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August 2, 2007

Another of life's unfortunate juxtapositions

How is it so that just when I am coasting high on the success of decisions well made, I crash to the ground with a thud shortly after? This past week has been so varied as to be laughable and I write this still confined to my bed, aching in every corner and grouchy with illness. The primary cause of this bad mood is two viruses, the worst I have had for years, which have caused my throat to swell almost closed and my head to pound relentlessly for days. I have barely crawled from the bathroom to the kitchen and back again, barking at the cats as they rush around the house. I have sweated my way through horrible restless nights and shivered through tedious days. My immune system's timing for collapse was impeccably bad, with one colleague away and others dropping like flies; I feel like I have failed some altogether unspoken test of resilience at my new job. Add to this the general uneasiness I have been feeling at my new grey desk and it's a terrible recipe for temporary disaster.

Rewind: I'm glowing and spending money with glee as I stifle my hedonistic tendencies (I lie; I think they are dead) and agree to Buy a Unit. Briefly distracted by such goodies as a purple corduroy modular sofa, champagne glasses and appliances, I have tried to forget that this isn't my home. And I enjoyed it! Oh I did. Even though I will be poor forever, even though it's all terrifyingly grown up and I am generally unsure of where I want to be in the world right now, this small enclave seems as good as any as I work out my thoughts. Part of the issue, I think, has been two days of mindless trawling through Facebook, looking on from my bed as my friends and acquaintances clamber to make their lives look adventurous and appealing with tales of travel and glittering parties. I am faintly amused that not one iota of miserable thought makes it onto those pages - if we are all the same, where is the talk of uncertainty, misery, loneliness and desire to be free? However, all the talk of foreign climes makes me feel sad and longing, while I worry that the relentless tick of time steals my youth and opportunity. Why haven't I been to Rome yet, I wonder, or visited Russia or Turkey or the Greek Islands? I feel slightly maddened at where I have ended up, but aware it's not forever. In the meantime, I have been working on mustering up enthusiasm and eagerness in the face of a slightly grim pall. But ...

Lessons: I made too many promises to a faceless god and now it has visited vengeance. I knew the relentless pull of parties and nightclubs was no longer my style and would leave me bereft, but I chased those disco lights at the bottom of the glass with reckless abandon since I arrived. Week in, week out, I have ignored my body's signals to slow down and stop, a timid whisper that turned into a roar. After the weekend just gone, which featured recklessness fuelled by alcohol which makes me cringe, my body simply pulled the rug out from under my feet. "If you won't listen," I could almost hear the God thunder, "then see how you like THIS for size". And with two nods of his terrible head, he visited me with illnesses which robbed me of my energy and desire to speak, read and write. In a mocking twist, I was left with my thoughts, which have lectured and tattled and admonished until I'm almost climbing the walls.

Yes, I know now.
Yes, I knew already.
I know my weaknesses and I loath them.
This time, I promise, I have learned.

June 6, 2007

Existentialism

As I took off from Perth staring fixedly out of the window, fresh from an intensive week in Canberra on a journalism fellowship program, I had the oddest feeling I was leaving me behind, earthbound, as I flew up and away from my life. I had this overwhelming sense, as the cars turned quickly into lines of snaking ants and the fields turned into a pretty patchwork, of my own insignificance in the scheme of things. Not in a negative way, of course, just as a point of reflection.

I got to wondering about this funny little microcosm I occupy, the whole process of waking and talking and listening and writing and sleeping with no real sense of what is going on in "the rest of the world". I have just come back from a trip in which I felt stifled by both my lack of knowledge and the desire to know everything about everything, which is virtually impossible. It's a feeling I get every now and again and it makes me reflect on all the alternative lives I could be leading if only I could splinter into many pieces.

Here's me in a cave on a mountain, dressed in yak skin and meditating on the destructive nature of my fellow man, whom I renounced many years ago. Here's me in the front row of a fashion show, taking notes with ink laced with acid remarks, sharp fashionista folly spilling out in the wake of the girls pony stepping down the catwalk. Here's me stalking the corridors of power (ours, not THEIRS), asking witty and incisive questions of politicians who are trying not to look tremulous or of senators who are trying to look down my top. Here's me wandering the streets of New York or London, favourite music plugged in my ears, drinking in a super-soy-latte-with-wings along with the sights. Here's me scrunching up paper and hurling it across the room in frustration as I work on my eighth extraordinarily successful novel, acclaimed by critics and loved by the general illiterate populace. Here's me lying on a beach in Thailand, eyes closed, watching lazily from the inside as the sun dances across my eyelids ...

Here's me in the desert, the real me, wondering where on earth I am.

(Oh, and the yak skin? That might have been going a bit too far. If I'm going to live in a remote cave, I may as well be wrapped in a pashmina).

It's a funny process, this being. I am a little spiritually bereft at the moment because I don't believe in "the universe" or "god" or the "great turtle in the sky" (okay, I made that last one up but I'm fairly sure that someone, somewhere, believes in it). I believe in the individual (but not in that god-awful economically driven individualistic type our country seems grossly populated with) which means that I and only I am the architect of my own destiny. I wonder then who I am and why I do what I do?

I don't ask this question in the midst of some sort of existential crisis or anything like that; I am just taking stock of how I have ended up where I am, at this very point, in this very house. Don't get me wrong - it's not all that bad. My last email to my friends brought forth a barrage of sympathetic replies and a chorus of "you'll be okay" and even a few pairs of lovely socks from one kind soul when I whined about my feet. In fact, since I wrote that last email I have seen a wonder of nature - a gorgeous blaze of sunset over the bleeding great hole in the earth known as the "super pit".
(True environmentalists would be horrified at the sight of the hole, but a mere twist of the neck reveals clouds, refracted light, shadows cast by gnarly gums. The hole might be huge but by god, you can ignore it if you try).

Now where was I? Oh yes. Reflecting on my very existence. I don't have the answers, sadly, and I don't think I ever will. What a cop out, eh?

June 4, 2007

And then a bad fairy waved her wand

... and "pouf!" Flip was transported to a barren wasteland devoid of beauty and populated by strange beings with questionable haircuts. For forty days and forty nights Flip wandered the land in search of waters so turquoise they hurt her eyes, and rocks so red they resembled flames, and sand so white it glittered like diamonds, but she found only spinifex and a deep, deep hole in the ground. Finally, filled with despair, she leaped into the "super pit" and tumbled down, down, down, into the darkness ...

Okay, so it might be a bit dramatic but it works. A week and a day after leaving my beloved Broome, I am typing with fingers like icicles and toes like a frostbitten Eskimos in a cute little weatherboard house on the edge of Kalgoorlie's main street wondering where on earth I have landed. I don't think my heart has caught up with my head, because while I am being completely functional at work I still feel completely unable to form an opinion of this place. I keep studying maps to gain a sense of place, practicing the unfamiliar place names that I associate with bearded men and picks for some reason: Coolgardie, Leonora, Laverton.
Partly this is due to the fact that I am yet to wander further than the self-imposed Bermuda triangle of work, home, and Kalgoorlie's thriving courthouse, which is populated mostly with bogans in possession of some of the best mullets I have seen in all my years. Forget the post- glam rock ironic style mullet (moo-lay), the boys here are rocking the honest-to-god version that would make Barnsey and Farnsey proud.

The other thing of note is breasts, in all their glory. When I had my first drink thrust at me in Kalgoorlie's famed Exchange Hotel, I accidentally caught a glimpse of Charity or Vesuvius or Veronica or whatever their "skimpy of the week" is called bending over delicately to attend to a beer while Dave or Dazza or Bazza or whoever leered on. All I could think about was what an occupational health and safety risk her lace-up knickers posed and whether or not her pneumatic bosoms in purple mesh could possibly be real. A question enthusiastically discussed by my male companions at some length ... and discussed several times over in the past week. The bar man is a relic in this town, it seems.

In comparison to when I first arrived in Broome ...

((Arriving feels like a dream. We fly over the beach, its colours and scope like the brochures had promised. I put down my trashy magazine to watch as we coast onto the runway, the vague thought playing in the back of my mind that I have done something phenomenal at last, at last. My heart stops in my throat as we land.
Xavier picks me up from the airport in his dusty Landrover, filled with the minutiae of country life - tools, fishing equipment, a battered esky
- which he shoves to the side to accommodate my luggage. We drive for miles and I stare. From the pristine sands of Cable Beach to the mangroves alive with skittering crabs, it feels like another planet.
Gantheuame Point, on the very tip of the peninsula, is otherworldly; the glossy beach against red, red dirt and striated rocks in stacked formations stunning and the sky so blue and cloudless it stings the eyes. I am so dazed I barely notice the first tentative nibblings of the sandflies. After a whirlwind tour and truncated history it is clear that this is a land of contradictions ... of pure white coastline stained with a grim past.
The lazy drift of paradise laced with the unease of disgruntled locals.
The light and the dark, the luxurious and the poor...))

... I cannot feel inspired by this landscape, which is scrubby and dry and arid. Every fence conceals a mangy, salivating and rangy dog that leaps and quails at me as I wander past on my walk to work. I keep expecting to see tumbleweeds drift down the main street, past the quaint buildings and orangeclad men, reflective in the undulating light. Yes, men are yellow and orangeclad here, dusty-faced and tired, chasing the great Australian dream in droves while spending lives underground in the dark ...

But I have been pleased to discover that I love my job here already with the same kind of passion and frustration as the last. Things are serious now - I am part of the sausage factory of journalists on daily newspapers around the nation, fingers whirring across the keyboard as I produce, produce, produce for the daily deadline. I am comfortable in the court house, documenting short sorry snapshots of the lives of those who fall through the cracks, prey on children, cheat, lie, speed and steal. A bigger town brings bigger problems and a stronger commitment by the underclass to rob the society that bleeds them dry. Cops, I have discovered, are the same everywhere you go. People ae surprised that I should be so interested in writing about indigenous issues, and possibly a little uneasy; this is possibly a divisive place, with salt of the earth people.

Surprisingly, the deathly dull "transport" round produced my first front page within days of arriving, a fact I can't help but feel gleeful about. A freight train unexpectedly drove into the back of a woman's car; she tearfully thanked her angels and I thanked my lucky stars for such an early break. No-one was hurt, so I wasn't tempting fate.

I already have friends, the media pack that lurks in dark corners looking for entertainment. They took me to De Bernales, where we creased in horrified laughter as we watched people sucking face on the dance floor as their octopus hands roamed the cracks and crevices of the opposite sex. They drank shots and I sat back and watched, trying not to think of the sticky-carpeted comfort of the Pearlers Bar or the flash new surrounds of the Bungalow. This is it, I was reliably informed, and when they saw my face fall: don't worry, you'll get used to it. When the band broke out into a rousing rendition of "Take the Pressure Down" by John Farnham and the crowd's mullets shook as one in a frenzied bout of headbanging, I wasn't so sure ...

April 23, 2007

It's been a while

I wish I had the discipline to sit down and write through these hectic periods when my life turnstumbles all over again so I could at least look back and make some sense when the dust has settled. Instead, tonight at least, i have been packing dusty boxes and crying my eyes out intermittently as I try to accept the path I have chosen to follow. With each pile of books taken off the shelf and packed neatly away, some new shard pieces my heart.

The ongoing chant of what if, what if, what if all blurred together with the occasional firm, sharp and staccato 'just because'. The lunches loaded with meaning. The heartfelt kiss on a bench under an endless, star-studded sky as the universe whorled in a frenzy. The could have been broken heart. The possibilities. The possibilities.

The last few weeks have been exceedingly lonely and sad as is wont to happen at these times. A mess, a mess, a mess. Just as I snipped away at the myriad fragile threads that have tied my heart forever to this funny little town, I had another biting argument with my mum that somehow severed another tie all together. I lost faith in my family once and for all, after years and years of hoping, and clung to the warmth of another, who welcomed me with open arms, even when I was drunk and sniffly and just needed a cuddle.

I reverted to early teenage-hood at this time. I was resentful and self-pitying and treated myself with the disdain of a decade's worth of ignorance. I got raging drunk, did stupid things and lost my dignity in the streets of Carlisle. With the help of gentle friends and quiet nights - and unexpectedly a pair of sympathetic Jehovah's Witnesses - I climbed back into a semblance of myself before I came back to the place I love to start to say goodbye.

Someone I might have loved given the chance told me last night and today that he couldn't stop thinking about me when he lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling. He knew I was leaving and had to tell me so I knew, could feel content that the overwhelming desire to hold him close was not mine alone. Kisses that shoot fire to the pit of the belly and curl the toes followed, and followed. Firework kisses. Bottom of the ocean kisses. To this, too, I have to say goodbye.

I don't know what lies forthwith, and even less about why I am leaving. I am frightened, I think, that the peace I have found in so many ways while leaving here will somehow become brittle, disappear in the pounding hot red dust of inland Australia. The future is faceless and crimson and mysterious and I must, must, must breathe it in.

March 28, 2007

Decisions, decisions ...

You may find yourself taking a trip by air today, Flip. This may come as a surprise, but events may be progressing more quickly than you think. A partner may want to accompany you. The whole thing may be very exciting, so be careful to stay focused and make doubly sure that you pack everything that you could possibly require. Otherwise you could find yourself far from home lacking much of what you need.

This is obviously going to be one of those years. Barely seconds after I settled into my new house with a happy sigh comes the phone call offering riches and fulfillment of at least some ambitions ... in another part of the State. Basically, I have been offered a job on a daily paper, for much more money (about 25 per cent more), doing the rounds I love, with the opportunity to progress ... but it's not in Broome. Not in my beloved Broome.

It's in Kalgoorlie.

I have spent all day in an untoward spin. When S first mentioned it yesterday I thought "ha! nope" and then the editor called me. And I started to think "hmmmm".... and that is how it has gone ever since. I feel completely unable to make a decision! So it's time for a list of pros and cons:

Pros:
A new adventure!
Closer to Perth for easier visits!
Concentrated court reporting and indigenous affairs with arts thrown in!
Heaps more money!
Stretching my wings writing wise!
Sideline in prostitution (ok not really)

Cons:
Have to make new friends all over again and leave wonderful friends behind
Moving house for the 5th time in a year (urgh)
Daily deadlines and possible stress increase
No blue, blue skies against red, red rock
Leaving in the middle of writing V's memoirs
Loss of possible screenwriting project
No more Buddhist group or sand mandala project
No dry season and races and general shenanigans.
No more amazing gym ladies and boxing classes

Oh god. Do i really want to be closer to home anyway?

It's work versus heart and something is going to break.

March 15, 2007

Cheat sheet - an update

Well, I've been distracted by giant green frogs in my toilet but it's really no excuse for such a delay between posts. So I have a better excuse! Since I left you at the end of 2006 (was it really so long ago?) many things have happened - I moved house AGAIN after being evicted for the first time in my life (more on that later), had brief affairs will a cute-but-dim boy from New Zealand (he liked shooting pigs - need I say more?) and a cute but slightly mad medical student (who, I later discovered to my horror, was 22! The glasses made him look older, I swear) ... but that's enough parentheses.

Continue reading "Cheat sheet - an update" »

January 25, 2007

Homeless

The day in store will smile on people endowed with curiosity and imagination. That's you, Flip! Since at the moment you are not exactly in tip-top emotional shape, you will be especially grateful for the gifts today brings. If you are eager to meet other types of people or explore new activities with your friends, go ahead and do so. The aspect at play is conducive to fun, so enjoy yourself!

Sometimes it is good
Just to be going to sleep
With a belly full of quiche
Cooked by RSL ladies
And topped up with cheap white wine
Washed down with tepid conversation
On a hot sweaty night in Broome

Especially when
You have just been evicted
For having two cats
No more, no less
That's that

January 22, 2007

I should be making dinner, but ...

It's going to be a great day to get things done, Flip. Cosmic conditions will have you feeling energetic and raring to go, so if there's a list of "to-do's" waiting for you, grab it and get going. You might need to resist the temptation to spend more time socializing than you should. If you keep your focus on your priorities, you'll be finished before you know it and there'll be plenty of time left for play!

If I listened to my horoscope today, I would be dealing with the mountain of clothes on my bedroom floor instead of faffing around on the computer and wondering idly what I should eat for dinner (well actually I already know that - I am testing out these alarmingly weird looking not-meat vegie stirfry strips). But enough about that. The good news first - the dirty weekend was extended just moments after I wrote that last word in yesterday's entry when there was a knock at the door.

Today's sad news is that Little Dog died. Temporarily housed by my friends in Broome, Little Dog entered this world to discover the cruel, hard meaning of life when he was immediately set on by human beings and animals. We found him at several weeks old, shivering on the side of the road with a bloody ear and awash with ticks, so we took him in and gave him inordinate amounts of love and affection. Little Dog flourished and became a bit of a scamp at barbeques and the like and I fell in love. I tried valiantly to find little dog a home, sending photo text messages to family and friends to no avail. It was all right for him in the end, though, because my friends loved him too much to send him to the big needle in the sky.

But Little Dog's life ended as it began three days ago - unfairly and painfully. He was hit by a car on a busy road and survived for a patting and managed a few feeble licks before the vet turned up. My friends were crying as they recounted the tale and it brought a lump to my throat. Poor Little Dog. Is it better to have (been) loved and lost than to never have (been) loved at all?

Today's exercise: Body Combat - heeeeeee YA!
Food: Lowan bircher museli with soy milk
Powerful coffee
Multigrain roll with salad of tuna slices, lettuce, fetta, olives and tomato
Half a banana
Weird stiry fry strips with miscellaneous vegetables
A pinch of salt.

January 16, 2007

Spoke too soon ...

You may feel like a horse that is cramped in its pen at the start of a race, Flip. You are pent up in a small box stomping your feet and anxiously waiting for the signal to go. You may feel powerless over the fact that your eyes are blinded and you have no control over when the gate will open. Be patient. Don't waste all your energy jumping up and down in the small cage. The gate will spring open soon enough and you will be up and running.

You'd a thunk that I'd let my New Year resolutions slide into the ether without so much as a sideways glance, but it ain't so. I was rewarded for my rant against technology with a powerful electrical storm that raged through Broome and took my wireless network with it with a single powerful zap. About $200 dollars and a week later, I am lighter of pocket and back online to entertain myself with my own pointless ramblings. Luckily, I have kept up the grind (mostly) so have an archive of delightful mundanities just screaming to be sifted through! Bar, of course, the several days when the computer's power cord decided to pack it in. And the battery in my mouse died concurrently. I have been chastised by the robotic world good and proper.

To play catch up, read backwards. Or stay unawares - it's all the same to me.

Court today was the usual kind of scene. I found phrases such as "over-representation of Aboriginal people" and "mindless violence" drifting through my mind, as offender after offender climbed into the dock to have their lawyers valiantly try to find causes for their effects: broken jaws, splintered arms, noses gushing with blood. There were pyromaniacs setting alight their lovers' houses just to get a rise, another guy who broke open someone's head because another someone claimed he was stealing a wallet; a woman waiting patiently in the public gallery as her partner's bloody deeds were described in callow language. I have become numb to these things. I found myself staring at the walls for much of it, practicing shorthand doodles using sentences I constructed myself: "The man is clearly guilty", "he should be given a suspended sentence" and "is he likely to be a recidivist?". The last one was kind of hard.

Having said all that, I walked out of the courtroom after one case with an eerie sense of foreboding. As one indigenous man sat there awaiting his sentence for an attack involving a meat cleaver and a whole lotta alcoholfuelled violence, suddenly a baby magpie appeared outside the window and began throwing itself at the glass. Thunk. Thunk. Flutter. Thunk. Even the judge glanced up irritated as it launched itself over and over again, a little kamikaze messenger. Thing was, this was at the exact moment the man's dead brother was mentioned - the very man he said he was trying to avenge.

The world went all cold and crystal for me right then. I wonder if he felt it too?

January 8, 2007

The biggest loser

Saturn continues in your communication zone, so you are very aware of your words. Issues that have been bubbling away beneath the surface in your partnerships may come to a head. The need to speak up may be too strong to resist. If you begin to hold that conversation on Monday, you may get a chance to come to an agreement before things really get too hot too handle on Saturday. On Monday the brakes will be on and you may be able to prevent things from getting worse and even be able to suggest a practical solution.

You just love to meet new people and to communicate with them. But you never get personally involved. You always keep a certain distance between yourself and the person you are talking to. Today, Flip, you will ask yourself if, by controlling your emotions so tightly, you are missing out on interesting experiences, or if your defenses are high for a good reason.

I had a fit of depression today when I realised that not one of my bloody well crafted stories besides a paltry "year in review" piece was going to make it into the paper. Sure, they'll be carried over into next week but I don't like the feeling that the paper is the DM times. I suffer from terrible insecurities about my writing ability at the best of times and feeling overlooked doesn't make me feel like I have a chance to overcome. It's quite stupid really - how many accolades do I need? But I feel like a touch of negativity can start the long, slow slide into panic, panic, panic ... whom am I trying to impress?

In another fit - of madness - I decided to stay back after my high-intensity Body Combat class to do a Pump Class. This quickly turned out to be a fatal choice, as my muscles shook and shuddered their way through a long, repetitive series of movements. There was a time, pumping weights towards the ceiling with my teeth gritted and sweat virtually pouring from behind my ears, that the tiniest whimper started up in my mind. "I want to go home," it pleaded. "Pleeeeeeease."

But I am learning to become oblivious to myself.

Consumption (not the painful kind)

2 slices of plain Burgen fruit and muesli toast
One white coffee, brewed strong enough to put hairs on the chest
Half cup of couscous, tiny can of mixed beans and can of sardines in tomato sauce
One small banana
Last night's leftovers
Five corn chips
No beer, even though I was offered

January 7, 2007

Risking the bends

Whatever difficulties may have arisen in your life over the past few days, Flip, you have the power to overcome them, gain new strength from the process and move on. Your physical energy is high, and therefore you won't wear out. You'll probably push on and take care of each chore as it presents itself. If you've been thinking of starting a new project, Flip, this is the day to do it, as obstacles aren't likely to stop you.

Today dawned with the intention of getting up and pumping some more iron but l an behold, when the alarm went off I just burrowed under the covers. When I finally got up two hours later I was in the same mood that had permeated my holidays - hermitude. I can't recall when, in living history, I have been so keen to bury myself away from the human race and speak to no-one for lengthy periods of time. In feels like a test of sorts, like holding my breath underwater and seeing how long I can hold out before the bubbles emerge. But I don't feel miserable - I simply feel suspended in space and unsure whether I should challenge this state of mind or simply let it drift along.

I think I would be less concerned if I were actually "doing" something during these periods besides reading the newspaper, watching endless films, cooking delicious meals to please only myself. Is it a healthy place to be? I always crave people's company but it feels as though my mind has reeled me in for a period of time and has left the solo me to its own devices to see what happens next. I wish I had some guidance.

I met an absolutely gorgeous boy the other night, but of course he belongs to someone else. A spark, a flicker, a dying flame, all in the course of one dinner. It is sort of alarming that in recent months I have absolutely not bothered with the opposite sex, even though a small - and it is small - part of me is curious about whose ear I may end up whispering in to on my pillow in future. But I ignore flirting, glance away instead of staring boldy back, dip my head down when walking around in crowds instead of catching people's eyes. I make no effort to flirt or spin webs around potential suitors and walk unnoticed through the world of pheromones. It is strange that this solitude does not feel as lonely as it might have done in the past - it feels more like a steadying period, a necessary quiescence that will eventually push me forward instead of backwards into a kind of despair. I am absolutely convinced that I cannot get involved with someone else until I have a stronger sense of who I am, what I want, where I'm going. Who knows when that will be?

(Does anyone even read this thing? I think my incessant and narcissistic ramblings could be starting to grate)

With the internet down today, I was forced to read the newspaper from cover to cover instead of browsing endlessly online. I am about to get stuck into Chloe Hooper's award-winning account of the injustice surrounding the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004, about which Sir Lawrence Street has just announced a review. I am really curious to know more: how on earth can a man who died in police custody under suspicious circumstances not be avenged in death, in lieu of life? The Feds have also finally started calling for David Hicks to get a fair trial. I am gobsmacked, frankly, at how long it had taken them to find a voice. I saw Michael Mori speak in Perth in November about all the reasons why Hicks was suffering from a grave injustice at the hands of the US government and it made me furious. I know Hicks is not an angel - indeed, some of his supporters might falter if they read accounts of exactly what he was up to in Al Quaida Summer Camp. Still, everyone deserves justice and no-one, read no-one, deserves to languish in isolation at Guantanamo Bay for five years without charge.

This week: eight bombs blew up in Thailand. Rocket-launchers were discovered to be sold to "terrorist" cells in Australia. Saddam Hussein was executed to the savage delightof mobile phone video and You-Tube fans worldwide. What a happy fucking world we live in, eh?

Exercise today: Eschewing the trolley and carrying two shopping baskets full of cat food and vegetables (30 calories). Dragging myself from my bed to the couch and back again (three calories). Typing this blog (one calorie or less).
Food: Two boiled eggs with dukkah, one chopped tomato with basil, 2 slices rye bread
Handful of Pringles with sundried tomato dip
Pumpkin filled ravioli with sauce of tomatoes, anchovies, olives, and capers.

January 6, 2007

Clean on the inside, too

A sense of optimism and excitement permeates any get-togethers that you may be involved with today, Flip. You, and those around you, tend to see only the positive trends in the future, and are caught up in the idea of a road to success with few obstacles. You need to hang on to that attitude, because there are always obstacles. However, you might forge a new support group with some of these upbeat individuals. Make the most of it!

Today started beautifully, despite a slight hangover, as I lay at right angles to a mirror, legs in the air, and surreptitiously studied the size of my arse while pretending to concentrate on my breathing in yoga. Our instructor simply radiated peace and gorgeousness, all soft tones and limber limbs that could bend any which way. I have to say that I was immediately hooked on the idea of doing this every Saturday morning, as I walked out of there feeling as though I was on some sort of euphoric drug. It was really hard work - after several pump classes during the week, parts of my body had unbeknownst to me locked in up in all manner of strange places. When the lights when down and we breathed rhythmically to a sombre soundtrack involving a monotonous hippy saying "ommmmm" at regular intervals, I think I left the planet for a while.

Then it was on to the kind of day that has an alarmingly positive impact on my soul, involving lots of Ajax, Mr Sheen and Gumption. Scrubbing in the heat ought to be an entirely unpleasant experience but somehow in the company of friends it became a positive one. T was moving out and with one grumpy and unwilling house mate and the other one away, it was time for the cavalry to step in and assist. To the sound of bad 80s pop music we attempted to scour away all signs of life from the place, with some corners filled with primordial slime and the pubic remnants of yesteryear refusing to budge. I managed to smile all through the unexpected encounters with long-legged spiders and furred tendrils I had to pull out of the mop on occasion, singing loudly to Belinda Carlisle and REM all the while. That, I said to T, is what friends are for.

Eats:

Frappe Latte from McDonalds (as hideous as you would expect)
Five snakes
Lots of sweet potato
2 vegie sausages
Scoop of pasta salad
Chunk of bread
Handful of corn chips and a handful of rice crackers
Two glasses of wine
1 cup plain yoghurt with ½ cup of boysenberries

July 11, 2006

I often think about changing myself

When faced with an emotionally intense situation, you are likely to flee, Flip. You would rather skirt the issue and quickly change the subject to something much more lighthearted and palatable. Keep in mind that this form of escapism is going to do nothing to solve the problem that is crying out for attention. In fact, by avoiding the emotional topic and moving into your own fantasyland, you are only creating more friction than if you just approached the problem head-on.

I have been having, it seems, the same conversation with countless different people of late. By people I mean women, and by conversation I mean the lament about the convoluted worlds we have created for ourselves in our dealings with the opposite sex. And ourselves.

This particular post is not born of a particular discontent of my own; nay, life feels rickety-but-still-rolling at the moment. It comes from the tears in a new friend's eyes, the confused stare of a woman watching her once-lover splay his fingers over another young filly in the pub. Around the table we sat last weekend spilling a litany of tales of insecurity, of past wrongs and future yearnings - and there was an overwhelming sense that somehow we're getting it wrong. After knocking back the drinks on Friday, we drunkenly swore that things had to change. As we necked yet another beer at the races on Saturday, caught in the sweaty ring of country blokes throwing shimmering coins into the two-up air, we promised ourselves salvation. On Sunday, broken and feeling the livery pinch, we sat on the beach at Gantheaume point and sipped delicately on expensive champagne to celebrate a new friend's birthday, another Monday looming. We have been drunk, drunk and not so drunk, to smear a glassy haze over our worlds.

I am not sure how many times I have promised myself that it would be the last. The last cigarette, the last drink, the last inapprpriate fuck or the last morsel of food. Somehow I have made myself promises I had no intention of keeping. And then we start to speak. For hours we sit, swapping tales of insignificance and sharing the load. We find a common thread that I have seen before, the sharp-edged swords that we keep impaling ourselves on. Hungover and sombre, skirted and sore, we all admit to looking in the mirror with a measure of disgust, pinching hard in the places that need to reduce. We speak of wanting to be pure, holistic and whole. We agree that alcohol is killing us and that each drink is beginning to feel like a death sentence. We are quiet when speaking of drugs, shuddering at the amounts we have tipped down our throats. We are all guilty of making excuses not to exercise, and of letting our creative juices shudder to a halt in favour of empty entertainment. We have all tried to change. And tried again.

Running parallel to this has been relationships, good and bad. It seems we all have a "nice" ex-boyfriend, consigned to the scrap-heap by virtue of being so sweet it makes our own faults all too glaringly obvious. Then there are the "bastards", the sexy ones with flashy eyes and haircuts who make us go weak at the knees but run off with our friends or dismiss us with withering stares. The man-boys, emotional ruins, regular guys and players have all flitted in and out of our worlds.

(Earlier in the night, a girl I have just met admits tearfully to her first one night stand in years. It's just not something I do, she whispers, and I don't know what to do. We glance at the object d'amour - or object d'hour? - as he flits and flirts with girls. He hasn't said anything to me since and I don't know how to bring it up. She leaves alone to sleep in the car.

Later, he tries valiantly to get into my knickers and asks me to take him home. Availed of a rare sensibility, after many years of wanton and drunken lustful situations that have got me into all manner of trouble, I loftily refuse. You've got to sort out your situation with xxx first I tell him. He shrugs, apparently surprised. That was nothing, he says, it was just a drunken fuck.)

I relay this to the girls and we all nod knowingly. We all have a story like that. We have all been that girl, struggling to understand the whyfore and wherefore of the male psyche, or worse. We have over-analysed the placement of punctuation in a text message. We have been left wondering.

But soon the wine kicks in and we are so tipsily incensed that we turn for hoursinstead to a conversation about the relative joys of sex toys, laughing raucously and red-faced as we get down, dirty and personal.

And we forget, and forget, and forget.

July 3, 2006

Cognito ergo sum

You can be highly stimulated by new ideas at this time. It may be challenging to assimilate them all. But it is a good time to let your mind go and explore the wildest possibilities. It enhances your creativity, even as it makes handling life's ordinary details a bit more difficult.

It's all very well to be stimulated by new ideas, but getting them down on paper for posterity is another thing altogether. There's been countless occasions where snippets, sentences, paragraphs have filtered through my brain and I've thought hmm, must write that down before I forget or guilty times like tonight, the rarest of occasions, when I sit down to watch TV and feel my brain leach out of my ears and I think hmm, I should be tip-tapping out those thoughts that have been causing me angst but instead I sit, sit, sit and vegetate.

I really am becoming a bit of a time-waster of the evenings, mired in blogs and sleeping before I am due. But my body is taking some time out to heal and my mind is mostly quiescent for the time being. And it's nice. But the cold clear air and hours spent refining, thinking and writing at work have actually made my thinking slightly more acute and I should be doing more with it.

Oh blah, blah, blah. Should have could have would have. What a pointless exercise and how often we writers bemoan our tendencies towards procrastination. And then write about it, in the greatest irony of all! Now would be a pertinent time to share a few salient points I found (on another pointless web-surfing lesson I suspect, though I can't actually recall. Slightly edited, but mostly intact.

Ten Things I Have Learned About Writing
A Meme perpetuated by Kate Eltham

1. Writers write.
2. Editing is not writing. Proof-reading is not writing. Attending writing workshops, critique groups and festivals is not writing. Neither is making cups of coffee, cleaning the light switches or tidying your desk. I'm pretty sure planning your book tour is not writing and telling your friends about wanting to be a writer is definitely not. Only writing is writing.
3. When your story comes back with a rejection slip, send it again. When it is rejected again, send it again. At once. Keep sending it out there. Your work may not be published when you submit it to a market. But it definitely can't be published when it's sitting on your hard drive.
4. It's okay to be a slow writer.
5. Strong verbs are good.
6. What you earn from your writing is in no way related to your ability to write well. Some amazing writers starve. You only have to look at the shelves of your local bookstore to know some crappy writers prosper. Don't let it stop you.
7. Inventors, rocket scientists, chefs, painters, composers all refine their creations. Many iterations are required to get it right. Writing is no different.
8. Many other people before you have succeeded at this. They have useful advice. Listen to them.
9. The lone writer in a garret is a myth. Reach out to a group. Be part of the writing community. Network. Writers love talking shop. They are supportive of one another. This can help you. Plus, it's fun.
10. Writing is really hard.

June 10, 2006

Googlism

According to Google:

phillipa is the middle name
phillipa is sexiest because
phillipa is until he'd actually gotten her into the saddling up yard
phillipa is a softie
phillipa is a rare gem
phillipa is a screenplay i wrote while i was bored during the school summer holidays
phillipa is 16 years old
phillipa is a language tutor in the sssu and can be seen on monday
phillipa is wracked with remorse
phillipa is an ex banger driver and an ex super banger champion she can mix it with the guys and whoop the ass off the best of em
phillipa is a stock car champion and not to be messed with
phillipa is already an accomplished pianist and runner
phillipa is a person with ms and
phillipa is a wonderful
phillipa is not nuts and
phillipa is a sassy
phillipa is engaging as well
phillipa is extremely well qualified
phillipa is a woman of contemplation
phillipa is the "control room of the operation"
phillipa is now taking a management paper for a post
phillipa is a spy
phillipa is an anachronism as she succeeds in her scholarly pursuit
phillipa is extremely well qualified having her diploma of arts
phillipa is a qualified
phillipa is the administrator for leisure and heritage programmes
phillipa is directing a new field project in a rural area of a central american country that has seen little archaeological exploration
phillipa is determined to keep the tradition alive within her family
phillipa is my teacher
phillipa is suspicious; james reveals he is a victim of abuse
phillipa is a specialist in family law dealing with all aspects of the breakdown of family relationships
phillipa is more and more
phillipa is in fact completely bald
phillipa is also the mother of eve
phillipa is one of our most dramatic mares and her foal would make a perfect foundation for any breeder of caspians
phillipa is the presenter of a brand new programme
phillipa is on jesus
phillipa is een engelse die na haar huwelijk met een italiaan in turijn is komen wonen
phillipa is not a standard vampire
phillipa is wearing a lovely dress with a dark dusty pink taffeta skirt
phillipa is coming back to msq
phillipa is a vet who specializes in small animals
phillipa is the director of marketing and services for trilogy
phillipa is a somewhat
phillipa is down in the pits bringing us news from the pits as it happens
phillipa is a putz
phillipa is amongst the top archers in the country
phillipa is complicated by the spelling edwards uses for her butterfly performer
phillipa is my rockhounding buddy
phillipa is the major researcher on a project studying technologically
phillipa is called up
phillipa is a herbalist
phillipa is currently advising upon a range of local authority led developments in towns and cities throughout the uk
phillipa is willing to put something towards it but we don't want to penalise her too much
phillipa is helping us spray paint the jetter
phillipa is from england
phillipa is studying jewellery design and making at box hill institute of tafe though the short course program
phillipa is an equally charming host with world class culinary skills
phillipa is trapped inside and hyper says that the electrics need isolating and aviation fuel is visibly leaking
phillipa is a fourth
phillipa is building his tp
phillipa is a physical therapist for the cunningham and white oak dance companies
phillipa is a most enchanting creature
phillipa is that she died 19 may 1748 in illogan
phillipa is back from san fran yay
phillipa is an official ib pyp trainer
phillipa is located in world space at p2
phillipa is also responsible for calc's marketing material
phillipa is so much nicer than that freak
phillipa is the girl to see
phillipa is a veterinarian
phillipa is also the business liaison and does her best to wheedle reading lists out of lecturers to help her obtain resources students need
phillipa is handling very well ? with good awareness of her dog
phillipa is 99% thinker
phillipa is #3 of a limited edition of 5 from the elegant lady series ii
phillipa is #2 of a limited edition of 5 from the elegant lady series ii
phillipa is able to provide information on commonwealth youth programmes and initiatives such as jobs placement employment and training
phillipa is a historian writer at canterbury university
phillipa is now shifted
phillipa is right
phillipa is the person you need to ask for
phillipa is also a member of kilpeck senior
phillipa is organising a field rainfall simulator circus for september
phillipa is more than a bit miffed
phillipa is packing and leaving
phillipa is seen here warming up on
phillipa is spanked for
phillipa is currently ranked no 2 in the uk with a throw of 56
phillipa is a consultant
phillipa is a business education teacher

Ha ha ha! Find yours at www.googlism.com

May 10, 2006

The times they are a' changin'

Your focus is on love or a primary romantic relationship at this time. An enthusiastic or wholehearted approach to your partnership is one way in which you will express your feelings to a mate or lover. You may give the impression now that you are seeking more fulfilment, commitment, stability, and teamwork in love relationships. If you are unattached at the present time, you may attract a new love interest or search earnestly for a meaningful relationship. Also, this period can bring an increased need for security in both job-related and financial affairs.

I can't believe how skewiffy time gets when I'm about to depart for distant shores. Things speed up and slow down willy nilly and nights slip into days almost without provocation, lending everything a confused and frantic and mournful air by turn. With but days to go, I am fixated on the moment when I climb on the plane but starting to feel those regular pangs of pain and nostalgia for times that are about to slip into history. My eyes are heavy with lack of sleep and too much red wine in the company of friends, but I am grasping at every precious moment I spend with them before I have to say goodbye.

Somehow, I don't think this is the time for romance. The sudden interest by certain boys in me and my charms has been ridiculous of late and has left me feeling frustrated and irritated. Now is not the time for manifestations of fondness or puppy dog eyes, attempts to unhook clothes or whisper words of charm. The boat has sailed out of that harbour for the time being, I'm afraid, dear boys.

What do I think about most this week? Money, that grubby purveyor of dreams. I am entranced by the pursuit of it, the way it seems to trickle through my fingers as I shed my life in Perth and my fear about what life with reduced amounts of it will be like. But cast with the dim glow of distant suns, it is a thought that ebbs and flows.

I think of my friends and the new ones I'm eager to make. I have spent the past few years building a snug little network of people I love, whose faces are already fading into the distance. About this, I am not afraid. I think of the chance to shake off the many distractions that have held me from my first love, writing, and relish the thought of the discipline of the daily grind.

This Sunday, I will read the newspapers on the whispery sands of the beach, drinking coffee in the fresh early morning air and turning the pages with clean, dry hands.

May 5, 2006

Life's just beachy keen

Your world is changing, dear Gemini, both internally and externally. You feel a need to broaden your horizons. You contemplate a move to a new neighbourhood or a trip to a faraway land. The people in your life will change as a result of this. You are about to embark on a new phase of your life, and these new friends will act as able guides.

With but a week to go until I fly away to pastures new, I am struggling to fake an interest in work. So as of now, I'm giving up trying. Instead, I will devote myself to a moment or two of introspection while I have the chance.

I'm going to live in Broome!

I'm ... going ... to ... live ... in ... Broome. Only now is it starting to roll off the tongue with ease, this strange and startling statement. I have no idea where I am going to land in a matter of days (well of course I can work it out in geographical terms) and the excitement is almost too much to bear. Who will be my new friends? What will my new abode look like? Will I love my new job? The questions are roiling around in my head without cessation.

So how did I get to this point? One minute I'm letting my mind drift with possibilities (I cannot shake this feeling of suspension at present it feels like I'm holding my breath and waiting, waiting for something to happen. This week saw a lucky escape from Bunbury for the time being at least but by god I can feel how close I am to closing my eyes and flinging myself out of here) and the next I am packing my life into boxes and saying goodbye.

And thank god - it couldn't have come a moment too soon. The anticipation is akin to going travelling, suffused with the flurry of trying to be organised ahead of a new adventure. The job shimmers in the distance, viewed like a mirage - surrounded by palm trees and tropical fruits in imagery all too close to the truth ...

April 11, 2006

April showers

Everything may be pouring in at once in your work and it's all good news. Your career direction gets some encouragement, and life's problems should find easy solutions. You may benefit from a more experienced person who is now likely to take you under their wing. You should consider them a mentor and carefully listen to the advice they offer you.

Ummmm so it's been a while and in fact Adelaide seems like a tipsy lavender dream so the guilt has propelled me from the cosy echelons of the brown couch to the keyboard. Every time I have sat down to write in recent days I have drifted off into the land of blog, tracing pathways from one to the other in a dizzying network of interconnectedness on subjects ranging from underwear to post colonial struggles and I'm afraid I just can't keep up. I do so admire these earnest posts and polemics on serious subjects but when I climb into to the writing space all I want to do is spill my boring guts and forget the research and references and just make it all about me, me, me.

Something terrible has happened to my punctuation these days.

First a dream: Last night I was in Sydney on my way to a job interview and I took the elevator to the fourth floor of a very flash building where instead of an office door I discovered rows and rows of battered old school lockers in peeling green paint on grey with a strange man waiting for me. We walked a short distance and then i had to climb up a slide wearing impractical heels so of course I kept slithering back to the bottom (symbolism anyone? It wouldn't take a Woman's Day dream expert three minutes to work that one out) until eventually I got frustrated and, apologising for my unprofessionalism took my shoes and beige (!) stockings off. We sat and talked for a while and then when I went to put my shoes back on one of the heels exploded in a shower of glass and glitter, leaving a steel rod behind. By this time I was mortified, a feeling which only worsened when the man kept trying to put the shoe back on my resistant foot.

Next a ship. Of course the biggest news I have at the moment is that in two days time I will be bedding down on a 16th century sailing ship amid the sea chests and ballast for a short and uneasy sleep ahead of my first voyage. For five days I will be sailing the high seas in an adventure which by all accounts sounds vomity and tiring and painful and I am curious to see what motivates any number of people to do this for fun. Perhaps they are mad. I for one am addicted to my very soft bed and soy flat whites and a distinct lack of anything that leaves my hands scratchy raw and my cheeks burning with extertion (unless of course it's vigorous sex but god knows even that is a distant memory) but that aside this ship hurt me on the first day by cutting my fingers and bashing my head and turning my stomach and pulling my weakened muscles so god help me i hope I survive. I actually just feel sick at the thought of being out on the lurching waters full of sharks scary things sea snails and maybe even krakens according to legend but these things I am trying to put out of my mind.

I cannot shake this feeling of suspension at present it feels like I'm holding my breath and waiting, waiting for something to happen. This week saw a lucky escape from Bunbury for the time being at least but by god I can feel how close I am to closing my eyes and flinging myself out of here. I have my eye on regional WA and the newspapers that communicate the secrets of our baked red land but in a surprise turnout I was emailed on Friday by a Federal MP asking me to call her for an interview for a job in Parramatta, land of mystery. So of course I start picturing myself as a wise ol' media savvy political hack with a taste for the stoush and an eye for policies but somehow it's exciting and depressing at the same time. I have a stronger yearning than ever to be writing all day, all day, and it is closer than ever but if one more person tells me I'm "on the right track" I think I will scream.

The other day one of my old uni lecturers hit on me at a party which was entirely weird because at even a relatively young 44 he is still far too old for me and at the time I was dressed like a mexican even down to the racially-typifying sombrero and rather drunk on tequila shots so it all seemed a bit surreal and I just couldn't take it seriously. I saw him a couple of times after and was very adult but in a "come near me and i'll chop it off" kind of way. I think I have managed to not even begrudgingly lose interest in the opposite sex for a time which woul be entirely bizarre if I sat down to think about it but my head is so full of clouds and dreams that it sort of makes sense to me. In the past few days I have been dwelling in blessed silence both within my head and out, letting sleep and my crazy dreams wring me out of my life for a time.

Really I am not sure how to finish this but it feels like it's time.

February 22, 2006

Mixed messages

You are feeling on top of the world this week now that Mars is finally in your sign. You have a powerhouse of energy at your disposal and can think about ways to get your best ideas off the ground. As you usually do things in twos, you may have two big plans that need your undivided attention, so spare some time for each - you have enough resources to cope with doing so. Your mind is prone to work overtime, which could lead to nervous tension, so try and make time to relax deeply - it will help.

You should be feeling especially sexy right now. A powerful feeling of love, and a need to express that love physically, could be with you all day. If you're involved, you'll want to schedule a romantic evening with your lover. If you aren't, you could decide to channel this energy into creative activities of some kind. Romantic novels and movies are a poor substitute for the real thing, Flip, but if there's no other available outlet, go for them!

Well, seems like the planets are aligned for me. Although I'm a little concerned - the weekly horoscope that arrived in my inbox this morning was exactly the same as last Monday's. I know I'm a creature of habit, an' all, but surely not to that extent. I am starting to feel a little concerned that these predictors of doom or delight may not (gasp) be true. In any case, I choose to believe the second, because it seems I have lurve action coursing through my veins. Without a willing partner, however, I may have to end up with the romantic novel suggestion, which is really rather boring. Those swarthy men with flashing eyes and pulsating ... torsos? ... just really don't do it for me.

Yesterday was fabulous, a sun-soaked day of music and dancing among friends at good old Belvoir Ampitheatre. I woke up horribly hungover (refer back to new year's resolutions and lambast me as you will) and wishing to lie in bed ... and oops, this entry was truncated by laziness and a need for sleep.

A major need for sleep.

WAMIs last night - was bloody awesome and the bands simply outperformed themselves. We really do have a hot bed of talent in this town, judging by the show they put on. I was transfixed for the most part, lost in the music and sitting outdoors on that balmy, balmy evening with just a hint of storm in the air. I am really glad I went against my better judgement and threw myself into the middle of Perth's rock royalty - I think I even rediscovered my love of the live performance after all these years. Actually, I think that vibe started with Halogen a few weeks ago - equally brilliant! Sometimes life is so very, very entertaining and wonderful.

February 10, 2006

And so the gloomy pallor descended

Flip, your light-hearted attitude toward life has given you the reputation as an eternal teenager. But levity is also the sign of a very wise person, a person who knows how to laugh at her wisdom. Whether you realize it or not, you CAN get involved in a serious relationship without losing your light-heartedness. If you have already committed to a relationship, you know just how true this is.

Ah, how timely. When one is verging on getting involved with someone, deciding whether to keep one toe in the water or jump straight in, light-heartedness is indeed something that tends to falter. Like many of my sisters, I am prone to over-analysis and alarming levels of contemplation over the dawn of new relationships - but this time I am not feeling quite the same way. For a start, I carry some sadness and residual ire over the end of the last relationship, so my wounds are not quite healed. I am not so optimistic as I may once have been, as a result, nor do I feel dazzled with starry, starry eyes.

I am older, wiser and just a little bit more cynical - and it's a good thing too. But having said that - I do feel light hearted at the moment, and am interested to know where this new path may lead. The point is that because I feel strong and content in myself this week, I am unconcerned about external forces and can take the good with the bad. Now that is a light-hearted feeling.

Anyway, my mind today has been a little more occupied with the physical, as I have been fighting nausea all day. Oh, that faceless coward that lurks in the belly, unwilling to manifest in anything resembling a real symptom, hovering instead around the edges of the intestines and giving the occasional tweak. I can think of few worse symptoms - bar outright, blistering pain, of course - which can so decidedly ruin a day. I have pushed aside my breakfast and lunch in favour of endless glasses of water and clenched teeth, and am now contemplating the weekend with slight gloom instead of excitement. Perhaps it is nerves about the outcome of the job application? More than likely it is the three, slightly gritty and cold giant prawns I chowed down on at the boring function last night. Thinking of them certainly gives me pause for thought.

Anyway, home beckons at last and another week has ended. Despite my misgivings and grumpy state, I am heading off to see an art exhibition, followed by dinner in Northbridge, followed by the excellent Hula Bula Bar. Nausea or not, I intend to let my friends envelop me in their warm, usual way.

January 27, 2006

Home alone

Extravagant or even wild claims by someone close to you could leave you exasperated today as you know the truth of the situation. This may still not stop you going along with some harebrained scheme that you'll later regret. Follow your best instincts and refuse an offer that seems too good to be true.

Fresh from the flag wavin', beer drinkin', sausage eatin' mayem of Australia Day, I have woken late after a blessedly long sleep to a day relatively empty of boring commitments and full of social engagements. I love holidays, however short. My day so far has involved naught more than a bowl of museli, a few unexpected tears at reaching the end of Estelle Blackburn's stunning work of investigative journalism, Broken Lives, and an ongoing internal battle about whether I should go to the gym or not. For now, I am content to sit here wearing not a stitch, revelling in the quiet and warmth in a house empty of housemates, noise and distractions.

Soon, I must turn my mind again to Joe Cocker, he of the scratchy and haunting voice who I must ponder over. I have clothes to fold and put away, manifestoes to consider, showers to climb in ... but all I want to do is sit, gloriously free of clothes and unfettered!

Last night, I was suprised to find myself relatively unaffected by the fireworks. When I was a kid, the cracking and pin-wheeling seems inordinately exciting but now I find myself thinking idly about the possible pollution of the swan river, whether it is justifiable to spend squillions of dollars on pretty lights when our health system needs an overhaul etc etc. I was especially incensed to hear John Howard's ponderous tones waxing on about multiculturalism between hits from Kylie Minogue and Paul Kelly - this from a man who refused to condemn as racist those wrapped in the Australian flag during hateful acts of violence. I can see the value in celebrating our way of life - because damn, it's good - but I am still rattled by the ugly face of Australian patriotism that has flared in recent months with "race riots" at Cronulla and the ongoing attacks on the Muslim community.

I was fascinated to sit in the park last night behind a young Muslim girl who was perched with herfamily next to a rollicking bunch of drunk, chain-smoking, bare-and-brown Norwegian girls. Head turned, her eyes followed their every movement - the flinging arms, the raucous laughter, the long swigs from the bottles. Her faced was etched with something like a mixture of disapproval, fear and worry - I wondered what was going through her head. And I found myself over compensating for my disappointment at the things I have seen and read about my fellow countrymen - every time I caught her or her sister's eye, I would smile extra wide and welcoming, as if to say, "But I don't think those things - not I!"

Almost a month of this new year has passed, impossible though it seems. God only knows what trouble I am doomed to get into later this evening, judging by today's horoscope ... I'll keep you posted.

January 15, 2006

Sharks n' more

Today your biorhythms may be a little low, Flip, and so you're not likely to be feeling very sociable. You're more likely to want to bury your nose in your projects instead of being your usual outgoing self. This is OK, but take care that you aren't so reclusive that you miss receiving some sincere compliments. That can make a big difference in the way you feel!

Despite feeling a bit ho-hum about it (must be those goddamn biorhythms!), I have decided to sit and do some blog-blurting to see what comes out. Things on my mind today include:

Shark attack at City Beach. This shark business is getting out of hand! We were frolicking around at City Beach yesterday without a care in the world, enjoying a barbeque despite the greyed out sky and chilly water. All togged up, we refused to set foot in the water for fear of the big freeze, choosing instead to chow down on our food and chat. And now this! A shark, in the same environs, less than a day later, decides to chow down on a diver! These close encounters really freak me out. Takes me back to a time at Cottesloe beach a few years ago when I was dumped unceremoniously on coral and gashed my hand while swimming drunkenly in the wee hours of the morning. I swam back to shore bleeding profusely. About three hours later a big hungry shark was spotted meandering around in shallow water just off the beach. To this day I remain convinced that it smelt the sweet, sweet scent of my blood and came to tuck in.

A great meeting. This morning, N and I created a masterpiece of a marketing letter. Bouncing ideas, words and sentences backwards and forwards over soy lattes we managed to find consensus, communicate a vision and get all excited about the structure. Perhaps if you're a lucky client, you'll get to see it one day. I really enjoy working on stuff like that, brainstorming and feeding each other's creativity. As a writer, it is rare that I get to do it very often and I feel I should make more time for such pursuits. Creating something with someone else makes it altogether more fun and engaging sometimes. I feel really lucky to have a friend with such clever design ideas and it inspires me to try to find words to wrap around them.

A list of things to do. What was I saying about not procrastinating? I have a small pile of essential-yet-tedious things to deal with and I seem unable to get enthusiastic about them. Probably because most of them involve money, or more specifically the spending of it. Yes, I need a pile of DVDs to back up my computer. Yes, I need to go and buy The Australian Writers' Marketplace. Yes, I do need to renew my driver's license and pay the water bill and settle my newspaper account and buy kitty litter, but does it really all have to happen at once?! I sense an early night coming up anyway, following a couple of glasses of champagne at Must. It's becoming quite the Sunday thing.

My knees. I have decided that out of all my body parts and components, my knees really upset me. I can deal with the occasionally frowsy hair and the layer of padding (it makes me cuddly!), the blackish circles under the eyes and ... only just ... my sensitive skin, but I would happily chop off my knees and replace them with something altogether more sleek if I could. There - it's out there. Now it's time for me to go and have some fun!

January 9, 2006

Fifteen minutes

My hand is burning red hot thanks to green chilli that has infused my pores and refuses to wash off. I look wan and tired, grey under the eyes and hair askew. My back is tilted into crazy shapes by a restless night's sleep and the trapped nerves are singing in my ears. I am about to be late for tea. Today was the first day back at work after 18 days holiday and time has not softened the glare of the fluorescent lights.

Mea culpa.

January 8, 2006

Retail therapy

Perhaps I should have added one last resolution to my list - I am determined to write at least a few lines in the blog each day. It makes for an interesting journey, reading back. So herewith a practical use of the 20 bare minutes I have between now and when I need to start painting over the cracks (read: put on make-up) for a foray to my favourite wine bar.

I worked out today that over the Christmas break I have made a veritable fortune from wielding my pen. In fact, sitting here this afternoon with a free agenda, I remain convinced that there must be an assignment I've forgotten - a discourse on the tendency for hemlines to rise in summer months, perhaps? But no - I have managed to get everything done on time to great aplomb and with many a "cheque is in the post" promise. So, to celebrate I visited the shopping faux-Mecca that is Perth city and proceeded to blow a wad of cash on a rainbow of tops.

It started well, as I picked out the suitable-for-work stretchy cotton numbers in neutral khaki and peacock. Inspired, I started roaming and that is where it started to unravel. Within the hour I had obtained a teal silk top with plaited straps, a dusky pink top with stitching detail and appliqued butterflies and flowers, and a softly fitted Alannah Hill singlet in moss green with silver detail. These charming items now sit in a meek little pile on my desk as I type, each clamouring to be worn first, while my credit card groans under the strain.

Things I did not find: work pants. From shorty-short shorts to extra long, extra wide trousers, the world of pants held little joy for me today.

Fascinating huh? Anyway, I needed the retail therapy after the past 24 hours, where life seemed to grind to a halt and I seemed unable to shake the desire to be solitary which was coupled uneasily with a desire to be entertained. Luckily Y sprang to the rescue, and over limited wine and minted ice-cream we swapped stories and watched the delightful Garden State yet again. We went to the video shop in search of "something funny" to no avail - banning myself from the art-house section and determined not to come home with the gritty, slice of life dramas that I am always drawn to - especially if produced in Paris, or anywhere else where clothes seem to fall of with a suck of a Gauloise and a raised eyebrow - I was left with a limited choice.

What does a girl have to do to find laughs in this town?

January 6, 2006

The last of the lazy afternoons

It's hot, so very hot. I am lying on my bed sans blankets, fan trained on my feet, ice cubes slowly melting into the remains of the diet coke. How has it come to this? My time of relaxation is nearly at an end and siestas will be a thing of the past. The hours between 2pm and 4pm will again be lost to the mind-numbing stare of the monitor at work. Ay carumba.

Anyway, part two. After all my blustering yesterday, I never got around to writing down those resolutions. In no particular order:

Do not procrastinate

I have learned over the past few months that I am my own worst enemy with regards to getting stories done on time and in a relaxed state. Last week and this, I resumed practice on the "looming deadline method" whereby I attempt to trick my brain into thinking there are only a matter of hours - and not weeks - until submission. This works surprisingly well, as does telling myself off when my mind starts to wander, I develop an interest in tabloid websites or suddenly decide I am hungry. The new way is to treat my freelance work as though it were a full-time job - reliant on speed, accuracy and with impetus to get things done. (And I can make a lot more money, by stuffing many more stories into the agenda)

Learn, and learn well

The next task for 2006 is to learn the following: French, Teeline Shorthand (to be resumed after 2005's dismal attempt), where countries are in the world and what their capitals are (for this I will purchase a giant wall-mounted map), who the major players in politics are and why, how to build a website (and practice by getting my domain name up and running) and the role cognition has in determining pathways in life.

Be strong in body and in mind

This one has always been a bugbear. I spent the latter days of 2005 furiously smoking and drinking in stuporous fashion, aware that after more than ten years of partying this ol' body is starting to feel the pinch and my time is nearly up. After a briefly successful spell at the gym late in the year that fed my muscles and sparked euphoria, I have signed myself up to take this to the next level by hiring a personal trainer for fortnightly appointments. I have warned them that they have nearly three decades of bad habits to plough through - namely a negative view of exercise (despite feeling the buzz more than once), a negative view of my capacity to commit and a general laziness that sees me happier pottering around the house or lying supine on the couch than puffing around a track. But I am prepared to lay this out on the table and see what happens. Stay tuned.

Don't do drugs or get drunk

Closely related to number three. Among my friends and I there is growing disquiet about our capacity for having fun sans sparkly party starters. Actually, i put don't do drugs in there cause it will be easy really - apart from cigarettes I have few vices these days. But the demon drink is a gorilla on my shoulder which has led me to do some spectacularly stupid things over the years. So if 2006 is my year, there ain't no place for excessive beer.

Remember to be happy, and be grateful to be alive

All too often I focus on the stresses in life, which has a tendency to drag me down. This year, it's time to focus on the positive things in life. There are many - my darling friends, my career prospects, my strong spirit, my great haircuts - the list is boundless. I honestly feel as though this year holds great promise and I am ready to see what comes my way. I am happy to keep riding the rollercoaster cause while there may be dips and lows, the highs bring an addictive rush. Happy new year to me, and me, and me.

November 28, 2005

The naked bunch ...

Woah, that's weird. I just checked in to the concrete site for the first time in ages and had to stop and rub my eyes - suddenly I was looking at snatches of life from all over the place, splashed all over the front page.

It is a timely event, as i have recently discovered that people READ MY BLOG and it came as a bit of a shock. People have looked at me with a pitying expression and said, "Well, der Flip, it is up on the web, so what did you expect?" but I suddenly felt laid bare in that uncomfortable 'oh-shit-i-forgot-to-wear-knickers-today' kind of way.

You see, I haven't exactly told anyone about this except for some near and dear girlfriends who have the gory details of my life whispered in their ears in REAL LIFE and who would therefore be yawning - not yearning - to read the salacious stories I love to blurt online. But there are others who have snuck into the corner and watched me work, picking the corners of my mind to try to uncover more - what, details? - about my life and who I am. And it feels strange.

I have no issue with complete strangers at all. They are so distant as to be invisible, and more fool them if they wish to tune in to my occasional ramblings on the odd occasion. It is those in between who raise my ... not ire, but unease.

Thing is, I can't complain. This is after all a public space, the public sphere. But my thoughts are occasionally private. Choosing the online medium for journalistic musings means I have no choice but to thrust myself at the mercy of those who wish to lend their ears. I had been careful to draw a veil between my personal and professional life, as no prospective employer needs to hear my chatter on the benefits of Brazilians (that's the nationality, not the hair removal scheme) but I had not really stopped to consider the "in-betweeners".

Anyway, that said, some news of another kind. I am still waiting to find out if I have been granted the Holy Grail of an interview with the Herald Sun in Melbourne. They have kept me hanging on for weeks now, and the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that is part of the master plan. They are watching and waiting until I have forgotten who Rob Hulls is, or what the TAC stands for ... and then they will strike. Thing is, I have launched my way through the process with equal measures of fear, excitement, determination and regret, and am no closer to reaching a conclusion on whether this is something I really want - or that I am just fighting to win.

October 16, 2005

Soul food

An oh, how fraudulent am I, i think to myself in the dying moments of this sun-soaked Sunday, as the light peters into dark and my mood turns sombre. It has been days and days of journal avoidance, as I have struggled with words, plucked obscure books from the shelves and discarded them as quick, slumbered instead of thought. I am not depressed, just restless and agitated, full of dreams and heartsick for my misspent youth. Who knows what the future may hold?

In the past 24 hours my eyes have feasted on handsome Brazilians, one after the other - and yet another - which has been a delight for my shallow senses. It occured to me yesterday that it has been so long since I had wonderful, sweaty, dirty sex with a boy that I don't think I can quite remember what it is like. How that is related to the appearance of the sexy Brazilians, one can only speculate! Today and last night I had to be contented with stilted conversations and watching as they kicked the ball around the park, which i suppose is ok for now.

At the moment I am the queen of procrastination, her royal highness the wastrel, madame maudlin, sleepy-socks Flip. I keep intending to throw myself into the heady world of industrial relations law reform and terrorism threats, of federal politics and bunfights, of implications and analyses and importunities, but i can somehow only focus on Kylie Minogue's struggle with breast cancer and the Norwegian heir's golden future. Am I doomed to be a dimwit forever? I am starting to wonder.

So, dear diary, where have you found me this week? I have been active, pulling weeds and pumping weights and power walking and huffing-puffing my way through many a morning. I can feel my body getting slightly stronger and have started chasing that thrilling moment when my consciousness drops away, my head fills with air and I start to float up and out of my body into some nether-world just past my peripheral vision. Endorphins are my new best friend.

It has been a solid two weeks of no drinking, no getting "fucked up" for fun, and it is a new world altogether. Something at the edge of my consciousness is hovering uncertainly, waiting for the freefall into regret, doom and gloom, but I am hanging on to that thread of self-belief and feeding it with my small victories. That "natural high" is all I have at the moment and damn, I will chase it as hard as I have to!

September 20, 2005

Back to zero

So in the past week I have smoked cigarettes, eaten chips, drunk myself into a stupor three times, slept little, had sex with a boy, had quasi-sex with a girl, stared into space, smoked more cigarettes, eaten chick peas and sworn off myself all over again. Christ, I even packed a gym bag this morning, pumped full of the wrong kind of hormones and feeling queasy, with every intention of pouring my sweat out on the running machine.

I had this sudden lurching sensation yesterday morning when I realised somewhat belatedly that I was not actually heading towards anything - that life was looming ahead like one long treadmill and I had lost sense of my purpose. That the weeks and weekends were starting to look awfully similar. And I started to wonder if I'd ever had one at all. But I don't feel gloomy right now - far from it.

God it's been so long since I've written and I feel like there's so much to say. I have been instructed of late to have higher regard for my feelings than my intellect - and it feels ... it FEELS ... like a terribly fucking hard thing to do.

Continue reading "Back to zero" »

August 30, 2005

This nameless mood

It's been a while and I have but twelve minutes or so in which to unleash my thoughts! What have I done of consequence since we last spoke?

About eight champagnes, three fictional chapters, 200 emails, 20 meals later ... this could go on forever. For now I am stuck in the strange twilight of Tuesday evening, feeling tired and out of sorts. I am heading for another upheaval (I can feel it in my bones) and feel quite weary at the prospect. But still, living here makes me even more weary at times, with too much twiddle and twaddle and gossip for my liking!

August 18, 2005

Wrestling with the dark side

Ooh, that title sounds ominous. But you know, it's really not.

I have long been the kind of girl that does as she pleases, then hates herself afterwards. In recent years, mindgul of my own terrible limitations, I have walked the tightrope between should and would, tipping ever so slightly into the side of temptation then managing to veer back the other way. But faced with something delicious, I waver, I wobble. I try to balance my yearning - sexual desire, cravings - against my desire for sensibility, my desire to be loved by all and sundry, and I come up with nothing but turmoil and confusion.

My, how tempting it is to let someone coax me into sexy conversations, to let them titillate me with clever words that whip around my spine and snake their way into my cerebral cortex. Forget sexy thighs, rippling muscles and sparkly eyes, if you've got my mind, if you make me laugh, you have me switched on and quivering in anticipation. The kind of sex that follows these experiences is invariably fun, friendly and playful, the golden labrador of fucking, exciting and exhiliharating. And if you're sexy too, well oh la la.

Problem is, when someone belongs to someone else, it ain't just a spanner in the works. I have vowed to leave these ways behind. "How would you feel" I ask myself, "If that was you?"

Isn't it obvious?

If some femme fatale came and spun her tales around my man, I would want to claw out her eyes. If she was sexy, it would be like a knife to the heart. If she was tall and thin, a blow to the solar plexus. Cap it off with bright, blinking brown eyes, glossy hair and gigantic tits and I would be writhing on the floor. Plain, boring and dull? I would die.

So why, then, do I flirt? I have often wondered if it was something about me that encourages that sort of thing. That vein of sexuality runs hot through me, and I'm half turned on all the time. I am teased and tormented by the idea of sex - especially now - and when someone I desire turns their eyes on me, it's almost impossible to resist.

This isn't innocent, by any means, and if it goes too far I will again find myself on the otherside of accuations, distrust and distaste. I can go and kiss any man I want, so why is it the ones with flashy eyes and clever words that grab me so hard.

"...you are young, gorgeous, full of promise and sizzle with a beguiling eroticism," he says.

He may as be wearing the words "I WANT TO FUCK YOU" on his t-shirt. That turns me on more than it should.

August 3, 2005

It's a fire and it burns bright, baby

In keeping with this new habit o'mine and with an hour to spare, I am pleased to find myself again sitting here, buttons chinking annoyingly on the keyboard and brain all full of fizz. I was lying in the bath just then, trying to read, when the bubbles started hissing new possibilities into my damp, cloggy ears.

"Go and live in the country!" they hissed. "When they ask you to do it, grin and say aye!" Contemplating the porcelain, I pictured myself wearing saggy clothes and caked in dirt, wiping my beleagured brow covered in the salt of the earth, staring at the sky and praying for rain. ah, how melodramatic. I saw myself being hesitant, signing up for a local netball team under the watchful gaze of big, strapping country lasses with scarred knees and elbows.

Scooping up my cats like a pair of furred, clawful handbags, I will be able to put myself wherever I wish. The future stretches out ahead like a searing white blue sky, hard to study ... I cast my eyes askance. I have made tentative steps and now my soul demands more. The months are suddenly shimmering, fluid - if i poked them they would wobble uncontrollably.

I have spent the past few days feeling clingy and even lonely, at times. I have spent so long building this warm, encompassing space around me that on some level it seems like madness to leave it all behind. But in new environments there are stories, and I'm not ready to draw on this space for inspiration. I can see myself in years to come, one of those batty old ladies drifting the streets of Mt Lawley and collecting people's souls to exchange for stories. But now, I can see myself drinking pastis in Paris, shimmering my hand across someone's shirt in Melbourne, floating quietly in the warm waters of the Balearics, hand trailing a lazy path and sweat collecting in pools in my belly button.

I was not born rich, but these experiences can be mine. All I have to barter with is words, and I want them to be my livelihood and my currency. Leaving home needs a deep breath, a brave leap into the unknown, a series of goodbyes. But somewhere out there is my next hello, and I want to find it.

August 1, 2005

Slurping chardonnay in slippers

Oo er there's a big bad world of blog out there, it seems. I feel like a slow learner! And I'm only here because I'm bored and waiting for 'Who wants to be a millionaire' to start ..

Oh, that reminds me ..

Ahh, bollocks. Another $8.90 down the train and the capitalist train derailed once again. It never ceases to frustrate me that I am rich only in imagination - sometimes. I actually believe I am going to win occasionally, feeling lucky when I walk past a lottery kiosk and conveniently forgetting about all the deliberate placing of imagery to sucker me.

Strange though. I feel like the stars/god/universe/deities are smiling on me recently - work is going well, people are giving me dirty smouldering stares that shoot pangs straight to my naughty bits, I won clothes and hair dos and hair stuff (!!) and people are coming out of the woodwork to offer me money for my work. Makes me feel terribly cautious - my maudlin edge demands that I regard luck or good fortune with suspicion. It never seems to last.

I think I had better not read other people's blogs - god knows I spend my life measuring my shortfalls and the last thing I need is for an exercise as peaceful as this to become laboured and competitive. This is mine alone. If I want to say "and then I got up, and then I scratched my butt, and then I brushed my teeth" then that is perfectly allowable, if a little unsavoury.

Interesting - the noise I had attributed to cats on the roof is actually blistering rain and thunder.

Dinner was delicious - I don't remember the last time I sat and ate my way through about 20 king prawns in a legitimate setting. This diet is certainly weird, and feels wrong in many respects. Don't get me wrong, I love chowing through a piece of animal as much as the next girl, but this lack of vegetables is starting to make me crazy.

F texted me today to say that he had been accepted into his massage course. I was clearly the first person he told, which made me feel good and terribly sad at the same time. I can only be happy for him. As I was saying to K the other day, something in me has changed - for the better, I must be sure.

I went round there the other day wanting to make him feel bad because I was hurting at the inevitable rejection from friends. But lashing out at him made him cry and made me feel like a piece of shit. I derived no pleasure at all from upsetting him - it didn't make me feel better, or powerful ... just cruel. There was nothing for it but to back off and soothe. I felt so strange afterwards, as though I had finally moved away from the me of old, the angry, bitter ball of fire determined to wreak havoc on the external in response to the internal. Actually, it left me feeling tired and unsure. I can't hate him - he doesn't deserve it by any means - so I have to let it go. How strangely empty that feels.

July 31, 2005

Lazy Sundays and circumspection

Today has been one of those days that has been rare in my life, at least over the past few years. After sleeping in, I stepped past the debris of last night (wide eyed beauties buzzing from no sleep, drifting around the lounge room with whiskies in hand and shimmering around to the quiet sounds of classic disco) to rub my eyes at the sunlight that assaulted me outside the front door. Somehow this set the mood for a sleepily efficient day, as i set about the cleaning, washing, sorting and reading that has taken my time. There is something so pure about silence when I'm in the mood - no need for clarity or process, just a simple whispering of thoughts that drift over the cortex now and again, disconnected and seamless.

I spoke at length only once, at lunch with K where we probed the rotten tooth of recent break-ups, comiserated briefly, planned our next line of attack as single girls on the prowl. Amusingly, we discussed the benefits of the Atkins diet (mine) versus the soup diet (hers) and one contender emerged as central to both, whether through restriction or over-consumption. Who would have thought our little orange friend the carrot so contentious?

This afternoon I have wandered solo through the party atmosphere that pervades the house, occasionally tempted to pick up a glass and clink it to set me off on the path, but mostly finding unoccupied corners of the house to burrow in. I even did hand washing today! Hand washing! It wasn't a revelatory experience - I despise washing clothes more than any other household chore - but it mattered in one respect: I said I was going to do it, and I did.

In the current landscape of my feelings, where I am constantly threatened with the abject terror or BEING ORDINARY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, thoughts which have compelled me to lay down my pen and surrender thoughts of success - this matters. I am testing myself with simple goal setting as a precursor to these next big leaps I wish to take. Today, you will resist the crouton. Today, you will read the newspaper properly. Today, you will call the friend you promised to call. Today, yes today, you will get on your knees and wash those clothes by hand. These things may not seem interrelated, but in my mind, by god they are.

Tonight you will practice your shorthand - try that on for size, Flip.

July 3, 2005

Age of discontent

So I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs for ages trying to work out what to say … the grey skies and the Beth Orton I have spinning on the CD player aren’t helping this gloomy mood.

I have stopped and started this a number of times as I am feeling oddly mute at present – a rare thing for me. A few things happened this week that have made me even quieter outwardly, but which have turned the inner voice pitch up to screeching point. If you can turn your face from the sun for a few moments and tuck yourself into a ball, I would really love it if you could sit quietly and listen to what I have to say.

Weeks had been slipping past almost unnoticed this year, in a whir of activity, launching me from Monday to Monday with seemingly little progression apart from a growing feeling of unease. Sick of feeling adrift in sea of self-made discontent, I this week went and sat in front of someone and asked them to tell me what was wrong with me. Why was I not feeling happy? Why do I keep feeling disconnected from myself, distant from friends? Why can’t I read properly any more? What do I do when the public perception of me has little or no relation to the person inside, why do I keep feeling sick after I eat? Why, if I am sick to death of going out and getting drunk every week, do I keep doing it over and over again?

A big ask, you might think. Hate to say, but this guy had me all but figured out in a matter of seconds. Quiescent and calm, he asked but a few questions. Under someone else’s crystalline gaze, a few patterns immediately emerged. I had been mothering people for as long as I had been independent. I kept getting into relationships with people who were younger, or needier, or that I could feel useful with. I had long ago decided to focus on my head (rationalisation, work, achievement, ambition) rather than the heart (feelings, friendships, love, risk) and has become pretty good at maintaining an emotional distance from everyone. The problem was, a few things happened that weren’t on the agenda – Frank’s mum died. My house, my only home, fell apart under the weight of selfish people. My relationship started to crumble due to the stresses. My parents grew ever more distant and the world became increasingly fragmented. Suddenly, instead of security, I was faced with a very big jumbled mess. Feeling helpless, I grew quieter and quieter.

When a certain friend told me recently that they thought I was superficial, I thought “What?? Me? You’ve got to be kidding.‿ Dismissed out of hand and forgotten instantly – or so I thought. I started to notice my absence from my own life, remembered the unanswered phone calls, the cancelled plans and deliberate distancing from people who had let me down in one way or another – not really thinking they would care or notice. I thought about the workload that had grown out of control, of filling life with productive pursuits so ask to keep away from the silences and to feel integral to something. I thought of this in the context of my growing feeling of disconnectedness from myself, my ambitions, and how that had translated into a sort of “living on the surface‿ approach. I had become so used to dealing with certainties that taking any sort of risk seemed like a terrifying thing. Then, speaking to this guy, we worked out that I had superficial family relationships, I continually wrote about superficial subjects despite being capable of more, my friends were beginning to regard me as superficial and flaky … you get the picture. Flaky Flip, unfeeling Flip … it came as a shock, especially when I had considered myself warm, sincere.

It is a bit scary to realise that I could grow into a person with such an emotional detachment and a strong protective shield around me without really even noticing, especially when I have given intellectual thought and rational approaches to life so much credence. I have recently felt like a person in two halves and that the people who know me for my successes would have little idea of the person that lies underneath. The choice could have been a lot easier – lucky for me, I can “get on with it‿, do a good job, keep the accolades pouring in regardless of how I am feeling – so I could have done nothing at this juncture. But for me to continue to ignore these uncomfortable feelings would, I think, be akin to starting to rip the soul right out of me. I am feeling so stuck at the moment – do I break up with Frank? Do I leave Perth? Do I go and shout at my parents for injustices they long believe buried and forgotten? The disconnectedness has come from being completely out of tune with how I’m feeling, and letting that feeling be my guide to the choices I make in life.

The few friends I have just started speaking to – who have almost immediately opened up about their own fears and approaches to life - just made me realise that we are a strange generation of people. We are distanced from our families and friends, flung all over the globe in search of fun and entertainment, but especially meaning and direction. We are lucky enough to go and find inspiration from other cultures and exotic destinations, where somehow the food, flowers and patterns bring us more happiness than anything we find on our home ground. For me, though, this journey is all about going inwards instead of outwards – and it’s one hell of a trip that’s only just beginning.

February 25, 2005

themes trapped inside the suburban dream

Coasting around the shopping centre today, I am struck by a prevailing sense of dejection. I feel as if I am being bombarded with signs at the moment, which mill around my ears and whisper into my consciusness in a maddening chatter. Everything seems suffused with meaning, but what? But what?

Things i saw today which made me feel disturbed: a yellow balloon with orange bunny ears, jerking around on a white stick, stuck inexplicably into a chain fence. A sign in my favourite book exchange stating it was closing after 23 years because of a dramatic increase in rent. An enormously fat lady choosing between glistening dishes in a foodhall chinese takeway, sucking all the while on a giant chocolate milkshake from Wendy's. Endless red faced, tantrum-throwing children, squawking, arching their backs and screeching, while their dumpy mothers adopted bovine expressions and ate, loaded groceries, fingered fabrics, in a blank, dim-lit haze.

I spent about half an hour hovering in front of the car air fresheners, unable to decide on anything, bending and squatting, picking things up and putting them down again. Did I want forest fresh, sea breeze, or vanilla? Would it be refillable, a dangling, fun-shaped toy or one dimensional? A dancing Elvis or a bumblebee? The endless choices surprised and baffled me - I had never ventured into the world of car accessories before. When the warning voice crackled over the loudspeakers, advising security to study camera three, I felt suddenly guilty for hovering so long. Sure the camera's beady eye was trained on me, I hastily picked a good old-fashioned magic tree. And it stinks.

February 24, 2005

the spaces between

It is the television that bothers me most at the moment - I regard it with quiet contempt. Switched off, it sneaks sideways glances at me as I read peacefully on the couch, imploring, trying to convey a seductive promise while stripped of picture and sound. But nobody else is around, and I revel in my power - not even the red eye of standby is allowed to wink at me! I can stroll to and fro, content in the kind of silence that fills the house with pitched noise. I am blissfully unaware of the world.

But when they are home, clingy fingers are drawn as if upon strings towards the remote control. The television is allowed to spring into life at the very worst time of day, crowing as it shrieks a cacaphony of noise, coats the room with the sickly promise of consumer delights. Sinking into the floral couch, they slip into numb and flick aimlessly between the suspenseful thrill of Deal or No Deal and The Price is Right, registering little emotion on their faces as they watch the suburban dream played out again and again.

All I hear is noise, noise, noise! Forced to slink off to my room, I lie on my bed, breathe deep, try to recapture the quiet. But sharing my headspace with Larry Emdur, how will I ever find peace?