the milk bar to buy fresh bread rolls, light and fluffy, the Sunday paper and a 20 cent bag of mixed lollies for my siblings and me. I would lean up against his rough, hairy leg as I gazed up longingly at the glass counter, above my eye-line. Boxes of chocolate bars, bulging white paper bags of mixed lollies stacked high and beyond the shop-keeper cigarettes, batteries, cleaning products and other assorted dry goods.

Years later my brother ran a milk bar in its dying phase. Apparently, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Another ill-conceived get rich quick scheme. Late afternoon light filtering through the dusty, dirty windows and onto the sparsely stocked shelves. I wonder if my own two daughters look at this scene with any degree of awe.

Sometimes, we got to stop for petrol and I relished the task of filling out the figures in his log book. While he was filling up the tank with petrol, my small body would climb over the front bench seat and open the glove box. Pushing past the dusty box of tissues, I extricated the small red notebook , un-looped the elastic band which kept the stub of a pencil in place and waited for his announcement.

Chug chug. I watched the small balls spin wildly in the rush of red transparent fuel as it flowed out of the pump, through the hose and disappeared somewhere behind the smooth worn seats where my siblings usually sat. I smelled the petrol fumes that wafted in as dad cracked open the driver’s door. “65 litres. 76 cents per litre. 37,769 kms” With great care, I used my best writing filling in the columns, closed the book and returned it to the glove box.

Tea rose

Tea Rose
I can still see it now – a large, proper china tea cup sitting on its saucer ever so gently shaking in her grasp. Her thin, spindly fingers are absent-mindedly caressing the flowers which encircle the cup. Interlaced folds of delicate petals surround the tight bud, blossoming, spilling outwards to unravel in an ordered chaos. Slightly shiny, crepe-like skin, so sheer I can see her veins. There is a small side table nestled up against the armchair but she is so focused on her tale that I think she has forgotten she is even holding the tea cup.

It is a day like any other in our house. My two young daughters are running around the garden picking flowers, chasing butterflies or something equally bucolic. I am pottering around my kitchen, baking biscuits for school lunches and getting a head-start on the week’s meals. The sun is streaming in the long windows, filtered through the over-hanging trees making it a place I’m very content to be.

It is through the kitchen door at the side of the house that people entered. In fact, when new people came to the house and approached the front door, they were stranded there for quite some minutes before we knew anyone was there. The wires to the front doorbell didn’t lead anywhere useful so it never rang even if someone managed to find the button.

The house had been extended multiple times over its almost one hundred year history, more than fifty of those with one couple, so that its direction and focus had changed. With almost more hallways than rooms, the concept of good design had been bypassed as rooms were added one by one to accommodate the many guests.

It is her firm rasping knock on the window, by the back door, that draws my attention. I hadn’t been expecting any visitors. Drying my hands on my apron, I shuffle to the back door. It is the weekend and I’m wearing weekend at home appropriate clothing. She isn’t.

‘Hello?’ I say upon forcibly sliding the reluctant door along its tracks.

‘Hello there.’ I’m sure she would have introduced herself but more than ten years later I have no recollection of her name. For the purposes of neat story-telling I could have called her Rose but there’s no indication that was her name. I do, however, still remember being slightly mesmerized by her appearance.

Multiple strands of pearls hang down from her neck, nestling into her rich velvet scarf. Layers of clothing in dark, gemstone tones jar at the bright sun in which she stands, leaning heavily on a walking cane. For a few moments we watch each other. I am wondering where, or rather when, she has come from. No doubt, she is sorting through her memory files trying to reconcile the many times she had stood at this door to be ushered in by her dear friend of many years – Nina. Not today though.

Although she knew the house had been sold, my strange face is still a disappointment.   I don’t even have a chance to invite her inside. However, I can see her now, stepping past me and into the kitchen as she explains how many years she has been visiting here. Not pausing in either the kitchen or the dining room, she steps deliberately and determinedly, her 90 year plus body onwards, so I have nothing else to do but follow.

As we arrive in the lounge room, she looks up and after a few moments, smiles. I can only imagine this room hasn’t really changed too much. The cherry wood panels that lines its walls, the large fireplace and mantle taking up an entire corner have not changed; only the furniture and its arrangement. Standing beside her, I can only wonder what she sees. I take the opportunity to offer her the armchair, its commanding position ideal to survey her domain.

Like a lady in waiting, I offer her some tea. She nods her approval and I disappear back into the kitchen to fossick for the supplies required – teapot, creamer, leaf tea, tea cup and saucer, a small plate of biscuits luckily still warm from the oven. As the electric kettle slowly boils, I wonder who is this woman seated in my lounge room.

Returning triumphant with my tray of tea supplies, I‘m unsure where to start but it turns out that doesn’t matter as I’m not the one directing things here now.

‘I have been coming here for many, many years, you know.’

I didn’t know but had figured out already my role as silent adoring audience.

‘Yes, I’ve known Nina and Clem since the early days. Stanhope was always such an exciting place. The Russian Ballet would always visit when they were in town. The parties they would have,’ she pauses and then points out through the west window. ‘Out there, under the cherry trees looking over Eltham. Tables laden with all sorts of food, they would play music and have outrageous arguments. So much life, so much laughter.  I never saw Nina smile so much as she did then.‘ Her own smile slowly fades.

I hand her the cup of tea which is not so full that she will spill it with her trembling hands. I don’t want to interrupt her but I want to know who she is and what is she doing here in my house. Hopefully, we will get to that at some point.

‘How did you come to know Nina?’ I ask trying to steer the conversation somewhat.

‘My first husband and I moved in to the street behind ten years or so after the war. We knew everyone in the street back then.  Stanhope used to be quite a large estate. It stretched all the way down the hill to the railway line. Being academics they never really had any money so they would sell off a block here and there when they needed to. I can still picture them running down the hill to the station to catch the train into Melbourne University where they both worked. The driver would blow the horn giving them time to race down. Nina was head of Russian Studies and Clem edited the literary journal Meanjin.‘

She looks down at her left hand as if noticing for the first time that she is holding a cup of tea. I offer her a biscuit but she declines with a slight wave of her right hand. I feel obliged to take one as though that is the reason I presented them in the first place.  Squealing, the girls are a blur as they run past the windows.

‘Nina couldn’t have any children of her own but she would host birthday parties for the neighbours’ children.  She loved having children around. She would be very happy to know that there is a family living here now.’

‘We’ve only been here a few weeks but we really like it here,’ I say trying to assuage any concerns she has. I bring the side table a bit further in front to make it easy for her to place her tea down. She pays it no heed.

We both sit in silence and I think how to explain to this woman what I already know. I have met Nina in my own way. I could feel her over my shoulder, keeping an eye on me. “Just watching, darlink. Just watching.”

 Nina was short with her long hair pulled back tightly in a bun. Always smartly dressed, she enjoys the company of me and my daughters. At times, she sits in the corner of the kitchen on the low wooden bench next to the girls as they attack their afternoon snacks. In fact, both of them love the life and energy we brought to the house.
 Nina became ill and with her strength ebbing day by day, she soon never left her bed. Clem would sit near her bedside reading as Nina dozed. She was grateful for the exciting lives full of love and laughter that she and Clem had shared. Sadly, too soon, she passed away.
 Clem couldn’t cope with the great weight of sadness he felt at this enormous loss. He drank more and more whiskey from his favourite crystal low ball to help blur reality but upon waking each morning, the house was still cold and empty without her. Not too long after, Clem moved out and died months later. His colour had been gradually draining out of him without his Nina around.
I understand that our family moving in, with all the noise and light that a family with two young girls bring with them, stirred Clem and Nina.
It is only a few seconds between the sound of the back door slamming and my six and eight year old daughters bounding into the room, puffing and laughing. The spell is broken. My guest straightens up, placing her tea cup roughly on the table and starts her ascent out of the chair. I go to assist and get stuck not knowing how to help so stand beside watching.
Picking up the teapot, cups and tray, I resume my role and follow her to the back door. She knows the way.  I say goodbye as she disappears down the path and around the corner. I look down and see her still full cup of cold tea, untouched.

Dreaming a reality – draft 2

Dreaming a reality
Six months or so after I separated from my husband, his father died. He had been ill for about 18 months with mesothelioma so his death was not unexpected. What was unexpected was being banned from his funeral by my mother in law. This man I had known for 16 years and was grandfather to my daughters. This man who I had accidentally walked in on whilst he was showering because he’d forgotten to lock the bathroom door. This man who had never said a harsh word to me. This was the man I was not allowed to say goodbye to.
My in laws were British if that helps explain some things. Ironically my new partner hails from England but his parents are so much warmer and friendlier than ‘being British’ might presume. My ex in-laws were cool and formal to begin with and things rarely changed went up from there. Both my own family and theirs had two daughters and two sons but they couldn’t have been more different. Upon arrival at my siblings’ or parents’ house, you were greeted in the driveway, escorted inside, your parcels taken from your hands to be replaced immediately by a drink and something to eat.  Our impromptu drop-ins were greeted with a smile, a cup of tea and an offer to stay for a meal. I couldn’t imagine any of my family moving further than an hour’s drive from one another let alone half across the world as my in laws had done – twice.
When I left my husband, I’d not moved very far at all from the marital home. I had read research that linked close geographical proximity to the ease of separation for the children. In fact, we had even done some joint counselling when we first separated to put in place strategies for making it smooth for our young daughters. Being brutally honest, I never meant to leave my husband permanently. I wanted some space and time apart so that I could hopefully rediscover what it was about him that attracted me in the first place. Domestic routine had clouded my eyes. I wanted to date him.  I longed for the simple experience of seeing him across the street and wanting to call out to him. I wanted there to be things I looked forward to tell him about my day. I wanted to be excited. I didn’t think it was too much to ask.
The small rented house I had moved into was in the next street. Without fences, the children could easily come and go between the houses. The fall of the land mean that neither house looked out directly onto the other so some privacy and distance could be had. This was the first time I’d ever rented a house in my life. I was in my early thirties and living on my own, albeit with two young children half of the time, for the very first time.
Soon I had managed to secure some part time work and as it turned out I was working the day of my father in law’s funeral. Serendipity was in my corner that day, as the carport at my new accommodation   fell down crushing the unpacked boxes and detritus from moving that had been left underneath. If I wasn’t working that day then I certainly would have been home, car parked in the carport as it wasn’t as if I had anything else to attend – like say a funeral.
My two primary school aged daughters had free choice as whether or not to attend the funeral.  Although it was a scheduled school day, they had been sat down and explained what was going to happen, who was going to be there and what their options were. They had been sheltered from their grand-dad’s illness until it was impossible to keep the secret any longer. We had wanted them to continue to have positive interactions with their grandfather rather than be worried about every little cough. They were both still young and this was the first death of a close family member that had really any significant impact on them.
Separating from my husband was one of the hardest things I had ever done, so this was a time of heightened stress for all of us. I endeavoured mostly just to get through each day whilst shielding from daughters from how strung out I truly felt. I wasn’t sure what normality meant anymore. I mention this because, with hindsight, I can see that small things had an amplified impact on me emotionally. The day of the funeral came and went and I did what I usually did – went about my life in a numbed state. The next day came and went, then another day and another day as they have a habit of doing.
 I don’t recall precisely the first time it happened. I was most likely running errands at the local shopping strip.  I was going about my business with my head down, a habit I had recently developed to avoid making eye contact which would lead to unwanted conversations. This was a dangerous place. I might run into other school mums who would adopt the concerned face whilst asking ‘how are you…really?’ nodding with their head to the side to indicate sincerity all the while hoping for some sign of a break down to gossip about later at the school gate.
Further ahead on the street, portions of beige or grey clothing and balding head were glimpsed through moving bodies. Immediately, I knew logically that it couldn’t be my father -in-law as he had been buried months before. That didn’t stop me pushing past people trying to get a closer look. If I could just get closer, then I’d know. Stepping left and right, two paces ahead, then stop, wait, now to the left. It was like playing a three dimensional game of hop-scotch to no avail. I stopped in my tracks, breathing heavily. At only five foot tall, it’s hard to locate people in a crowd and I’d lost him.
What made me think it was David?  It’d odd how little can be seen of someone we know so well for us to recognise them. It’s not just what their hair colour is, or the style of clothes they wear or even their gait. I’m curious about the idea of doppelgangers. If there is someone or multiple some ones like me out there in the world, do they walk like me? Talk like me? Laugh like me? Or only look physically like me? Maybe there’s a punk me, a nerd me and a hipster me. That’s quite a comforting thought really. Seeing David’s doppelganger in the same suburbs was too coincidental surely.
This would happen a few months later and months again after that. I kept trailing the Davids I saw, going into shops I had never been into and down streets I’d never walked. I began to get used to it and no longer found it strangely confusing. I began to just smile to myself knowing that I was seeing something no one else could see. In fact, I think I began to find it mildly comforting. Maybe we don’t disappear into thin air when we die after all.
 Life went on and ‘us little three family’ as I began to call us got on with things. School, work, newly formed habits of how we spent our time filled out lives. Six months down the track, we moved out of the temporary rental property and into our own proper home. I’d come to realise my pipedream of wanting to date my husband was something that only I had wanted. He didn’t want to date me. He wanted to still be married to me in the same manner it had previously been. He couldn’t see the need for change. One year on with divorce formalising things and life started to develop its own rhythm.
It was probably five or so years later than I had the dream. I have always loved my wild and crazy dreams though I’ve always felt I’m really the only one who finds them interesting. Dreams are like illnesses, few people really care enough to want to know the details.
 In my dream, I was in a crowded public place. It may have been a small town festival in a park or field somewhere. It’s one of those places that feel familiar even though I can’t tell you exactly where the place is. There were many people surrounding me and him, though he was at the same time separate from them. Slowly I approached, as I had done so many times in real life, though this time I was confident it was him.
It was one of those golden autumn afternoons with the sun low in the sky. “David?” I asked as I reached out for his shoulder, though I already knew it was him. He turned to face me. The sun was behind him, its glare making it difficult to discern any facial features. I moved around so I could clearly see his face. The fading sun formed a corona around his head.
He was smiling at me with that warm smile he always had. He was looking down towards me taller than he really was in life. He didn’t say anything to me. That’s not what this dream was about. He looked the same as he always had for the 17 years that I knew him. His photo-reactive glasses half tinted in the setting sun, a small breeze lifting his comb-over in an almost comical way. His short sleeve business shirt that he wore over his white sensible singlet.
I started with what I knew I was here to say.
“David, I just want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me and my daughters. I am so glad that I had a chance to know you. You were a fabulous grandfather to the girls and they are better for knowing you. I am better for having known you. Thank you”
There. It was done. I turned and walked away. I had had my chance to say what I needed to.
I awoke with a smile on my face and a calm start to my day. Rarely did I ever wake early and refreshed in the mornings but that day I did. 
Never again did I see my father in law in the street. I didn’t need to.

Dreaming a reality


Six months or so after I separated from my husband, his father died. He had been ill for about 18 months with mesothelioma so his death was not unexpected. What was unexpected was being banned from his funeral. This man I had known for 16 years and was grandfather to my daughters. This man who I had accidentally walked in on whilst he was showering because he’d forgotten to lock the bathroom door. This man who had never said a harsh word to me. This was the man I was not allowed to say goodbye to.

I was working the day of his funeral. It was fortunate that I was working as the carport where my car would have been parked fell down crushing all underneath. If I wasn’t working then I certainly would have been home as it wasn’t as if I had anything else to attend. I’m glad I was at work instead.

My two daughters had free choice as to attend the funeral or not.  They had been sheltered from their grand-dad’s illness until it was impossible to keep the secret any longer. They were both still young and this was the first death of a close family member that had really any significant impact on them.

Separating from my husband was one of the hardest things I had ever done, so this was a time of heightened stress for all of us. I endeavoured mostly just to get through each day whilst shielding from daughters from how strung out I truly felt. I wasn’t sure what normality meant anymore. I mention this because, with hindsight, I can see that small things had an amplified impact on me emotionally. The day of the funeral came and went and I did what I usually did – went about my life in a numbed state. The next day came and went, then another day and another day as they have a habit of doing.

 I don’t recall the first it happened. I was going about my business with my head down, a habit I had recently developed to avoid making eye contact which would lead to unwanted conversations. Further ahead on the street was where I saw him. I knew logically that it couldn’t be my father -in-law as he had been buried months before. That didn’t stop me pushing past people trying to get a closer look. I lost him in the crowd then stopped in my tracks, breathing heavily.

This happened again a few months later and months again after that. I began to get used to it and no longer found it strangely confusing. I began to just smile to myself knowing that I was seeing something no one else could see.  Life went on and ‘us little three family’ as I began to call us, got on with things. School, work, newly formed habits of how we spent our time filled out lives. We moved out of the temporary rental property and into our own home. Divorce formalised things and life developed its own rhythm.

It was probably five or so years later than I had the dream. I have always loved my wild and crazy dreams though I’ve always felt I’m really the only one who cares or finds them interesting. In my dream, I was in a crowded public place when I saw him there standing alone. Slowly I approached, confident it was him.

It was one of those golden autumn afternoons with the sun low in the sky. “David?” I asked as I reached out for his shoulder, though I already knew it was him. He turned to face me. The sun was behind him, its glare making it difficult to discern any facial features. I moved around so I could clearly see his face. He was smiling at me with that warm smile he always had. He didn’t say anything to me. That’s not what this dream was about. He looked the same as he always had for the 16 years that I knew him. His photo-reactive glasses half tinted in the setting sun, a small breeze lifting his comb-over in an almost comical way.
I started with what I knew I was here to say

“I just want to thank you for all that you’ve done for me and my daughters. I am so glad that I had a chance to know you. You were a fabulous grandfather to the girls and they are better for knowing you. I am better for having known you. Thank you”

I turned and walked away. I had had my chance to say what I needed to.
I awoke with a smile on my face and a calm start to my day.
Never again did I see my father in law in the street. I didn’t need to.


ALL ARTWORK MY OWN AND FOR SALE

What if I’d never had children?


What if I’d never had children?

I am by no means saying that I wish I’d never had kids OR that I,in some way, don’t like or love my children. I am just playing with the idea of a future where I hadn’t had children.

I do wonder if I’d have just knuckled down and down the career thing. I doubt it. I remember very clearly being in secondary school and I was around 15 years old. This was probably when you started to have career sessions with the school counsellor. I seem to recall doing those delightfully useless aptitude tests. I can’t even remember what my results of those were. School friends were talking about what university they wanted to attend, which they were going to do and what their working lives would be like. I sat alongside and nodded where appropriate but never felt any future of mine involved a pencil skirt, a phone and a desk.
All artwork my original 

 Being trapped in a city skyscraper for many hours a day only to thrust into the throng of all of those other thousands of city workers before, after and during the lunch hour rush had exactly zero appeal. Even today, I can’t see there’s any job that I would do that could convince me to partake in that daily ritual. That said, I’ve never been a part of Friday after work drinks, water cooler discussions, smoko or other office bonding rituals. One of my brief retail stints was in the city and I did the long train commute. I did enjoy that though for the plethora of books I was able to devour during that time.

So it appears the big business career was ticked off the list early on. Would I have studied more? I don’t think I was suited to Uni life back then straight out of school. I did try two different courses at two different institutions so I did at least try. I felt alienated. Yes, I know many others did too. I felt that they weren’t my kind of people. By that, I mean that I felt I couldn’t relate to them. There seemed to be no common ground to meet upon. I think in essence, that it wasn’t the right kind of course for me at that time. Now, I would look at those subjects not as something to get through but as something that inspires and stimulates. Yeah, I’d be one of those annoyingly enthusiastic mature age students. I wasn’t engaged then but possibly now I could be.

I’m skirting around the issue of whether or not I would have started down my creative path any earlier. I’ve been skimming back over my journals recently (only skimming as I don’t necessarily believe that journals are for being read as much as they are for being written). They go back 12 years or so. I mention writing and where it fits in my life. Further through the pages, I also write about the short painting courses that I was undertaking and the mutual painting group I started. I had small children at this point and there was quite an effort and energy involved getting the children looked after whilst I did these courses. If it was easier, would I have done more of it? I think not. My then husband wasn’t very supportive at all of any of my creative endeavours. I believe he was threatened by pretty much anything that didn’t revolve around him and the home.

Creativity by its very nature involves playing around with ideas and concepts. It’s incredibly messy and often very demanding of my time. He couldn’t have coped with it and I wasn’t pissed off enough to make the massive changes needed to get here. In one of her books, Mirka Mora talks about the selfishness necessary to follow the artistic life. I think she’s right. Art for me involves shutting out all other stimuli, including partner and children, to really concentrate on the thread that I’m exploring.  I struggle even having the radio or music on if I’m sitting down to write. Life experiences have no doubt enriched what I bring to my creative practice so these are not bitter words.

All that said, I’ve met some incredible people via my involvement with my children and I can’t imagine not having my current friends in my life.  Where would I be living? Who would I be living with? Would I travel more? Would I physically look any different? So many questions that can never have coherent answers.

I have two beautiful daughters who I am grateful to have in my life. They are so much fun and have taught me so much about myself and life. Each step in life brings us to where we currently are and I love where I am.

thinking back

I married at age 19. It was 1991 and it most certainly was not because it was what I was supposed to do. It was more likely because it was I wasn’t supposed to do. Marriage as an act of rebellion. Why not?

Rebellion is even too strong a word. As a piece of performance art – very possibly. Not because I was bored – I wasn’t. Not because I came from ‘a bad home’ – I didn’t.  In truth, right then I really loved the fella. I could see us doing everything together (possibly not great in retrospect but ain’t hindsight grand). He was my best friend. I felt very much myself with him. I liked myself with him. I liked who I was, how I felt and acted. It was comforting to be with him. I enjoyed his company one on one and also in groups. I didn’t anticipate any insurmountable problems.

 I grew up very much in middle suburbia. The house I grew up in was built for my parents in a court where all the houses were completed in a similar period of time, many with young families. There were lots of kids running around that my two brothers my sister and I could choose to play with. The court had a gentle and a steep incline that we could skateboard, ride our bikes as well as a large round flat area at the head of the court on which play all types of ball games. There was even a large vacant block which provided many abseiling, climbing and cherry eating adventures. It was the era before gluten free, nut free and ethically produced snacks.  When you look at it, those cherries we pulled off the trees were locally sourced, organic, nut free, gluten free snacks.  I never felt my parents were hovering over us watching our every move, though I’m not saying the large lounge room windows that looked smack bang out onto the middle of the court never saw my mum’s eye.

I attended the local primary school following in the footsteps of my three older siblings, sometimes literally as we walked the 700m to school. I had to use Google maps to check how far and how long the trip took because I couldn’t have guessed if we took 10 or 20 minutes to get to school. Google maps says 9 minutes, for the record. It was, in general, a perfect neighbourhood primary school. It backed on to the local park which had a large, shallow, muddy lake to one side. Certain teachers would use this convenient resource to ground our learning in the real world.

I remember once being chosen to be on the committee of kids to tour other local schools and test out their play equipment for our newly proposed adventure playground. It was such a prestigious position. Kids were chosen from each year level to survey the equipment, shortlist particular pieces and which were then put to the school council to finalise. At least, that’s how I remember it. Imagine the excitement of being let out of class, whilst your fellow students had to stay inside completing some scholarly exercises.  All the time, we were ferried around a few local schools to play on their equipment whilst their students were also in class. One rocketship/tunnel/fort – no waiting!

We played sport on weekends. We took regular holidays around country Victoria with all 6 of us piled in the car. As I was the youngest and the smallest, I usually was stuck on the front bench seat between mum and dad. I do recall straining my neck trying to be part of whatever was going on in the back. As we got older, my parents bought a beach house on the Mornington Peninsula opposite the area where we’d always camped each summer holidays. The afternoon of December 25, we’d pack up the car and drive the 90 minutes or so down to the beach house. Of course, summers then seemed almost endless. Not returning home until the start of February, days and dates lost their significance. It was only the weather that would shape the day’s activity schedule.

There were boats to be sailed, boats to go fishing from and boats to take on trips out around the bay. There were walks up to the lighthouse, if you only wanted a little walk or up to the pier if you wanted exercise or a chance at a private conversation. Plenty of scrub to hide and muck about in. Wet weather days meant jigsaws, books from the everchanging in and out bookshelf or maybe a trip out to the movies or bowling. There was a great little book store called The Hole in the Wall where they sold and bought second hand books for a couple of dollars. It was cool in the dark recesses of this tiny space. So many books piled high with hand written labels on the shelves letting you know if the section was Western Adventures, Biographies or Mills and Boon Romance novels (bleurgh). The shop even had its own particular smell.

To be continued

Story with prompts from my writing class


Once upon a time there was a little boy called Danny. He had two older brothers called Sam and Bob who wanted nothing to do with their annoying little brother so this story isn’t about them. Like most children at this time, Danny didn’t have a parent hovering around him to ensure his snacks were ethically produced or gluten-free. Danny did whatever he wanted to as long as he was home in time for dinner.

At the bottom of the court his family lived in was a large unruly vacant block that Danny loved to explore. Most days were a blank canvas. He used to love to abseil down the not so steep slope with found rope tied awkwardly around one of the trees – not that he would have ever have heard of the word abseil.

In Spring from the blossom trees that lined the street, he would eat as many of the sun warmed cherries as he could before he felt ill. Bush tucker man had nothing on Danny. Though not the ones out the front of number 4. Nobody played with the kids from number 4. The house smelled funny and they wore weird clothes. The parents didn’t talk like the other parents. Nobody went near number 4 if they could help it.

One day, Danny found a ball laying in the gutter at the very bottom of the court almost out the front of number 4. He rescued it and decided to play footy. He discovered that it was really tricky playing footy without friends or big brothers. Because of that, Danny decided that Big Ted needed to be goalie.

Hiding Big Ted from no one in particular, Danny liberated him from the bedroom floor and installed between two scrappy trees that served as goal. Goal was always at the bottom of the block to take advantage of the natural incline. The goal trees were at each edge of the block and since Big Ted was a lazy fucker Danny always scored.

And because of that, Danny assumed he was an excellent footy player. Going to school the following year sorted that assumption out quick sticks.

Until finally many years later Danny realised two things – he was crap at sports and there was nothing wrong with the people from number 4 after all.

Next big thing

This last weekend I was fortunate to share in a delightful reunion of our mothers group that was first formed over 16 years ago. What follows below is my response to a conversation that inspired after a vino or three. We were discussing how supported we all felt when we had our wee ones and would bring any issues to our mothers’ group. Our eldest kids are now 16 years of age but that kind of supportive environment is never redundant. 

Most of us are blessed to be in a position to explore new directions right now. It transpired though that being somewhat accountable could help push us along to reach new goals.


So we have given ourselves six months to achieve our personal, self-set goals.


Below is what I have submitted. 

What?


to explore mediums other than painting acrylics on canvas
to explore ‘vessel’ – the term, what it looks like, feels like etc

How?

I know it’s vague but, for me, that’s how I roll artistically/creatively. When I start I only have an indistinct idea. I’ve tried starting with clearer thoughts of the end product but it only constricts me, doesn’t allow me free reign and I pretty much always end up dispirited and disappointed. 
I need freedom to play, to explore… to be wrong.

Practical steps
I’m planning to partake in open pottery sessions at my local Living and Learning centre 
I’m re-visiting my love of crochet – some pieces will be stiffened with the use of a simple sugar syrup (combining my foodie bent?)
I’m planning to play with paper-mache and see where that takes me.

Why?

I had a dream that I created milky porcelain vessels, held in both hands they were supped from.
They were almost breast shaped (doesn’t take a genius to see connection there) though slightly almond, tear-drop shaped also. 


Anyway – that’s my two-cents worth.

I’m planning on collating everyone’s ideas/plans and sharing them amongst us all as I don’t wish to be the keeper of information but rather a co-facilitator. We shall all hold each others’ ideas amongst us as a group.Many years ago we nurtured each others’ children. Now we can nurture each others’ ideas. What beautiful symmetry!


Rhythms

What would my “natural” sleep order look like?

I love an afternoon nap. I actually think that it benefits me. Others do coffee, read, play virtual games. I like to sleep. No, I didn’t use the word nap though I do like to nap too.

Nap vs sleep
Less vs more
Keeps things at bay vs restorative
Nanna vs hedonistic
Daydream vs dream
Cheeky vs carefree
Anyways – I think if I didn’t have external constraints such as children and work I’d sleep at least 2 hours every afternoon anytime from 3pm onwards. Even if I’m able to commitment wise,  I often don’t cause I’m worried about it being too late and how it will affect my slumber that evening. Of course, this leads on to thoughts of what would my daily patterns be if my work was flexible and I didn’t have to factor in my children.

I don’t think I’d wake til 9.30/10 am. I like then to have a walk and run errands in the morning then graze my way through to the afternoon with a vino or two, some reading, some arting then naturally time for a nap before pottering around to do dinner. After dinner I’d socialize or get down and dirty art-wise til maybe 11pm then shower and time for bed. Sounds good to me!

Of course, work and kids and other people don’t necessarily follow this schedule – ah,well..

Transplanting myself into another place wouldn’t work as I’d be too busy exploring it to settle into such a schedule. This is not a question easily answered but that’s okay.
Below is an interesting link. I particularly relate to ‘late sleeper’ prejudice. This website is very interesting in general. Lots of ideas to mull over. Have a look if you have time.