Monday, March 31, 2008

MOON BLOOD: elemental menstruation

“Blood is the connection between the light and the dark ... It carries the soul, as it is the mixture of the feminine and the masculine. It is the seed of life.”
Felicity Wombwell
The Goddess Changes’

A woman’s womb is her sacred core. It is the centre from which she physically and metaphorically conceives, nurtures and births her creations. Menstruation is a crucial function of this space – a sacrosanct monthly activity which invites all women to reconnect with their divine selves, both as woman and goddess. This is a time when the inner and outer world is thinly veiled and to cross between is at its easiest.

There is much pleasure and empowerment to be found in celebrating the experience of bleeding each month. Menstruation is what makes us proud and strong, divine and sensual, connected and content women. Yet we are burdened by centuries of shame and embarrassment; pleasure and empowerment have been replaced with pain and disconnection. Estrangement from the natural rhythms and processes of menstruation has bought with it a myriad of menstrual disease. Women have lost their wisdom and their bond of the blood - and they are suffering.

The following is my own interpretation of an elemental experience of menstruation based on Alexandra Pope’s theory that process of menstruation is the most sensitive of our biological process to toxicity. She asserts that when we are exposed to any sort of toxicity or stressor in life, it is expressed as dysfunction in the way in which we bleed (which includes the days leading up to bleeding). My assertion is that shame and disconnection are very real toxins that are unsettling our elemental-balance, poisoning women physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. I believe this is a different paradigm in which to explore our notions and experience of menstrual disease.

FIRE – self will
Fire is the element of creativity, imagination, action and passion. It is our will, our drive and motivation. It’s also considered in the Three World elemental view to represent separateness, sacredness, the unknown and madness. Fire is the red of menstrual blood and also the colour of transformation.

Fire in the negative expression is found in the anger and uncontrollable rage often associated with PreMenstrual Tension (PMT). It is the burning desire to be left alone, when we most acutely feel the lack of boundaries in our lives. Fire is also the irritability that creeps under the skin like small insects and the dissatisfaction with everything, regardless of how perfect life may have seemed that morning. It is the distance that we place between ourselves and our most sacred of biological processes. Alternatively it can manifest as apathy and a lack of motivation (which is different from feeling tired or lethargic) – the ‘I can’t be bothered ….’ or ‘who cares’. It is the literal manifestation of the too much or too little fire in our blood.

Suggestions for reclaiming menstruation through the element of fire:

*Work ritually with anger/irritation/dissatisfaction/apathy. They are pointing you, like a compass, to whatever in your life is not working. Do you need to reset your boundaries? Do you need to find a job that allows you to express your creativity or imagination? Do you need to take a good look at relationships in your life that are not working for you? Write a list of things in your life that you are not happy with, and burn them ceremoniously. Then write a new list, of things that you wish to welcome into your life. Place these on your altar to remind you of the new energy and experiences that you are welcoming into your life.

*Gift yourself a creative project for your bleeding time – is there a creative pursuit that you really love but never have time to do it. You moon time is a perfect time to pamper yourself, your creativity and your imagination.

*Wear a piece of red clothing, a red necklace or burn a red candle

*Use you anger productively - write a letter of protest to your local member of Parliament about the environment, women’s rights or another social justice issue that you are passionate about .

*Work with Pele (awakenings) or Lillith (power)*

AIR – self belief
Air is the element of thought, knowledge and communication. It is the element of our intellect, our inspiration but also our detachment. Our wisdom is bound to the element of air.

Air represents the negative beliefs and thought patterns that we have about menstruation. It is the ideas we have inherited about being cursed, dirty and shameful; the buying into and perpetuation of the patriarchal myths about menstruation and women in general. Additionally it is the emphasis on silence or the sharing of only negative experiences of bleeding. It can manifest physically as a sense of detachment or dislocation with the world. Air is most commonly experienced as forgetfulness.

Suggestions for reclaiming menstruation through the element of air:

* Read books such as the The Wise Wound, Blood, bread & roses: how menstruation created the world, The Wild Genie, Women’s Wisdom Women’s Bodies and Moon Rites and get a different view on menstruation.

* Invite a few friends over for an informal ‘blood circle’ – share your experiences of menstruation, from menarche until now.

* Write down all your negative beliefs around menstruation and replace them with positive ones.

*Work with Maya (illusions) and Minerva (beliefs)

WATER – self love
Water is the element of emotions, feeling and intuition. It is our connection to the cyclic and lunar nature of life – the never ending circle of birth, death and rebirth. It is our menstrual blood. The element of water also embodies dimensions of honour and power in the Three World view. Water is our ability to literally ‘go with the flow.’ Dreams and the experience of the unconsciousness are also connected to the element of water.

Water represents the mood swings and unpredictability that is the flip side of the anger and rage of PMT. It is the depression, the sorrow and tears that are shed. It is best symbolised by the use of tampons, which literally plug the flow of blood from the body, thwarting the flow of power within our body. It is the dishonouring of the most essential part of our womanhood, the hatred that we lavish ourselves through the hatred of our bleeding. The element of water can also manifest as dreams of blood. Water in its most negative manifestation is the manner in which divorce ourselves completely from the process of menstruation pharmacologically by continually taking the Pill, or consenting to injections and implants that stop the cyclic process all together.

Suggestions for reclaiming menstruation through the element of water:

* Use cloth pads and allow yourself to experience the flow of blood from your body. Allow yourself to feel honoured, powerful and loved.

* Consider natural and time honoured methods of contraception that do not interfere with your natural cycles.

* Chart your cycle using a moon diary.

* Consider working with a therapist, in the fields of kinesiology, acupuncture, homeopathy or naturopathy if you feel your extremes of emotions affect your ability to function.

* Relax in a warm scented bath

* Eat roasted sweet potato to help balance out mood swings.

* Mourn and let go of the disappointments of the preceding month. Use a similar ritual as the one detailed in the fire section.

* Keep a dream diary, and note common themes or messages in relation to their place in your cycle.

* Write a list of simple pleasures which you can treat yourself to every day, as a way of saying to yourself ‘I love you’ – but especially in the days before you bleed and while you are bleeding.

* Work with Morgan le Faye (rhythms) and Changing Woman (cycles)

Earth – self nourishment
Earth is the element of grounding, of the real and tangible. It is the element of physical experience – of pain and pleasure. Earth is the element of fertility, nurturing and nourishment. It is the element of sensuality.

Earth is experienced as a feeling of heaviness in the body, of low energy and tiredness. It manifests physically in bloating, breast tenderness, migraines, cramping, back ache and the debilitating pain of bleeding. This is the element also associated with sugar cravings. And it’s where we buy into consumerism and the ultimate dishonouring of our blood. We buy tampons and synthetic, artificially scented sanitary pads that poison our bodies, aggravating our wombs, causing pain and increased bleeding. And then we throw away our blood.

Suggestions for reclaiming menstruation through the element of earth:

* REST! (either before or during your bleeding) when your energy is at its lowest ebb. This is honestly the kindest thing you can do for yourself and your family. One day of nurturing will recharge you for another month and can work to avert the worst of the physical manifestations (such as migraines and debilitating pain – which force your body to stop!)

* Nourish your body with organic, well cooked food – especially lots of protein to counter sugar cravings.

* Make or buy cloth pads and use the soaking water to fertilise and nourish your

* Use natural forms of pain relief, such as hot packs and essential oils

* If you experience extreme pain during bleeding, considering doing a detox or work with castor oil packs to purge your system of toxins in between moon times (great information is contained in Alexandra Pope’s ‘Wild Genie’ for those who are debilitated by menstrual pain.)

ETHER – spiritual connection
The ether is also called the spirit. To me it is the connection that binds us all together – individually to the Great Creatrix and collectively to each other.

Due to the shrouds of shame and each woman’s ideas of being dirty and cursed by menstruation, the sacred experience of menstruation has been denigrated and disconnected from a spiritual source. It is said during menstruation that the veil that divides us from our inner self is at its thinnest and we can be at our most connected, and I see that this is the same with our connection with the Creatrix if we are willing to explore. Menstruation is an invitation and opportunity to walk and work with Her.

Women were never meant to bleed alone, in obscurity and derision. Any of you who have ever share housed with at least one other woman will know that cycles link up. To me this is a very clear sign post that menstruation is intended to be a social activity, to be done collectively as sacred and important. As a special significant social activity, it is imperative that young girls are initiated into power and pleasure of bleeding at menarche by other women. This is where the quiet revolution begins.

By embracing and exploring the negative expressions of our menstruation, I believe that we are able to move closer to sealing the breech between the light and the darkness. By using the characteristics unique to each of the five elements, I believe we can all find ways to re-channel pleasure and power back into our experiences of bleeding, and to assist in rescuing our most sacred aspect of womanhood. Women need to act now to spark a rebellion against shame and disconnection if they are to reclaim menstruation as precious, sacred and significant. And when they do, each women will again be valued, blessed and powerful.

Published in this month's GAIA newsletter


My past arrived today. No I am serious - it did literally arrive today. The courier dropped the boxes at the door about 10:00am and in both the boxes is history. The larget box contains my mother and father dining setting, which was an engagement present. It was a full set for 18 years - until I was 15, too lazy to open up the door of the linen press where the towels were, reached through and dragged a towel across and took the sugar bowl, milk jug and one other piece with it. They fell to the concrete floor and broke into tiny pieces. I wasn't popular as you could guess - and I was mortified by what I had done. I learnt my lesson and always opened the correct door for the towels after that.

Where I am going to house all the plates? In my linen press - waiting for Dylan too be too lazy to open the door properly and to drag out other pieces all over the polished floor boards. I'm looking forward to returning from holidays to organise a very 70's dinner party to welcome the new setting into our home. We might even break out the silver that Dave's mother gave us ... but that belongs to a whole different era - as does the contents of the second box.

The smaller box contained all my journals and diaries - back to my diary when I was 13! And reading that was a laugh and cringe-fest ... I never thought I was THAT obsessed with boys, but its all there in black and white, or green, purple, blue. And it was so '80s as the following photos of the insides of my diary will atest to!

Scott (Jason Donovon) & Sharlene's (Kylie Minogue) wedding on Neighbours was the biggest event on TV in '87 for me - I can probably, much to my embarrassment hammer out a few bars of Rose Tattoo's "Suddenly" which was the wedding song. It was also the year I though Pat Cash was hot and stayed up until 1:00am to see him win Wimbledon with my Grandmother during the one week semester break (before there were four school terms a year). Pat Cash's parents lived in Ringwood in Victoria, as did my Aunt and Uncle. My Aunt told me that PC's mother made all his trade mark black and white headbands. And then there's Patrick Swaye - the beginning of pretty much an life long crush on the hunky Texan. In '87 I saw him as handsome, limping Orry Main in the TV adaptation of John Jake's North & South. Oh yeah - and there's Steven de Jong. The first of my unrequited loves - but that's a whole story in itself!

I was in love with Alasdair Gillis from one of Nickelodean's 80' flagship 'You Can't Do That On TV'. The show with Barf Buggers, water that fell on you when you said 'water' and green slime when you said 'I dont know'. Guest starring - and its written in my diary - is Alanis Morrisette and I was hideously jealous because she flirted with the boy that I had a crush on! This did not stop me many years later buying Jaggered Little Pill

Here's a VERY young Michael J Fox in the days when he played Alex P Keaton (he's 46 years old now) I loved Family Ties and this was in the days when it was prime time and now mid afternoon re-runs. I remember the episode with Tracey Pollen in it, who went on to become Mrs Michael J Fox. Billy Vera and the Beaters sang 'At This Moment' in the episode where Pollen's character, leaves on a bus ending their on screen relationship. And then there's another Neighbours memoir - the birth of favourite couple Des and Daphnes first baby (apparently called Jamie from my scribblings). It was a few more years before I gave up watching Neighbours. It took a while to grok the message in this cartoon (featured in the back of the diary) .... but I do like the
little comment that I've scrawled on the second cartoon (as I only ever studied to be smart and top the class - I was never actually interested in money!)

Thankfully the diaries do get 'better' the further on in years we go - less drivel about who I am enamoured with on TV and more about what I was seeing, hearing, feeling thinking.

I'm glad that over the years I stuck momentos away in them - paper clippings of my favourite bands, photos, cards, envelopes, notes - there are even petals from the very first rose that I ever got on Valentines Day in one diary (circa 1993 and his name was Sid, and we'd gone to high school together).

In the diary preceeding (1992) are two $20 (paper)notes that I asked an old boyfriend to keep for me when I had to go to hospital in a hurry for an eye operation back in 1992. I ran out of the ward once I finally got admitted, in my nighty, with the money in my hand. I would have done anything to have kept him there with my in Melbourne - I was all alone, facing a major operation and without friends or family with me. But I let him go. I knew he was already going to have to do some explaining to Miranda and his mates. I've been bloody broke at periods in my life, but I NEVER took that $40 and used it - knowing that he was the last person to have that money.

I can still remember the car trip with him to the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital Melbourne. We'd broken up about two weeks earlier but I needed to get to Melbourne and two days before New Years Eve everyone, including my parents, were out of town and I was unable to drive myself. He was my last resort and I had to literally search him out and interupt a lunch he was having with mates in the Mall.

The radio station we listening to was counting down the all time best 100 songs, and When Doves Cry came on ... I remember the patch of highway we were travelling along at the time, looking out at the dry brown hills and feeling the sting of tears in my eyes. He'd left me for a girl who was the antithesis of me - short, strawberry blonde ringlets, miss priss, who was his best mate's sister. He'd know her practially all his life, but she'd waited until I came along to get her manicured talons into him. I felt life was really unfair.

I feel a little more complete knowing that all my diaries are with me once again. They've been in storage at my Mum's place, in a camphorwood chest since 1995, and while a lot of what is in them is painful, there are lots of good memories, simple memories that I am going to enjoy reliving all over again in the coming months.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Just a little crazy

It's the 30th of March today - meaning that there is in reality, just one day left until Script Frenzy begins. It's the stage and screen version of NaNo.

My confession is that I've always wanted to write a movie - just because! And when I saw that the Office of Letters and Light also runss Script Frenzy late last year, it piqued my interest ... but then the caucophony of naysayers in my head started up. All the reasons why I could not possible write a script.

If it hadn't been for Demon Lover I would never have considered signing up ... because lets face it, if you're going to do something, of a literary nature, that you've never done before it helps (well its a bloody good start) if you have at least the tiny seed of an interesting story. So two weeks ago the Universe gifted me the dream from which Demon Lover was born, and my gift back to the universe will be a screen play.

The beauty of this, having never done it before, is that I give myself permission to do it really badly ... after all I am just a beginner at writing scripted dialogue. And there's something incredibly freeing about it. Like NaNo - my script will only be a FIRST DRAFT

I've done some research to find out how to format a script, and read a couple of them (they really are the stark bare bones of what ends up on the screen!), done some more research into the fairy tale from which all of this was intitally born (The Red Shoes) and have started to search out music that I think will fit with it. And well - we'll see what happens. Oh and slowly but surely my characters and a slightly more fleshed out plot are appearing.

Did I also mention, that in additon to having never written a screen play and committing to write 100 pages of script in 30 days, I will also be on holidays for the great part of April, travelling around Tasmania with my family. Another great reason to suggest to myself, that next year would be a better year ... but if I said that, I'd be 70 and suggesting that 71 would be a better year.

Again, I'm lucky enough to have a family that is 100% behind me on this. They don't really have a lot of choice really - seeings we're all going to be travelling together.

Is there anyone else out there who is also attempting Script Frenzy?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Writers Shame

This is the full length version of the short article posted on 'Say it on Saturday'.

I have finally got around to reading Stephen King's On Writing:a memoir of the craft. Not far into it I discovered a rather honest and confronting example of ‘writer’s shame’, something that I had to finally work through last year.

King writes:
“I have spent a good many years … too many, I think – being ashamed about what I write. I kept hearing Miss Hisler asking why I wanted to waste my talent, why I wanted to waste my time, why I wanted to write junk …. I think I was forty before I realised that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent.”

By 1987, when King was forty, he had written 17 novels under his own name, another five under the assumed name of Richard Bachman, 3 collections of short fiction and had collaborated on a number of film adaptations of his novels. King is the most financially successful horror writer in history. It would be incomprehensible to believe that such an author would ever have doubted or been ashamed of his talent, if we hadn’t experienced the exact same type of shame and doubt ourselves.

We all have them, a monster or perhaps a whole crew of them, who hang out in the recesses of our memories, on the periphery of our creativity. They load us up with shame about our writing, dishing out their own versions of ‘how could you?’ that block us.

My Miss Hisler was a Writer in Residence at uni, whose name I’ve chosen to forget. I was really excited. It felt that being part of what this Writer in Residence was creating, was my next step on my path to being a published writer. I took a short story along entitled ‘And Juliet Met Romeo in Hell’ that I felt really good about. It was the first short story that I had written since leaving high school and writing for the pure pleasure of writing. The story was more mature in construction and content (I thought!) than anything I’d written at high school, and it had a definite dark edge.

He quickly read over my work, and then point blank told me, in front of others that were waiting, that I needed to go out and get a life, I had no idea of what living in the real world was like. And that was it. No comment on style or structure, no suggestions on imagery or dialogue. I was mortified and shattered. I remember taking my story and leaving the room, unable to look anyone else in the eye. And I never went back.

I don’t deny that I was naïve – I’d spent almost all of my education in a Catholic high school and I hadn’t been adventurous as a teenager. This was probably why I so willing to took his words as gospel on my fledgling talent. I didn’t know in those days how to deconstruct criticism – especially bad criticism that does nothing to help a writer learn and grow. He hadn’t actually given any feedback on my writing.

His criticism I took both personally and creatively. It was like being told I was an imbecile, and that I had had the audacity to write. What’s more, his words were instant creative castration for my vulnerable muse. From that moment onwards, my passion for writing waxed and waned. I created projects that could never be completed. In my garage I have a box of first chapters and other snippets of work that I half heartedly worked on. In eight years I completed one piece of work, a short story called ‘A Few Stolen Moments’ which was almost lost all together on a corrupted floppy disc.

I felt a fraud – I was waiting tables and working crap jobs because the only career I had ever wanted was writing, but I couldn’t turn up to the page. Everyone knew that I wanted to be a writer. Friends often asked if they could read something of mine, but I was resolute in never showing anyone my work. I had learnt my lesson.

In the end, I focused so long and hard on ‘going out and living in the real world’ that I never made time for writing. What little I did write I was terrified to show anyone. Sadly I never thought to get a second opinion or even better, a mentor. I didn’t go and seek out a writer’s group. I just stayed frustrated and creatively impotent.

It was almost ten year later, in 2000, that I finally took myself off to do a TAFE writing course. The two courses I did there were beginning of a very long hard fight to put myself back on the path and to believe in myself as a writer. I am glad that I did.

When I ousted this monster last year, after working through the section on shame and monsters in The Artists Way, I didn’t feel the need to pay homage to his legacy any more. And good riddance I say. I’ve let go of the notions that I’m not smart enough, nor worldly enough to write. I have the audacity to write badly sometimes, and feel OK about it. I have the confidence to try new things and experiment with my boundaries. And I’ve reclaimed the thrill; the pure, unadulterated love of being encapsulated in the fiction I create.

We all have our Miss Hislers. Naming them and sharing the damage that they have caused us, goes a long way to healing the festering wounds left in our self confidence and creativity.

Who are your shame monsters – today is your opportunity to oust them.

What was the shaming charge/s levelled at you? How has it fashioned the way in which you perceive yourself as a writer and your ability create?

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Tarot Card are you

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

In my pack, the number 10 card is simply called THE WHEEL, and has a picture of a woman drawing a circle around herself in the sand, in front of a cave. It speaks to me of cycles - of beginnings and endings that continually meld and merge into each other. It's also a card of synchronicity - which is a big thing in my life now since completing The Artist Way. As for success ... I'm happy to just take each day, one step at a time, one line of writing at a time. Anyway, it depends on what your definition of success is?


This Week’s Theme: Describe a time your character was wronged; even though it was insignificant to the one who wronged them, your character never got over it.

I arrive shaking. Molly doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the café that we’d agreed upon for a pre-contract signing latte. I’m late and she never is which further unsettles me. I ease myself quickly into the nearest seat, before my legs fold and try to get the morning into perspective.

I look blankly up at the waitress when she stops by my table, asking me if I’d like a drink. Yes, I’d love an affogato. I’m not sure if I can pay the bill, but I don’t tell her that as I order.

A panicked search around the apartment turned up enough loose change for the bus fare here, but probably not enough left over to cover the coffee. Five minutes ago the auto teller ate my emergency credit card. Three times it rejected my pin number, that I know for certain is the correct. I have lost my last source of money.

Where the hell did I lose my purse anyway?

I’m never irresponsible – I cannot afford to be. The cash-flow of a writer is erratic at best. I’ve learnt to be creative with my finances and I always get my bills paid eventually. That’s why I can’t understand how the internet and my phones got shut off. My diary has marked, two weeks ago, that both Bills were paid – on time for once. It makes no sense.

Standing up, I look up the street for Molly, but there is still no sign of her. I’m worried. If she’s sick there’s no way for her to reach me. She wouldn’t miss this – I keep reassuring myself. Molly is my resourceful and dependable agent. She’s been working for months to get this contract with Random House for my manuscript. I panic - she’s got the contracts with her. Today wont happen without her or those magic pieces of paper.

My affogato arrives and I feel too nauseous to drink it. Instead I sit and watch the icecream gradually melt and then threaten to run down the sides of the trendy glass.

I move my diary away from the espresso slick, and out falls the letter I grabbed out of the box as I was leaving. Opening it tilts my world the full 180 degrees that has been threatening since I got home from my run this morning.

I’m being evicted today from my apartment – today. Probably now as I’m sitting here reading in disbelief. My rent is in arrears, I haven’t made contact with the office and now they’re legally entitled to remove me. This is wrong, this is so wrong. What the hell is going on here?

My stuff … my computer … my manuscript!!

“Louisa Kendall, is that you?”
“Yeah …”

I look up and see a face that I haven’t seen in years. He’s aged, but I’d never forget those features, his nose too large and the lip beneath too small. The only thing that has changed is it looks as though he can grow proper facial hair now. Beady eyes stare down at me from under the same sparse, prickly looking mono brow.

I force myself to focus on the most immediate of my problems – Raymond.

“Long time no see,” I say, trying to be breezy.
“How are things with you?”
“Great, just great Ray,” but I know my body language screams ‘liar’.

He sits down across from me before I can stop him. He’s grinning and I can’t decide if it’s inane or sinister.
“I hear you’re having a book published. Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” I manage, struggling to concentrate.

Where is Molly?

“What do you do for a living?” I asked politely, trying to sip the messy affogato.
“I’m a security expert, working on a Government contract at the moment.”
“Since 9/11 there must be a plethora of work,” I comment, pushing the affogato away.
“Something like that,” he mutters and I remember how he did it at high school.
“You chase terrorists,” I bait, giving him a wink.
“I do internet security actually,” he snaps. “You’d be surprised how easily a person can disappear with the universal reliance of computerisation and electronic automation of data processes and storage.”

And in an instant I understand. My morning has been all about Raymond – electronic telecommunications, the internet, banking. This is not Mercury Retrograde spinning in overdrive.
“Only my closest friends know about my book contract. How do you know about it?”

The terror that’s been building in my throat all morning, wild and bitter, turns into a barely contained rage.

“I’m actually here to give you a message. It’s from Molly. She’s in bed with concussion – an accidental knock on the head.”
“You know Molly!”
“She’s my sister-in-law.”
“Someone married you?” I blurt out before I’ve got the good sense to keep my mouth shut.

He just looks daggers at me and I feel a chill running down my back.
“What have you done?” I demand, slowly articulating each word as I push my torso across the table defiantly.
“Repaying a debt.”
“If this is about highschool -”
“Of course this is about school, what else?”

“You’re suggesting I stole Dux from you Ray, but we all know that’s not the case. I was awarded it fair and square. You robbed yourself.”
“It was mine, was always mine until you arrived and took it …. and my father sent me away to boarding school. All because of you. Everything is your fault.”

He’s getting flabbergasted and spittle is going everywhere, then he stops, centres himself and smiles that vile grin again.
“It doesn’t matter now. I deleted you, literally and metaphorically hiesha.”

And I’m staring after his lumbering frame as he walks down the street and disappears around the corner. I wonder if he was real, or an apparition from my anxiety riddled psyche. I poke myself. I’m here, I’m real. But there’s a horror dawning inside me. My flesh and blood body is now the only proof on this earth that I exist.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bizarre Writing Places

On the back of Paul's column this week ... I'm musing on the bizarrest places that I have written.

I tend to be a little disorganised and often find that I am without pen and paper when I most need them. During NaNo I went on a couple of interesting outtings with my laptop in tow. My last outting ended up being to the shopping centre but got there too late to set myself up anywhere (like the library or Borders bookshop) Instead I sat outside at a cafe (outside in the sense that its outside the cafe but still indoors of the shopping centre) and sat and wrote. As the world around me thinned out, with my ear phones in, I was so absorbed in my writing I could have remained there until they were ready to shut off the lights and security came to kick me out. However, I had a family to go home to.

Where is the most bizarre place that you have ever written?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Suburban Surrealism

Thursday was a collection of surreal experiences.

The day began with Kindy – as it does every other Thursday. Dylan was ridiculously excited about going for his first sleep over that night. I was a little trepidatious about him going – the old angel and devil fighting it out on my shoulder so to speak. I still feel a little odd when I drop Dylan to kindy – there’s that moment where I get a kiss and a hug, then he wanders over to sit on the mat with the other kids, his picture on the sticky board ready for his day … and I feel obsolete. For the past year I’ve been yearning for this time and space, and now that I have it, it feels odd. I also dreamt the other night about the deep regret of wanting him to grow up, and realising that he had, and all the things that I had wished away … but I digress!

I had my own excitement levels building as well – not just over the dinner date I had booked at a local restaurant for that night, but for having lunch with my friend Rachael. It was the first time that we had been out for lunch, just the two of us. No interruptions from small children and all of that.

Before lunch I took a run to the flower market (which seems to be growing into a weekly routine) for roses, and as it turned out carnations and sunflowers. I think I needed the promise of sunshine, after a week or more of grey, overcast weather here in Brisbane. At home with all the flowers, I took great care and delight in breaking open the bunches, creating new ones, clearing out the old vases and wishing I had another so I could have bought from tulips (next week perhaps!)

Once done with the flowers, there was enough time to indulge in a little Magic Alex through MySpace and I flirted with the fact of joining up to eMusic so I could download their album ‘Dated and Sexist’. This seems a very bizarre juncture for me to be at. Firstly to have found a band and music that I like, through a crazy collection of internet diversions (all which have their beginnings in ‘that dream’ last week) and secondly for me to be contemplating the (legal) download of music.

I’m a philistine … a traditionalist and I REALLY resist the idea of buying music as a file. I want vinyl, I want a CD, I want cover art, notes in the sleeve – you get what I mean. I feel that downloads are horrendously impersonal – that it bastardises the whole experience of music. But the thing is – I really want this album and unless I have some luck in persuading a friend who lives in the UK to try and track it down, I’m going to have to get it online, as a download. The juries out at present, my application for eMusic is only half filled in and instead I’m dragging around my computer listening to the five songs on Magic Alex’s MySpace site instead.

As I’ve decided that ‘Dated and Sexist’ is the writing soundtrack for Script Frenzy I guess I’m going to have to take the plunge, join eMusic and download. After all – I do actually own an MP3 player now. It’s time to take the next plunge.

So 11am arrives and I decide that I will just fritter away the rest of my time before lunch on YouTube and associated sites (doing research is what I call it!) if I don’t actually leave the house. With computer in tow, and a copy of my 3am Epiphany exercise I go off to the local café, the Rare Pear, to write and wait for Rachael. The exercise is a challenge – and every three sentences I write, I find I’m having to pare (so I’m actually in the right location!) back to one – each sentence needing to be an island of an idea in itself, but somehow connected though disconnected. I am finishing it as Rachael arrives … and we spend a blissful few hours, enjoying amazing food and conversation. It’s been a while and there’s lots of catch up on … and I’m still on cloud nine from my publishing success during the week.

When it comes to pay, I realise that I’m cutting it fine. There is a long line up to pay, and not a lot of action happening in the line shortening, and its after 2pm. When I get to the head of the line … the owner hands over to one of the waitresses who has been looking after us. It turns out that she’s new and has never used the till before … and then she’s never used the EFTPOS machine. In a very strange turn of events, Rachael and I as the customers, teach the waitress how to put the EFTPOS transaction through?!!

At Kindy I’m late – but thankfully Dylan’s not the last there to be picked up. I apologise and tell the story about the EFTPOS machine. Dylan, without prompting, wishes his teachers a happy easter and I hear about the non stop monologue about Morgan, Spiro and sleepover. I’m heartened (and a bit embarrassed!), but it seems that Dylan’s ready for a sleep over.

Because I was running late, we have to go back home for Dylan’s sleep over stuff, and Annie’s chockies and flowers. He happily sits there listening to the Beatles while I collect everything up. On the way over he’s happily singing away to the Beatles. We have the Number Ones album in the car and he knows words to all of the songs on there … but knows best the early singles like ‘Love Love me Do’. At At Morgan’s house there is afternoon tea and then its off to play Spriro. Annie’s husband won a raffle the night before and they have a 6 foot by 3 foot bookcase full of gourmet food. We make coffee with these groovy sachets - there was a cup size dripolater filter that you put the coffee in and then poured the boiling water through. And on top of the coffee there was a box of chocolate truffles.

On the drive home to get ready for dinner – I had this weird sense of speeding, like I was drunk or something. Too much sugar and caffeine! It’s a good thing those two don’t show up in road side drug testing. I sang along loudly with Lady Madonna and dreamt about how this song could fit in with my script … because I can’t seem to evict myself from the developing lives of these two characters. I think that Day Tripper might be a better song – who knows??

At home I discovered the pants that fitted me when Dylan was six months old – no longer fit, not a hope in Hell. So it was into the shower to do something crazy – shave my legs! Those who know me, know that I am a first class feral in regards to my leg hair – I just can’t be bothered with it. Also accompanied by the fact that I have a terrible allergy to shaving and I can’t cope with the severe itch that comes with it. So there I am, with two inches of water in the bath, with my lap top sitting on the vanity, Magic Alex pumping out of it, hacking through the thicket on my legs when Dave gets home … wondering what the hell has happened with the other me.

It felt crazy, free and of another time to get ready to go out without Dylan around. It felt like the days before we had a child … and to wear a short skimpy dress out - I felt so daring – especially with my newly shaved legs.

The restaurant we went to was called the Suburban and is literally just down the road from where we live. I drive past it to get home from the supermarket. It’s situated on the main road in among all the car yards and we’ve always commented what a strange location for a really swanky restaurant.

In we go, table at the window and I’m sitting their pursuing the cocktail menu (because neither of us are driving for a change – Phil’s played chauffeur for the evening) and looking out the window to the neon ‘Peugeot’ sign on the other side of the road -where Dave is sitting he can see the 'Mitsubishi' neon. I order a ‘Pink Stiletto’ (which is incidentally something you would NEVER catch me in!) which has cranberry juice, vodka and strawberry liqueur but comes out with lemon juice in it (but it's nice anyway) As we’re ordering our meal, we hear a woman’s voice screaming out some rather fruity language. And they wander past the open window that we’re sat out, her mouth still going a million miles an hour and I have this moment, as she glares at me, that I fear she might stride over and give me a mouthful as well. I feel oddly disconnected from the world beyond the door of the restaurant.

The look of mortification on the waitress’s face said it all. And after a moment that seemed far longer than it really was – she asked if I would repeat my order, she’d been slightly distracted.

A little while later, as we were eating our entrees we realised that next door to the restaurant is the local Laundromat, which unfortunately I didn’t know about last week when I actually needed one. As we ate our amazing food, we watched a variety of people load and unload their washing – and their cartons of beer, as just up from the Laundromat is the pub. If we thought that location was a bit weird prior to dining there – we were convinced after we’d dined there. It is a very fitting name – Suburban.

Towards the end of our mains, a couple walked in and Dave commented that he was certain he knew the guy and from the look on the guy’s face, he was having the same moment. It turns out he was at JCU with Dave, and as we were leaving we wandered over for a chat. They live a few streets down the hill from us. While I didn’t remember this guy (I was study psych not geology!) it was another moment of life before children.

The evening ended with port at home and a taped episode of Life on Mars from earlier on in the evening. Dylan's room was hauntily empty and it felt very strange not to have him in the house. I have to say that - yes - I really did miss him, even if it was just having him asleep in bed.

All in all, one of those days that seems so ordinary in the moment, but in retrospect, quite surreal.

How Addicted are you?

72%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Honestly - I thought that it would be less (denial denial!)... because I don't really spend lots of time blogging - though it's hard as a writer, because blogging is both business and pleasure! I used to blog much more - so I would hate to think what I would have registered earlier on in the year.

Thanks Square 1 for putting this up on your blog ... I think I'll crawl off to rehab now :) Shall we book a cyber cab and share the fare there?

Three Word Wednesday (belated!) #78

The words for this week: tangled, understood, money

We understood each other in the beginning
Yours was yours
Mine was mine
Yet we let things get tangled
Yours became mine
And mine yours
Now the boundaries are blurred
And whatever we understood
Has gone
And the money on the beside table
It’s the only reminder
Of what we should have remembered

More fun at Three Word Wednesday

Picture This #6

I hear the soft crunch of flesh on sand as he walks away, back up to the party. I don’t want to turn around and watch him leave. It would just add insult to injury.

There was no choice, I keep telling myself, over and over, like the quiet rhythmic lull of the waves hitting the shore. I had to ask him. This is what it had come down to.

I try not to cry and bury my face in my arms. My mascara will run long black arroyos down my cheeks, if I do and at some stage I have to go back to the party. No one saw us leave and no one would think to miss the two of us together. We don’t even like each other, as far as any of our friends think. But they will finally miss me if I stay away too long.

I want to go home, but I don’t want to have to explain why I left early. They’ll ask questions and I am a terrible liar. This party was long anticipated – until Thursday that was. I knew he would be here and I would have to confront him.

I needed to know, I needed him to say it to my face. This is his problem too, not mine alone to carry. So I asked. I simply asked him for money and he started at me with unveiled contempt. His eyes condemning me, screaming at me that this was all my doing. And now he really does hate me.

Kate will see the subtle shift and she’ll want to know. But I can’t tell her just yet - she doesn’t know what he is like really. Now the three of us are forever entwined. Kate wanted so desperately for us to get along, and for a night she got her wish.

I should never have asked, kept this to myself and dealt with it. This was a dangerous game that I willingly played and I know that I’ve lost. But I wanted to be sure. He wants to know nothing about this. I swear that he’ll pay one way or another. If not now, then he’ll pay for life. His arrogance and cruelty will be his undoing, not mine.

I’ll have this baby simply to spite him.

More takes on this photo at the Write Stuff Website

Friday, March 21, 2008

3am Epiphany: Life Story

3am Epiphany: Uncommon Exercises in Writing
Exercise 94, Page 127-28

“Life Story”

Write a short first-person story of someone’s entire life. Make the sentences island of themselves, the scene of action, and detail. Don’t worry about making sense from sentence to sentence (which is good advice for any kind of writing). But also don’t forget that a reader has to follow a thread, a set of breadcrumbs, a trail of broken branches, footprints, and crumpled candy wrappers.

Focus on the details that reveal the personality and the changes in personality of this character. How do people change? Why do they change? Imagine a frame device the makes this kind of story possible – a guy in a bar, a grown womean magically transported back to third grade who is asked to tell what she did last summer, except that she confuses this with what did you do with your life?

300 words


… I look at him and know that it will never be the same. The world will tilt 180 degrees once I open my mouth because I will finally be admitting to it all.

I tell him that I almost died at birth and so did my mother, too much blood for one of us and not enough for the other. I was born a Catholic. As a child the Dr’s receptionist knew me by name. Each birthday, until I was 15, I blew out the candle and wished for the same thing - that my mother would have another baby. My parents were terrified of losing me, so they wrapped me in the cotton wool of their fears.

My mother never smiled and said more with her silence than she could ever have done with words. I was always trying to fit in – even with my own family. My only safe place of escape was my daydreams and I was scolded for it.

I was athletic and academic, but socially awkward. I hid my grandmother’s borrowed organ books and played the songs on the piano with the practise pedal. At age seven I won a creative writing prize at school, but my mother lost it on the way home from school. I still have the permission form for the school play I was offered a lead role in - that I never gave to my parents.

On my fifteenth birthday I blew out the candles on the cake and wished to stop feeling guilty. I prayed to God to release me. I still took communion, but gave up on him.

I smuggled philosophy onto the bottom of my VTAC form after my father had completed it for me. I hated studying business but did well. For three years I worked to pay my parents back for the wedding they wanted, but I didn’t show up to. Now I don’t owe them a single thing. I’m happy and alone. (396 words)


This actually took far longer to write than the 300 words warranted. I found that it was a continual process of writing, cutting down and condensing - making every sentence count and contain an imporant grain of this character's truth. The crumbs that I tried to drop through it was a sense of strangulation (the cord around the neck at birth and the control of the parents), of guilt (references to Catholisicm, prayer, wishes) of hiding the real self (dancing, day dreaming, playing the piano with the practise pedal) and of quiet rebellion (philosophy on the VTAC form, communion without believing).

I also struggled with the idea that I couldn't connect the sentences together in a way that made sense in normal writing or were meaningful .... thus my need to find some themes that I could weave through it instead. That in itself made me able to face up to the page to do it.

What I found was the you can pretty much sum up the core essence of a character in 300 words ... and I have a very solid basis to develop my Demon Lover female character from here ... not a woman forsakening love, but instead forsakening her shackles and guilt, breaking down her boundaries but at the same time unable to establish her own boundaries ... well we'll see what happens in April I guess.

I've discovered that all my 3am Epiphany exercises are going to be prefaced with 'I can't do this' .. the scream of the challenged and the sign post to major revelations! Annie's turn next week to pick.

Fiction Friday: Je t'adore

This Week’s Theme: Have your character give 13 reasons why they should learn a new language.

Standing among the class of boys, Hudson could feel the colour rising in his cheeks. He wasn’t given over to moments of embarrassment, but his brazenness was dissolving in a puddle of his Mum’s hair product and Dad’s expensive aftershave. Both of which were pointless now. Looking down he could see the words he’d scrawled thoughtfully in his notebook last night.

“We’re waiting Monsieur Hudson,” the elderly French teacher said. “You have your homework, non?”

He looked up at her with dread in his eyes. This list of reasons for studying French was not for her, this old shrivelled hag of a woman. She reminded him of the dates in jar his Mum kept in the pantry – only this one had a meticulous gun-grey bun glued on top.

The reasons on this list were for the babelicious, French hottie his older brother had told him about. The one he’d seen getting about school in the final week of the term with a pile of French books in her arms, her legs long, tanned and luscious beneath her short sundress. Her smile dazzled and her ample cleavage beckoned for him to stare into the depths of the creamy, glistening valley of skin. She was every teenage boy’s fantasy in the flesh.

The French teacher bought him out of his reverie with an impatient, dry cough and he took a deep breath, wondering if she’s let him go to the bathroom, then he’d escape down to the Year Coordinators office and immediately change to a different class.

“Miss,” he began.
“You may call me Madam,”
“Madam,” Hudson croaked. “I need to go to the loo.”
“There are no toilet breaks in my class. You whiz in your time, not time. Now continue, and stop wasting the time of this class, non?”

Hudson cleared his throat and tried to think of reasons other than the ones he’d written down. He was the class clown, he should be able to wing it, but his humour was shot threw by the piercing glare of the French teacher. He looked down, imploring Joe to help him out, but he shrugged his shoulders and closed his exercise book.

“Number one. To talk to you……. in French.”

An outbreak of laughter was promptly silenced by a smack of the metre long ruler on the row of tables at the front.”Silence!! There will be silence in my class boys.”

“Number Two,” started Hudson in an even quieter voice, as the class reluctantly settled, “So I can ask you to add me as a friend on Facebook …. in French.”
“Number Three. To ask if you will give me your mobile number … in French”

He willed the ground to open up and swallow him, but nothing happened.
“ … To tell you you’re hot … to ask you to a party Friday night … To ask you to kiss me …. To ask you to make out with me … to ask you to come home with me … to ask if you give head … to say your place or mine … to say you’ve got great tits … to ask if you’d go out with me. ”

Until he got to the final reason, the thirteenth and choked out “To say I love you…”

The other boys howled with laughter, as Hudson slipped down into his seat. The amusement continued at his expense. The French teacher slammed the ruler repeatedly and demanding for quiet.

“Monsieur Hudson. Whilst this séduire of Mademoiselle Poisson may be considered appropriate to you, it is unwelcomed in my classroom! ….. See me at lunch time and we’ll see to a more appropriate list, non?”
“Yes Miss,” he mumbled into the desk, thinking this was the karma his mother was forever talking about when they got letters home about his behaviour in class.
“Miss Poisson teachers senior French you dick,” taunted a boy from behind and he didn’t turn around to see who it was.

He was too busy formulating a fast-talking, escape plan from the clutches of Madam Date and the best way in which to make is brother pay.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last week I spoke about my brush with the abundance of the universe in regards to my writing. The story that I wrote, 'Demon Lover', has been accepted for online publishing and can be found here. This is a big boost to the ego for me as my past writing endeavours and submissions have been to small publications that I know wont reject my articles. This is also the first time that I have had my creative writing in a pool with others, vying for publication. It also proves I can trust in the Universe when I think that my well has run dry. It seems I do my best writing when I am challenged the greatest.

As a consequence of this turn of fate, my goal of having four things published this year seems to be more than on track than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams. I may even have reached it by this weekend, which seems too crazy - seeings I had only one article published (outside of my editorials for DTB) last year. To me it shows me that I made the right decision back in December to cut my ties and start anew where my heart has always wanted to play ... on the page!

It will be hard for me now to begrudge the Creative abundance of the Universe, its been a concept that I have been greatly challenged by ... I guess this was the lesson that I had to learn, but like always, it had to be show and tell.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

3am Epiphany: of sex and food

For Christmas I got the Brian Kiteley's '3am epiphany:uncommon writing exercises that transform your fiction'. I got to pick the very first exercise that our Creative Cluster is doing. Turning to page 69 I found the exercise 'Food Fight' and thought that sounded innocent enough - and then I read on. This is a three part exercise that begins with you listing as many nouns and verbs pertaining to food and your kitchen as you can muster (I did two A4 pages which turned out to be not quite enough!) Then you write a sex scene and the following day substitute all the nouns and verbs in the sex scene with words from your list.

Kitely writes "The result of this exercise is something less interesting than the effect it has upon the reader and the writer. The exercise should also show you how much the syntax of a sex scene remains after you've eliminated the words that seem to point to the act."

I'll let you be the judge ...

Of Food ...
Without a garlic, she deftly recycled her lime on a piece of toilet lemon and froze him with an intensity that cooked her. He replied with a rockmelon sliced from hours of sexual frustration. He diced his cookware in through the long oil in the front of her knives and mixed his washcloth up the inside of her Miss Piggie cookie jar, cleaning out the tumblers above the lace topped toaster. His fridge splattered upwards. She was stirring and his dishwasher grated inside her easily. A small sink blended in his magnets as he gently began grilling the inside of her bread, roasting for the small tea of her coffee.

She stood his bottom butter between her steaks as the frying broke down her last vestiges of control and concern. She marinated gently on it, her chops hot in his wooden spoon. Heating his flour off his cucumber, she heated her bench down his iceblocks and boiled his wine tight in her softdrink.

“I can’t wait” he roasted, shredding with the water on his cookbook until her steadier teapot successfully unfastened it.

Like her, he’d left his cans at home and she came baking powder to baking powder with his drinking lentils. His sugar minced through her chickpeas in anticipation until her rubbish finally baked him. She scraped tiny wet spirals on his crumbs with her catbowl, and downwards until she’d iced as far down the catfood as she could go. Finally bubbling him in her hot, wet salad spinner. He felt his coco caramelise and threaten to give way.

“No,” he sauteed, crisping backwards towards the expresso machine and out of her milk.
He browned on the closed juice and seared her eggs to him, then crumbing the tight condiments up over her cheese so she could brown. She stacked the pasta above him. With one noodle on his bicarbsoda, and the other on the back of his honey, she washed herself slowly and gently onto him.

Once the hungry beerbottle inside her was mopped, she swept still and tenderised him softly. She began to juice her steamer in slow sensual chocolates. Then she burned her limes and greased her lemon tight around him, sweetening the rockmelons upwards, thankful for the years of dedicated lime exercises and her Feldenkrais instructor.

He rubbed deeply with each taste, cooling her closer to him.

“Stack me,” he began to fish, over and over in her cookware, his oil on her gyrating knives.
She began to dehydrate up off him, slowly at first, but with increasing steam, shrivelled on only by his washcloth in her Miss Piggie cookie jar. Then his tumbler recycled and held, and she felt the hot and rapid toaster within her. She drained and simmered him close, his damp fridge cooled on her push-up bra dishwasher. And it was done.

And of sex ...

Without a word, she deftly removed her lipstick on a piece of toilet paper and kissed him with an intensity that shocked her. He replied with a hunger born from hours of sexual frustration. He slipped his hand in through the long split in the front of her dress and ran his hand up the inside of her thigh, seeking out the skin above the lace topped stocking. His fingers pushed upwards. She was wet and his fingers slipped inside her easily. A small moan droned in his ear as he gently began rubbing the inside of her vagina, searching for the small bump of her G-stop.

She took his bottom lip between her teeth as the stroking broke down her last vestiges of control and concern. She nibbled gently on it, her breath hot in his mouth. Pushing his tuxedo jacket off his shoulders, she ran her fingers down his back and clasp his butt cheeks tight in her hands.

“I can’t wait” he uttered, fumbling with the belt on his pants until her steadier hands successfully unfastened the belt.

Like her, he’d left his underwear at home and she came face to face with his engorged penis. His hand pawed through her hair in anticipation until her tongue finally touched him. She drew tiny wet spirals on his head with her tongue, and further, until she’d reached as far down the shaft as she could go. Finally enclosing him in her hot, wet mouth. He felt his legs shake and threaten to give way.

“No,” he rasped, shuffling backwards towards the toilet and out of her mouth.

He sat on the closed toilet and pulled her back to him, then forcing the tight dress up over her hips so she could sit. She stepped away from him, tugged her strappy heels off and straddled the air above him. With one hand on his member, and the other on the back of his neck, she lowered herself slowly and gently onto him.

Once the hungry void inside her was sated, she sat still and kissed him softly. She began to move her hips in slow sensual circles. Then she engaged her pelvic floor and drew her yoni tight around him, drawing the muscles upwards, thankful for the years of dedicated pelvic floor exercises and her Feldenkrais instructor.

He groaned deeply with each squeeze, crushing her closer to him.
“Fuck me,” he began to whisper, over and over in her ear, his hands on her gyrating hips.

She began to move up off him, slowly at first, but with increasing speed, urged on only by his voice in her ear. Then his body seized and held, and she felt the hot and rapid ejaculation within her. She stopped and held him close, his damp face cushioned on her push-up bra cleavage. And it was done.

This was the hardest piece of writing I have done since I began to seriously write again last year, and alternately the most fun and silly. Surprisingly a lot of the feeling of the original piece remains when you take out all those key words ... I really was amazed. I wonder if it would work the same way with a different element of fiction?

I dont remember sex being so difficult to write about, blow by blow (no pun intended!), when I was a teenager and writing sex scenes?? But then again, I was a virgin then with a very virile imagination. It makes me realise how hard it is to not write cliches and to write sensually when you dont write cliches. When I read back over my original piece I was struck with how raw and brash it is - without any of the cushioning of twee that often accompanies sex scenes in novels.

It also struck me how often what we read as sex scenes in literature really doesn't marry the lived experience for a lot of women. Makes me quite aware of my feminist underpinnings (though this piece probably doesn't portray any of them!) It was definitely an eye opener for me as a writer ... and making me feel quite a bit nervous about having my main characters in Finding Aphrodite pair up and consummate what's been going on between them. Perhaps I should call in my Miss Piggie cookie jar to settle it between them!!

Every time a certain song comes on the radio, the two of them are in my head, begging to be let loose on each other, but now that I see how hard it is to really do justice to sex, sensuality and a woman's experience of the act of sex - they are just going to have to wait a little longer to do the wild thing. Sorry guys!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Trusting in the Universe

I'm too exhausted tonight to give Fiction Friday a crack. I may be in a more creative space tomorrow morning when I get up.

I've been on a writing frenzy getting a story written and edited in time for the deadline for an Australian writing site that is taking original work. The site is a relationship/dating site that is showcasing writing that fits with a monthly theme. We only found out about it on Wednesday and I was caught on the theme 'Marching to a different beat'. In frustration last night I opened up my trusty copy of 'Women Who Run With Wolves' and used it as a creative oracle. As with the last time I used it in this way, I immediately baulked at the paragraph that I had chosen (which belongs to the deconstruction of the story of The Red Shoes) and went to bed. As it turned out a dream came to me in the night. I was able to lie awake contemplating it long enough that the details were still fresh in my mind when I woke up properly this morning.

When I sat and re-read the paragraph my dream had exactly the same themes attached to it. And I sat down, experimenting with First Person, present tense voice and had the most incredible experience writing it. At 2:20 I had to stop because it was time to go and get Dylan from kindy and I realised that I had been holding my breath as I was writing.

This coincides with an email from Chris Baty about the Script Frenzy run by the Office of Light and Letters (the NaNo people) and I'm wondering if I can take this fledging idea in my short story, combined with the other elements of me dream that couldn't see the literary light of day because of a 2000 word limit and write a script?

This is a wonderful reinforcement to me that there is a greater creative force out there, that does want us to be creative, and presents us with gifts aplenty in which to work/play with. This is the second time that I have used a storyline from a dream ... my Adam and Eve installments originated in a dream back in January last year. Interestingly enough - the sinister nature of this short story (entitled Demon Lover) wasn't really that apparent in my dream and I wasn't sure if I truly wove the mesmerising magnetisim of the central male character -because he just dazzled in my dream. And then I got to wondering when I was in the pool - is he really evil after all ... ahh the possibilities.

Now I steel myself for a rejection email .. or perhaps my first piece of paid writing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quote for the Day

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.
Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
~ Lao-Tse ~

And isn't that what all this has been about?

Thursday Thirteen: My fav TV shows 1

Here are my thirteen favourite TV shows, and in no particular order of preference.

Yes - Dr Who, which will come as no surprise to all my friends, or family. Santa bought us Series 2 an 3 of the new incarnation of Dr Who. I remember seeing the Doctor and the Daleks as a small kid - on the black and white TV. My Dad watched the very first series of Dr Who as a kid in Scotland (before they emmigrated here in 1963), I grew up watching it and now a Dylan is a third generation Dr Who fiend. I like the idea that Dr Who (and is David Tennant kind on the eye girls?!) foils the baddies of the universe with his witt, intelligence and a sonic screw driver. Perhaps DT might like to bring his sonic screw driver over to my place and fix my washing machine.

Life on Mars is a recent addition to my stable of favourites and replaced last years 'The Eagle' as my Thursday nigh TV fix. Sam Tyler wakes up in the year 1973 after being in a car accident ... and the unique show goes from there. I caught the final episode last year (so there's much to go back and revisit)It's part 70's cop drama, with 00's slick ... lots of classic one liners as well and music. Oh and by the way - 1973 was also the year I was born so I find it fascinating to see about the year I was born (well the way it was in the UK!)

Chasers War on Everything. I'm in withdrawal with the show currently on hiatus. Known across the world now after the false motorcade stunt they pulled during APEC last year that saw them enter the 'red zone' out the front of the Bush's hotel. Yesterday a Sydney court finally set down a date in July to hear the charges bought against the 11 involved in the incident. A hearing will be held in April as there is uncertainty in the Prosecution camp as to who will actually Prosecute the case. I think I need to go and pull out my DVD and have a top up!!

I Dream of Jeanie is a classic and remains, along with Dr Who TV from childhood that I still love. I wanted to grow up to be Jeanie, and was quite adept and doing the head nodding/arm crossing - though was pretty useless at the actual magic part. I recently found out that in Series 2 Barbara Eden was pregnant and is shot almost entirely behind sofas etc to hide her pregnant stomach - making me think of the classica scene from Austin Powers. I'll have to pay closer attention if I ever get a chance to see it again (Jeanie - not Austin). As a kid and later a teenager I never managed to bridge the handsome Larry Hagman of IDOJ with the Larry Hagman of Dallas. My Mum made me genie pants from a bright pink petticoat (in the days when you could still buy them!) to wear in the Easter bonnet parade one year??

Stupid Stupid Man is an Aussie comedy set in the office of a men's magazine 'Coq'- which prides itself on having "Australia's best chicks, cars and weird shit." It's hillarious - made more so by Leah Vandenberg planning the hard arsed producer (as we know her in this household as 'leah from playschool') It's a great portrayal of the what I term 'the broken masculine' - about men trying to be men, but not really sure what that means any more. Editor van Dyke's vascetomy was the main story line in the first episode of the series ... which left everyone in the household (me included) feeling rather sore and sorry vicariously. Much funnier and darker than The Librarians from last year - it's a great example of why we (Australia) should be investing and producing our own comedies that reflect our reality rather than buying American (crap!) and British humour.

Sex and the City. I came to this late and was introduced to it by my soul sister. It was a Monday night institution. Our other friend Lisa would join us, and the three of us would sit with out bottle of chardonnay and packet of Tim Tams and immerse ourselves in the trevails of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte - all of us indentifying in small ways with each of the characters. As an aspiring writer I loved Carrie - but never got the obsession with shoes or her committment-phobia (because I was probably in denial of my own!) When it arrives on the big screen here in Australia - I hope that I can sit (sans chardie sadly!) in the theatres with Karen and Lisa to enjoy it all over again. There's universal themes in there for all women (whether we want to admit it or not) and yes, I've been to the Valley of the 20-something Men ... and while its fun its scarey too! There is no fav episode - there are too many to pull just one, though the final series really did hit its stride again, after series five floundered with the major changes taking place in all their lives (and oh - Carries inability to committ to the sexiest man on TV at the time John Corbett!)
...check in tomorrow for the continuation of the list ... I need my bed!

On the move

I've had to rethink what I conceptualise a miracle as - I think. I believe now that a miracle is something that you dont need to understand in order for it to work.

Today I had my much anticipated appointment with my kinesiologist. I told her the story to date with the boils (she's been my healer for the past five months and travelled the rather intense journey) and she nodded through it, occassionally taking some notes. At the end she looked at me and asked me what I wanted to do today (later she told me, that listening to my story she wondered what else there was?) I suggested that she just have a look, perhaps ask my body if there was more ... because for the life of me I didn't know what I was missing. I was ready to let it all go.

After investigating, Jacqui told me that there was an 'energy implant' along the liver line, which included the area of thigh where the boil is. She said it was a hanger on from a past life,that it wasn't of this world and it was holding/blocking my body from releasing everything. This is the second time she's gone after 'energy' in my body that's not meant to be there. Pressing down on the point on my thigh, after a while there was a sharp pain in my boil and I felt something shift.

When I went to the toilet after our session (and the ensuing chat afterwards) I felt down to see what was up with the boil - and you guessed it, it had already begun to shift. Instead of being a very hard lump it had softened and flatten ... incredible!! It was the first time in eight days that it had felt different ... and my energy had returned as well. Once the energy implant had shifted, Jacqui worked on reconnecting me to my inner beauty (that antidote for all of that negative feeling aboutbeing worthless etc)

So now, as I head off to bed ... the lump, flattened and softened as it has, has risen up. I've also had a terrible pain in my abdomen and really feel like stuff is moving through me. That moment that seems to linger before you body has a huge purge ... I'm waiting!!

I've also been taking liquid silica since this morning ... many thanks to the friend who gifted me the referral to silica (I can't remember now who it was that suggested it) It's exciting to be entering into this final phase, the dissolution on this rotation of my spiral journey.

Thanks to all the friends and wise women out there who gifted me wisdom, remedies or their ear to listen to my woes. Hopefully I wont need to write more on this topic, except to say I have learnt much and I'm so grateful for a change in attitude towards illness or disease that allowed me to travel this journey - rather than simply medicated it and missing the lesson in it all. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

As within, so without

I'm not sure if I've got the maxim word for word correct, but wise woman Dan will correct me I am sure. The battle with the boils (and myself) continues ... and the signposts abound in the world around me.

I finally acknoweldged the other day that my fridge is a terrible clutter. I've completely lost track of what I've put in there and while it's not quite at the point of things hurtling out of he fridge I'm preparing myself. It was in a steady decline before Dave's party, but that really tipped the fragile balance over the edge. I'm certain that there are all manner of things in there that have long passed their due by date. A familiar concept?

Then there's my vegie/herb garden. Looking at the little plot yesterday I see that its overgrown with a number of things that I dont even want in there. The camphor basil has gone nuts - despite being hacked at twice now. It just runs riot over the top of everything else and while its probably great for keeping the nasty bugs at bay ... nothing else is getting a chance to grow. And there is the border of plants that I kept when I dragged everything else out of there to plant the herbs, vegies and roses. They are now four deep into the garden, taking up valuable space. It's time that they went and so did the camphor basil. They've run their course. Another familiar concept.

The final signpost was the washing machine. It didn't work properly last night and I left it there for a more thorough investigation this morning. Suprise suprise (well not really!) it wont drain. The Universe is lavishing with many gifts in the world beyond as to what's up within ... thought and behaviour patters, beliefs that are all beyond their use by dates and need to be ditched. Ideas that are of no use that are cluttering up the otherwise fertile garden of my imagination, that need to be culled. And draining ... well as I desperately wait for something to happen with my boil so it will drain - I realise that there'a rising wave of grief within and its time to let the tears spill.

It's all there, just as Dan keeps writing, we just have to take notice. And the gifts from the Universe have been plentiful in regards to this .... thank goodness for my kinesiology session tomorrow.

Wordless Wednesday: Beginning

Join in the fun at Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quote for the Day

I asked my little book for wisdom on healing my boils ...

"Be realistic: plan for a miracle"
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Now to jump for joy or find the nearest bridge?

An MP3 player

I finally gave in and got one. Not to carry my music around with me, every where and anywhere .. but to get a digital voice recorder. It's been on my 'to get' list for years but became a pressing purchase when I realised that I couldn't find my old hand held tape recorder.

It looked simple enough to drive ... and the book accompanying it was in English (which is always a good start ... reminding me years ago of being at friends of my parents after Christmas, and them trying to work out how to get the electric can opener working, and the instruction manual was entirely in Japanese!) but either a) I dont read and absorb what I read, or b) I learn best through experience as it seemed to take forever to get anything to work.

Through trial and error I found out how to tune in the FM radio - bonus! Which also taught me how to navigate (ahhh - press the mode button 'in' ... because of course I always thought of that!)But getting it back to the main menu seemed to be beyond me. I was obviously missing something ... ahhh yes, right back here on page one!! Through more experimentation - and no loss of temper, I think I have the basics sorted. I dont feel as much a technofeeb as I feared I might.

And even better, when I recorded my meditation (which was the reason for getting it in the first place) I didn't sound half bad. Maybe I missed my calling as a spoken book reader?

What's been your recent brush with technology and how did you fare?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Of boils and Goddesses

What happens when you mix a staph infection, the Goddess tarot, a Fiction Friday prompt and Julia Cameron’s ‘morning pages’ medative practise?
A trip into the Soul that’s been a long time waiting.

W ednesday morning, as I was attempting to slide out of bed, from between Dave and Dylan, there was a blinding pain. When I got out of the shower I thought to look and discovered a raised and inflamed area on my inner right thigh, a hand’s span in diameter almost! My first thought was an ingrown hair or a blind pimple. The following day after a 24 hours of green clay packs on it and some rather persistent nausea, I had to relent and re-diagnose. The painful and vicious ‘thing’ was a boil. I still grimace when I have to say the word …. Urgh!

This is the third time in my adult life that I’ve been struck down with a staph infection. In the past I’ve been really, really sick before the boils have appeared – fevers, night sweats and terrors, nausea, diahorrea and epic lethargy. The ‘a huh!’ moment has come with the skin eruptions. This time though, my body seemed to save all its energy for the building pustules – how nice! Or so I thought!

Three days of green clay last week helped to reduce the swelling, the pain and the heat in the area. The nausea seemed to go, as did the diahorrea and my energy faltered on the side of an upswing, rather than the down swing. Now five days on my boil hasn’t gone away and to my mortification, another raised its ugly head yesterday morning on my neck – on the right side again. Sigh! There is obviously more to it.

Friday I went onto Mystic Medusa’s blog to see what was happening there, discussions about the dark moon cocoon feeling. I mentioned that I had boils – hoping that someone would be able to offer up an energetic explanation for what was happening. Jack pot – there was plenty of wisdom on offer. Louise Hays says boils are about anger boiling over. Really? Hadn’t Anger and I already done the hard yards earlier on in the year – haven’t Anger and I been dancing a passionate tango for years now. Surely there is not more there? Surely? The affirmations to go with boils and carbuncles are “"I express love and joy and am at peace" and "I release the past and allow time to heal every area of my life." The final one made more sense to me … and even more so this morning. After all any type of awakening for me is a slow unfolding process!

Dan reinforced all of this asking me 'what’s boiling or on the boil', where was my life 'boiled'. What was cooking? Not a lot in my oven that’s for sure – for more than a week I’ve been unable to lift the oven even though every other adult can do so. The ignition works but no matter how long I hold the knob down the flame wont stay. Dan also reminded me that our ailments can be viewed as symptoms of the soul – as healers.

So by Friday afternoon I’d assembled an interesting collection of wisdom – none of which was really geling with me.

Saturday was the New Moon, a blissfully, watery beginning to a new lunar cycle. As I wrote here I make wishes on the new moon and then I pull two cards from my Goddess Oracle deck. It is always spot on – the wishes and the message from the Goddess. I drew my cards in the picnic area at the foot of Mount Tibrogargan and thought how very pertinent to where I was situated at the beginning of another lunar cycle.

The Goddess messages for this lunar cycle came from the Haiwaiian Goddess Pele at the top, ancient British Goddess Sulis, from the healing spas in Bath.

Pele bought to me her the wisdom, that of awakenings:

….when necessary
With dramatic, fierce volcanic eruptions
I wake you up
With lava and fire
I say “pay attention”
-Goddess Oracle-

I’ve had for the last week a restless slip stream of energy, wanting to get on, break out of the nurturing cocoon that I’ve been hibernating in, reconnecting with my Self and filling the cup that was sorely parched. It’s what has been in the forefront of my mind, this need to re-emerge, but perhaps the plan to exercise my new butterfly wings is a little premature. Dramatic, fierce volcanic eruptions sounds a little like a boil wouldn’t you agree? This illness is saying ‘pay attention’, but attention to what?

This cycle the wisdom of Sulis permeates the lower stream, filling in the details with her the wisdom of the illness/wellness dance. I often take the lower card to be the energy that is passing through and out of my life, or something that is unconscious. Rarely does it represent the here and now – making me realyl pay attention, looking for the hooks and the connections.

The healing waters at my shrine
brought clarity
mended holes
opened vision
allowed flow
with energy flowing
The dance of life resumes
- Goddess Oracle-

Friday I finally got around to writing my article for Down to Birth about my experience of losing my Self in my mothering experiences to date and how devastating it has been for me. I’ve been thinking quite a lot on how to nurture and nourish myself in small, simple, loving ways and the second part of my article went through the importance of having time and space to ourselves. It’s no surprise then that a lot of the wisdom offered in the paragraphs on Sulis are about how “have you been ignoring your own deep requests for more time, more space, more attention.” In that regard – I’m glad that I have awoken to this need and I’m consciously working with it and alerting others to it as well. I’m getting accustomed to making my needs a priority, nourishing my energy and allowing new ways of being me that support this healing process.

My friend Catherine, using 'The body is the barometer for the soul' by Annette Noontil told me boils or carbuncles are, ‘stirred up emotions that you let out, because the stagnation of a concept has come to a head.' That about sums up where I am at the moment and the fact that I have had my eyes opened to what happened with my connection to my Self over the last four years.

“It came to pass that I built a succession of cages around myself – like my own internal labyrinth of imprisonment. Somewhere at the centre, somewhere on this transition through motherhood I’d dropped the Self off and forgotten to go back and pick Her up. Then I’d got busy, distracted and forgot that She even existed.”
‘Finding my Self’ - article for Down to Birth Autumn

Knowing all of this … I still have my boils! As always I ‘get it’ – the yin is well functioning, but don’t know where to go to from there … a serious yang deficit. And then I stumbled onto it by pure accident … a gift from the Universe?

One of the lovely astrofiends on Mystics Blog had suggested that I meditate while I was in my cocoon. Mediation is something that I love, but I always struggle with. I need a guided meditation to get best effect and I never seem to find any good meditations … and then I realised that my Goddess Oracle book has mediations … there is a meditation to travel to and with Sulis … and the title of the meditation … “Recalling and rebuilding your inner fire” and suddenly all the lights went on for me.

That’s what all this has been about. All this musing on nourishment, nurturing, finding the Self etc etc. It is about going back and connecting again with my inner fire – this is the elemental essence of my Self. And by a beautiful stroke of synchronicity, Fiction Friday’s prompt had been about fire … and after my character Brigit danced by/with the fire, she talks about why she dances with the fire what it means to her:

“When I dance with the fire I no longer have to be cautious, or show restraint – I can be impulsive, temperamental, and wilful. I forget that this is a 21st version of Hades.”

She bent down and pulled on an old V neck jumper.
“There are beings called salamanders – elemental beings of fire. They say that the faces you see in the fire are them. Salamanders are Will itself. When I dance I find my will again.”

She threw the stick to him. He caught it one handed, feeling her sweat and the heat of the fire still radiating from the metal.
“Your turn now.”
Fiction Friday 7th March: Fire; dance with me
I understand now that Brigit was throwing ME the fire baton … imploring me to find my Will again, to seek out my face in the flames, to connect with my ‘Will’. Fire is also about the imagination and creativity. It’s also about the burning away of the impurities in the first process in alchemy.

And I’ve got why my boils aren’t going away. I’ve been plastering the heat rising with cool earth. I’ve yet again been smothering and suppressing the fire. Now I need to play with, rather than against the energy. I need to put hot compresses on my skin, I need to draw all of this ‘poison’, these impurities of the soul out, and allow them to flow out like tears for the soul.

I need to be brave and go dance with fire … but first I need to go down to the depths with Sulis.

Post Script: since writing this earlier on today, I’ve got my MP3 recorder to do the meditation. The boil on my leg has expanded ten fold in size … it is desperately trying to make its way out. I’ve put a hot compress on it and rested up in bed (it kills to even sit) … so we’ll see what transpires tomorrow?