I am trying to read a book, by an Australian author who is quite well renowned. I have a few of her titles about the place. She writes shorts and novels and I think I have enjoyed a story or two in the past. But this small novel – novella – is hard to get into. The preface, not two pages long, has lost me in the details; sister who is an aunt who is the middle sister and then there is the wife, the youngest and then the eldest and then there’s Grandma and a woman, also a sister who’s lost her personality to marriage and the man she married to is the one that is speaking. Or something.
Reading seems to be harder and harder for me to do. I can’t find any time between all the roles that I play out each day. There’s my roles and then there’s the duties that come with them and then there’s also my feelings about these things and sometimes my feelings can be so overwhelming I can’t even dress myself and then there’s all the stuff you can never account for because life is life and it will do what it will. I try to control so much because I feel responsible when things do not go well. If things go well, no one notices and I have feelings about that also.
People say read a book to relax but what if the book is hard? What if it’s work and I am not sure I want to work for it because if it is shit my gosh I’ll take that personally. I have very little fucking time.
I spend so much time sorting – through memories and feelings about them, working out who I want to be and what I should work towards. The dried herbs and spices, the tupperware cupboard, the linen and the old paintings that I’ll keep and the ones that I pull off of the stretches and hurl into the bin. Countless shit drawings I have done in life drawing classes. The dresses I’ve had since my early twenties, my wedding shoes, the surface of my dresser. No matter how much time I invest in the act of sorting nothing seems sorted. Nothing seems any more clearer to me. In my mind I try compartmentalize and some days I still get lost in the clutter.
Today I’d like to hit pause on a few of my roles. I want to not worry about the time I’ll invest into a short book, if that time would be worth it or not.
I’d like this heaviness to lift. Like when he asks me a question I can look him in the eye, like a regular sort of person and answer in words rather than the sound of me forcing air up through my throat. A grunt, a whoosh.
So this is what happened during page 5; I opened my computer and I smashed out these words and only walked away twice. I’ll post it on the blog and I’ll make a cup of tea and I’ll pick up that book, again.
I first saw this church as a friend and I took a drive to Ararat to visit Aradale just over a year ago. It was one of those places that I tend to spot that is too close to the highway to stop, but interesting enough for me to think on and think on and wonder how I can get to it just to take a quick snap so I can go home to do some research and find out more about it.
This church is crooked and nestled in thick, golden dry grass. Which always seems amazing to me but especially when it is in contrast to a grey and heavy sky, as it was yesterday. It is paired with an out house and a hall. As I stood in front of it yesterday evening, I noticed the clouds covering the hills out the back, and cockatoos flocking to the tops of the trees with their hilarious and endearing squawk squawk squawking. It reminded me of a walk I took last week – after a group therapy session where I was privy to heart broken and broken people. I walked past an blue stone church which stood there old and ominous. Cockatoos were screeching, circling and landing on the spire, only to squawk some more at one another and take off to circle it again. A game.
They made me smile, they always make me smile.
Like when we take long drives down stretches of road that seem to glare and go on forever. Past silos and houses that look the same, cockatoos will glide past or overhead. They are so graceful in flight yet always seem to be screaming, maybe even swearing at one another. I love them for that.
Yesterday after I got my snap I lumbered back to the car, we took off again and I noticed a rib cage on the side of the road. I was pretty thrilled about it but we couldn’t stop because the western highway is not the road for that kind of thing. Gene remarked that I get more excited about these things than most people. I thought that that was odd. How can you not be excited about these sort of things? They are so interesting.
I saw Carrie Tiffany read a Women of Letters a while ago now, but I remember that I was so very moved by her words. So I was very excited to be asked to illustrate her story, Girl with Rabbits and Foxes, for the latest issue of Meanjin.
You can read it online here: click
The sun is out today – dizzying and dazzling us. We kicked the ball about and kidlet collapsed with laughter more than once. It amazes me how things can be timeless, repeatedly bringing joy to each childhood – like kicking balls, blowing bubbles and cardboard boxes.
The birds were out and in the distance we could hear the sheep – the ones we frightened the other day.
We read books and I played twinkle, twinkle on the ukelele while kidlet sung it. SO CUTE. The tips of my fingers are way sore but it was totally worth it.
We took out gumboots off and walked about on the soft, damp grass then onto the warm, flat brick and wooowowow – it is one of those days where you feel so bloody happy to be alive.
I am now cooking split pea soup with winter veggies – turnip! I can’t wait to eat it but it won’t be ready for a few hours. So then I really have no excuse not to finish the new drawing that I am doing.
The sky is brilliant this evening- it’s dusk and I am in the hospital looking out over this side of Berlin- it’s cold but brighter. The clouds are in two layers; the layer closest to us is a patchwork of fluffy cotton-balls, while the other layer is patterned like a fishbone and wraps this side of the earth as a blanket. The wind is howling, howling
and I am happy – I get to go home tomorrow.