Wednesday, August 29, 2007

blood moon

not a cloud, nor a breath of wind.

Twenty four hours of summer, and a ruby moon in the sky.

By sunrise, she had taken off her red dress, and was going to bed in her silver just as I was slipping into the sea.

Monday, August 27, 2007


This is my morning, and this my sea,

but there are elsewhere other mornings, and other seas.

I received an email yesteday from a friend, concerning the state of the sea in the Gulf of Carpentaria. I have just read the winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin award, (the opening of which follows) which planted some wonderful imagery and thinking into my head:

"A nation chants, But we know your story already.
The bells peal everywhere. Church bells calling the faithful to the tabernacle where the gates of heaven will open, but not for the wicked. Calling innocent little black girls from a distant community where the white dove bearing an olive branch never lands.
Little girls who come back home after Church on Sunday, who look around themselves at the human fallout and announce matter-of-factly, Armageddon begins here.

The ancestral serpent, a creature larger than storm clouds, came down from the stars, laden with its own creative enormity.
It moved graciously, if you had been watching with the eyes of a bird hovering in the sky far above the ground.
Looking down at the serpent's wet body, glistening from the ancient sunlight, long before man was a creature who could contemplate the next moment in time.
It came down those billions of years ago, to crawl on its heavy belly, all around the wet clay soils in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Picture that creative serpent, scoring deep into--scouring down and through--the slippery underground of the mudflats, leaving in its wake the thunder of tunnels collapsing to form deep sunken valleys. The seawater following in the serpent's wake, swarming in a frenzy of tidal waves, soon changed colour from ocean blue to the yellow of mud.
The water filled the swirling tracks to form the mighty bending rivers spread across the vast plains of the Gulf country.
The serpent travelled over the marine plains, over the salt flats, through the salt dunes, past the mangrove forests and crawled inland. Then it went back to the sea."

Excerpt from "Carpentaria", Alexis Wright, 2007,

Pease visit this website:

ghost nets

Particularly, in the "news" section, check out Chantal Cordey's reworking of the ghost nets to make beautiful bags.
No petitions to sign, no letters to send, just know about this.

And read "Carpentaria".

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

antidotes to sulkiness

1. Tourmaline.

Having read Meli’s post, in which she quotes the opening paragraphs of Randolph Stow’s Tourmaline: red, hot and transporting, I reached out my arm, and picked up this:

Which I carried off to bed.

As I read my way into that carmine landscape, treading between the Spinifex and peeling paint, all that filled my mind was the essence of this place, which then became an Aida Tomescu painting, expanding into hugeness as I fell asleep, with my cheek upon the pages, warmed and calmer.

Aida Tomescu, "Liquid Amber" 2007, Liverpool St Gallery

2. Orange Baklava from Carlos....

is better than anything, really.

3. The Woolly Child

has a sensor, with which it reads my misery, and chatters away hard, to drive out potential tears and sulks.
He said,
“Do you know what I love? when we were at Point D surfing and I looked up,
And saw you, paddling delicately towards me.”

(At which he tips head back and puts chin out, raises his eyebrows and half-shuts his eyes, making dainty little paddling motions with pointed fingers, to illustrate the supposed preciousness of my paddling)
“And then you surf in like a baby. You surf like a baby.”
-And just how might a BABY surf?
“ in a straight line, squealing. (makes line with hand) Like a baby.”

4: shoe post

I think my shoes are very me.

I will not think any further about white words, for the minute. New ones have emerged, and they are written in orange ink.
Still can’t get my head around is the indecent haste with which these people disposed of everything, how they would have seen the lovely pages sliding into shredderdom, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I’m going to Aida Tomescu’s exhibition opening. I am inviting y’all.
They usually have a decent Shiraz, which makes everybody look like a vampire with purple teeth. That will amuse me, greatly.

Friday, August 17, 2007

just imagine

Let's just imagine, for a moment, that you are doing a research degree, and you find it requires every ounce of your strength to resist the hostile opposition in your life to this, and you manage to create some kind of fairy-flossing web on a stick kind of blob of writing.

So lets just imagine that, because you love to write by hand, and because you are somewhat weird, you assemble all of this in white ink on black pages. You find that the putting down of the words, the references, and the strange little diagrams and fictional offshoots all unravel themselves in white against the black, in a solid and comforting way. You need to do this, the screen so ephemeral and the tide of your life constantly threatening to crash down on you, and wash away the words, dissolve the sugar threads. You stay up late late into the night to do this, when all is quiet and still. A secret activity, a guilty secret.

Imagine you have half a paper written for a conference. Your references are here, in the lovely black and white workbook.
Sometimes you find a late night hour, and fix up a paragraph, or sometimes just a line, but the thread seems sometimes to elude you, though you narrate it in your head when you are driving, or swimming in the dawn light.

Let's just say you submit this piece of work to a lecturer, for some feedback.

despite the fact that within another tertiary institution in which you lecture yourself you carefully keep all student work, locked away, and email everybody to collect the work, individually if needs be, for at least six months after it is submitted and marked,

you have travelled in to the university to collect your work, to be told that the lecturer, who has now moved on, put all work in the collection basket, and upon the basket is a sign that tells you that any work not collected by a week ago will be disposed of.

And it has.

Your arms go all sort of weak and a pain sort of stabs at you, because you can't quite believe it, and you don't want to cry like an idiot in front of Miss Associate Professor BlahBlah.

So last friday, your beautiful handwritten book with illustrations and ideas and so much more, was shredded.

"We pull the covers off" explained the maintenance man, " and then we put the pages in the shredder"

Because It was hand written.
ie, it WAS the hard copy and the backup you can't actually imagine this because it seems so improbable.

Maybe you might have to accept the realisation that, despite everything, NO you might not be able to do it, that everything is so horribly fragile: you can't, sometimes, continue pushing shit up a cliff. Despite the opposition and hostility to everything that makes you yourself, you have no choice to be it.

People often say to me: oh, art must be SOOOO relaxing, you're so lucky...
But it's more like having an obsessive compulsive disorder and living with the constant feeling that you have soemthing that you want to say, or make, and you go on biding you time until you can do it although everything gets a bit ragged.
From time to time you think you'll let it go, cause it goes on for such a forever, you wonder if anything will ever happen at all.

Just imagine this. Imagine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

other things

Here is a grevillea, a native plant in my front yard.
All the plants in my garden are native, except for the olives.
I love Grevilleas because they are "other", in the sense of being a plant which is other than a traditional european plant: strange-shaped and alien. They belong in this sandy soil, in this drought, this climate. If you look carefully, you will see who loves grevillea: a little blue-hooded friend.

It seems I have been given a "Thinking Blogger" award by the lovely Meli, at
Northern lights
and the little book room
I'm rather flattered, since I admire Meli's wonderful musings and ideas, the effortless way with which she speaks about the world, books, places, images, and literary notions which might lie amongst the sediment of my brain were she not there to stir them about, like a conductor with a baton.
I don't know how many loved things have been reanimated by Meli's wand: Les Murray, Randolph Stow, the whole IDEA of Medievalism, York...things which become buried in the constant workings of my life, things which are not always allowed a place in my desperate (and often failed) efforts to be pragmatic, things into which she breathes life.

I am going to pass this thinking award to:
My crazy friend arcturus from notes from arcturus
I do so at the risk of there being a conversation about backless pants in his comments thread, but really...
If there is something this highly intelligent meteorologist/astronomist doesnt know about the skies, I would like to know what that is. His musings about the stars, the nebulae, and clouds are positioned against a background of existential angst and longing, his walks around Washington DC paint a vivid picture of real life in that city. He captures houses, grand or small, fragments of gardens and streets on his ramblings through the streets, gay bars, and open air cinemas, detailing a Life in the Empire of Bush as a cynical, often marginalised, highly educated gay man.
Arcturus reminds me that all of us have within us the capacity to love,that existence is boundless , and that the exquisite can be simultaneously near and far..

It is likely that I am highly addicted to her lovely Irish accent, but her wry and amusing observations on life are particularly exquisite. I also find myself distracted repeatedly by her flickr account, transported by her beautiful images. Who doesn't love the Irish? This blog is a treat, and unlike real life, in which my irish friends, (particularly attracta houlihan), all seem to have a habit of hitting or poking me on the upper arm to punctuate a sentence every few words, Ganching doesnt hit me at all. And her stories are just splendid.

ampersand duck
Feisty, wonderful, sensitive and thoughtful...I love the interweaving of life as a Printmaker/Letterpress artist, mother of delightful small boy, and all round observer of life. If I was in a blind funk of shittiness and needed to go out and chat with someone, this would be the chick I'd do it with. From the joys of aesthetics of letterpress, to the blackest depths to which a soul can plunge, and every bright colour of the in between.

princess banter
Thoughtful and quietly provocative, The Princess discusses issues of living globally, of connecting with people around the world, matters of materialism, the pointlessness of many of life's exercises, relationships and love.

Here the blue bonnetted one feeds on a firesprite grevillea.
These ones glow like real fire, and are precisely the same ruby red as the Lorikeets'eye.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

a whiff of longing in the air

It has been unwinterly warm the last two days,
this morning I felt cheated when felt the sun rather hot on my face,
because I find the cold winter my best time of making and thinking. Clear and sharp and enervating.

Well, I have been doing lots of thinking, but not as much making as I should.

But later this afternoon I felt an old, old feeling come over me, an unspecific, slow-burning anticipation.
By this evening, I could smell that earth-scent- promise-of-rain, which seemed only to fuel that strange yearning.
I recognise it: it comes from times when the world seemed full of endless promise and mystery,
and is the precise feeling of anticipation you have when you know the object of your longing is on the horizon.

I don't know, perhaps it's the hint of Spring that brings it on. I sometimes wonder when it is that we begin to have to really concentrate in order to make the world seem full of promise and mystery, when once it was a given.
When does that bright and shiny path leading up the hill begin to seemingly to lead to a predictable destination?

Ah, there are things on my horizon. I suppose it is the quiet of the sea, rocking to and fro with hardly a splash,
and the still air in its strange damp stink, that is making me feel some kind of quiet anticipation, of something changing.

It makes one want just to share it.
So I am.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

a fish out of the nest

Miss Cranky is cranky indeed...

because life and things and stuff have conspired...

to keep me away from the nest of fi sh,
and things i love there....

and away from the company of the Princess Boat.
I'm sorry I missed her show,
and company in the nest...
but i will look at the lovely images...
(those places you have shown me, that reverberate in my heart...)


Monday, August 6, 2007

speak, false memory

And so, in a small timber house of my own invention,
somewhere on the mid-north coast ,
I sit on a wooden table that never existed, swinging my legs, waiting. The timber of the table is worn and smooth, this table that never was.

I can see his bed, and all his bedclothes rumpled up. He doesn’t know I am here, just yet.
There is his cat, watching me.
I am watching out the window, seeing green hills: these I know to be there, and still are.

He comes to his door, I can see the faded flannel shirt through the glass, his face looking down as he opens he door, before he comes in and finds me there, waiting.

I tell him I have been waiting a long time, that it took me a day to get there.
I tell him I have left everything behind.
I didn’t need to tell him. He knew
I am holding the edge of the table with my hands.

I can barely breathe with the wanting, and the fitting together so neat and effortless that it is the sun coming up, like the sun coming up after the world being black.

I wanted all that so much, that it has embedded itself, alongside things filed away, that were real. I know it wasn’t real, but the wanting of it was. The possibility of it, the lostness of it.

The absence of this is a void that still knocks the breath from my chest: the absence a presence, in which I remain immersed.

None of this ever happened.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

sun rises moon sets

Clown in the Moon

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.

Dylan Thomas