This made my night last night.!!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
In the shade of the narrow eves of the building she lay her sweaty cheek against the wall of the building. She had never been religious and spirituality was a concept she was only just beginning to explore, yet this building held a sacred place in her heart. In this incarnation the building was painted livid green on the bottom half and eye scorching purple at the top. In the fledgling light of the day the paintwork was faded and beginning to lift in several places. A smattering of graffiti now studded the walls.
She stood at the far end of the building, at the entrance that had always been the Pegasus Bar – until now that was. Above the wide doorway, there was an obvious shadow on the paintwork where the neon sign had once held pride of place, accompanied by the telltale rivet holes, now empty. It had always been bright and working, unlike the Cherry Blossom sign – until that New Years night.
From the small cloth shoulder bag she took out a brand new thick black marker pen, she’d bought at a newsagents on her way there - connecting with the civil disobedient she had never been. Throughout her life she had held the highest regard for both private and personal property – having a high regard for herself though was another matter all together. She had never written graffiti on anything, even on the back of the toilet door as a teenager. She did once write Stephen de Jong’s name on her pencil case and then had to go with the crush all year, lest she have to scribble it out. With a rush of defiant adrenalin, she pulled off the lid and in shakey script wrote;
“Long live the Pegasus Bar. Gone but not forgotten.”
It had been an absolute fluke that she had been in town on the day that the building was scheduled for demolition, much less known that it was going to happen. Everyone from those halcyon days, including herself, had moved on, yet she was back to see the changing of the guard. She had picked up the local paper in the lobby while waiting for the courtesy coach for the hot air balloon adventure, when saw the article buried somewhere on Page 10.
“Pegasus flies on new wings”
She had cancelled her balloon flight and walked the few blocks, as the sun was coming up, to where the monolithic building stood. It had been a holy place to her and Tex, of Dionysian proportions, but its era, just like Dionysius’s had come to a close. It was about to be a whole lot holier when the demolition ball ripped through it.
Across the road, she sat on the edge of a concrete garden box, the one out the front of the Port Authority compound. She tried to remember what building had been there before, knowing that even ten years ago, when she regularly pulled her battered red Mazda 323 up infront of it, she couldn’t remember. Was that what would become of the Pegasus Bar now? Would the locals forget what was there? Would the tourist assume that it had always been a multistoried holiday apartment block with boutique shopping and cafes in the lobby? It seemed a travesty of history. Would all her stories die too if this place was forgotten?
Taking her camera from her bag she went back across the street and took a photo of her piece of graffit. She’d send it to Tex and tell him that she’d enacted her first piece of civil obedience – perhaps that’s what divorces did to you? Turned you into a delinquent at 31. No time like the present huh?
She wondered if she hung around long enough, they demolition team would let her take home a chunk of the smashed outer wall – like taking home a piece of the Berlin Wall. Would she even be able to find the piece where she had written her tribute?
At 21 she was a long standing regular at the Pegasus. She didn’t wait in line, she never did. With a confidence born of youthful enthusiasm and arrogance she would stride up the line, and cross the threshold with a well executed kiss on the check to the bouncer, as the red rope gating off the crowd graciously opened for her. She as like a rabid sexual bride seeking out her next conquest.
Yet there were more nights than not, when it was in Tex’s company she arrived. Wednesday night through to Saturday Tex would follow her into the faux Grecian interior and they’d pay homage to life, love and fuck ups at the long black marble bar. Sitting back on the concrete garden bed, she remembered the first time she’d taken Tex in there – his initiation into her life behind the walls. He’d got drunk in record time. He had slammed down the Liquid Ecstasy shooters as fast as the guys behind the bar could serve them up, as she had wooed the exotic Soiux Indian backpacker over the rim of her long black coffee. He hadn’t made it to the toilet in time when his stomach finally turned, and his vomit found the mark of a girl sitting at one of the high cocktail tables near the toilet door. Radioactive green vomit meeting white linen, it hadn’t been pleasant. Then he’d disappeared. The only thing that had remained was his shirt in the same garden bed that she now sat on. A fifty dollar taxi fare bought him to the general store the next morning because he couldn't remember her address and she’d left the backpacker in her bed, as she’d slipped down to pick him up.
The night of Tex’s 21st had been a seminal night of partying. She could still see herself carefully carrying his present through the Pegasus door and presenting the neatly wrapped box to him. At the bar he’d torn the wrapping off and, opened the box and taken out the small glass fish bowl. His eyes twinkled in the dim light faux Grecian interior.
“Look carefully,” was all she had said.
Scanning the bowl he had finally come across the intricately engraved words…
As the heat of the day began to seep into the humidity, she squeezed her eyes shut as tight as they would go, afraid that tears would flow where there had been none for months. She picked up her mobile and sent a message to Tex.
As always when it got tough, when her life was upside down and her insides were on the outside it was Tex that she wanted to be with. Her phone sounded a gong, letting her know that a new message had arrived.
And that was when she got it. The fish bowl, the lost souls – they were the lost souls in the fish bowl, the fish bowl of the Pegasus. The bar had held all their souls for so long, each of them coming there, lost in their own ways, seeking connection with others. When she was too afraid, too worn out, or too over seeking connection with new people she would take Tex with her. The connection had never died between the two of them. And they had swum, in somewhat epileptic circles on the dance floor together to Easy Like a Sunday Morning, tossing down bourbon at the bar, shooting pool expertly at the table – partners in crime. She was his Twubacca and he her Han Solo. Because everyman needed a good wookie by his side to navigate life's travails.
But the Pegasus was a fish bowl of life contradictions. Rick the solo pianist and vocalist who wouldn’t play ‘Piano Man’, Dammo the bartender who was on the wagon, Dan the guitarist who loved women but didn’t do monogamy, desperate people looking for love and getting a fuck instead, and her and Tex, just friends.
“I don’t understand why you and Tex don’t just get it on together,” Simmo the bar
It wasn’t the first time someone had suggested Tex as a suitable partner. And not just those close to them. Guests in a restaurant she once worked in commented that he sounded like her soul mate when she was telling them about him coming to live up there. She’d scoffed, and they’d never gone there.
They had been content to be adrift on the sea of 20 something humanity together, but apart, only to wash on the beach of 30 something just as screwed up, heart broken, alone and disillusioned. Still together, but apart.
“Hiya Tex. Are you busy tomorrow?” she asked, standing to move under the one
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Thursday, February 21, 2008
There is something decadent about the word luxury. It's too often equated with life in the fast last, the rich and famous - 'luxury items'. In 2001 when the Howard Government introduced the Goods and Services Tax here in Australia women's hygiene products were considered 'luxury items' and were thus slugged with the new 10% across the board tax. As any woman will attest - sanitary pads and tampons might be considered luxury items to the male population, but to women they are essentials items.
Which brings me to luxury as essential dimension in living our daily life - especially if you strive to live a life of creative abundance. Luxury is however so bound up with ideas about money, success and status, we've created an erroneous belief system around luxury - it something that we're too 'poor' to have, something that is too 'big' for us to share in or even worse something we're 'not good enough' to enjoy.
What we've lost sight of is that luxury is actually a very simple concept,and without making a conscious effort to have luxury in our lives, we are actually become 'poor' and 'deprived' - both at the every day level, as well as at the soul level. Julia Cameron, author of 'The Artist's Way' says that the practise of luxury is actually a shift in consciousness, and that when we begin to acknowledge and invite what feels luxurious to us into our lives, we may indeed discover that there is a new flow of abundance into our lives. Cameron calls it 'authentic luxury' the things we do to pamper ourselves, the things that we love. Even though its my year of authenticity - I instead coined it 'simple luxury' - because it doesn't have to be exalted or complicated.
As I sat reading the section of luxury again, with my hunger sated, I began to ponder what it was that gives me true joy in life, the simple pleasures. Cameron says this is where the root of luxury lie. When it comes to this type of introspection I often get stuck and I can't think of anything that is appropriate. In this case its obvilus the block, my ideas and beliefs around luxury are so deeply embedded in the consumerist notions of luxury=money that its difficult to get beyond them. Unlike the examples given in the book, buying a second hand pair of tweed pants didn't seem terribly luxurious, or fresh raspberries. This made me frustrated. Just when I think I'm back in contact with myself, I feel that I am no closer to being in touch and connected with the 'real me' than I was six months ago.
My omlete arrived as I struggled with connecting with the part of my in which my notions of 'authentic luxury' are held, trying to find my simply joys. I ate the lovely vegetarian omlete that had been bought out, and continued to read and reflect.
After I had finished my late brekky I continued with my note taking, and as I did, I became aware of a beautiful scent lingering on the air. At first I thought that it was the very subtle and sensual perfume of one of the women who had recently wandered past where I sat. But it soon was apparent that it wasn't perfume. It had a fresh earthly quality to it. I looked about where I sat alfresco but no flowers came into sight.
Giving up my search and instead drinking in the small wafts of scent as they came my way, I kept writing, reading and thinking. Then I reached for my tea cup, which was now half cold and the most amazing realisation hit me. The beautiful perfume was coming from my tea cup. Not only did my tea smell divine, it tasted bloody good too. And there was an 'a-huh' moment for me ... and then all the simply luxuries came flooding back to me.
I love to be surrounded by fresh flowers - even if it is a handful of jasmine flowers that I have collected on my morning walk ...
And if I can't have fresh flowers, I make sure that I keep a collection of dried flowers (as I took this photo it reminded me how much I love the cool and sensual feel of clay in my hands - as the strange leaf shaped bowl holding these flowers was made by me last year!)
I love to be encircled in beautiful scents - my oil burners now has a place on my writer's altar above my desk with a couple of bottles of essential oils close by (there's also Bob down the front who came out of a Kinder Surprise egg - he reminds me that life is meant to be fun!)
As I drank my tea and revelled in the beauty of my senses revitalised and my memories evoked, I was thankful for the abundance of the Universe and the eternal flow. I also got brave and asked the young waitress what the name of the tea was. She bought out the packet and gave me the details on the back so I could order my own, only to come back less than a minute later and tell me that they did sell the tea in small pouches and you guessed it ....
... I bought some of my very own. Synchronicity and serendipity strike again.
Now perhaps on my artist's date this weekend I can take myself off to the thrift stores to find a special cup and saucer in which to enjoy my new tea in. Some more beautiful and inexpensive things to call 'mine.' Pampering ourselves is how we practise luxury in our lives, how we open ourselves to the abundance in the universe. It doesn't have to be elaborate, cost lots of money or time (which is important for the mothers among us) - it just has to be meaningful to you and something that you can do once a day, to treat yourself. It's a great way to tell yourself practically 'I love you.'
What simple luxury have you enjoyed today? What will you enjoy tomorrow? I know I'm looking forward to my cup of green tea tomorrow morning as I write my morning pages - the wonderful combination of health giving antioxidants and the decadent scent of jasmine flowers. Simple luxury at its best.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I'm here. I'm right where I have been longing to be - alone in the house with my music, my lap top and my thoughts. I'm here to write - apparently!! I feel like the bird who wanted the worm, and then choked on it.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Here is the story to date, including the promised ending....
The screech of the hinges opening on the small door snapped her back into reality. Her body became instantly and instinctively alert, as she waited for the rough grasp of the guards hands on her bruised shoulders. In the sensory deprivation of the visual and auditory abyss surrounding her, the visceral smell of fear and blood was her only navigation point. With the door open again, she smelt it with a terror that allowed her to centre herself in the moment and prepare for what lay ahead. A body was thrust into the tiny room and crumpled at her feet.
The door closed shut with a deafening finality and all was again silent. Her chest heaved in a relief that came on the wave of the adrenalin surge. Tears stung in her eyes but never fell. It was all over in less than fifteen seconds but it seemed like an eternity.
With a nervous hand she reached out to touch the body, warm but barely breathing, crumpled on the floor at her toes. It was a vivid and tangible reminder of what she was here for and she knew it was the first instalment of her torture.
“Is that you Eve?” a voice rasped.
Her stomach lurched at the sound of his voice, but she kept her composure.
“Shhhhh,” she soothed instinctively rather than consciously, running her hand down the cool clammy skin of the face she knew was looking up to her in the darkness.
“Shhhh!” she hissed with insistence this time. “They will be listening.”
Stretching her legs that were cramping in the confined space, she adjusted herself to take his head in her lap. She didn’t know why, but it was comforting to have him close to her. From deep within, a saying rose up from the times before Mother.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
A tactile examination of his head and body found no external wounds or signs of torture which left her shuddering. It was known that those who tortured in the name of Mother never left a calling card but now the urban legend was reality. No one ever left the clutches of Mother alive to say whether it was true or not.
“My name’s not Eve. That was my code name.”
“Someone in your ranks has a sense of humour,” he wheezed.
“I doubt it. You were a last minute substitute.”
“No I wasn’t.”
She withdrew her attention and focused on each vertebrae of her back pressed against the cold hard metal wall. She didn’t want to think what his words meant.
Outside of the unnatural darkness that contained them, she knew that a full and glorious moon burned in the sky above. Mother could subvert and control all that was natural within the human body, she could be the Mother of inhumanity with the power, the propaganda and the technology all at her finger tips – but she couldn’t undermine la luna high in the skies above them. As long as the moon rose in her celestial magnificence each evening all those below were reminded that there was once a natural rhythm of life that was beyond human manipulation.
But it was the moon that had been her undoing. With her rhythms in total harmony with the moon, as she snuck into the Closed City her own biological undercurrents were dragging her in a direction that she had been totally unaware of. The rendezvous had been the only thing in her mind as she had crept but her own natural cycles had a rendezvous of their own. She had forgotten the venomous arguments in the Caves, that the full moon was a dangerous time for any woman to be in the Closed City. It was only now that she understood so completely the implications of this.
She had worn an olfactory scrambler as she crept through the back lanes looking for the theatre and the small door in the rear of the building. The small device acted like a cloak of invisibility that allowed her to walk the street of the Closed City without drawing attention to herself. If no one could detect her own cocktail of pheromones then she was just like any other woman on the streets – hormonally chaste. It was the only protection she had bought with her into the vipers nest. The rest lay before her, hidden within the official precinct.
“Will you tell me your real name?” he asked, his breathing more measured and stable than it had been earlier.
“Does it really matter?”
“It does to me – though it doesn’t matter to them. When they strap the electrodes onto your skull - they’ll know everything then.”
She thought for a moment, remembering the passion and ecstasy that swamped her when he had first touched her in his house. She was already reeling from the extravagance of running water and electricity – and a television. Such luxury!
She remembered the speed and voracity with which they had fallen on each other and within the chaos of discarded clothes on the tattered lino fall, they had quickly consummated the controllable fervour within. The natural state of a woman made her both powerful and weak.
“My name is Brigit,” she answered quietly.
“Brigit,” he repeated. “As in the Celtic Goddess.”
“Who apparently rode into battle with both her lover and husband at her side. Yes, one and the same.”
“You have a husband?”
“No just a lover it seems,” she answered absentmindedly, stroking his damp hair. “All I ever wanted was a husband and a child. A simple but full life.”
“Your mother must have known you were destined for great things to have named you Brigit.”
“From a simple dream I was born a revolutionary, gifted with the name of a woman who refused to submit, for whom the cycles of life are more important than anything else in the world. My rage is at a system that has stolen my dream - destroyed what it means to be a woman and a man. A country that pretends it’s Utopian, that it’s rich and peaceful. No one at the mercy of the uncontrollable ravages of natural ebbs and flows of biology – women don’t bleed, women don’t bare children, men and women who no longer have sex. People just live to consume.”
“Humanity has been stripped of everything that makes it human. I thought my life long dream was a simple desire when I was a teenage – my friend would laugh that I would aspire to something so mundane.”
Her cynical laugh was interrupted by the sound of the security pad being activated and the locking mechanism being accessed from beyond the cell.
The sound bought back the moment, as she stood with Adam, as he punched the security code into a door to give her access to the explosives. The door swung open and there were Mother’s secret police waiting for her.
“You betrayed me,” she screamed as they had seized her by her arm and pressed a sedative into the side of her neck..
The door opened and the audio of protesting steel kicked in for ambience sake. There were no rusting hinges in Mother’s high tech detention centres.
A muscular arm reached in for her.
“You betrayed me Adam,” she spat, as the fingers dug into the flesh of her upper arm. “You betrayed all of us.”
“No I didn’t Brigit. This is just the beginning.”
The air lock of the cell hissed as the door shut. The guards shoved her quickly against the wall beside the door and clamped handcuffs onto her, pulling her arms upwards and outwards, forcing her to bend down. All the time she kept her eyes tightly shut, the fluorescent lighting of the corridor burning her eyes, after the indefinite time inside the darkness of the cell.
She took a gulping breathe of air and tried desperately to centre and ground herself, invoking an old relaxation exercise. In her minds eye she saw three gently glowing orbs, but before she could discipline her mind to draw the orbs together into a line and then down into the one golden glowing orb, she was roughly and awkwardly pulled away from the wall and pushed viciously down the hall.
Her legs, felt like jelly and she fell heavily on her face, as they failed to respond and carry her forwards with the momentum of the push. Blood gushed from a cut in the top of her lip or perhaps it was her nose. She was unsure, too disorientated with her own body to work out what hurt, what was numb and what felt OK enough to work for her..
“Get up!” commanded a voice from behind her.
Before she could attempt to get herself back onto her knees, she was dragged back onto her feet. A small scream escaped her lips as the shoulder joints and the scar tissue on the right, threatened to release as all her weight hung on the triangulation of her bound arms. Her feet touched the ground and the pressure released.
Placing one tentative foot out she felt the feeling return to her legs. Squinting out her eyes, they began to slowly adjust, until she realised there was nothing to see. Just a long endless corridor of piercing white, punctuated by a door every few metres, that blended in so well it only became apparent as you came to the extact point of it in the wall.
At the end of the corridor she was told to stop, a code was punched into the security pad and she was thrust into a room and told to sit.
“Wait,” the taller of the two guards ordered her, “and don’t move. Whatever you do, do not move.”
She remained seated for what seemed time eternal until she realised that the feeling had gone in her hands. Left with only her thoughts, and a terror that rose in a jaggered chunk up her throat, she surrendered all of the fiery rebellion that had fuelled her for years. This time she had left everyone down.
When she left The Caves she understood the dangers that awaited her within the Gated City. Over the years she had devised a meditation technique in which she would predict, envisage and then overcome all the dangers and obstacles for each assignment before she left the safety of where she was staying. She had learnt the hard way, with her first scrap with danger what would happen if you were not prepared.
She was leaving Brisbane in the days before it had become the Gated City and was heading south for the Coast. Despite her urgency to leave, knowing it was a matter of time before someone from the Government knew she had been there and came searching for her on the open road, she had pulled over for a hitch hiker. She was a young girl, not much younger than herself, with untidy auburn hair and a sunburnt face. Ten kilometres down the road the hitchhiker had pulled a knife on her. In the ensuing struggled the four wheel drive had veered sharply off the road, through the guard rails and down into a culvert before ploughing into the embankment on the other side. Her first instinct at the sight of the knife had been to fight back. It had surprised her as everything until that point in time in her life, had been passive aggressive. But what had surprised her more was the lack of remorse she felt walking away from the body of the young girl in the long grass, her head twisted at an unnatural angle. A huge blood spattered hole in the windscreen on the passenger side gave away the fact that someone else had been in the car.
Brigit’s shoulder ached. Broken in the accident it had been set late by a healer with a little knowledge of bones and never healed properly. Years of yoga, of stretching and building up the muscle had never compensated for the break in judgement that day.The similarities between the hitchhiker and Adam struck her like a blow to the stomach. He was another break with her better judgement, after all these years of being so damn careful.
She had made peace with the fact that circumstances may call for her to detonate the explosives before she herself could leave the building. It had taken a month or more to come to a space within herself where she could unequivocally say she was ready to die. In all the exploration of the possible problems with this assignment had not she seen Adam, or anything like Adam. So firm was her belief in the Sisterhood and their city cousins in the Underground that she didn’t factor in betrayal. Not simply his betrayal of her, but her betrayal of those pinning their hopes on the success of this assignment, betrayal by the weakness of her own flesh.
Disregarding the orders given to her by the guards, she got up off the chair worked her body back through the loop made by her bound arms, until her arms were again in front of her, and her shoulders in a more comfortable position. Doing this engaged her mind and kept her from falling victim to the apathy and desire to just give in that was threatening to overwhelm her. Instead she tapped into the rawness of the anger that was building within her.
She placed her hands on the table and studied the handcuffs. She had never seen a pair of handcuffs, let alone worn a pair. She pushed them back down her arms towards her wrist until they hung like a sloppy masochist’s jewellery. Sliding her wrists out she held them in her hands and wondered what sort of guards cuffed someone’s forearms?
Before she could ponder further, the door slid open and Adam walked in alone.
“You bastard,” she swore, hurling herself towards him, her wrists still loosely cuffs.
“Sit down,” he commanded curtly, pushing her back into the seat she had just launched herself out of. “Have you moved since they put you in here?”
“What’s it to you – traitor!” she spat.
“I’m not a traitor – this was the only way to get us both inside here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“There’s not time to explain now,” concluded Adam, taking the cuffs off Brigit quickly. “Get out the way.”
Brigit jumped to her feet as Adam pushed the table across the room, knocking over the chair that she’d just been sitting on. He climbed onto it and reached up to what looked to be a barely detectable manhole in the roof.
“What about the Genesis Network?” Brigit asked, looking up at Adam fumbling with what looked to be an old fashioned allen key.
Adam squatted down to look her directly in the eye.
“I am the Genesis Network,” he stated bluntly. “There are no others. Just me. Now tell me – how long before you moved when you were in here.”
“I don’t know – five minutes, ten minutes. I can’t really tell. Aren’t there Genesis people here?”
“No – just a couple of sympathisers, but they can only help out in minute ways, like with those cuffs. There will be more time later to explain everything, I promise Brigit.”
He stood again and began working on opening the manhole with key.
“And the bomb – the explosives. Where are they?”
The manhole unlocked and Adam slid it to one side.
“We’re going up.”
She watched him pull himself up into the manhole and then offer a hand to help her up too. Ignoring the hand and the pain in her shoulder, she deftly got up into the airconditioning ducts. Adam pulled from his pocket a tiny disc in a plastic protective cover.
“This is the bomb. Binary Override Mechanism.”
“And the second ‘b’?”
“This is the second version of it.”
“We need to make it through to the central computing junction and insert this in the operating system.”
“It’s that easy?”
Adam raised his eyebrows at her.
“It’s that easy to topple Mother?”
“I wish it was Brigit – this will give us 24 hours grace. It will act like a virus in the system, to disrupt the functioning of the chips. We then have to gather up the 11 people that I have earmarked for the Genesis Network, and get out of the Gated City before we’re discovered.”
“What if they don’t want to go?”
“We’ll have to use the best of our persuasion to get them out of here. We’re wasting time, let’s go,” he urged and began crawling quickly down the duct.
Adam sat uncomfortably in the passenger seat. He found stretching each leg slowly and then shifting his weight in the tattered seat alleviated the worst of his physical discomfort. He tried not to look directly out the mottled windscreen. The road now stretched out in an unnerving foreverness in front of them. This was the first time he had seen what was really beyond the Gated City.
Somewhere in this, the myth of Eve and the reality of Brigit collided. It was bigger than a name, bigger than legend. Only the here and now mattered. If Brigit had gone to the Gated City with the others from the country and if she had once had an implant, that was her personal story, it was none of his business. Brigit was not the Eve - no woman could be. He turned and walked back.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Posted by Jodi Cleghorn at 3:48 PM
Friday, February 8, 2008
Aiden glanced over to where his sister was sitting.
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Friday, February 1, 2008
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