Friday, December 28, 2007

Fiction Friday

This Week’s Theme: [Fiction] Friday Challenge for December, 28 2007:Your adult character just got a guitar for Christmas--a gift very out of character. What changes, if any, does this cause in her life or personality? (You may adjust the instrument if a guitar would be out of place or time in your story.)

Abby ran her slender pointer finger over the curves of the guitar, collecting a pile of dust like a snow plough of housework.

“You don’t play often,” she mumbled, squatting down to investigate the patterned inlay in the front.
“No time,” Alex called from the kitchen, over the noise of clinking glasses.
“Shame,” Abby called back, intrigued. “I didn’t know that you played.”

“I don’t,” he replied handing her a glass of sparkling burgundy. “Cheers.”
They clinked glasses and both drank a long draught of the chilled red wine.
“You have a dusty guitar sitting in a stand in your lounge room, but you don’t play. I thought I was supposed to be the one who was an anomaly?” commented Abby, looking back at the guitar.

“It was a present many years ago. I really should take better care of it.”
“Like dust.”
“I don’t dust.”
“You don’t play either apparently,” teased Abby taking a small sip of the burgundy, enjoying the bubbles caressing the top of her tongue as she held each mouthful for a few seconds longer than necessary.

“I lie,” he recanted.
“So do I sometimes but I’m a politician and that’s what we’re supposed to do best.”
“And I was a journalist once upon a time – are we one rung above or below politicians.”
“Above I think – only lawyers are below politicians,” and reached across to put her wine glass on the table.

She settled herself in a tattered old arm chair that was situated at right angles to the equally depilated sofa, and opposite another cream and brown striped arm chair.. An equally pre loved coffee table completed the lounge room furniture. The upholstery was fraying in long strands, exposing lumps of padding on the arms. The wooden arms underneath the battered fabric was scratched and discoloured. Uni share house chiche she noted. She was certain that she could smell old dog, even though there was no sign of a dog anywhere. Tucking her feet under her bottom and reached to reclaim her wine.

“So you lie Alex, what do you lie about.”
“It not an on going thing.”
“Well I’m glad to know that.”
“I lied to you about the guitar.”
“You do dust then.”
“Sometimes – once a year before my parents come to visit, so there’s slightly less tutting from my mother.”
“Well I’m very glad that we’ve got that out of the way. No secrets between friends huh?” and she winked playfully at him.
“And I play the guitar.”
“And there’s also a teenage girl in your cellar that you kidnapped and have been keeping prison for the last three years.”
“That was in poor taste.”

He slowly sipped the wine and allowed the silence to wash over them. Sitting there, with her long elegant feet tucked under her pert butt, in the oversized grey v-neck jumper she looked soft and feminine. Even in the well worn jeans she oozed sensuality, feminine grace. Yet the moment she opened her mouth and spoke, with the seering sarcasm roasting from her thin lips, a very masculine wall went up. The mask was well worn. He noticed it easily because he wore one too. What she was protecting herself from he didn’t know and he didn’t even know where to begin to unravel her own personal mystery.

“Why did you stop playing guitar?” she finally ventured, draining the last drops of the wine from her glass. “Don’t get up. I can help myself to more wine.”

He heard the click of the fridge door opening, the slight pop of the cork coming back out of the bottle and then the loud clunk of the heavy fridge door closing again.
“You didn’t have to fight the fridge door?”
“We had a yellow one when I was in my first year of uni. In the days before they were considered retro and funky. It belonged to my flat mate Flick and her Grandparents before her – circa mid 60’s I think. It stored stuff all food, which was probably a good thing seeings we were skint for most of the fortnight between Austudy payments.”
“Flick? You lived with a horse.”

Abby laughed and snuggled back into the lumpy arm chair.
“It was short for Felicity but she ended up being a bit like a testy, bad tempered mare than a fun loving housemate. Our shared living arrangement didn’t last beyond the first semester.”
“I’m hoping she didn’t die with a falafel in her hand.”
“John Birmingham,” she recognised. “I never read the book. No there were no falafels involved – just a lot of girly angst, shouting, accusations all that sort of stuff and a raft of unpaid bills in my hand when she did the hissy fit, primadonna move out melodrama.”
“Sorry to hear that – I never shared with chicks if I could help it. Birmingham was basically just a run down of all the shitty share houses and house mates he’d had in his time. It was a lot like some of the places I lived in – housemates from hell and all that sort of stuff.”
“Did any of them play bad guitar?”
“Not that I remember. To the best of my knowledge I never lived with Birmingham.”
“Practise does make perfect – or so the saying goes,” Abby quipped, pulling at a stray thread that looked like the lumpy wool that was currently fashionable for knitting scarves with and was ridiculously expensive..

“You sound like my mother.”
“She was the one that gave you the guitar?”
“Hell no!” he exclaimed laughing with an edge that was more discomfort than wry humour.

“That guitar over there was a present from my irrepressible Gran for Christmas when I was 14. I’d started to get antsy about school. All I wanted to do was sleep and when I wasn’t asleep I wanted to be in the water surfing. My grades dropped, I become the class clown and took great delight in making everyone's life a misery”
“You surfed.”
“I still do.”
“Like playing the guitar and dusting.”
“Sort of.”

"And now you get paid to be the class clown and make important people look stupid." He didn't reply.

He walked over and took the guitar out off the stand. Grabbing a discarded t-shirt off the other arm chair, he quickly wiped the rosy wood clean and tossed the t-shirt on the floor. Taking the guitar in his hands, he gently plucked each of the strings with his thumb.
“Out of tune,” he commented and placed it in the cradle of the empty arm chair.
“So you’re Gran gave you the guitar.”
“It was a strange gift and certainly a step up from hankies and the occasional ill fitting jumper inspired by Ken Done or Jenny Kee. The Angora year was especially bad.”
“Why because it was made of wood and not wool.”

He shook his head and drained his glass, walking back out to the dark kitchen.
“None of us every played a musical instrument,” he called from the kitchen. “And music wasn’t exactly welcomed in our household. It was considered frivolous by both Mum and Dad.”
“But surfing was OK?”

He shrugged placing the wine glass on the table and picking up the guitar, absently tuning each string.
“Gran rocked my world, literally and figuratively with this little beauty,” he declared after a few minutes and strummed briefly once, a clear sound reverbaerating through the room.

“Through this guitar I learnt to live beyond the square of a life that my parents had constructed for me. I got in touch with a part of me that I didn’t even know existed – though I had guessed that it existed. There’s something raw and pure that courses through you when you’re on top of a wave, thundering downwards towards the beach. But it was never enough for me. I’m not an adrenaline junkie. In those moments of abandon out there on a perfect break, there’s a freedom to feel and just be … and I knew there was more. The guitar was the key to understanding and experiencing my own sense of self, my creativity. A life that was not perfectly planned and laid out, that wasn’t available to me in books or in the wisdom of my parents.”

He picked out a few lines of “Six Ribbons” and looked up at Abby.
“that’s where you and I are alike Abigail. Neither of us are content to live within the Square. Music liberated me – some wood, strings and a few pieces of metal. Who would have thought. What liberated you?”
“I’m not free Alex,” she replied quietly, looking down to the well worn carpet, thread bare beneath her socks. “I’m still imprisoned by my desperate need to rebel.”

So excited to be back writing again - this is my first creative writing attempt since the end of NaNo - almost a whole month ago. Jamie seems to have renamed himself Alex - his perogative I guess. Both Abby and Alex have been chattering away in my head demanding to be let loose on paper again, so I guess I will be finishing 'Finding Aphrodite' next year!!

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Pele: depression, obesity and tiredness

Over the past few days I have been reading 'The Dark Goddess: dancing with the shadow' by Marcia Starck and Gynne Stern. It was one of those impulse buys when in Bent Books at West End on my last Artist's Date. It literally jumped out of the self and into my hand.

I was reading the section on Pele the Hawaiian Goddess of violence, volcanoes, jealousy and lightning (in her dark aspect) Christmas Night. The following really struck a chord with me, especially as I've been on a bit of a quest to better understand the origins of my anger ...

Masks by Rain Walker

"Depression, far more common to women than to men, is often repressed anger. It is safer for many women to appear and feel depressed than to be angry. Anger then gets pushed down into the shadow where it erupts or spews forth unexpectantly, similar to the way a volcano blows its top. Unfortunately hidden anger is a great energy drain, but the chronically tired woman often doesn't know what is wrong with her and blames herself for always feeling tired. Obesity too is connected with hidden anger. Fat protects the body from feeling too strongly impinged on from the outside; also tired women eat for energy." Page 48-49

This made me think about my own battles with depression in the past and what was a possible source for my anger. The largest and most serious episode of depression was the first year I was living with my ex partner. I was angry with him for not understanding me and what was important to me. I felt very alone and without anyone to confide in. I felt as though I had made my bed and had to lie in it, regardless of what it was doing to me, in terms of my relationship. Part of me was also stubbornly determined to make my relationship work - to prove to family and friends interstate that I could have a serious, stable relationship, and that someone could love me - even if that someone didn't really love me and was abusing me in subtle, but powerful ways.

I was incredibly angry with my employment situation at the time and felt as though I was being taken advantage of - working 40 hours a week as a Nanny/housekeeper and then was looking after the same kids another three nights a week while my bosses played sport, or went to bible study class. My partner at the time couldn't understand what was wrong with me - he believed that as a couple we were on a good wicket and told me to try harder. But my anger was explosive and dangerous to both myself and the kids whose care I was entrusted.

In regards to my employment, in true Pele form I exploded and had a screaming match with my boss (I was working as a Nanny) the day before I was to return to work, and she returned that evening with my severance pay. Finding new employment, in a position that gave me responsbility, scope for growth and a chance to have some fun (not to mention 100km from where I was living and beyond the grasp of my ex boss) helped me to climb out of my depression.

And I know my current round of stacking on the weight has to do with my anger. It falls around my belly (to the point that I'm mistaken for being pregnant) and its like the extra weight there is protecting that nurturing centre, whilst I work out and heal the deep anger inside that has to do with the nurturing I'm missing out on from my own mother. And I'm tired for no particular reason, so its time again to look for my anger, and to excavate its source to find a way to heal.

Julia Cameron says that our anger is a compass .. buts its hard to follow the needles when the compass is hidden. Perhaps its time to call on Pele to help me find the way?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Painting in Chocolate

On The 7:30 Report tonight there was a segment on Australian born painter Sid Chidiac - whose chosen mediums are oil and chocolate. Yes you read correctly, Sid paints in chocolate ... my kind of a guy, my kind of art!

Click here to see this remarkable artist in action and the full interview from The 7:30 Report!

Thursday 13: Thirteen Things to be Grateful for in 2007 [1]

As the year slowly but surely winds down to the end of the calendar year, its time to look back and reflect on the year that was. This year, influenced by a conversation had around Genevieve's kitchen table last year, I intend to reflect back on what there is to be grateful for in 2007. As I've been cooking dinner I've realised that I have 'things/events/stuff' to be grateful for but also a number of people to be grateful for.

1. Finding FlyLady changed the way in which I was able to think of my home, the housework and my place in it. During January and for part of February I ranged through our old house, finally unpacking boxes that were near to two years old. I discovered that clutter, in all its shapes and forms sucks the light from your home. While I regularly fall off the FlyLady bandwagon - its finally a 'home' to come back to when I want to begin getting on top of a run away housework. To date, its the only system which has worked for me. The words 'FlyLady' and 'swish and swipe' are bandied about our home now, as if they were always part of our vernacular.

2. Buying our first home was a pipe dream that we never thought possible. With Dave's new job, beginning August 2005 we were finally able to start saving money and in Feburary (during Mercury retrograde that warns strongly against big purchases) we walked into our dream home, put a contract on it and a few hours later were told the house was ours!! It was only after the whirlwind buying period that we realised the house had more than adequately met the check list of 'must haves' ... it also had a pool, a cubby house, an aviary. It was also in a quiet street in the middle of a lovely leafy suburb, close to the motorway - but far enough away to not have the noise or pollution, close to school, the university is just up the road ... in March we moved in and despite some serious issues with the pool, which are only just resolving now, we feel incredibly blessed to be here! ... oh and our old housemate Phil (aka Uncle Phil) was able to move with us, so our 'family' remained intact despite the move.

3. The Bunya Mountains ended up being our only holiday this year. It wasn't the we planned not to have holidays this year, but I guess buying a house sapped up any spare money that was lying around and with Dave's change in jobs there were no more paid for jaunts to Cairns that we'd been able to enjoy in years past. The four days there were not long enough - we bush walked, stoked the fire, bird watched, walked some more and for me, I mediated, I journalled in a gushing purge that helped to clear my head and see my way clear for what was to come. I understood that there was a deep need in me to reconnect my mind, body and soul. I realised that I needed to discover new ways to indulge in my absolute need for freedom - walking and writing immediately came to mind and over the course of the next few months this took form.

4. The epiphany that I could just write for a living/career occured on the solar eclipse in September. This was on the back of six months of intermittent blogging and a growing sense of confidence in my writing, plus a desire to begin to voice, through writing, my ideas and opinions. Not to mention the insights that I had during our stay in the mountains. It didn't come in a blinding flash, it was just a simple dawning of something that I've known I wanted to do all of my adult and teenage life. It was incredibly freeing - I no longer had to worry about what to do in 2008 - study, a job, another baby? I would simply write and whatever is meant to happen as a flow on from that will be.

5. The birth of my neice Kira Lee Treggae bought up more baggage than I thought was possible. I realised that the anger I had in regards to my sister's birth choices and the innate sense of being a crusader for my unborn neice or nephew (though I was certain that she was indeed a girl the entire time!) was born from a need in me, that was being projected outwards. I understood that the anger was mine and was not with my sister's birth choices, but the choices that were erroneously made in regards to my birth. Itwas the first step in what has been a long journey this year ... culminating in writing this article

6. Completing The Artist Way changed the way in which I relate to my creativity and was the most powerful, profound and life altering personal development that I have ever done. Over the 12 week process I all but gave up drinking, I came to recognise my bad habits and destructive patterns and most of all, I came to realise that I am a work-a-holic and this stands in my way of enjoying my creativity, my family - really just living my life to the fullest. I understood that I seek validation of myself from those around me - from outside of me, and understood for the first time, that I need to find validation from within ... which I'm now working on. I'm grateful to understand now, that I am cranky and unhappy when I dont practise my creativity and that time out, alone with my inner Artist is not a luxury but a necessity.

7. Beginning a Goddess journey started with the first step of throwing caution and excuses to the wind and signing up to go the the Goddess Conference, that was held on the Gold Coast. I was gifted two amazing pieces of wisdom which have finally transformed the way in which I can view my entry into this world and to begin the process of being at peace with it. The singing, the ritual, the wisdom, the being with over 90 like minded women and spending time with two special women made this the highlight of my year. It was also the first time I had been away from Dylan for the night .... which was a huge step on a different path. The Goddess journey is a path that I intend to pursue with purpose next year as I feel this is finally the 'right time' after a few years to embark on the next stage.

8. Completing my first ever National Novel Writing Competition now seems like a blur of a dream. Across November I wrote 50,300 words to fall over the finish line on the final morning of the competition, having had the week from hell as the final week of writing. I created some amazing characters and got to pursue ideas, and philosophies, quirks of human nature that I feel is a blessing. Although no where near finished 'Finding Aphrodite' will be finished and then given a major overhaul next year. The characters continue to wander around in my head, demanding that I find time to put them down into text. I learnt from doing NaNoWriMo that I can indeed committ to something and finish it, I am able to write an extended piece of work, I am able to surrender control and allow the characters to create their story and I am able to balance everything in my life so that writing can happen. It also allowed me to understand for the first time that my volunteer work encroached on too much of my life and I had allowed it to happen.

9. Down to Birth allowed me to be a conduit for birthing and parenting wisdom for the third year, but this year I really struggled. Moving house and being without both computer and then internet afterwards got the magazine year of to a really slow start, and the momentum never really picked up. As my interest increased in pursuing my own creative outlets, mainly writing, I came to resent the time that Down to Birth took up. In the final week of November I understood that it no longer functioned in a positive way in my life and I made the tough, and heart wrenching decision to give up editorship of the magazine in the new year. It felt as though I had amputated a limb and had been dropped by the great love of my life. But I'm moving on and I'm grateful for the opportunities that have been made available to me through my work and time with the magazine - the networks I have become part of, the wisdom and stories that have been shared with me, the opportunity to keep my hand in writing to the point where I felt free and confident enough to begin writing extended editorials.

10. The Australian Homebirth Conference took me to Sydney for four days and three nights at the beginning of November. It meant being away from Dylan for all that time, which was something that was huge for me. Although I came away from the conference deflated, tired and quite raggered feeling, it was another sign post that I am grateful of that my time as an active member of the homebirth community and lobby was coming to an end.

11. My Dad's visit in October to coincide with Indie was a short but incredibly heartening experience for all of us. After dinner on the first evening, and being encouraged to pour myself a small wine, Dad put forward a toast to Dave and I to congratulate us on the parenting decisions we had made, and stuck to - that he could see the effort and sacrifice we'd made shining through Dylan. It bought tears to my eyes to have this acknowledged, as when you tread the path less travelled the tendency for others is to deride, to question, to challenge and to be less than supportive. We've had our fair share of that over the last four years, beginnging with the decision to birth at home, then issues with cosleeping, full term breastfeeding and the choice not to vaccinate which has meant that one of Dave's sisters has chosen not to visit us for the entire length of Dylan's life. It just goes to show how powerful words really are.

12. Rites of passage continued throughout this year to dominate my thoughts. The blessingways that I have been able to be part of this year has continued to concrete my faith and belief in how important rites of passage are for women in our society. In February, under the big frangipani tree we gathered to celebrate Anna's impending birth and to name her 'Woman Giving Birth' and to draw mandalas for her to put on her wall. A few weeks later it was Genevieve's turn in an incredibly intimate and moving afternoon with a few of her closest woman friends and family members. Lastly this year, was Nicole's dusk blessingway, with a roaring fire, dressing callico dolls and angelic singing. Secondary to this, but not necessarily second in importance was reading Naomi Wolf's "Promiscuities" which spoke, among many topics, sex as a rite of passage. This ignited my desire to research and write the "Blood Sister Project" idea that I first had in 2006 having completed my Womens' Rites of Passage course. I am grateful that synchronicity keeps this idea alive, and expanding.

13. The Circle of the Sun was begun this year by my friends Alex and Mercedes to travel through the zodiac and explore our creativity. This has had profound implications not just for my soul journey this year, in more episodes of synchronicity, but for my creativity journey. My desk is surrounded with my Circle of the Sun projects - a collage of me dancing as a child in my jeanie outfit, my dark and brooding mandala, my ceramic leaf bowl and fnally the red tissue paper covered mask. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to be part of this throughout the second half of 2007, to have sat in circle with women in an arena not dominated by birth, to have shared and shared in wisdom, to have journeyed within and beyond myself.

... and now the 13 people who shaped my life in 2008. I give thanks and appreciation to you all.

Dave, who despite all my crazy and often self centred idiosyncracies remains calm, focused and loving ... and with me after five years. His support in my decision to write has been unwavering and his patience saintly, as I continue to unravel and heal my life, so I can be whole, bold and authentic. I'm ever so grateful that he's my companion on this journey ... a lesser man would have given up by now.

Dylan continues to inform, educate, push my boundaries and buttons, love me unconditionally and talk non stop! Without him, I would never have known it possible to talk non stop about Spiro the Dragon for more than half an hour, when he himself knows nothing of Spiro! His passion for life, and all that it holds reminds me daily that this needs to be my credo as well.

Phil who is the fourth member of our family, is the glue that holds my sanity together when he's home. The five minutes he takes out of an evening to read a book to Dylan, play lego, or unwhingingly to do the dishes for the umpteenth night in row or takes the washing off the line without being asked - really makes a difference in my life. And boy can this fella cook ... congratulations to Amy for snaring him!

Kirsten has been a friend for quite a few years now, but taking on the reins of HMA convenorship bought her more intimately into my life. Her ethos of 'no martyrs welcome here' really made me look hard at my life, especially the time and effort put into to HMA. When I was busy with the magazine, she took Dylan into her home and allowed me to work from a cafe down the road. Her gentle nature, her passionate parenting and her wicked sense of humour make her addictive to be around and leaving is often an hour long ritual. She loved and gave me her unconditional support when I decided that I had to walk away from HMA. And that to date has been her greatest gift to me.

Anna this year indoctrinated me into 'the sisterhood'. No that's not some sort of secret society - though it may as well be for me. She allowed me to experience the joy and closeness of a sister like figure in my life - which has meant more to me, than words will ever express. Over the year she's had Dylan so I could work or get to an appointment. She's given me the opportunity over and over again to practise my gifts of generosity. And I've had the chance to be an honorary aunty and enjoy seeing Saskia's face light up when she sees me (I should also mention here that Kirsten's son Lucien also does the same - even to crawl into my lap for a cuddle which is truly special!)

Nickole inspires me to be intensely creative, deeply woman, to not just survive but to shine. At her blessingway a few weeks ago, we were able to hold each other and have a good cry. Knowing Nickole this year, but also for the past few years, has taught me that if I look inside me and I dont like what I see, then I have the strength and resolve to change it. Nickole's nurturing of my talent has been cornerstone for my development as a writer .. through her example of 'giving it a go' I decided that I could also 'give my art a go'.

Annie was a partner in crime for yet another year. She, without a sensible word, urged me to abandon all sense of decorum and scream like a woman possessed when we saw Adam Hills on stage in the Spicks and Speck-tacular (just as an example of how one woman can be your partner in crime) She supported me passionately and without question when I chose to walk the writers path, introducing me to her friends as 'a writer'. We took a number of day trips away together, I went to the Ipswich Train Museum for the first time, she baby sat so I could see The Chaser boys, made me innumerable cups of Rooibos tea and always had a reserve of new YouTube clips to share. Here's to more adventures in 2008 ... and was always, always pushing and challenging me to be a more honest and authentic woman in all that I do and say!

Danae exploded into my life like the best possible evocative perfume, that boldy and beautifully enters a room. We met firstly on Mystic Medusa's blog, then through Dan's blog when she put the call out for someone to do The Artist Way we were meshed together on the rollecoaster ride that is TAW. Her honesty, her rawness, her wild woman passionate intensity, her generosity in sharing her wisdom and the uniqueness of her views have helped to shape not just my writing, but the way in which my view on the world, on mothering, on being a woman is evolving. Dan allowed me to see me desire to keep digging for the truth - and to hold that in high esteem. And she told me that I have an altar of initiation in my birth chart ... which put to rest the desire I've always had to find something 'special' in my chart!

Catherine is the second of my Mystic Medusa blog mates who crept into my life, via email. I rediscovered the thrill of getting email and corresponding late at night - a fellow procrastinator. her wry wit and well of knowledge (or ability to get said knowledge) is awe inspiring. It's been a long time since I've had a confidante in bitchdom - and Catherine stepped up to the job with creative aplomb! My inbox quite simply will never be the same again. And was she was able, on ridiculously short notice to share in the experience of The Chaser live at the Tivoli.

Jacqui and I sat next to each other on the first morning of the Goddess conference, and we struck up an easy conversation, in amongst my mess of nerves. I later discovered that she was a midwife and a kinesiologist. Her wisdom has helped on at least two occassions now to put my life into perspective and that's not when I'm lying on her table, having my energy rebalanced. Meeting her opened new and powerful opporunities for me to heal myself and after only a few visits I'm reaping the rewards.

Scott sms-ed me one afternoon as I was pulling into a service station to fill up with petrol. A single lined text message after 14 years of silence. He was my first boyfriend back in 1991. I had searched for him on and off for years. Excitedly in 2003 I found him registered on a school friends website but got no reply. After a few days of intense text messaging, I could finally put aside the restlessness I had always had about him - he is now married with two primary school aged sons. It's crazy how the universe works. It also got me thinking again about sex as a rite of passage - his appearance back in my life coincided with me finishing 'Promiscuities'.

Kate is my mother-in-law, though more affectionately known as Mum2. This year she's made a number of trips to Brisbane to be with us, and most especially in November to care for Dylan while I was away in Sydney. I'm always grateful for the fact that she really understands what its like to parent in isolation from your family, the love, support and down time they can provide for you as parents. With this year being a tough one for my Mum and I, I really appreciated and valued the time Kate spent with us this year and for the many long hours of conversations about everything and anything.

Karen is my soul sister, she's also a very old friend of Annie's (thus how Annie and I know each other). No year goes by without Karen's input into shaping and making sense of my life. Though we haven't had the opportunity to hang out in person this year, nor to indulge in really long and regular phone calls, I know that she's always there for me. No list is complete without her!

I have many other beautiful men and women in my life, including my family of birth, who have contributed in small powerful ways to my life over the last year ... and I honour you also, and give my thanks for your blessings, gifts and opportunities. 2007 has been a transformative year for me and on this foundation I look forward to exploring and adventuring confidently into 2008.

Christmas Hoopla

Though not officially tagged by Smiler, I did come across this on her blog and as I was meaning to do something last week to do with Christmas on 13 Thursday and didn't quite get around to finishing it ... here goes in a few free minutes I have.

1. When I was a kid my Mum and Dad platted the hair of my sister and I into tiny platts on Christmas Eve so we could have wavy hair for Christma Day. It seemed that we were up way past out bedtime for this to happen.

2. I love old Christmas movie/cartoons. This year we got the 1967 Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol and a Frosty the Snowman movie on DVD for Dylan. I also got, as a Golden Book, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - with the same storyline as the movie from the 70's where he and a rogue elf (who wants to be a dentist) go the the island of broken toys and on the way back to the North Pole encounter a yeti like monster.

3. I was 12 before I stopped believing in Santa Claus - when my Mum wasn't patient enough to allow a suitable amount of time between us going to bed, and apparently to sleep, and getting out all the rustling plastic shopping bags.

4. Santa always bought us singlets, socks and undies - being a practical guy!

5. One year my Dad and Uncle drank a whole bottle of rum as they attempted to assemble a swing set from Santa. The swings were assembled just in time for sun up and of course - the bottom of the bottle (my head aches just thinking about it) The year that they assembled the trampoline - there was much less drinking.

6. Santa had the same handwriting as my Dad ... I thought it was pretty cool at the time that they wrote they same way - never put two and two together.

7. Christmas Day, every second year, meant driving. We moved to the country when I was 9, which meant that every second year when Christmas was at my Aunt's we would load into the car around 10:0am and drive and hour and a half to her place. Later on, the drive would also include - a three later arvo trip to my Grandparents and an over night there.

8. As a teenager, Christmas Day really signalled the beginnging of the Summer holidays, as it was that evening, or the following morning that we would pack up the car and trip on down to Anglesea, and either our tent (in the early days) or caravan (later on) for the rest of the Summer holidays. This wasn't necessarily always a good thing - boy issues, friend issues etc.

9. My cousin always had to be goaded into eating her peas on Christmas Day - with threats that there would be no presents if she didn't eat her peas. Lucky for me I was happy to eat peas, potatoes, carrots, potato, pumpking - anything that landed on the plate in front of me. Eating Xmas pudding was not obligatory, nor tied to presents, so I was happy to just go with a bowl of custard.

10. Christmas always means HOT for me ... as a kid it was always stiffling - made more so by the collection of evens that had been going since early morning with turkey and pork. The best Christmas Day I remember (weather wise) was at my cousins, and there was a corker of a thunderstorm late afternoon. The thunder was so loud, and so close, the entire weatherboard cottage shook on its foundations.

11. My first Christmas away from my family was the hardest Christmas I have ever had to endure. It was my first Christmas in the country and we had no time or money to be able to make the trip back to Cairns. We celebrated out the back of the local pub with the lovely hospital publican and his wife. I got some perfume for Christmas that year - Dolce Vitae, my first ever Christian Dior perfume, but it didn't make up for the fact I missed my Mum terribly. I was 23 that year! I went on to spent another two Christmases away.

12. I once fell asleep on the Christmas table after lunch - having worked 14 days straight (with the only day off in beween spent driving nine hours to Townsville and bank to take Mum to a doctors appointment there) and begun drinking chardonnay too early in the morning. Someone took my plate away to put in the dishwasher, I put my head down on the white table cloth and the next thing I remember was being tapped on my shoulder by my partner (it was our first christmas together) and him suggesting I go lie down in bed instead of sleeping on the table.
I wont bother tagging anyone since Christmas is really over for this year ..... I will be writing hopefully in the next few hours (Dylan permitting!) my Thirteen things to be grateful for in 2007!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday Photo Hunt: Light

This was taken by my best friends Karen van Harskamp and Lisa Jane Grenfell when I was 27 weeks pregnant. I'm not sure who gets photographic credit for this one, so I've mentioned both Karen and Lisa. I've also cropped the bare breasts out of the photograph so as not to offend anyone.

We all loved the way this small candle cast shadows of flowers on my blossoming belly.

Interestingly enough - below on Wordless Wednesday there is a photo of lamp!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Illuminate

(Photographic recognition to my three year old who took this on my phone camera and seems to have a wonderful eye for the abstract)

Join in the fun at Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moon Blood: Part One - Honouring our bleeding

Like most women, I was hoodwinked from a very early age into believing that menstruation was something dirty and shameful, something secretive. Michelle Royce writes,

"For generations we have been taught by our society and our peers that the fact our bodies bleed each month, is nothing more than a primitive, unpleasant and inconvenient side effect of the way our species reproduces itself, which should not in anyway affect or interfere with out 'real' lives ..... We are encouraged to ignore, suppress and sanitise any emotions, discomfort or evidence of menstruation."
Moon Rites: A feminine path to power

I never knew, until recently, that it could be a beautiful, empowering and amazing monthly event. My re-education began slowly, through tidbits of wisdom and experiences shared as I sat with my birthing friends, breastfeeding our ever growing babies. It is my hope that over the course of the next year I can share my journey and the wisdom I have collected along the way. Our monthly moon flow is what makes us women ... it is our essence and to deny it, is to deny our true selves. I believe it is time the reclaimed what is rightfully ours.

In the following first installment I challenge the notion we all carry that a woman's monthly bleeding is something to hide and feel ashamed of, by suggesting ways in which women can honour this time.

Bleeding Beautifully

This is not an oxymoron - you can do this. Following are thirteen suggestions for honouring and nurturing this time in simple but beautiful ways.

1. Rename your period to something that is meaningful, empowering and true to the nature - 'moon time', 'bleeding time' - whatever works for you.

2. Chart your cycle so you know when you are expected to bleed and don't schedule high energy activities - such as big work projects, a mountain bike weekened away etc. This will allow you to plan for a downshift for a couple of days. If need be - colour those days red on your calendar or in your diary to remind yourself. A Moon Diary is the perfect way to record your cycles, energy ebbs and flows.

3. Rest - sleep in, sloth about, especially on days two or three - though as you get to know your cycle, and energy ebbs and flows you will know which day is most important for you to rest.

4. Nurture yourself - soak in a warm bath, drink herbal tea, slow down, eat warming and nourishing foods and put your needs first - especially if they come behind everyone else's for the rest of the month. The world will not stop turning ... and infact, resting and nurturing will recharge you for the coming month - you will see the difference and so will those around you who demand your time and energy.

5. Light a red candle each day of your bleeding time

6. Wear a special red necklack, bracelet or ring

7. Wear a special piece of red clothing - a top, a skirt, a scarf or a funky pair of red knickers and bra

8. Use cloth pads instead of tampons or disposable pads. See here and here. Use the blood to fertilise your garden, flower box or pots of herbs. This is what blood and bone fertiliser is trying to emullate but simply can't come close to.

9. Do a special mediatation such as Katherine Cunningham's Temple of the Blood Cd to assist in reclaiming the experience of ancient ritual around menstruation.

10. Read a book that celebrates menstruation and debunks the current attitudes surrounding menstraution such as The Red Tent, Womens Bodies Womens Wisdom and if you struggle with extreme pain around this time The Wild Genie. There is also a collection of empowering online articles published in Down to Birth. A list of other books will follow in subsequent postings.

11. Indulge your creativity - sew, bake, dance, drum, paint, collage, scrap book, bead a necklace - whatever gets your creative juices flowing. If you're an outdoor person, take time out in nature through a gentle bush walk or go to your favourite water hall or creek.

12. Write down and ceremonially burn anything that you want to let go of from the previous month - this is a powerful time to cleanse and renew. Doing this simple ritual will allow you to begin anew at the end of your bleeding. Remember to write down positive thoughts, actions or ideas to replace those that you have left go. Place these wishes in a safe place or plant them in a fertile part of the garden to "grow".

13. Create a small space in your home that honours menstruation as a central and important part of your life. This could be something as simple as gathering together photos of your mother, grandmother, great grandmother etc in one place. These women represent your motherline and collecting them in the one place honours this line to which you belong. Be creative and have fun in creating this space. You may like to burn your red candle among these photos or other symbolic objects or keep your wishes here.

Feeling confronted ...
I too was confronted as my previous beliefs around menstruation were challenged by the small bits of wisdom that I exposed to initially and then the large chunks of information and wisdom I came across in my Women's Rites of Passage course. How could I possibly wear a pad and not a tampon - urgh!? How could anyone celebrate something so shameful and dirty? Why would I want to talk to anyone about this? I'm adventurous by nature though, and very curious so I was willing to give all of this new hullaballoo a go and once I was on my new path there was definitely no getting off it.

The confrontation we feel and experience when we are exposed to wisdom on menstruating is like throwing open heavy curtains, in a dark room, on a bright day. Our first instinctive reaction is to shut our eyes, squint or to throw our hands up to shield our eyes from the lights blazing into the room - our first reaction is to protect the status quo. Over time our eyes begin to adjust to the new light until we can comfortably and easily see in the room again ... and it was if nothing had changed. We develop and become a part of a new status quo.

This is how adaptable our biology is and in this sense our biology requires our beliefs, thoughts and customs to be adaptable to be truly one with our biological processes. Remember that the manner in which we think and act towards menstruation is relatively new in the history of humankind - in the past it was revered, it was celebrated, it was social and it was special ... and it can be again. We deny ourselves when we ignore, supress and sanitise our menstruation.

Share this wisdom with your friends, daughters, sisters, mothers or work colleagues - just hit the email button at the bottom of this post.

How do you feel about sharing?
How do your friends/family/colleagues feel about this information?
Is the undercurrent of shame strong or weak?

If possible try and find a small group of women to make a monthly pact with to do something from this list next time your menstruate. If all else fails do it yourself and then share your experiences with others. When you acknowledge and name something, you make it real. When you treat something as special it becomes special ... and then wonderful manifestations really do happen. You deserve it!

Monday Memories: Food Glorious Food

Yes ... I am aware that it is actually Tuesday now. However - I had this running around in my head all of yesterday so I'm putting it down, in a strange effort to try and create a little bit of consistency and structure around my blog, as we do the downhill slide into the brilliant new year and more regular blogging ....

Food Glorious Food:

Late yesterday afternoon Dylan and I strolled on into the supermarket to grab a few things, as we're prone to do in these days when I haven't shopped properly for weeks! Dylan saw a packet of Bertie Beetles hanging up in the lolly isle (yes I'm brave enough to traverse it - because it's also the chocolate isle!) I couldn't help but agree to throw them into basket with the other 'essential' items that we were getting - it has been absolute years since I've had a Bertie Beetle. With the insectile chocolate and honeycomb chips melting divinely in my mouth as we pulled out of our carpark and made our way back to the main road I remembered eating Bertie Beetles at high school.

They even out shone my standard favourite of the Caramello Koala, once discovered them ... and Bertie has it all over Freddo as far as I'm concerned (even when Freddo's inners are strawberry). Then the flood of memories came back to me - as we turned onto the high way. All the school lunches I've loved and hated (as Bertie must have been part of my lunch box at some stage - that's where my memory seems to take me back to) the best and worst of them.

My Mum, bless her cotton socks, decided to go al gourmet with my lunches when I was in Grade 3. I only remember this like it was yesterday because gourmet for me - spelt absolute lunch time disaster.

It began with the Jarlsberg cheese on Rivitas. A particularly healthy and interesting lunch if you're into it - my Dad was, I wasn't! I spent a great deal of my lunch times creatively stuffing the said cheese covered biscuits into the rock retaining wall near where we played. Then she began on the French Onion dip sandwiches. To this day I will not touch French Onion dip - double so since our friend Steven crushed a bug at our New Years Pary 1984/85 and put it in the French Onion dip, then we watched on as revellers continued to dig their biscuits into it. But I digress - I'm not sure which parallel universe my Mum resided in, but it was obviosly one in which French Onion dip was not only a suitable and enjoyable but highly sought after lunch option, unlike the universe I was living in!

Last week my kinesiologist asked me what assertiveness meant to me. I understand it now, as I sit and write this. Standing up and letting somone know that what they are doing to you, really bothers you, rather than just eating it, (or not eating as is the case here.)

I never once complained to my Mum, or suggested that perhaps she simply change what she put in my sandwiches. I just suffered through it silently. I guess inside I held a deep seated belief that I was meant to be grateful for the effort that Mum had put into making me lunch, and I didn't want to defile that expectant gratitude. I never thought for a moment that it was more important for a young rapidly growing girl that she actually ATE! Instead I found new little rocky crevices to stuff my lunch into, the only thing I was grateful was that a sandwich was easily to stuff that crunky Rivita biscuits. Thinking back, I even got quite savvy in the disposal of my lunches - I always unwrapped the plastic wrap so it would degrade - or bugs with a more developed sense of gourmet could enjoy.

And it got worse!

Moving to the country - the lunch options changed as well. There were now Cheese topped rolls for lunch - the inners I have no idea, but I took exception to the Cheese topped roll which were yummy the first couple of weeks I had them, but I rapidly grew to hate them. There were no convenient places to wedge the rolls into at my new school and throwing an unopened lunch into the bin was inviting the wrath and investigation of well meaning teachers, so instead I horded them in a secret compartment of my school bag. That was (and I apologise for this) until they began to drip through my bag and I was found out by one of those well meaning teachers - who of course rang home and told my Mum.

You would think that it would have been somehow so much easier just to ask for a simple peanut butter sandwhich - but alas, I still didnt' want to upset Mum. I was forced to home to take them out of my bag, one at a time - around a months worth of lunches if I remember. But something good did finally come out of it, I finally - yes, asked for a peanut butter sandwich and that's what I ate every day until primary school ended.

At high school, the lunch gauntlet was finally thrown open to me. My first term of high school seems characterised by the smell of Johnson and Johnson Baby oil on the tanning legs of the older girls sitting in the quadrangle, or wearing a school uniform for the first time, having constant worries about losing my terms bus ticket and the constant stream of hot and wilted salad sandwiches. For the first term - I think my Mum lovingly made (somewhere in the craziness of getting ready for work and school) salad sandwiches for me because I certainly didn't have the energy nor iniative to make a salad sandwhich before rushing out for the bus.

There was something weird but almost satisfying about a warm salad sandwich where the cheese and the tomato have met in warm enviro of the lunch box and melded into a new sub species of food. Then there was the half warm Two Minute noodles,during the bitter Winter, in the thermos flask that never seemed to keep anything really hot and after a while was prone to leaking. And finally - in amongst all of this - my all time favourite school lunch materialised ... and you'll understand in a moment why the Bertie Beetle bought this back.

In Year 8 I began to enjoy chocolate sprinkle sandwiches - or aptly coined - chocolate ant sandwiches. Ahh ... it didn't matter if it was hot - the butter and sprinkles fused together to form a chocolate paste ganache type filling. In Winter they were crunchy. Nutrition value - almost zero, but it was on wholemeal bread which of course makes all the difference! At high school you could also get vanilla slices and frozen yoghurt. I remember standing in the tuck shop line hoping that there was still a vanilla slice left for me when I reached the front of the four pronged queue.

I'm still really bad at eating lunch - unless I'm going out for lunch (which face it, rarely happens) or I'm enjoying a shared lunch at a gathering of women, or at a friends place I dont eat lunch. Tut tut - I know.

Next year Dylan begins kindy and I am determined not to traumatise him with a lunch box that I think is fantastic. If he wants to keep it simple that will be great because it will be more important for him to enjoy and eat his lunch, than for me to invest my self esteem and self worth in what I believe is right for his lunch box. Let's just hope he doesn't traumatise me with his list of request - fresh foccacia and smoked salmon or sushi.

To Muse on:

What was your worst/best school lunch as a kid? What is in your kids lunch boxes? What as a grown up is your all time favourite lunch?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Festival of Me

Yes - today is my day! I'm a brilliant 34 years old on this balmy Brisbane Sunday. With the heat and the humidity up, it is a very very slow day. We had strawberry and watermelon frappes out at the pool earlier on and Phil, our wonderful housemate is whizzing up an Indian feast as we speak. There's an interesting baked cheesecake chilling downstairs in fridge so the evening is lining up for as a gourmet's delight. And to top it off - tonight is the Spicks and Specks Christmas special.

I'm always curious what it must be like to celebrate a birthday from beyond the Christmas vortex ... having had 34 of them inside it it, it is strange to contemplate a birthday without the Christmas paraphenalia hanging around. As soon as the Christmas decoration go up in the shops, I know the countdown is on for my birthday. As a kid, my parents wouldn't put the Christmas tree up until my birthday was over and done with. They didn't want Christmas to overshadow my approaching birthday - and thankfully there were never combined Christmas and Birthday presents.

Today is extra special because I share my birthday with my awesome Dad (and last Sunday it was my Mum's birthday). Dad and I are born 22 years and 15 minutes apart - having both been born on Sunday December 16 - me at 2:15pm and Dad at 2:30pm (however on opposite sides of the world - as Dad was born in Scotland). He says the year I was born everyone forgot to wish him a happy birthday. Happy birthday Dad for all those years ago when you were forgotten in the maelstrom that was my coming.

A few years ago I began a 'festival of me' birthday celebrations. Three years on the only thing that remains is the Friday friends, film and daquiris event. This year I had the delight of sharing this with my lovely girfriends Genevieve, Bianca, Annie, Anna, Laney, Rachael, Kirsten and our subsequent tribe of children. The laughter and dacquiris flowed, along with the tears as we indulged in 'Love Actually' and then all jumped in the pool afterwards ... which excited our small tribe of kids who had patiently waited through the movie for the swim. The day ended a little after 10:00pm with Rachael extracting her tired and crying children from our house, and Genevieve tucking her two boys into the car, having enjoyed Moroccan lamb shanks from the tagine out by the pool - along with some heartening conversation and Phil's addition of Hugh Jackman's 'Christmas Kangaroo' skit from YouTube ... see you just can't escape Christmas on my birthday.

The most exciting things about this year were the lovely handmade gifts that I got ... green being the theme. In the corner is Genevieve's felted handbag (I seriously cried to be the owner of such an amazing piece of handmade craft!) and below is the desk caddy created by Dave and Dylan yesterday. Green ended up being a theme by default here (there was only yellow, blue and gree paint!) - but there are lovely emblishments of puff paint and fluffy wool.
Keeping with the theme of green - Anna knowingly indulged my Chaser habit with the Chaser's War on Everything Season 2 - part one (in a green cover) and Dave with a gorgeous jade necklace. Anyone would think green was one of my favourite colours.
So after a whirlwind week that has included going to the Spicks and Speck-tacular with Annie and Adrian (and screaming like a teenage girl at the landing of the Beatles!), celebrating and honouring my dear friend Nickole at her blessingway on Tuesday evening, revelling in the five rows back from the stage experience of the Chaser on Thursday night, Fridays celebrations and then Dave's Christmas Party last night (which was actually really enjoyable - thanks Kelly and Justin!) ... I think I'm ready for a few quiet days leading up to Christmas.

Photo Hunt: Small

A new photographic meme I discovered over at Smiler's blog

The word small immediately evokes images of my son as a baby - I'm a hopeless nostaligic Mumma! Dylan is but a wee bub of a week in this photo and I'm reminded of how very quickly he no longer looked like a newborn babe. He was born beautifully and powerfully at home in our loungeroom, by candlelight, two weeks past his estimated due date (he's now three and a half!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Chasers War on Everything

Especially for Smiler ... this is the Chasers War on Everything. The APEC stunt these guys did made news all over the world - but this is an extended bit to show you what the show is all about.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Can't Wait

The birthday excitement has finally kicked in and then ramped right up. As it sit here typing, its 7:15pm and its almost time to jump in the shower and get ready to go to the Chasers Bore on Everything. To say my excitement is only barely contained - is probably the understatement of the year.

And an additional bonus has been my new friend and wonderful supportive critic of my writing is making her way down from the Sunshine Coast to take up the ticket that Dave is unable to use (last minute meeting in Darwin). So Catherine and I will get to meet face to face for the first time. Ahh - love the serendipity of it all.

Secondly - as if that wasn't enough excitement - tomorrow is my annual birthday celebration (my actual birthday isn't until Sunday) For the past three years we've gathered on the Friday before my birthday to watch a film, share in a communal lunch and simply hang out. My first birthday celebrated in this manner, we watched Dirty Dancing and two lovely friends gave a feminist dissection of the movie - all things that I simply hadn't thought of - drooling over Patrick Swayze doesn't really leave a lot of energy for real thought. Fame: The Movie, last year was a bit of a bummer - it wasn't the fun uplifting entertainment that the TV series was. I forgot that small detail when deciding on the movie. So this year, it Love Actually and I can't wait ....

Plus, singing today was just sublime and was topped off with a very successful and consolidating trip to the kinesiologist .... so I'm now moving from a place where I have an internal locus of validation. I seek my own self worth from within myself rather than searching for it outside of myself.

My business cards also arrived today - I know have a business card that declares myself a writer. How cool!

But now off to the shower for some pre entertainment pampering and fussing! Oh and before I sign off .. thank you Dan and Square for your affirming and supportive comments yesterday. love you two heaps :o)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Irony

Life Quake

Mystic Medusa has been describing the recent astrological disturbances as a 'life quake' and that is pretty fitting for me. My life has been thrown up in upheavals of epic proportions in the last two or so weeks.

It began with an exercise in the Artist Way called 'The Awful Truth' - building on work that I have previously done I realised that my terrible habit was being constantly busy, never saying no and being over burdened with committments (with guilt the constant spectre through it all). Then came the insult to injury - I wrote that I believed that I was not worthy of my artistic gifts and talents. If you're forever busy its easy to believe in that and create a reality around that (just as I did when I believed that I didn't deserve love or happiness!)

And that was really the crux of it - self worth, or lack of self worth. As I dug deeper and deeper I saw that I have based my self worth on my volunteer work, and most especially creating Down to Birth magazine for the past three years. I knew that like any nasty and debilitating addiction it needed to be stopped. I needed to go back to basics, to downsize and invest in myself. I need to base my self worth on 'me' - on my gifts and talents, my foibles, my strengths and weakness, my idioyncracies, my passions and my great loves - the best and the worst of me.

At our AGM a week and a bit ago I resigned from all my HMA positions and am now in the process of tidying up all the loose ends. I feel raw and vulnerable - and its doesn't help (or does it?) that I'm in my dark moon phase at the moment - so everything is felt and experienced even more acutely than normal. I don't quite know who I am any more - only what I want to be. I want to be free ... and I know that my writing sets me free. I simply have to trust in something that I have loved since I was a child - turning up to a blank page and turning it into a rollicking adventure, a sad mournful tale, an autobiographical introspective, a scathing social commentary, a suspenseful thriller, a heart wrenching romance - whatever I want it to be.

In 'Overboard' the 80's comedy with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn's husband (who has abandoned her to the the wilds of some hick town) takes the wheel of his yacht and declares in a rather manical voice 'At sea I am a God' ... and there is something of that in being a writer. When you turn up to the empty page you are God/Goddess/The Universe at work - as you create mini little worlds. I can be the centre of my Universe, I can be the Universe at work - I just have to believe in myself, in my talents and my abilities ... all before breakfast huh, as simple as that?

At this point, as I feel like I'm shattered in the face of my future dreams, like crystal dropped on concrete, I have to hold fast to the promise that I made to myself in September - to just write. As The Buddha said "It is your mind that creates this world" ... I need to find the strong warrior dimension of my mind and hold on tight through the last of the upheavals ... knowing that at the end of the quake there must be energy and resilience to rebuild ... and rebuild I will.

I'm wondering if this is the forging of my truth that Lucy Cavendish spoke of to me at the Goddess Conference?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tripod - I Was the Only Shepherd

From the final Side Show on the weekend.

There was something bitingly brilliant about this song.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Quote of the Day: Mether Baba

Wandering back to my car yesterday after my weekly Artist Date .. I came across this quote in the window of a shop. It basically sums up last week for me. Yet another veil has fallen for me.

And yes ... this is my untidy script - quickly scrawled at the end of my musings for the day in my morning pages book.

What have you done this year to dig deeper to find yourself?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fiction Friday: and Abby met Jamie

What throws your characters off their game? For example, if she’s a shameless flirt, what makes her awkward and shy?

This is the scene I've been dying to write the whole of NaNo, but written at possibly the lowest point of NaNo I'm not sure how it came off. The new character is in the VERY early stages of development and it turned out completely differently to how I intended it to be played out. Those dratted characters doing their do without my consent yet again :o)


The (main street) of Newtown was bustling with the late Saturday morning coffee crowd. Laughter and conversation drifted on a warm summer breeze, that cut through the humidity that compressed the city back in on itself. Walking slowly, he felt as though his head would explode. Another late night, another round of meaningless conversation and drinking had come on the heels of yet another difficult week. He knew he looked rough – rougher than usual. His dark hair should have been concealed under a cap, but as usual he couldn’t find it. He ran a hand casually through the mess, but didn’t bother too much. If he was concerned he would have made a pit stop at the mirror on the way out. He tied the checkered shirt around his waist. The morning was far warmer than he’d thought.

He crossed again the traffic lights, moving with an unusual agility. Every cell in his body screamed out for coffee. He had the Moose Expresso bar in his sights. A group of rowdy uni students gathered around a small table on the footpath. A tassel haired blonde, shook her mane as she laughed hoarsely, then inhaled in a whine reminiscent of Sybil Fawlty. He shook his head and died a miserable social death for the girl – who seemed oblivious of her grating social disability.

Despite his pounding, restricted head, he made an effort to keep from making eye contact with anyone. This morning he felt the need for anonymity more than usual.

“Hello hello hello Jamie,” boisterously greeted Tara, the buxom and cheerful waitress. “And how are we this morning darling boy?”
Jamie just shook his head and knew she’d tone it done.
“It’s like that is it. Double long black to go then.”
“Yea. Cheers Tara.”

He looked around the tiny inside of the expresso bar and the collection of shabby retro furniture. The small tables running down the left hand wall looked like the kitchen table his grandparents had had in their small unit when he was a kid. And the great saggy grey vinyl couch in the front was a deadringer for the divan that they had had in their caravan annex.

He was lost reminiscing about the couch and easy, lazy days of surfing and reading as a teenage boy and it didn’t immediately register that someone was sitting on the couch. There was something familiar about the woman who was awkwardly crouched over the table, furiously writing in a battered spiral bound book.

Handing over the five dollar note, he attempted to get a better look at her, though she had her back to him. With his large coffee in hand, he walked slowly to the door.

The woman wore crumpled sage green fisherman pants. One bare foot was casually tucked under her bottom – a pair of well worn Burkenstocks were kicked untidyily under the table. A very fine white cheese cloth shirt covered a skimpy white singlet. A pair of sunglasses caught and pushed her henna rich hair back from her forehead. It was only then that he recognised exactly who she was and at that same moment she looked up, staring him straight in the eye.

It took a moment for the recognition to register and then the colour drained from her tanned face. Feeling as though he had been caught out centre stage, butt naked infront of a hostile audience he shifted his weight from one foot to another trying to find something non offensive to say to her.

“There’s no cameras,” he finally blurted out. “Do you come here often?”

She continued to stare at him, but a sense of bemusement began to creep into her features and finally she smiled. He noticed the difference in her smile, it was calm and relaxed – natural?
“No, this is my first time,” she replied eventually, taking a small amount of cruel enjoyment in his obvious discomfort. It was in such contrast to his onscreen alter ego that she found it almost endearing.
“Can I buy you a coffee?”
“You could buy me dinner down the road at the African restaurant tonight – if you’re free,” she added, taken aback by her forwardness. Was she flirting?
“I’m pre coffee,” he apologised, holding up the virgin coffee.
“I understand. How do you go with the cross word pre coffee?”
“I’m prepared to give it a go, as I drink my coffee.”

He motioned for him to take a set opposite her.
“I’m hoping you don’t have rabbies,” she joked, closing up the spiral bound book.
“I’ve been accused of being many things, but having rabbies is definitely a new one.”
He sat down on the stool opposite her.

He was completely unprepared to be sitting opposite her, minus her trade mark red and purple suits. It was as though he had stumbled over her twin sister – though which one was the evil one, he was yet to find out.
“I expected a tongue lashing from you.”
“We’re out of school aren’t we,” she replied breezily. “I’d be a prime candidate for a heart attack if I carried around my Canberra personae every day of the week. Though what you guys did was pretty low.”

“It wasn’t my idea,” he defended, realising that he sounded ridiculously like a seven year old boy who’d just been found out.
“My six year old does it far more convincingly.”
“He probably doesn’t get about on a Saturday morning with a god awful hangover.”
“No sympathy – obviously self inflicted.”
“No sympathy required, some asprin wouldn’t go astray.”
“Best I can offer is lavender oil, however you don’t quite look the type. I haven’t had painkillers since before Wil was born.”
“So you really are a hippy at heart,”

She gave herself a once over and laughed.
“Alternate I believe is the politically correct terminology – unless you are my sister and then I’m just feral. Even though I’m now an upstanding member of Parliament.”
He gave a quiet chuckle.

“I have to be somewhere, but I was serious about tonight. I guess that if you were willing to buy me a coffee it must be your shout for dinner.”
“Sure,” he agreed. “Though I’m sure you could always bill it to the taxpayer.”
“And have my travel rout splashed about on the TV Wednesday night. I think I’ll pass. There’s been enough scandal and innuendo on my part for a while I think.”

She picked up her notebook and pen, and dropped them into a small canvas satchel.
“I prefer a late booking,” she stated, standing up.
“Shall I drop over to get you.”
“That’s cute. I might want to keep my enemies close, but I’m not handing out my silent number.”
She winked at him and walked out.

Once out in the street she stopped to look back at him sitting there at the droopy uncomfortable couch sipping his take out coffee. Inside she was screaming ‘FUCK!” but somehow on the outside she had remained cool, calm and flirtaeous.

Grabbing her phone out of her pocket as she strode up the street, she deftly punched out a quick text message to her soul sister in Cairns.
I’ve just chased the Chaser. Two to one xxx

Her reaction to Jamie’s presence had not only surprised, it had knocked her for a six. A month ago when the scandal with Hux finally broke, the he had been there, with one of his mates at Canberra airport waiting for her as she flew in from Brisbane. She was harried and had been anything but a good sport about it. The 30 seconds on the Chaser were the highlight of the torrid week, which had included a press conference calling for the Director of Public Prosecutions in Queensland to look into the relationship and decide if there were charges to answer. The broadsheets had been less kind – but she had cut and pasted each of the editorials damning her and her appropriateness for public office into her growing collection of scrap books.

Cal like the stoic and emotionally blank wives of the British sex scandals had stood by her. He had said nothing until they were offered a joint interview with Womans Weekly to tell their story. She hadn’t wanted to talk to one of the airbrushed journalists from Womans Weekly but they decided as a couple that it would allow the greatest exposure of the truth. The money they were paid went straight to the Midwive’s Community Legal Fund.

And now, having just ridden the tempest and landed relatively unscathed back on the beach she was creating a whole new scandal by going out to dinner with him. The weekend in Sydney was about some time out, away from the scrutiny of the media and some chill out time alone. She shook her head, unable to understand herself at times and walked further up the street realising she’d need a new dress to wear if she was going out to dinner. She hadn’t packed for company.


November has been a huge month for me .... so in the theme of big - here is one of my all time favourite commercials ... and yes!! It just so happens to be about beer (and the first ever brand of beer I ever drank)

Cheers :o)

NaNo Go Bye Bye

It is with mixed blessings that I fell (and that how it literally felt this morning after five hours sleep!) over the finish line of NaNo earlier today. Earlier on in the week Dave had a heart attack scare and spent Monday night in the local hospital under observation. It was enough to set us all back as a family. My problem was that it came a day after some huge realisations about how I worthy myself as a woman and a person ... which unearthed a whole heap of dark and pretty unwelcomed 'stuff'. It also meant that to be with and work through all the subterranean stuff, I have had to begin evaluating and making some tough decisions about how and what I base my self worth on.

With all this going on, I've felt as though I've barely come up for breathe this week. All with 8000 words to go with NaNo. I believe this is probably as bad as it gets for blocking yourself creatively. I stopped sleeping well as I stayed up late, working desperately against and ever increasing block to make it over the winners line. Then my anxiety raised its grim head again, spurred on by the influx of phone calls we received (read: were sent through to the answering machine) as friends were checking in to see how Dave was faring. I stopped eating well and started living again on chocolate and juice. For the last few days I've actually felt horribly nauseous. It all became pretty nasty. Last night with a mere 2553 words to go, I simply couldn't do it. I tapped out a wooden and terrible 1000 words and then fell into the oblivion of a computer game. This only served to further block me.

I was devastated as this was the scene I had been carrying around in my head since before the start of NaNo - this is a pivoutal moment in my novel ... and it was written probably at the lowest point of the whole month. Perhaps it wont be so bad when I go back to re read it and then, *grimace*, go and post it up on the write stuff page for Fiction Friday.

This morning after writing my morning pages - I relented and pull up an old short story that had been part of my exploration of the characters prior to NaNo (and mucho has changed since then) but it was a good spring board .... and I wrote ... and wrote .... and wrote well. Then up came the magic *WINNER* page just after 10am this morning. Phew!

Having written all this I dont quite feel so bad. It's one of those moments where a problem shared is halved - but seeings it shared in cyber space it must have been busted into a million tiny byte sized particules floating about in the ether ....

Now to get the house in order once more (yes it definitely mirrors my static encrusted mental functions) and then sitting down to make some tough decisions. But not only do I think I can ... I know I can.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rah Rah Fridays

This was a familiar pose on a Friday afternoon for a trusty trio of friends. We would gather around 5:00pm at our favourite bar. There was something very Sex in the Cityesque about it all - except there were only three of us, and we could never agree on just whose personae from SATC we were channeling in any one particular week.

The cocktails were good (and cheap during happy hour!), the boys behind the bar were cute and very attentive, the chairs were super comfy, it was quiet enough to hear your conversation, but loud enough to absorb the old ourburst or peals of laughter and they made amazing pizza. For a while one of the chefs there was a guy who I had worked with years earlier, and we actually got to have a say in what went on the pizza. My regular was a delightful concoction called a 'Sweet Thang' - and didn't I love the way it twanged off my tongue. It was a mixture of Tia Maria, Bourbon and coke - all done up nicely in a martini glass (it also got stronger and stronger the better we got to know the boys behind the bar!

It really was an odd place to gather - the bar was attached to the fine dining restaurant of a presitgious hotel chain. It was the sort of place you went to for your silver wedding anniversary. Yet for a few short hours on a Friday afternoon, fading into the weekend, it belonged to us ... the motley crew that we often were straight from work.

It became a ritual that we all looked forward to, as the time slowly drained away on a Friday afternoon. We all worked together at a high school oringally, but even when we began going our own ways - we always seemed to be able to get back together at Rah Rahs. First it was me, who went on a three month sojourn to NSW to get my head together, but was straight back into it on my first Friday back in Cairns. Then Lisa went to work at a different highschool and then I went to uni (so it was everyone else's shout for a long time), Lisa went overseas, came back and then I finally moved away permanently.

Friday afternoon at Rah Rahs was the blow off - it was the best way to debrief, decompress and delineate - the week from the weekend. We would sit and sip our cocktails (rather than guzzle because we were always driving) and talk about the men that were or weren't in our lives, about what had shat us off at work that week. It was here on these comfy couches, cradling martini glasses that our love interests all were Christened with new names - there was The Princess, The Spy Who Shagged me, Captain Arsehole and Corporeal Threesome just to name a couple.

Often we would wander up the road to play pool for the free hour that one of the pubs had, other times we'd just go home. For a very long time, it was the warm up to what would be a home bender for Lisa and I, as we drank rum and coke, watched movies, talked about everything under the sun, dabbled in some photography and modelling and during summer, took midnight dips. Later on, it was my only social outting for the week, such was my budget at uni as a mature aged student. It was however always the highlight of my week - especially when our lives diverged.

I miss Friday - the way it was, when we were all just friends - before partners and husbands, kids and complicated responsibilites. When three friends just got together for a drink and a museevery Friday.

What is it in your life that you miss as a result of a huge change in life circumstances?

Friday, November 23, 2007

A trip of destiny: Jeff and Abby

It's election night and Abby is about to realise that trusting in the Universe brings things to fruition in a way in which you would never believe ...

In the moonlight she stripped off her long purple strapless batik dress and threw it over one of the wooden outdoor chairs. Quietly opening and closing the gate she stood for a moment on the edge of the deep end before diving confidently in the water. The moon was full and luminescent above her. Instead of swimming mindless from end to end, she floated on her back and stared up at the moon, marvelling at the depth of originality in its surface and how it seemed to morph and change the more she stared at it. The Chinese believed that it wasn’t a man in the moon, but a rabbit. She could see the Rabbit, she could see the man and she could even see what she thought was the Sea of Tranquillity.

“The arms of Orion that's where I wanna be
Since you’ve been gone
I've been searching for a lover
In the Sea of Tranquility
I'm drowning without you here, my dear”

Her eyes stung with the first prickling of tears. It had been years since she’d last heard that Prince song. Immediately she is transported back to a queen sized bed, in a room that smelt like a combination of Kouros after shave and stale sweat from the king gee workclothes scattered across the floor. Above her the thin lace curtains billowed out over her head, as a warm breeze gusted inwards. It was the start of summer and the first storm of the season. The room was lit in weird dark umber and tangerine tones, of the storm smudged dusk. Thunder cracked over head, getting closer each few minutes. Lightning illuminated the room and the two naked bodies on the bed, in brief flashes. On the stereo Prince played as the cataract of sexual tension built, like the storm outside and cascaded through them as they become one in a sweaty heaving mass.

The clink of the gate broke her out of her nostalgia. Diving under the water she swum to the end and broke the surface at the steps expecting to see Cal sitting there. Seeing no one she wondered if she really had heard the gate, or if it were the new next door neighbours indulging in a night swim as well. In the wake of the memory, the water felt ice cold against her hot skin. Looking up at the moon one last time, she climbed slowly out of the pool and walked the few steps over to the pool gate before she realised that the towels that usually hung over the pool fence, were neatly folded by Cal that afternoon and put away in the laundry.

Thankful that the night was warm, she opened the gate and walked under the canvas pergola hoping that the laundry door was still unlocked. Looking about in the hope that someone had left a stray towel behind she saw him sitting there staring at her.

“Nice butt,” he commented in a sarcastic tone. “Too bad I don’t have my camera with me this time.”

Like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car, she froze in her naked vulnerability before him.
“Tits a bit on the saggy side.”

She instinctively raised her hands to cup and hide her bare breasts, without taking her eyes off him as the shock of his presence wore off.
“How dare you come into my house,” she finally managed, grabbing the discarded dress from the back of the chair and awkwardly yanking it over her wet body.

“Truth be known it’s actually your back yard. Technically I’m no’ in your house.”
“Don’t be a shit Harrington, just leave or I’ll call my husband down here to get rid of you.”

He laughed in a horrible guffawing manner, that set her skin on edge.
“And he’s no’ going to ask what I’m doin’ here.”
“What are you doing here Harrington?”
“I came to celebrate with you. After all I’m guessin’ that the whole team was here tonight. The delicious Violet Cunningham and all those hippy braless, hair armpitted bitches you call you mates.”
“Just leave Jeff,” smouldered Abby, in a barely contained fashion. “This is my home and I wont have you slagging off at my friend here. OUT!”
“Woooah A-bby” he drawled, relaxing further back into the chair he was sitting in. “As I said I came to celebrate with the team.”

“You’re not part of the team, even in that deluded mind of yours you can’t honestly believe that you in any way contributed to the success of this campaign.”
“Re-ally A-bby. Well lady, that’s where you are wrong.”
“It’s really late at night Jeff, its been a long day and I just want you to leave please.”
“Where’s your hospitality.”
“It fucked off about the same time you let yourself in here uninvited,” she swore, standing with her hands on her hips.
“Well I’m not going until you at the very least offer me a beer and give me a chance to tell you a little story.”

“We’re all out of beer,” lied Abby. “So I guess you’ll just have to be on your way and maybe you can ring for an appointment and we can chat then – like the old mates that we are.”

He reached down beside his seat and lifted one of Cal’s Belgium beers onto the table.
“Don’t suppose you’ve got a bottle opener down here?”
Abby reeled at the sight of the beer and the inherent message that it carried – he’d been inside her home. She reached across the table to the waiters friend that had been left downstairs earlier on in the evening and passed it across to him.
“My thanks to the lady of the house,” he mocked, tipping his finger to his eyebrow just as he’d done the night of the debate.

Abby quickly disappeared into the laundry and found a discarded pair of jeans and top to change into, throwing the wet dress into the washing machine. She knew that Harrington was not going to leave until he’d dispensed with whatever story he’d come to tell. She couldn’t risk creating a raucous and bringing Cal down here. Sitting down opposite him, she wrapped her hands around her glass of mineral water.

“Now you’ve got a beer and my undivided attention, please…” she invited, gesturing a welcome with her hands.
“How about we slip on over into the deck chairs. You remember the Addams Family? I always loved Morticia and her moon baking. You reminded me of her floating naked in the pool earlier on.”
“She was my favourite character too,” admited Abby uncomfortably, more than a little disturbed that she had something in common with this person who she detested so intensely.

Laying in the deck chairs under the full moon, Abby remembered what her Mum said about the moon and how the psych-ward was always chock-a-block on a full moon. She was almost certain now that Harrington was mentally unstable – he was not his moody, passive aggressive self though she wasn’t about to be lulled into a false sense of security by his magnanimous disposition. Minutes passed as hours, as they lay there, Abby waiting for Harrington to say something.

“I really pissed my Boss off with you, did you know that Abby,” began Harrington, taking a long swig of beer from the bottle. “You should be greetin’ me with open arms lady. I saved you from inevitable political destruction by taking your money and keepin’ my mouth shut about your little affair with pretty boy footballer.”
“Are you suggesting someone paid you to dig dirt on me.”
“Why didn’t you sell it?”
“I could make more money blackmailing. A steady stream of income.”

“Why do you hate me so badly Jeff?” she asked. “I’m pretty sure that I never once did anything to hurt you.”
“It’s not personal A-bby,” he replied, setting the beer down on the paving and staring up at the sky. “I decided a long time ago that I was going to grow up to be the biggest mysoginistic bastard that I could.”
“To be the antithesis of everything that you’re mother wrote and promoted.”
“You know nothing about my mother,” he snapped, sitting up to glare at her.

“You’re mother was Ava Louise. How did she die Jeff?”
“I made her life such a living hell that she didn’t want to be around any longer. I bought up a whole heap of pills, left them lying around in the kitchen and one day she was dead in a pool of her own vomit and shit. Pretty nifty huh?”
“Chas told you about me didn’t he.”
“Now that was pure gold,” he laughed manically, draining the bottle of beer. “I’ll just help myself to another.”

When he came back, he settled back into the deck chair and spent a long time drinking before he said anything.
“I knew about you long before you were anyone. Every weekend durin’ football season Chas would sit there off his tree, and bang on how he was friends with pretty boy footballer. Then he’d bang on about the teacher they had at school with the tight white pants, how they’d all spent three days in detention in your room. How they all wanted to get into your pants and how they all said that you fucked one of them, but no one ever knew who it was.

“He recognised your photo lying on the table. Told me that you were the Miss Paisley.”
“Serendipity,” commented Abby almost believing in some warped fashion that the universe intended for it to be played out this way.

Fiction Friday: Wil and Abby go to the mountains

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for November, 23 2007:
Reveal something about your character by telling about one of their Thanksgivings–it can be present, past, or even backstory (if your setting doesn’t include Thanksgiving, make it a similar family-oriented holiday).

In this extract Abby has taken her 5 year old son to the mountains for a quick break while the counting of votes continues. The vote has gone to preferences, absentee and postal votes for the seat to be definitively decided. Opting out of the waiting game in Brisbane and without the blessings of her husband, Abby has retreated to the mountains ...

The stillness of the mountains soothed her tired and aching soul. Each morning Wil made a simple breakfast of toast and vegemite for them, then they walked down into the temperate rainforest. They explored every dimension of the rainforest – the smells, the textures, the sounds and picture that each small and large section presented. With his own pair of tiny binoculars around his neck, he looked like a mini version of his Dad. The binoculars were a gift for Christmas - the last time that they were in the mountains. Together playing happy families, thought Abby with a terrible twist of irony striking at her heart.

They consulted the bird book regularly as Wil worked towards marking off more birds in his book. Abby knew that he missed his Dad. While she was interested, the real passion for bird watching was Cal’s. He had the patience with Wil to correctly identify each bird and then carefully scribe the place and date into the bird book for Wil, who refused to put his large untidy script into his prized ‘birdie bible’.

In the afternoons they relaxed at the chalet. Abby read, did yoga or meditated, while Wil explored the small pocket of bush behind their temporary home, flushing out bush turkeys and wallabies along his adventures. Mid afternoon they sat on the large deck and waited for all the birds to come in. First of the birds, was the squadron of the brilliantly coloured King Parrots, that swooped in to sit on the railing. Wil had been beside himself with excitement the first year he had seen the brightly coloured green and red parrots descend. Each afternoon there were at least six parrots that came to visit and they picked which ones were the males and which were the females. After that came the satin bower birds and on their first afternon there they spotted a rifle bird – simmering with irredsecent green from the feeder in the branch above them. Wil had been really excited about that.

As the sun went down, they drove to the summit, with the collection of radio towers and sat in the long dry grass, watching the sun go down. They told stories as they waited for it to get dark and return to their chalet to cook a simple dinner. Before dinner they played snakes and ladders, snap or just lay around reading books together.

On the second day they hiked along the ridge to Cherry Plains lookout. It was a warm day and they spent a long time looking through the binoculars at the valley below, drinking water from their bottles and enjoying the stonefruit that they had picked up at Gatton on their way through the day before. Abby was in a particularly good mood on the walk, taking the time to breathe deeply in a hypnotic fashion. Her body felt alive for the first time in weeks, perhaps even months. The constant stream of thoughts that disturbed her mental equilibrium had ceased.

She had dreamt that morning that she was meeting Hux in a library – a library that was in an airport terminal lounge. Looking through each of the isles for him, she’d started to panic because she couldn’t locate him – he was meant to be there, they had arranged to meet there.

She went out into the bright, sterile concourse, with people busily bustling past her. She pulled her phone out to send him a text message to ask him where he was. The next thing she knew he was walking out of the library and over to her.
“Where were you?” she asked.
“I was always here,” he’d replied smiling at her. “I never went anywhere.”

Like some self imposed purgatory she purposely didn’t search out the news reports in the print or the electronic media to find out what had happened to Hux after she’d left his apartment that afternoon. She had oscillated in the final two weeks of the election campaign between utter despair at the thought that he was dead and that it was all her fault, and a sense of innate ease that told her that he was not dead. He was gone, but he was in safe and healing hands. Now with the dream, she was certain that he was OK. When they returned home to Brisbane she intended to find out exactly what had happened.

“Mum do you think they planted Cherry trees down there and that’s why they called it Cherry Plains?” asked the ever inquiring Wil, looking down on the abstract patchwork of the valley below.
“I don’t know darling. Perhaps that was the surname of the family that first settled there.”
“That’s a funny name,” he remarked with a giggle.
“I’m sure that Mr and Mrs Cherry don’t think that it’s a funny name.”
“But it’s a fruit Mum. It’s like calling someone Mr and Mrs Banana – that’s just silly.”

Abby giggled with him at his reasoning.
“I knew a girl once called Cherry. She was a friend of your Auntie’s when we were kids, going to the beach in Victoria.”
“Did she have red hair?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“Well it would be a sensible name for someone if their hair was red – red like a cherry.”
“I guess it would,” nodded Abby, amazed at the reasoning that came out of his mouth. “Actually she was blonde.”

After a time of just sitting and being in the peace on the ridge, the warm refreshing smell of eucalyptus washing over them, Abby stood up and stretch – first her legs and then her arms, with hands clinched, pushing out above her head.

“Shall we keep on walking?”
“OK,” he agreed. “Do you think we’ll find bark to paint on, like we did last time we were here?”
“I’m sure we’ll find something along here that will be an interesting thing to paint on.”

Bouyed by her mood and the crisp mountain air they walked until the sun was high in the sky and they were both tired. Along the way they came across some smaller pieces of flat strong bark that they put in the backpack to paint on when they got back to the chalet. It had become a tradition each time they came up to the mountain, to search out some bark and paint on it. There was a small wall in their home dedicated to the masterpieces they created on the mountain from bark and coloured art glue.

They stopped to eat the rough sandwiches that they had put together in the tiny kitchen of their cottage, after they had washed up the breakfast dishes. While Abby was lost in her thoughts and absently chewing her sandwiches, Wil rifled through the backpack to find the small yellow disposable camera that his mother had bought for him on the trip up to the mountains.

He sat near her on a warm rock and quietly snapped a picture of her. He loved the way she looked off in the distance, her chin on her hand, her elbow on her knee. She had her purple top tied around her waist, her cap on backwards and sunglasses pushed up onto her head. From the past, he knew her eyes were fixed on something, but that she wasn’t really looking at. She somehow seemed to be serious, but happy at the same time. Sort of lost in a way too.

His Dad joked that she was off in Abby’s world and when he’d asked where Abby’s world was, was it like Todd’s world where everyone was different colours his Dad had laughed. He told Wil he wasn’t sure what was in Abby’s world, but it was probably beautiful because it belonged to his Mum. For the longest time he wanted to go to Abby’s world until his Mum told him that in his head he had Wil’s world and he could go there whenever he wanted and it was probably better than Abby’s world because it was his. He didn’t get what they meant, and still didn’t. Grown ups were strange and confusing sometimes. In that moment, on the side of the ridge, looking through the little view finder of the camera, he knew he loved his Mum and loved the fact that she went to Abby’s world sometimes, even if he couldn’t find the way to go there with her.