Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weird Year

I have twenty minutes in which to attempt to capture this year and I’m trying to do it in the adbreaks of Sex and the City. Sort of symptomatic of this year really. Trying to fit big tasks into tiny cracks in time.
Go fingers.
There are fireworks cracking in the street outside. My hair is still wet from the skinny dip with Mr Rabbit. I didn’t want to jump in but I needed to make sure I’d remember it – New Year’s – like every year, something to remember.
The dip was good – quick – we sort of kissed and swam a bit then got out. We knew pretty quickly that it wasn’t the dip that we would remember, we’re sort of old enough now to realise when the moment is not the moment. We stood afterwards wrapped together in the one towel looking at the sky and the stars over back fence and over the eucalypts and the palm trees. A real Australian picture, we said. And we agreed that was probably the moment we would remember.
And then he went to bed with a headache and I ate a tumbler full of icecream and a few Timtams and switched on the tv.
But that is not my year.
Here is my year.
It started at the Café Francoeur in Paris and will end in a minute in Albury. Six months on one continent, six on another. At least four house moves. Lots of boxes, unpacked, packed again, many many days in post offices and storage facilities. At the Café Francoeur that night it was the first night I had left the apartment in months – keeping Kiki in with crossed legs and horizontal living. Lots of chess. We drank three timid champagnes and ate a huge meal that night. Then it was 2011. We tried not to slip on ice on the way home. Until March 17 we played chess and experimented with final cut and read books and ate tagines and talked and talked and downloaded films and then even though Kiki had threatened to born herself early she was so late I felt I could barely hold her in my skin and we needed to drink special potions to coax her out. Which she graciously responded to and proceeded after a taxi ride from hell to arrive in the most exquisite way followed in contrast by an afterbirth experience I can only describe as medieval. Then, madness, excitement, terror, bewilderment, my spine an upside down question mark. Me a right way up question mark. Back to Francoeur, more chess, no sleep, wonder, waking up to these heavenly alien eyes pressed up against mine. Moving house to the Isle St Louis. Bad art. The ancient stench of old rocquefort, Mr Rabbit in Berlin, terror and more terror and more excitement and fear and noticing that even in the depths of Holy SHIT I could actually do it – get through a day, and then another. God. Then a plane back to Australia – where on earth to live – and these instincts, new angsts, deep concerns, massive questions. No more Melbourne. Beach. Quiet. Time to comprehend. Table tennis. Cycling along foreshores. Dad. Swimming in oceans with nobody around. Fatigue like an itching black daily body cloak. Forced to move, another move, another new house – even more remote – everything so very temporary. Ah – lost. But then – suddenly – clarity arising in distance – ideas forming.
The veil lifting now, slowly. There was definitely a big black hole there, especially during the months from October – late November. The feeling was one of absolute endlessness – a sprawling - it was suffocating – even though it had no walls. Being suffocated by something with no walls was scary. Now that feeling is gone because it is clear what I need to do, where I need to be. I suppose that feeling is about home. It’s important to have one, I’m realising, to know where you fit. I’ve been trying to find that for a while, though it’s always been pretty obvious where that place is for me.
What a year. It’s hard to find words. All I can think of is extreme. Extreme this and extreme that. Such an intense new love, like tearing yourself a new heart, as a friend once said. Such deep contemplation, never before have I gone so deep.
I think next year will be lighter.
Fireworks outside. They sound different in a 30 degree night sky. You can hear the heat.
I love the sound of heat.
Ah, quick.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Roller Coaster Dream

It was a really enormous roller coaster and I knew I shouldn’t be on it, I knew I would die and that I had responsibilities now but I was on it anyway and the thing drew me right back up like that bullet thing I went on once in New Zealand that pulled you backwards up up up up up up up this hill that looked out over the ocean and then you realised there was this brake thing between the two of you and one of you had to summon the courage to push the button on it to release you to freefall down and out over the ocean. Fucking terrifying. Anyway I was that high up on this roller coaster and it was about to dump me down and there was that split second before the letting go, the surrendering of construct to nature. And even though it was all happening and I knew I could die I also knew I wouldn’t. Then the release came and SMASH I was thrown against the ground at a thousand miles an hour. I hadn’t died. I started laughing. AWESOME! Again, again!! But the queue was too long to have another go. Also the whole thing was taking place in an office and I had work to attend to. So I picked myself up and dusted my neat apparel off and walked through a series of tunnels to my office, which was the reception desk of a car rental company. My skirt suit was royal blue. The office was all glass but it was in a car park and there was no natural light. I found it comforting.

There was a lady on the desk who looked relieved I had arrived and switched off her headpiece and rolled back on her chair.

“About time,” she said.
And I sat down to begin my day.

Artwork du jour 132


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shooting your Load

The past few weeks have been a great big haze and I stopped writing the blog mainly as I couldn’t string two words together but also because when I could I thought I should perhaps put them towards some more ‘important’ thing, so consequently I put them nowhere. It’s funny, you sometimes think you’re storing them up, the words, the thoughts, for something great and then you realise that you’re in fact just allowing yourself to become more constipated than ever resulting in an even greater ever-expanding nothingness. And that hurts more. You fear shooting your load and so the load just builds up and you give yourself prostate trouble just trying to hold it in. It’s silly. I know this is the quintessential blog writer’s issue and it’s boring to say it again, but you do wonder – especially when you do have a great load just throbbing there, swelling, and this miniscule orifice each day through which to squirt it – where to aim your rod? Oh sweet sweet crack of a moment right now at 19:17 on a Tuesday night – saying nothing but feeling slightly better for it. Shooting a little load – ah… A weak little spurt. Something.

Artwork du jour 131


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tom Waits 4 My Man

I was eating toast at the kitchen bench today when The Love came in tearing at a brown package.
“The new Waits,” he muttered, mouth full of cardboard. Normally The Love is ordered when it comes to opening packages. A pair of scissors. Use of the actual Open Here pull-tab. But sticky tape was flying. Saliva. Eyes were crazy. Finally the beautiful purple object plopped newborn-like onto the counter.
“The new Waits,” he sighed, and sunk onto the stool looking puppishly at it, not ready yet to touch.
The Love loves Waits.
He loves every mad gravelly swaggering big-shoed diner-boothing sad funny whimsical carnivalesque clownish magical piano-leaning weird childlike orchestral theatrical irreverent thing about him. He has loved him a long time. The day I went to his house for the first time to play Favourite Hits, he played me ‘Fawn’ – the last song from the Alice album. It made me melt on his couch. We later danced to it at our wedding.
The Love loves Waits.
I have a story about The Love’s love for Waits and it has a great moral and that moral is this:
Even if the thing you want is impossible, buy a glass of champagne and wait beside it. You never know. You might get lucky.
Before the story begins I have a side note regarding the naming of The Love in this blog. It was juste to begin with, but used abundantly it has turned slightly, become a bit saccharine. The Love is so much greater than that. But what to call him – The Man – The One – The Dude - The Guitarist – The Patient One – The Friend – The Petit Ami – Meine Liebe – The Pal. He would particularly hate that last one.
Mr Rabbit?
Ok I think for now on I’ll call him Mr Rabbit – if he doesn’t mind.
Also on another side note I can’t get out of my head that a French friend a while back described the blog as Optimistic. It was such a strange word to use – he searched for it in his head, and then said it. I don't know if the word was right for what he was trying to say but that word is disturbing me greatly. And this story is very optimistic. I’ll try to balance it out later.
Anyway, so Mr Rabbit was at a party in Paris talking to a girl about music and she asked what sort he liked, that old chestnut.
“Oh most things,” he said, irritated. “I don’t know. Tom Waits.”
“Are you going to see him?” she asked.
The world stood still. “See him?” he asked.
“I heard he’s playing here,” said the girl but Mr Rabbit was already back at his apartment trying to buy tickets online, on the phone… he was already on his bike riding to every single ticket outlet in Paris pleading, begging for the chance of a forgotten ticket that perhaps got accidentally wedged in some FNAC server’s underpants. Of course there was not a single ticket in the city. I was in Sydney at the time when I received a desperate phone call.
“Please check if there’s some way you can buy – tickets – from there.”
Of course there wasn’t.
Now if you’re a Tom Waits fan you’ll know that he never tours. He’s not really into it – he’d prefer to sit around and make albums on his farm, hang out with his wife and kids, do the odd film role, eat eggs and sausage in a diner, coffee and a roll. Last time he toured Australia was 1978. Paris – 1979. And from the list of places he was to play the Glitter and Doom tour he clearly had sat around the table with Kathleen and the boys and said Now Where do you feel like going for Summer? How bout a tour of some cool places like San Sebastien and Paris? And the boys said Sweet and he booked this tiny tour that nobody could get into. The tickets must have sold out in four minutes. There wasn’t many of them at all. And there were to be no resales – tickets strictly limited to two per person and you had to have your name on the credit card to collect them. Bastards!
Mr Rabbit’s little bunny heart broke.
For the weeks leading up to it he couldn’t speak about it without wincing. I was back in Paris by then and feeling also like a kid shut out of the Chocolate Factory. Nobody we knew had managed to get tickets, we could have knifed them or concocted some Costanza-esque ploy to acquire them. There was nothing to be done. We trawled and trawled ticket sites.
Finally the date of the first show (there were to be two at the majestic old Grand Rex on the Grands Boulevards – perfect venue, perfect, perfect) arrived. We were sitting with friends at the Petit Fer à Cheval and I’d just discovered their gourmet salad and was giddy with white wine and it was a beautiful warm night and we’d got the best table on the terrace and I could feel Mr Rabbit’s heart breaking next to me because I’d promised we’d ride our bikes to the Rex and perhaps find some tickets somebody had dropped or watch the people go in and perhaps steal their tickets or sneak backstage or something. Perhaps just stand outside and imagine the show.
I didn’t want to go because I was having fun and I knew it would break his heart worse to be there and stuck outside. So I said,
“Let’s just stay here and get drunk.”
And we did and then we rode home and Mr Rabbit went to bed all quiet and Charlie-Bucket-eyed and souled.
The next day was quiet too. He just really really in his lifetime wanted to see Tom Waits play the Grand Rex in Paris. It was just something he would have liked.
The next day was very hot and the next night was very tense especially as 8pm approached so at the last minute I suggested,
“Let’s just go for a ride up there. You never know, something might happen.”
His eyes lit up. I felt cruel.
“It’s a nice night anyway. We’ll drink champagne at that crappy brasserie next door and maybe we’ll hear some of it from there. Maybe we’ll be able to sneak in at interval.”
“Yeah,” he said as we rode off. “Maybe he’ll actually be inside the crappy brasserie at the bar drinking an iced tea and we’ll go up and talk to him and he’ll love us and invite us in to watch backstage.”
“Maybe!” I said, crushed.
The doorway at the Grand Rex was very subdued when we arrived. It was 7:45. A sad American was moping around in a sandwich board with something tragic written on it like:
I will be your Slave for a Year if you’ll Sell me your Waits Ticket
And a few other moping heads who had already given up their plight.
The doors were shutting. It was over.
I told Mr Rabbit to hold my bike for a moment and ran over to the big black bouncer and asked him if there was any chance of buying a last minute ticket, just to make him feel better that I’d tried.
The big black bouncer laughed and said,
“Pas d’chance.”
I shrugged and Mr Rabbit and I chained up our bikes and headed into the awful brasserie. Tom Waits wasn’t at the bar. We ordered two glasses of champagne and two horrible sticky flutes of an awful, sickly crémant came out. We took a seat at the terrace with the best view of the doorway at the Rex, as if to torture ourselves.
“Oh well, we still have our health,” I said. And it was Optimistic, but we did.
Suddenly Mr Rabbit stopped drinking. I followed his gaze to the Rex doorway.
“Something’s going on,” he said. “Can you go and ask?”
It was true, the bouncer had approached the group of twenty or so hopefuls that had remained loser-like around the entranceway. He was murmuring something and there was a ripple through the crowd.
I ran over.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
The bouncer told me that six tickets had been released. SIX TICKETS! It WAS Willy Wonka. Again my heart sunk – there were at least a dozen other people there in front of me. In a frantic last-ditch effort I called out and asked the man if I could have two.
“120 euros each,” he said. When the tickets went on sale there were 60 euro ones in the circle and 120 in the stalls. Mr Rabbit was intent on snaring the expensive ones even though we didn't have enough money for that month's rent.
“I could take two,” I said.
And then I noticed that some of the other people were moving away.
“Trop cher,” I heard someone say. They didn’t want them!
“The two last ones,” said the bouncer and Mr Rabbit was there and then the bouncer said,
“En cash.”
“No problem,” I said and Mr Rabbit looked in his wallet. He had forty euros. Oh my god! There was no ATM to be seen.
“I’m closing the door,” the bouncer said.
“DEUX MINUTES!” I said and Mr Rabbit was off. Never has there been seen in the history of Paris a man run so fast up a boulevard. Despite the wall-to-wall shops and cafes all up the street, not a single ATM. I shifted from one foot to the other. The bouncer raised his eyebrows and looked at his watch. The Rabbit raced like the wind but there simply was no ATM in sight. Finally, all the way down near Opéra he found one, overdrew his account and with beating heart flew back towards the Rex. The bouncer said he was sorry the show was starting and he had to shut the door. I flirted. I pleaded. And then, Mr Rabbit was there.
He did it.
The bouncer pocketed the cash, locked the door and led us through the empty foyer to a big red door. With his flashlight he led us to our seats.
The best seats in the entire house. Right behind the mixing desk. The perfect place for perfect listening balance Mr Rabbit told me. All around us hushed Parisiens sat firmly in their plush seats in this vast sumptuous auditorium in all its art deco grandeur ready to listen. No dancing, no pushing, no moshing. A listening party. We were invited. We were in.
And then there, on a big wood box right in front of us as though he’d been waiting for our arrival, was Tom Waits. As the music began he stomped on the box in his big awkward boots and glitter puffed out all around him. Our hands were on the sides of our faces. And for the next two hours we just couldn't stop laughing.

Artwork du jour 130

Tom Waits

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Being Nijinski

Time poverty is great. You don’t have time to think. You just have to run and throw yourself into 14 degree water, no toe dipping, no hand swishing. You just ride like the wind, find the spot, rest your bike up against the rocks, put your towel on the sand and in you go. I’ve never been like that before. But there I am, in. And the great thing is, because it’s October and because of the arctic temperature, nobody is around to hear you squeal like a girl and gasp embarrassingly. You don’t have to act elegant. You don’t have to worry that anyone’s watching you in your ridiculous bikini composed of an old bra and pair of tatty jocks. It’s too mad for anyone else to swim and that’s perfect. The beach is yours. Just a few buoys and a tanker passing in the distance. Perhaps a pilot boat. A black lighthouse to your left, a white lighthouse to the right. Some kelp around your thigh. It's excellent. I dive in again and it’s so cold my feet throb. I would never have done this before. My mother did it all the time and now I understand. There’s no time to waste.
And in the water your pelvis is new, no memory of the 9 pounder, you’re free, you’re Nijinski in the Rite of Spring, hopping, dancing spastically, warding off hypothermia, making weird sounds, just yourself: a complete and utter idiot. It’s fantastic. You’re a fish. You twirl your toes into the sand. You are Nijinski, you can feel him, feel what it might be like to be him, it feels magnificent - I wonder – is it more fun to be Nijinski alone in an impromptu bathing suit in the icy post-winter waters of Point Lonsdale or to actually be Nijinski. I often wonder that because sometimes when you get or become the thing you wanted it’s not as much fun as when you were imagining being it. I’m so glad I can imagine. It would really help in prison.
The swim was quick and good and I did it and wasn’t scared and felt all bold and got back on my bike and when I rode past the cemetery I really had a feeling of rubbing shoulders with mum. She would approve of the plunging in. I’m not sure what she’d think of the wild splashing and dancing though, she’d have been far more elegant. She would probably laugh about Nijinsky and say I was nuts. But one thing’s for sure, if I couldn’t imagine her and the things she might say and do I would certainly go insane.  

Leon Bakst 'Nijinski in the Afternoon of a Faun'

Artwork du jour 129

Going Under

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipes for Disaster

I might like to write a cookbook. It will be called Recipes for Disaster. In it I will take recipes from say, Jamie Oliver, and couple the recipes from other recipes for the same thing which I’ve googled and printed out, coupled with my own input on what I think should go in the dish, plus what I feel like eating that night, which is often peanut butter. You’d be amazed how many dishes you can think would do well with some peanut butter in them. I’m sure I once made a recipe with peanut butter and it came out good. I’m always chasing that peanut butter dish.
Recipes for Disaster by EB Rabbit would recommend that you always cook on an empty stomach. And that your dishwasher is always half-unpacked and a few head-height cupboards open at dangerous right-angles. You need to be a terrible chopper who nobody can bare to watch cutting onions. Wine would be suggested and a slight drunken head, to exacerbate levels of creativity. Creativity is the key to all Recipes for Disaster – you must always think that you know better than the recipe and never EVER follow any of the prescribed steps – improvise – what ARE you - a bit more sugar here, a few less eggs there… see what happens you pussy, dare to step over the edge - yeahh. It’s exciting!
Creativity, indeed, is the essential ingredient when it comes to Recipes for Disaster. You must never be quite aware of what will come out of the oven – it’s your creation, your baby, never seen before. Anything goes – be free – feel wild - you’re an untapped kitchen genius about to uncover the winning fact that peanut butter goes in everything and everyone will love you because you discovered it and you’ll be flown around the world to sit po-faced in posh restaurants and say FUCKEN WHERE’S MY SPATCHCOCK at Michelin star chefs in steely kitchens and do great middle-distance stares as you spoon bisque into your gob on some cooking show.  
You must lose yourself utterly in the joy of cooking. Ego is important – never surrender to the idea of order, humility towards vegetables, care. Instead dump in masses of folly. Twenty cups of hubris. Twelve pounds of abandon. And absolute lack of certainty to taste.
Eh – voilà!
Deep Fried Disappointment with a Whine Jus.
All dishes in EB Rabbit’s Recipes for Disaster will guarantee feelings of utter dissatisfaction, deep regret and a definite resolution that the Other will forever do the cooking. A-ha...clever recipe.

Artwork du jour 128


Friday, October 14, 2011

Capturing Kiki

Kiki is gold. She eats books and chairs. If she is upset she looks in the mirror and feels immediately better, consoled by the fact she exists. And I can understand that because she’s lovely. I would be comforted too if I saw that pale little face looking back at me with its deep eyes and quaint nose. And I do, every day, and it is comforting, and it’s Christmas. Every morning there are presents. A new smile, a sound, a movement. Perhaps a tooth. Not quite. She is a fresh delicacy, warm, sticky - the back of her neck is unbaked dough, her arms, steamed dimsims. She licks giraffes and sucks necks and sticks her right leg out stiff and pumps it up and down when she’s happy. What is it she feels? What does she see? Think? I ache to know, I look for signs but I can’t be her, even though I made her. Well, half. Well, nothing. She is silent in prams and loud in mornings and delighted by the sight of me, which is endlessly flattering – never have I felt so important, so popular. Me. Me? She murmurs in cars. If you blow in her face she pokes out her tongue and her eyes go wide. It’s hard not to do that a lot. She’s a wind-up toy, a kewpie doll with no clothes on. She is absolute in her rejection of sleeves. She likes the feel of her skin in air, in water, against things – my skin. She isn’t afraid. She is bold. I miss her already. I take pictures and pictures and hope I don’t drop her in the desperation to capture the moment of her, catch every instant of her before it’s gone, though it so quickly is, replaced by yet a new marvel. Never was there such a living reminder of moments passing.

Man Ray 'Film Strips with Kiki'

Artwork du jour 127

Caravan at the Latino Circus

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I’m feeling happy and well at the moment and consequently, fat. It’s disquieting. Things have gotten quite comfortable. Not that I’m comfortable, I’m still as angst-ridden as ever, only my body is reflecting my domestic situation which is, in itself, rather healthy. 


A friend at a party a few weeks back said,

“Wow, you’re looking healthy.”

I looked at him.

“So basically you’re saying I’m fat.”

You don’t say someone looks healthy unless they’ve put on weight. It’s a terrible insult. If people must make verbal observations you’d much rather they pinched your upper arm with concern and said,

“Are you ok?”

NB this only applies to females. One of my male friends has never forgiven me when I questioned his health after observing his pale and thin demeanour after several months spent locked away in his mother’s house writing screenplays. He still smarts over it. I would have definitely taken it as a compliment.

Anyway, it’s a little scary this health and wellness. I’ve got comfy. Let myself go. Easy to do in remote seaside villages where the most cosmopolitan encounter you’ll have in a day is with Edna from the op shop or one of the countless gents on ride-on motorised vehicles zipping up and down the foreshore. - Hello! - Lovely day! - Watch those magpies! - Where you can easily slink around in your pregnancy jeans and same-old crap t-shirt for days on end without the faintest care or recognition that you are even being seen.
I’ve basically disappeared. I really couldn’t draw myself. If I tried with crayons it would just be a faint cloud of pink. A blur. Not really there. That’s the thing about being well - neither thin nor fat – you feel all en par with life. What’s there to define you? How are you supposed to feel alive?

I might like my angst body back, the one that belonged to the person who wasn’t living quite so comfortably. The slightly miserable one. I wonder if I could have the misery body while continuing with the comfortable life feeling. You probably have to choose one or the other. Before when I was on my angsty quest for happiness the edges of me were much sharper. When I went to bed at night I could feel my skin against my bones and that was tops. I felt alive. Hungry for the thing. Would tomorrow bring it? I was definitely not happy, and that was great. I was ravenous for the thing I was looking for. So clothes hung off my frame in that great rangy way – I could just throw something on the frame and run out the door without bothering to think of corsetry or hang, bulge or muffintop. It was excellent. I was free.

And then, now, comfort, and by that I don’t at all mean that I’m comfortable within the comfort, it’s just that feeling of choosing to eat the biggest fattest cheesiest lasagne for dinner whilst watching Colbert in track-suit pants instead of shoving tuna from a can into your mouth for pure fuel purposes on your way out the door wearing a black sequined micro-mini that barely covers your butt. As a side note, god bless country Australia for making track-suit pants a three-course fashion statement – breakfast track-suit, lunch track-suit, dinner track-suit. So versatile – why buy anything else? Comfort. You’d thousandfold rather eat that lasagne in track-suit pants than have the bliss of waking the next day and squeezing into the skinny jeans – in fact if you were honest and searched way way down you really don’t care all that much about getting into the skinny jeans at all and that is a deeply shocking realisation. You really don’t care that much any more about how you’re perceived. Even by yourself. So who then, are you? It’s as though you’re looking from the inside out suddenly, rather than the outside-in. You’re Jabba. Jabba doesn’t care that his Vanessa Bruno spring frock doesn’t hang any more. He’s looking out. It makes him powerful.

Actually Jabba is a bad example because he’s so fat he is something. He’s gone all the way in the other direction which effectively is similar to the thin model. I’m talking about just being well, which is more nothing. It’s sort of, well, just normal. Average. Un-extreme. Weird.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I don’t know where my power lies. It always used to come from the feeling of the edges – knowing myself, my shape, my silhouette – I may not have had a clue who I was, but at least I had that. I remember when I was in Grade Four I went through a period where I decided to eat nothing at all and see what happened. It was such a great feeling to push myself right to the edge and see where that led. I could really feel my outline so clearly, so defined, I was human, I had control, I was alive. My inside pushed against the skin of me, it was great. I was really, really here, present. It felt great to say No when the plate of choc-chip bickies was passed around and to see everyone’s shocked faces. That feeling of definition – putting myself in relief with the world around me – far outweighed the joy of that goddamned delicious buttery cookie. Plus, I got some fantastic attention, especially from Mum, who panicked. It was my life and I wanted to feel it. And I did. And I never lost that feeling. Though I did start eating chocolate bickies again.  

This is a sort of letting go of that need to pull against the grain, a push in the other direction, right through the terrifying centre of normal. How far can I go inside of it? Can I find a way to feel myself inside of it? What could that mean? Is there a way that I can live it and still find a way to have lines? Maybe there are new ones to be found inside that place.

I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Artwork du jour 126

New York Comfort

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dodger Dream

Last night I dreamt of Dodger. It’s weird because I haven’t seen him for months – though it’s true we were talking about him because The Love might see him soon in London. And he has been coming up on my screen saver. I miss him. We were in Adelaide and looking for honey at a market. I had been looking for this market for ages but could never find it. Dodger took me to it and when we got to the honey stand it was closing. There was no honey left. That was ok. The door to the theatre was there. We walked across the cobblestones to it. And we went in. Inside was a strange, plush, red rectangular vortex and we were high, high up looking over one of a million balconies. The actual balcony was formed like a cinema, with cinema seats. Only we didn’t look at a screen, we looked down past all the seats and off the edge, into the great centre of the vortex.

The Dodger and I took a seat in comfortable seats around the middle of the cinema. Nobody else was there.
We looked down.
Oh god, vertigo, I said.
Dodger was silent. The dizzy feeling was overwhelming. The only way to stem it was to keep your eyes fixed on the centre of the vortex which was a deep burgundy rectangle.
I’ve got to –
And he ran out with his hands over his mouth.
I knew the feeling. It always happened to me when I came to this theatre. It was Dodger’s first time. I felt like I was going to be sick too so I sidled my way towards the exit door, never taking my eyes of the centre of the vortex.
I was ok. I waited for Dodger. He was in the men’s. Then I was in the men’s too in the cubicle next to him. It was destabilising knowing that the toilet block was still inside the vortex theatre - that we weren’t safe yet, outside in the cobblestone market street. I wanted to get there, feel my feet on the ground.
Are you ok Dodge? I called through the wall.
Yes, he said, But my pants.
He exited the cubicle and he only had his shoes and socks on and his shirt, no pants.
Where did they go? I asked.
I don’t know, he said. He looked shaken.
We really should get out of here, I said and led him through a series of grey backstage corridors to the big heavy stage door which read EXIT. It was an imposing door. But it was the loveliest door I’d ever seen.
We exited into the cobblestone street. The daylight was blinding.

Artwork du jour 125


Monday, September 19, 2011

Night Terror and Normality

Last night I lay awake in terror. I couldn’t feel my legs the panic was so strong. Kiki hadn’t woken when she usually woke and I woke two hours after she usually woke and looked at the clock and thought:
Oh god.
She’s dead.
I know this is a common thing to think but it still feels shocking.
As an aside – doesn’t it drive you crazy how things you feel can be ‘justified’ as ‘normal’? Something absolutely terrifying such as thinking your child has died of cot death in the night, when brought up at mothers’ group is met with a chorus of
Normalnormalormal, yes, normal.
It’s not normal. It happened.
And what is normal?
As a further note to the aside, the reasoning/justifying/ of things in general makes me want to scream. Everything is true and random, surely? Even if it happens to lots of people. No?
I have to believe that or I will die. Otherwise we’re all the same, we’re all just animals. What’s the god damned point. I just have to believe in a small amount of magic/uniqueness.
Particularly infuriating encodings which spring to mind are:
At least it wasn’t sudden.
Oh well, she had a good innings.
Anyway - so I lay there in terror – not a sound from the baby monitor. Kiki likes to roll onto her belly in her cot now and all those awful voices saying ‘lies on front, cot death’ echoed in my head. Oh god, she’s dead.
And somewhere inside myself I knew she wasn’t dead but even the thought that the possibility existed that she might die caused my legs to disappear. I knew I could easily rectify the situation by getting up and checking on her. But I couldn’t move for the terror.
Finally I willed myself to standing and crept into her room. She had wriggled right down to the far end of the cot on her side, a piece of my torn striped t-shirt in her tiny fist buried deep in her face. She was still.
From the light of my phone she didn’t seem dead, but she wasn’t moving.
Before my legs gave way under me I held my hand out to her chest, buried deep under the wearable doona thing.
It moved.
A tiny, baby breath.
Relief. And though it was perhaps normal to feel such depths of gut-wrenching fear I tiptoed back to bed and felt I'd lived through something. Of course there was plenty to come. But that didn't stop it being real.

Artwork du jour 124

Sleeping Doll

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Abducted by a Project

Oops - I got abducted by a thing and won't be back for a little minute. Wait for me! I won't be long.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thanks Kevin Bacon

Nothing much is happening and yet so much. Doogie Howser grew up and is now holding a conversation with Jon Stewart about his role in a Smurf film. It’s apéro hour and the tv is loud and when the screaming child’s voice reaches a certain peak on the baby monitor it distorts and sounds like the devil. I wonder why nobody has made a horror film yet involving a baby monitor. Perhaps that can be my contribution to society as a new mother instead of knitwear and baked goods. It could be called The Monitor.
Despite the apéro hour monitor devil, Kiki is blooming. She laughs at lips. She eats toes. She calls boobs dada. Good name for a band. Boobs Dada. And she recently gave us our bed back. Which we’re grateful for though I miss her as I lie there turning the pages of Slaughterhouse Five. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read Slaughterhouse Five. But I do believe that books come to you when they’re ready. I knew it was time for Slaughterhouse Five because I received two signs:
1.   As I was unpacking hundreds of tatty paperbacks from boxes in the garage for some reason I put it aside.
2.   As we watched Footloose that night Kevin Bacon brought it up.
And Kevin Bacon was right. It’s perfect timing. I just can't read right now. And Slaughterhouse Five is so good you don't even know you're reading, it's just sort of breathed on you. Thanks Kurt. Thanks Kevin Bacon.

Artwork du jour 123

Ladies in Portugal

Monday, August 22, 2011

Loose Tarts and Lemon Cake

There is lemon cake and a disastrous spinach frittata thing on the bench. I have been cooking. It is wrong. It’s the bright green Rose Bakery cookbook’s fault, it inspired me, teleporting me back to the Rue des Martyrs. I was always late to the Rose Bakery, there was usually just crumbs left on the counter, perhaps one random tart. But the random tart was still good. Appropriate. Ah, Rue des Martyrs. We stayed at the Hôtel Amour off the Rue des Martyrs once after a disastrous attempt at theatre making in Portugal. To make our hearts feel better we bought a barquette of painfully sweet mara des bois that cost about the same price as our ticket and went and ate them on the bed of the cool cat hotel owner’s favourite jet-black room with all its 70s magazines with pre-pubescent cover girls lined up on shelves. It was a horny room and sexy people milled in the courtyard below being Friday night cocktail cool. It was hot - late summer. We flopped on the bed. I wondered if we’d make it to the Rose Bakery the next day before all the tarts were gone.

Artwork du jour 122

Horny Hotel

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fluffy Goren Doona Brain

I’m trying desperately to find form, to create some sort of system in which to fit myself into, some sort of structure, but every night I find myself here, in this same position, noticing that the day is yet over again and I am repeating the words
In New York City’s war on crime the most serious offenders are prosecuted by the detectives of the major case squad.
These are their stories.
I had never noticed Law and Order before, never even knew who Goren was, but here I am again, watching him overact in that insufferable, wondrous, addictive way and now I can say the words in the beginning perfectly rather than in my own gobbledygook which The Love just admitted he doesn’t find as interesting as when I spoke it in gobbledygook. If I try now I can’t even do the gobbledygook. Because every night after we’ve finally got Kiki to sleep all I want to do is lie back on the couch and eat lamb stew and surrender what is left of my brain to some fine, grisly murder. Last night it was a pharmacist who diluted cancer drugs leading to a lovely elderly man being forced to euthanase his dying wife – uplifting stuff. The night before, the image of the lady in the trunk of the car was so gruesome it gave me nightmares. I don’t know why I’m finding depressing murder stories so comforting at night at present. I don’t even know how we ended up watching television.
It’s this struggle with definition, these fluffy days, all is flabby, muffintops, marshmallow. My brain is a doona. My mind a floatie. The days whizz by – where am I again – in a seaside town with a pram, my hair chopped off and hips that belong to some lady. A page 3 chest. Thinking about baking and the benefits of rice cereal and feeling guilty for chocolate and - What? The rain is falling. There are magpies at night and I just can’t figure out why they are singing their warbling song in the cool, black, seaside night. Is it a mating thing? Are they aware what that can lead to?
It’s time for bed. Really. Go to bed. Yesterday after having a shard more sleep there was a moment of clarity that broke and then passed before I could catch it. But it lasted just long enough to leave a memory and I really should remember that memory and try for a wider one. Go to bed.

Artwork du jour 121


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tomato Soup Murder Dream

The Love and I had to murder two people and destroy the evidence. We were at a party. The Branagan boy was there. The Love did the first murder and cut the body into little pieces. We were ok, nobody had noticed. I was so relieved he had done the hard work. The second body we boiled down into tiny cups of tomato soup.
“I could just drink the evidence,” I said to The Love, feeling uneasy about how he’d react.
“Ok,” he said. “Sounds like a good plan.”

Artwork du jour 120

Love is Now

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Message in the Monoprix

I was wondering how on earth anyone could even consider the superhuman feat of having more than one child today when I remembered the Store Detective Messenger.

It was dinnertime a few months back and I was in the Monoprix buying one of those pre-made tagliatelli plates with rubbery salmon on them and a few sad chives. Kiki was about five weeks old and I had her stuffed inside this sort of pink burrito cushion thing we termed The Pink Uterus which was stuffed inside this black backpack thing that was on my front. A frontpack. Anyway she was safe deep inside there but I still felt weird and unstable being out on my own. The Love was in Berlin and it was the first time I'd been alone with Kiki and myself and motherhood. So of course I found myself in the Monop buying crap takeaway.

I knew I looked like an amateur, an impostor, a baby-stealer. What was I supposed to do with her? How was I meant to cope without the calm assuredness of The Love, without anyone to bounce off?

I felt scared, loose, dangerous. I held on to her tight in the refrigerated section. I selected the least sad plate I could find. And when I turned there was a man there.

It was the store detective. A slender, refined man of african descent with lots of badges on his uniform. What did I do? Did I really look that suspicious?

I moved away from him towards the nuts and spreads. He followed me. I really didn't know what he thought I'd stolen. I felt that familiar guilt of being just a guilty person, one who gets nervous when going through customs wondering if they'll find the stash she never packed. 

I looked at him with a weak smile. 

"Errr, oui monsieur?"  

"How old?" he asked.

"What?" I replied.

He pointed to Kiki who was fast asleep inside her pouch.

"Oh," I said. "Five weeks."

"Don't think," he said. "Have another."

"Excuse me?" I said, wondering if I'd understood his French. 

"Have another," he repeated. "Before you think about it. You can never think about it, especially between the first and the second. It's just important not to think about it."

"How many do you have?" I asked.

"Three," he said. This surprised me. The gravity of his expression told of droves of children.

"Just don't think about it," he repeated again and then turned and solemnly returned to his duties.

It was one of those strange moments where it feels like a messenger has appeared to pass on words from somewhere entirely else. As though the message never belonged to anyone. It was just meant to be yours and could have come to you in any form.

As I left the store I said au revoir monsieur to the man who was now positioned next to the sliding doors, hands clasped neatly in front of him, face vacant. He acknowledged me in a tiny way without nodding or saying anything at all. As though we hadn't shared the slightest intimacy. 

Artwork du jour 119

Too Many Mes

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bourgeois Minutiae

Today we went to the pier again, the one we can walk to, and contemplated, which is a bourgeois thing to do according to Marxists.
Our daily walk and bourgeois musing has become my favourite part of the day, just walking and thinking and talking and wondering things such as how on earth did we end up here right now, and what shall we make of our lives from this point?
I still wake up each day feeling like I’ve been whacked over the head so it takes a while for the reality of my existence to sink in and the fresh air helps. Come to think of it I’ve felt whacked over the head for much of my adult life. But that’s beside the point. And Kiki is here now to guarantee an ever greater state of bewilderment, just in case I begin to feel an inkling of my feet touching the ground.
Life right now feels like a sort of hiatus and it’s easy to get swallowed by the surreal feeling, so it's good to walk and think and discuss all sorts of things in varying minutiae.
Today it was music and writing and LA and Paris and LA OR Paris and Melbourne and Queenscliff and lighthouses. We discovered the Point Lonsdale lighthouse was erected in 1854. I thought about lighthousekeepers. And we talked about world war two because of the old forts you can see built into the hill as you walk back towards the shore from the pier. And we talked about d-day and all those fields of white crosses in Normandy. And we sat and looked out at the ocean and tried to orientate ourselves according to the land we could see. And we saw the image of rain far away.
I like being here, near the water. In this strange way I feel closer to, say, Paris, here than I do, say, in a city like Melbourne. That may seem weird because Point Lonsdale is a tiny beach village that couldn’t really be metaphorically or geographically further from, say, Paris. It’s even miles away from the airport. But the thing is you can look out over the water and forget that you know it’s Sorrento over there. It could be anywhere. You could dive into the water and come up and there you’d be, at Prune, drinking an Affligem, picking at a little glass bowl of questionable cacahuètes. You could even be in New York. But if you’re somewhere like Melbourne, say, you know you’re in Melbourne, even if you squint really hard in the Paris end of Collins Street. There’s no suspension of disbelief. Not like looking out over water.
Anyway, there were lots of thoughts and possibilities as we sat there looking out. And we felt fat and bourgeois and grateful just to have Choice.
Bill Henson 'Untitled'