Monday, December 1, 2008
in which the fish talks and talks and talks
It’s late, and the evening hanging outside my window is hot and salty.
I have had a lovely, wild, wonderful week. Full of strange coincidences and fabulous things, of terror and bliss, of words, and thoughts, of peach-coloured thunderstorms and clear blue skies.
I wish I could put it all into words, perhaps another time. It has been one of those moments which seem more significant than designated “moments”, or measurings of time and endings and startings, such as New Year, or the end of winter.
But I will tell you this, as a small part of the story.
I woke up having had a hideous nightmare last week: in it, I had found myself having to give a paper, and was reading the program.
A writers’ conference, it was.
I read the list of presenters….Helen Garner, Delia Falconer, Gabrielle Carey….me….
What would I know about writing? What on earth am I doing at a writer’s conference?
I had a sudden vision of Pavlov’s Cat sitting in the audience, shaking her head at my awful grammar. Made note to self: remember to take rusty stapler, That way if I spot Mme Cat in audience, I can shoot myself in the temple and claim lockjaw.
You know the end of this dream: where it goes really well, so well in fact that it really is a lovely dream after all, with fine things said, beautiful friends made. I talk about unknowing, and creative process, and show my lovely film, and watch the faces watching it, and oh, their expressions something to behold.
And still, though it seemed dreamt, I am sure I was awake at some point.
But I digress. I was going to respond to an invitation from this beautiful girl in Maryland, who shows me ponies and hills and woods, and her most charming and fetching little daughter dressed up as a Scottish girl. Her blog is called spruce hill, and she is one of the birds who came to visit from the lovely Alice's place
Ten Honest Things About Me.
I used to hang out with Hugh Jackman.
I started every day with a dose of Hugh after my run and gym class. He worked at the gym, and I would spend almost half an hour chatting and having coffee. He was the sort of person who was so interested in people that he always asked me things, enquiring about work, my art, whatever. He talked little about what he as up to. He was completely adorable.
I hadn’t realised just how little I had poked into HIS business until a few months later I saw his name in some promotion for a blockbuster production, and said:
“That can’t be MY Hugh! He’d never do a thing like that!”
It was my Hugh. And he would have, apparently, and still does.
Sometimes I think I am not real and that I have made myself up.
Actually, that’s not entirely true: I always think that.
Many of the other fish in the sea regard me with suspicion and hostility, because I am not a pure breed of fish.
Firstly, fish are not known for their acceptance and understanding towards fish who might seem different. Secondly, I suspect that they may know I told Roy-the-fisherman where the whiting were hiding because he had not caught anything for six months. Roy is nearly ninety, and I only did it the once, I swear.
I very much dislike those large green caterpillars, the ones which have nasty little horns which shoot out and spray you with stinky stuff. Actually, I hate them. They horrify me.
Often I do not brush my hair for days and have things sticking out of it. One day I am sure to find some family of wildlife taking up residence in it, and will therefore be able to charge rent: I just hope it isn’t those whiting that hang out in the deep hole just past the sandbar. That could be awkward, because everyone knows whitings never honour their debts.
When my cats jump up on the table I pretend I can’t see them.
I have very large feet.
I dream of going to Heron Island, Yorkshire, Broome, Nova Scotia, Norfolk, Rome,
The Blue Mountains to see Mary, The English Coastline, Maryland, Courcheval, Azay-le-Rideau, Scotland….
I am going to Brisbane on Thursday. It’s an Art History conference. I imagine I will be taken many places by the many things I will hear.
Sometimes the best place in the world is my sofa, curled up and looking at the sea, thinking about far places.
I have had the experience of opening a novel and reading all about myself and certain characteristics I display when undertaking certain activities. Very detailed, accurate and unmistakeable. It is a curious thing, to read about a fictionalised self, a peculiar feeling, and one, which I am not sure I can articulate. It was an award-winning book, but thankfully now out of print.
I used to feel very sensitive about this, but now, having recognised that it is only in stories that one can endure, frozen in a moment like that, I am happy enough. At the time I was horrified, but now if I do get my copy out and have a read, I can recognise, between the lines, something a little bit like love. Shining, pale, contained and far away.
All of this is true.
I would like to tag you all to do this. I am going to tag whomsoever feels like telling us things about themselves.