March 19, 2007


Monday starts off with a bang and a touch of conflict which may mean a storm is on the way. This could be a career issue or one in which your public image is at stake. It may have been bubbling along for some time ? and now needs to be resolved. If you work at this in the right way with the determination to create healing you could bring about a revolution which leads to a much more positive situation. But you could equally make things worse if you allow your negative judgment to cloud the issue.

This shiteous thing just ate my entry! I spent an hour typing! And it was all about what a bad day I had ... I don't believe it. Well, the heavens have clearly spoken and I risk grinding my teeth into dust if I try too hard to recreate it.

What was I on about? I was musing about how easy it is to absorb bad moods by osmosis. I arrived at work feeling cheerful and then a series of small but increasingly calamitous events made my mood dissolve into dust - a shitty phone call from a snooty editor, a snarky response from my boss, a phone that drops dead unannounced. I wish I could let these things drip away like water off the back, but some days it is harder than others. It's like other people's bad attittudes are able to creep into the pores and fill up the air around me until I find myself snuffling in their grumpy vibes.

This is not half as good the second time around, really. I think I will leave it there and mumble my way to bed. Wrapping myself in hot pink blankies and my beloved spotty sheets will soothe all the badness away.

January 3, 2007

Fingers at the ready

You are fired up at work and aim to accomplish a lot, but friction may arise with your co-workers if you are too impatient and pushy. You are not much of a team player right now and it would be better if you could work on your own.

I am a little concerned at having my daily ministrations played out among my terribly literate neighbours, but there you have it. Right now, I am what I am and I don't really care if anyone reads this sneeringly, in a bored fugue state or not at all.

Today I found myself back at work, staring blankly at the screen while the work piled relentlessly on my desk. This may sound as though I didn't enjoy it but nay, it is not so. It just takes a while to adjust after an absence of writing; it takes time to recapture the speedy flex of the wrist, the mindless and occasionally accurate touch of the fingertips to the keyboard (I curse the decision made in my mindless and occasionally accurate youth to abandon all ye hope of ever learning to type).

This is not to mention the necessity of thinking, of which I have done little in recent days. Unless navel gazing counts.

At the moment my mind is preoccupied with how I may tackle this diary of a budding fitness queen I have long intended to write - so prepare to be bored further. Let us think of motivation.

Much elusive, as it tends to be.

I rarely procrastinate, pontificate or ruminate on any subject as that involving my body, its movement, or lack thereof. The poor thing has been put through its paces over the years - it's been starved, stuffed, doused in endless amounts of alcohol, pumped full of drugs, suffused with hormones, poked, prodded and picked at any which way. At all times it has been regarded with mistrust and wariness, like a Bengal tiger lying supine but ready to pounce with an almighty roar when pushed a little too far. It is unreliable and awkward, never quite right and the source of much misery and anger. But it is not alone - in fact, I'm not even sure it's to blame.

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January 2, 2007

The journey of ...

A rush of optimism and enthusiasm could propel you into a more positive frame of mind, Flip, and while in this state of mind you could accomplish wonders. Your circumstances in life could be totally turned upside down; a change in residence is possible, as is a change in your working circumstances. Don't cling to the banks, flow with the tide. Success and good fortune are on the way - as long as you let it happen!

It started on January 2nd, 2007, and with good reason. First, there was the last of the vintage cheese to hoover up on hot toast, a horrifying fat-laden snack but a handy hangover cure after January 1 dawned with heady temperatures and dry horrors in the mouth. Also, it was impossible to start an exercise regime when the taste of excessive champagne still lingered in my mouth and a thousand jackhammers reminded me why I kept pledging not to get drunk in the first place. It seemed fair enough to blame the excesses of the previous year for the whimpering and somewhat blobby creature who woke in my bed ahead of being banished for the last damn time, so instead of sweating and starving, I instead turned my mind to plotting: how I was going to conquer this lifetime of bad habits and reshape myself into a fitness queen ...

When I found myself at Pump today, buckling under the strain of lifting heavy weights in rhythm with the rest of the class it suddenly - as it always does! - seemed an insurmountable task. But I am condemned to try; the fabulous glossy sheen of my healthy, hydrated skin and the taut reflexive action of my forearms a not-too-distant memory. I got through it - that's the main thing. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step; a journey of a thousand kilojoules begins with one cake. The booze has been ditched altogether (again) and I have embarked on a serious cleansing routine: mind and body alike. I am really looking forward to it.

On another note, I met some fabulous new people tonight who I clicked with instantly. Funny that - as soon as I stopped berating myself and enjoyed a few days off in solitude, the very next people who come along are delightful and super keen to hang out again. This is not a coincidence, I am sure. These last few days of introspection have done wonders for my motivation and attitude.

Oh listen, the frogs have started croaking while the rain buckets on the roof, wetting down the last hours of my holidays into a damp squib. See you back in the rat race.

July 17, 2006

Now for the real story

This can be a romantic and creative time. It might be full of love or the illusions of love. You may have the ability to create beauty around you by what you produce and how you act. While such beauty and romance is wonderful, be careful about projecting your fantasies on others, only to be disappointed when you see the situation in the clear light of day.

It takes me weeks to notice that there are no traffic lights. Someone gently points it out to me one morning and I am shocked, racking my brains for at least one incidence of "green means go" in the past eight weeks. But they are right. I have been coasting along, dreamlike, arcing around roundabouts and pausing at stop signs, but never once stopping for a red light. Strike one for road awareness, it seems.

Did you notice? Eight weeks. Perhaps you skimmed over that part but for me it seems inconceivable. Two months since my eyes were first dazzled by the blue waters of Gantheaume Point, 63 days since I left my old life behind. Now I feel suspended in limbo, caught between the recent past and this strange new path. Work is busy and demanding enough that it causes the days to slip by at an alarmingly rapid rate - we seem to arrive at Friday before we've finished Monday's morning coffee and somewhere in that lapse of consciousness we've produced and produced and produced. By the end of the week, we're wrung dry and the words need to be coaxed out with hits of sugar and promises of sleep.

Still, I am strangely energised by this and have learned a few things: I turn out better features when I have only an hour to bash them out as opposed to a couple of months. Working as a journalist can be endlessly fascinating and mind numbingly boring (stand up and take a bow, advertorials). When you write pleasant things about people or their property, they treat you like their best friend. When you sit in a tiny and sweltering country court scratching out notes, during a case where six members of the same family are up on serious drug charges, one of them will sit there and stare menacingly at you for the duration (and suddenly the wall clock on the opposite wall becomes very, very interesting). And paedophiles look like normal people.

I have decided that court reporting is one of the most terrifying things I have come across so far. The need for accuracy is absolute and so far there's been any number of obstacles thrown in my way. I can't do shorthand. The judge is Belgian and mumbles his verdicts in an indecipherable accent. The police prosecutor is harried and harassed and usually reads out her statements at 1500mph so by the time I've got down times and dates I've missed names of victims and descriptions of their terrible deeds. But my god, it can be fascinating. Ignoring the litany of petty drink driving charges, the occasional biff up outside a pub and servants pilfering from their employers, the Magistrates Court is a soap opera in the making.

Even the lawyers are great. Lawyer one is the Foxy Lady, who wears bright red mini-skirt-suits and knee high black studded patent leather boots. She doesn't walk, she strides, and heads turn. And she's a dab hand at the argument, dazzling her opposition and the Magistrate with her turns of phrase. Lawyer two I dub the Old Rocker. With an impressive blonde mullet, stained yellow with years of nicotine ingestion, in court he pairs his acid wash jeans and dirty sneakers with a dry wit and laconic approach which sees some hard-worn crims get a second go. Favourite lawyer number three is The Elf, a short and sprightly man who's completely irreverent and knows the system inside out; he's jocular with the prosecutor and never seems to let even the most unpalatable cases sink underneath his skin. Finally there's the "Have You Had An Accident" lawyer, he of the TV infomercials and banana-slippage claims. He's dry, distinguished and handsome and I suspect hired by the lucky crims who have a dollar or two to spare.

Each Monday, we start our week in the company of criminals, and each Friday we end it with them too. There's the guy who gets drunk and decides to beat up on his girlfriend, elbowing her twice in the face and punching her to the ground and dragging her along the ground by her hair. He saw her talking to another man. He's done it before. He gets a fine and she decides she still loves him, asks for the violence restraining order to be withdrawn. The police prosecutor shakes her head. There's the woman on the other side of a domestic violence dispute. Sick of being someone's punching bag for years, one day she does it. She picks up a kitchen knife and plunges it deep into his heart. They live on a remote community, too far from help. He dies and she is taken into custody. But jail, fines, whatever - she can't ever go back to her family and community because she'll be dealt with under tribal law. And that is an eye for an eye. Minor drug charges, wayward kids, alcoholics being alcoholics ... it's mostly the poor end of society, people wending in and out of the system, being slapped with fines they'll never be able to afford to pay. And so the cycle continues.

I find myself staring at the ones who beat up on girls. They're usually big and strong with a solid look to them, big paws that could fell a small woman with one or two swipes. I try to rationalise the words with the person before me but it's very hard to do. They usually stare at the ground while the charges are read in gory detail and pictures proffered to the Magistrate, showing split lips and bruised faces, skinned knees and arms. I have to concentrate very hard on being impartial, reporting the facts as opposed to editorialising.


A DERBY man was sentenced to six months prison in the Broome Magistrates Court last week for breaking his girlfriend's arm in a violent assault.

As opposed to:

A big hairy beast of a man decided to take out his life's frustrations on an innocent woman last week in an unfair fight which left her with a broken arm and him with a momentarily inflated sense of self - "Yes, I'm clearly a big man now," he thought proudly as he dragged her along the ground.

This morning outside court, the police prosecutor and I stand in the sunshine. "How does this not get to you?" I ask, as she rifles through her papers looking for the particulars of Broome's latest accused paedophile (a taxi driver, a big, ugly man with an enormous stomach who has allegedly forced young indigenous girls to perform sexual favours in exchange for cash). "I've only been doing this for six weeks and it's so ... depressing."

"Hah!" she barks. "You're depressed." She smiles wearily, tells me the man is 47, and lugs her enormous pile of papers to the car.

June 27, 2006

Of birthday blues and broken bones

It's my birthday, and I've decided to bake myself a cake. An elaborate one, a decadent one, coated with a ganache so thick and shiny I will be see my 28-year-old face staring uncertainly back at me as I cut off a slice. Though suddenly solo and adrift in the world, I can see no reason not to. After consulting Donna and Nigella at length, I find the perfect measure of gluttony in a cake loaded with three bars of classy chocolate, almond meal, pure butter and cream (diet fanatics, turn your faces away now). The little boys I live with are delighted, have been skipping around the kitchen like mad things as I weigh, mix and melt my way towards our cocoa heaven.

But when I turn my attention to removing my perfect cake from the oven, the bowl of butter and chocolate atop the saucepan full of simmering water explodes, sending gooey glass shooting all over the oven and floor. It is an unmitigated kitchen disaster and not for the first time I curse Nigella's earthy sensuality which has sent many of us mere mortals into the kitchen in her food-scented wake. The boys sidle over gleefully as I wrap the expensive-chocolate-coated shards in newspaper and dump them in the bin. That's Lily's bowl, one says cheerfully, and it's her favourite. Yeah, you're going to be in big trouble, says the other, and I glower at them. Look - this cake is nearly finished so let's just go and get some more chocolate and finish it off, I grumble, and we pile into the car.

Continue reading "Of birthday blues and broken bones" »

June 10, 2006

Of new places and nipples

So I'm lying on the stage, legs scissoring in the air, while a team of half naked firemen fusses around me, performing CPR and pumping my ribs with hands that hover all too close to the nipple region while bad pop music explodes in my ears and a roomful of women erupts in delighted screams ...

All in the name of work, of course.

Welcome to chapter two of "Life on the Flipside", the sometimes gruelling life and times of this budding young journalist in Broome. My mission - and I choose to accept it - is to review the "Sydney Hotshots" a male troupe of laminated and buffed dancers with a penchant for Village People routines. "I want to see photos of abs,"
the editor tells me, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth as he squints in my direction. No longer a novice at these events (Fi will testify to our horrifying transformation from demure young ladies to screeching banshees clamouring to get to the stage so we could rub oil into torsos, after buckets of pink champagne) I immediately put up my hand.

Suitably lubricated, my colleague Jess and I approach the Divers tavern with some trepidation, noticing the crowds of hormonal women loitering around the gazebo. Oodles of flesh oozes out of badly fitting crop tops and feet wiggle in uncomfortable heels until the nervous looking bouncer lets the ladies loose in the room amid a cloud of cheap perfume. We arrange ourselves at a table in the front, near the glass-doored change rooms where we can catch tantalising glimpses of well oiled bottoms, and wait for the action to start. As the music morphs from Top 30 to smoochy hits from bad 80s rock-stars and the lights start their slow circuit of the room, the Amazonian drunken girl across the table gets a little feisty. "We didn't come here for the conversation - we came to see some cock!" she roars, and slams her fist down on the table so hard that she knocks over her champagne.

The boys can smell my fear. No sooner have they leaped, twirled and thrusted their way onto the stage dressed as firemen, they swoop on our table, hoist me out of my chair and carry me kicking and screaming to the stage to administer their treatment. Terrified that the Hollywood Tape's tenuous hold on my impractical top will falter, I barely have time to register their hairless ministering before I am back at my table, glowing red with mortification. Luckily, they pick on me first. Over the night, girls endure pelvic thrusts to the face, invitations to slap arses and "sexy" nipple rubs from a parade of men dressed as policemen, construction men and cowboys. There is a competition to see who can stage the best fake orgasm - the prize is a crop top - and much impressive towel-only-held-up-by-the-knob-while-shaking-tight-buttocks tomfoolery. Ergh.

Through a white wine haze, it is still easy to remember that I don't find stumpy, oily men with retro mullet haircuts and a propensity for thrusting in any given direction all that appealing. Needless to say, drunken girl does, and the night ends with her storming the stage.

But that's another story.

February 16, 2006

Waiting for the sun

You may have to roll with the punches a bit today should silly little things go wrong. Try not to get frazzled, just take things slowly and one step at a time. Doing some sort of physical labour this afternoon will tease out the tension knots, if you're up for it. But don't start anything new this afternoon, it won't get completed. Could be quite a pleasant night to be with the one you love, though nothing earth-shattering!

If you do artistic or creative work, you may be more critical of it than usual, feel that it is not well received or appreciated, or simply feel a little dry and uninspired. Without realizing it, you are probably censoring yourself. Accepting imperfection and being patient in both the creative and the romantic aspects of your life will be necessary.

Oh ... my ... god ... I can't believe how glum and depressed I am feeling today. I half considered not writing anything down at all and simply dismissing today as a blip on the landscape, but I feel fairly overwhelmed by the depth of feeling I have experienced. What has this got to do with the creative process? Well, it's stifling it good and proper, to the extent that I would rather go and curl up in bed on my spotty, spotty sheets than even begin to think about the work I have to do. Which is precisely what I intend to do in several hours when I am freed from the shackles of work.

What brings these things on? Work. Boys. A cycle of dread. The monkey's chatter in my ear. A lack of sleep caused by a racing brain, fuzzed with the remnants of the scarlet Jesus Juice I imbibed last night to drown my temporary sorrows. Feeling blah and uninspired is the worst possible state to be in, especially on a greyed out Thursday. Especially when I wake with puffy eyes and waxy skin.

I am supposed to be patient but I'm losing my confidence, my spark. I am having trouble thinking straight, even.

It just makes me realise what a stranglehold my emotions have on me, how willingly my body succumbs to their whims. Having a head full of storm clouds and eyes close to tears render words useless - I can't speak them, let alone write them. Even less do I care to write about the sparkling times and struggles of others when my own life seems like a tangle of unfinished sentences.

Damn you, black mood, and soon shall you pass.

February 9, 2006

Thursday's child has far to go

Your ruler moves into caring and gentle Pisces but this may not be good for your professional life at certain times between now and mid--April. You must be wary of scheming or dishonesty to get what you want in that area of life. On the positive side pursuing educational studies that will enhance your career prospects is definitely advised. Your ability to communicate with peer groups and authority figures will help you further your professional causes.

So is that good news or bad news? I just can't work it out. Sitting here at work, half an hour before I have to leave for yet another job interview, I should really be frantically researching the environmental cause but find myself drifting instead. I can't possibly get excited following the long string of rejections I have currently suffered through, but am certainly not feeling gloomy at my prospects. When one door closes, another one opens - or so they say - and this time I plan to hang on to the door jamb and force my foot in, so at least if this door closes I can personally winch it open again!

I must remind myself of my good qualities ahead of this exercise. Tenancious (yep) determined (yep) experienced (um) media strategist (eek) ... there's a lot to consider. At least I have developed some confidence in my writing ability and can bash out documents on time whether in a blind panic or loping path to completion. I wish I could tack on a year or so to my experience level without actually doing it - that might help.

It feels a bit fradualent having these sorts of thoughts at work, really. A bit like having a passionate lover on the side, someone far more promising than your stable and dependable boyfriend but altogether more risky. Its begs bigger questions, too, this whole process, about where I am going in my career with these tiny attempts at incremental steps. Am I selling myself short? Do I stay or do I go? Do I close my eyes and jump or cling to the side? Do I buy myself a one way ticket to freedom or forever languish thinking what if ... what if ... what if?

Only time will tell.

February 5, 2006

Good Sundays and summery fun

You may be feeling a bit confused today, Flip, and it may seem as if the wind has suddenly been taken out of your sails. Don't get discouraged by the slow weightiness of the day. Take this opportunity to relax and recharge your battery. Do a bit of inward reflection as opposed to outer-directed movement. The most valuable lesson you need to learn is patience. Get started on this lesson early and remind yourself of it throughout the day.

Some firm decisions need to be made just now and there could be far better circumstances to come in your working life. Being indecisive on a professional level just now would not work in your favour.

Well, I'm not sure about being confused, but I'm certainly tired. There was indeed little wind flapping around in my sails today, unless you count the slightly lacklustre puffs of air emanating from the fan in my room. It has been another long and adventurous weekend which has left me feeling quite tickled and relaxed about life, with lots of lighthearted and serious conversations with friends, giant mexican sombreros, bad red wine, delicious meals eaten alfresco under balmy skies and dancing, kissing and more! It has been a goodie.

Now, I am feeling tired and ready to commit to another working week, which is sure to be just as busy as the last. Unfortunately for my legs, I didn't go to th gym nearly as much as I'd hoped to, so this session withol' blue eyes on Tuesday should see me reduced to a hobbling mess again. Perhaps this time my sensible brain will kick in and encourage me to adapt my lifestyle in between sessions so the pain reduction is effected much faster. But much like the rats in the laboratory, I must receive many shocks to my tail before I adapt to a new code of behaviour... such is life.

January 18, 2006

Freeing oneself from the shackles of existence

An irritable urge to be free of constraints, social obligations, or bureaucracy typifies this time period. You may inadvertently provoke the disapproval of colleagues, superiors, or other authorities through some presumptuous act on your part. Beware of overly optimistic schemes or self-indulgent purchases at this time also.

My irritable urge to be free of constraints today manifested itself in yet another job application, delivered with the same sense of hope I have carried through the past couple of months (I choose to ignore the "overly optimistic schemes" part). Yes, it's true as my horoscope suggests that this could possibly raise the ire of my superiors, who are about to send me on an all-expenses paid trip to three states. But what can I do? I have to follow where my heart is leading me and however longingly I think of Sydney, I think of new work horizons more.

In other news, I am mewling quietly after yet another B12 injection that boosts my energy no end but which leaves my left hip feeling bee-stung. I can't wait for the rush of energy that's soon to hit - after spiralling slowly into fatigue, these little magic bullets shoot staight for the bloodstream and get things pumping again. They bring clarity of thought, brighten the eyes and cause the black circles to fade - bliss! I am looking warily at the rest of this week, which is packed to the brim with lunches, dinners, meetings, appointments and other such niceties ... but I have run out of time just to be. This will not be the pattern of 2006 ...

January 17, 2006

Sorting things out

The expansive feeling you might be experiencing lately is apt to be rained on today as you get the feeling that you have lost touch with reality. Make sure you connect with real life, Flip, and do a bit of planning to balance out your whimsical nature. Things that you haven't accounted for might crop up and slap you in the face to serve as a reminder that you need to deal with here and now.

If it's planning you want, planning you get. I have just spent the past few hours happily sorting out my affairs without actually meaning to. It started with a scrunched up receipt and has ended with a big pile of rubbish, neatly filed magazines and a clean desk. I have interrupted my frenzy - which is set to end with a list of things to do - to revisit la blog and make sure I am sticking to at least one of the things on my new personal agenda. I am slightly distracted by a larger than life Queen Latifah, currently blue-ing up the screen on the screen as host (?) of the Golden Globes.

I am dazzled by the blinding white teeth and bling, the vacuous smiles and professions of gratefulness from each and every one of these over-paid "artistes". It's trash culture at its finest, wrapped in gold lame. What a deliciously wasteful distraction ... oh, there it goes. Someone just said "it's a privilege to be here" again. Sigh.

I was rather excited today at an even lamer prospect - the chance to appear on Channel 9's Temptation! I am going to the audition on Sunday at 1pm to see if I can access the glittering television studios for my big debut. Oh the whitegoods! Oh the bad jewellery! Oh the "Famous Face" segment ... the money is bound to be behind Jana Vendt! A testament to gluttony, it is. Now if could just remember the names of those famous composers and the primary language of Nicaragua...

Anyway, back to the grind.

January 16, 2006

Buried alive

You may find yourself tied up in knots when it comes to your joint financial affairs. Tuesday could be confusing as you may be offered a deal, but there may be reservations about whether you will actually get it or not. Don't worry too much, as this side of life will look a lot better after February 4. You may find it hard to resist an urge to escape to the blue yonder. The more tropical and magical the place the better. You are due for a change of scene - go for it.

Call it Mondayitis or whatever you will, but I have been suffering from a severe lack of sleep all day and have felt my brain cells slowly collapse under the strain. Much like last Sunday, I woke suddenly in the wee hours of the morning and was wide awake for hours thereafter. My mind was racing with any number of thoughts that flickered through at lightning speed and kept me tossing and turning fitfully. I hate it when that happens! Every time my brain started to filter through the sorts of nonsensical thoughts that precede sleep, the thought "hey - I'm about to fall asleep!" would trigger and I'd be wide awake again.

When I finally fell asleep for all of twenty minutes, I dreamed I was at some strange hippy girl's place, who kept offering to "cleanse my chakras". I picked up some flyers and walked out then realised I had forgotten my red handbag, which was full of money, my camera and other important things. Luckily a friend had picked it up so I went and tugged it out of her hands, but she didn't seem to register that I was there. Next thing I know I was walking up a big hill, on a road bordered by barren land. I was so exhausted that I kept sitting down on the ground and sobbing my heart out. M was there and he wasn't saying much, but I could sense his disapproval. At one point I smacked him on the arm and told him to go away, crying and ashamed of it. We entered a tunnel of some description and I lost my footing on the road and slipped into the ditch alongside it. I had time to register that the grassy floor of the tunnel was wet on my bare feet before I realised that the long grasses were closing over me and I was sinking. The last face I saw before I went under, screaming, was J. And then I woke up.

It was awful, horrible. Nightmares are bad enough but to have such a vivid one after protracted hours of sleepless suffering seemed altogether more cruel. Tonight I will be praying for a bit of relief.

January 13, 2006

Astronomical times

This is a time of new beginnings in your life, a time for going after what you want and pulling out all the stops. You tend to be more aggressive or competitive than usual, eager to prove yourself against many a challenge. There is no reward without risk, and you're a real risk-taker now. A susceptibility to fevers or headaches, perhaps an accident-prone period.

The emphasis is strongly on being confident, showing your ability to speak in public and being bolder or more innovative in your search for support. Especially if you are seeking to make advancements within your profession. It's also a warm and caring day to be with those you love.

What great stars! Someone should have told me eariler and I would have woken up in a better mood. It certainly seems to ring true, though - after yet another crappy day at work yesterday my determination to find pastures new is even stronger. It feels like I have been firing resumes off right left and centre, so one of them is sure to hit the mark! I have my fingers crossed for a feature writing job at Community Newspapers (arts world here I come) but as always there is that gloomy sensation that comes with applying for hotly contested jobs.

In other news, the rumblings on the homestead have started, with great cracks and fissures about to appear. I am exhausted even at the thought of moving again but really need to get into a place where I feel comfortable and have enough space to work without being brushed by the clothes on my over-stuffed clothing rail. How this will transpire I'm not yet sure ... but ideas are certainly zinging around at the moment. I am excited at the thought of new faces and personalities!

Funny how this time last year was a time of great gloom over exactly the same issues, bar the unhappy crumbling of a doomed relationship. At leat I feel very positive about my prospects this time around.

Right, now I'm off to be competitive, aggressive and confident...

January 4, 2006

Better late than never

Formulate then formalise. I have read that the goal-setting habits of successful people are eerily similar in their capacity to knock over willpower hurdles, so herewith my own attempts. A new year, a new way. How many times have we told ourselves that? Somehow, the first of the first is imbued with a mystical quality that smacks of fresh starts, new leaves, brand-spanking new habits and a banishment of the old.

As a preamble, I am glad 2005 is over. The past 12 months brought plenty of angst as well as much joy and I spent most of the year seesawing merrily between the two. As my brain readjusted to challenging situations, life would loop and whorl in other directions and hit the equilibrium for six - over and over again. Life, death, grief, excitement, friendships made and lost, drunken abandon and career ambitions all spun together in a muddied whirl and made for a sometimes exhausting ride.

During that time, I often thought guiltly of my failure to articulate what I wanted from life and how that added to the confusion. Strange for a writer to avoid the pen, but it when it comes to making concrete the fizzing ideas and ambitions in my head I have always been tempted to leave it for another day ... because, I suspect, their articulation comes with a price. I always thought to name them aloud means they must be achieved, but now I have spent some time considering: for whom do I make these promises? I have realised something - I am not ashamed to fail, am prepared to accept my human capacity for failure and am ready to take on a whole new raft of challenges.

Bring it on, I say.

December 1, 2005

Baby bird (for Mark)

You came into my life all a-flutter, panicked shrieks echoing through the quiet house late at night. Almost asleep, reading by candlelight, I heard the ominous hissspitgrowl of the cats and my heart sank for you. Leaping out of bed, I managed to scruff necks and whack noses and pluck you from their grasp, but by then your little body was heaving.

I took you outside and placed you tenderly in the herb planter box, where you turned your face to the dirt and cheeped sadly, wings beating erratically and little legs flailing as you struggled with your fate. I couldn’t see blood, or brokenness, but your beak opened and closed in a silent cry of distress, your body shook with the effort of heartbeats and your eyes kept squinting in pain.

Rendered helpless and full of self-loathing, I stood wrapped in my white dressing gown under the flickering porch light and willed you to live, or die quickly. I couldn’t bring myself to kill you, so stood and watched you suffer and writhe. I couldn’t bring myself leave you as you struggled, cried and flapped, wanting to stroke you but knowing it would only increase your distress. So I stood there immobile, and waited pathetically for nature to take its course, ashamed of my lack of courage as I mumbled senseless words of comfort you couldn’t understand.

That night in my dreams I saw you, held your lifeless body in my hands and placed you gently in the bin. As I closed the lid, one beady eye opened and shone through me in the darkness.

And in the morning you were gone.

*On the other side of the world*

... daft flock of sheep scheming a descent down the steepest incline of a very rocky mountain, to their herder below. some go, carefully, step-by-step-by-step, occassional leaps, slides, the suspense uncontainable. they make it. oh, but a straggler, a quivering lonesome straggler. a gush of wind, a half-hearted step, the slip the fall, tumble tumble tumble, thwomp to the ground amid its oblivious flock ...

..... instead red, splatters thereof, a miserable bloody death. the end.

How close we are in spirit, dear friend, as we watch while others' depart.

July 8, 2005

Mining letters for blog ... reducing the slog

Last night, yesterday unable to verbalise, I had to cry floods of tears for a few hours on the phone and off and then drink a glass of red and smoke about ten cigarettes one after the other before the fog in my head cleared even a wee bit. I had to keep repeating it to myself – “I have just broken up with Frank. I have broken up with Frank. Frank is no longer my boyfriend? – and so on, and on.

I am hanging on to the knowledge that I have made the right decision and am at present going through the mournful process of informing friends, colleagues, family (yuk) to the almost unanimous response of "what??!! why!!??", which really can only be my fault for clamming up over the past couple of months. But I don't really feel like going over all the ground I've covered and just want to feel warmth and care without a dissection about what went right or wrong … which is precisely why I am avoiding calling my mother. I emailed her to say that we'd broken up and instead of getting straight on the phone, she sent me an email with her phone number with an invitation to call her! Christ. I know she means well, but …

February 8, 2005

slipping backwards in time

Where has this summer gone? The nights are already getting breezy and the wind bites you in the ass when you least expect it. I am in a funny phase of life at the moment, where I get really bored and start having obnoxious thoughts about sneaking off to obscure locations, but am still so busy as to barely have enough time to think! These emails are like therapy, kinda - I can sit down and think "Right - where am I at? What am I doing? Do I have cute and amusing stories to share? Or am I falling slowly into the mist and fug of the inner suburbs?"

First big news: The end is nigh. My Myrtle Street days are coming to an end after nearly three years, as after much consideration and an examination of the bank balance I have decided to find pastures new. Perhaps it started that day when the ceiling collapsed on me when I was standing in the shower. Maybe it was the day that I stood looking in amazement at the huge tree branch that had fallen on the backyard, obscuring the courtyard and confusing the cats. Or maybe it was the day when I realised that streak of mould near the kitchen sink was never going to come off. In any case, something started to grow inside me, slowly, that I recognised as a need to move and change.

Since then, I have discovered the horror of the urban rental market, as house after house has fallen by the wayside due to a distaste for cats, poor luck on my part (a failure to be the lucky candidate picked out of a hat when it came down to a nailbiting finale) and the failure to cough up extra cash when it comes down to a sheer competition of capitalist capacity - people bribe the owners these days! As it is, I have spent many weekends schlepping around from house to house, falling in love and tasting the bitter disappointment of rejection time and again. (This is after three houses - imagine how melodramatic I can get after six!)

Still, I am hopeful, half-packed. Books are in boxes and cats are looking wary. In the meantime I have been dragging my sorry ass to work at Scitech five days a week, where the flashing lights and whirring dials have not failed to distract me from a yearning for the glistening kiss of journalism. Tonight is the first time in ages I have sat and actually written anything vaguely creative, with the rest of my time devoted to writing glowing scientific corporate communication, playing politics with a careful mixture of frivolity and finance and pecking away at the keyboard of rat-race relations. To perk up my brain cells, I have been going to a shorthand class every Saturday for nearly six weeks, with another six to go. I am amazed at my resilience in this instance, because doing anything vaguely taxing on Saturday mornings, when the softness of bed and the crinkliness of newspapers beckons, is harder than at any other time. I am propelled by enjoyment, determination and a vague affection/fear for my teacher, who is a Mary Poppins-esque, dear little lady, with the telling signs of botox and the permanently surprised eyebrows of the surgically enhanced. I also like reducing words to squiggles.

For fun, I have found it difficult to let go of my lingering proclivity for freebies. When I go to events, I review. I go to the opening of art exhibitions and avail myself of the free, cheap wine and mediocre nibblies. I have volunteered to work at the Perth Writer's Festival and as a result get to meet one of my most admired authors in the flesh, offer her tea, stumble around my words or say not much at all, look cool and aloof (I have always regarded favourite authors with the same reverence as rock stars - I had to wrestle with grannies to meet David Marr, author and host of Media Watch, only to mumble and blush and feel awkward in the presence of his looming, acidically gay, intellectual presence). I am going to see good palys, bad plays, obscure dances, all night dancing, thoughtful films, rarely the pub, never the dodgy ones. I am, of course, about to renew my addiction to "The OC" - possibly the best teen dream drama on TV and the perfect way for brain cells to relax!

What else to say? My boyfriend's mum is dying, horrendously in the clutches of the cancer that is going to kill her, and I am ashamed of my fear of having to confront death. I feel powerless to do anything except to sit, watch, wait ... I am angry about the body's capacity to betray itself. Still, we are talking, looking out for each other, dreading the call that is now likely to come any time soon. On the subject of talking, I have also recently come together with a few girlfriends in a "women's group" (groan, you say - but wait!) which is actually just a chance for we ladies to get together, talk honestly and openly without judgement, without offering advice unless asked, and without hijacking the conversation and steering it back to our own experiences. It is a great experience learning how to sit and listen properly, and a surprisingly different way of communicating. We have all had to fight the urge to jump in and say "That happened to you? But that happened to me!" So far, so good. The environment we build in the first minutes of such peaceful communication is quite amazing - calming, free.