Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sloth, pride, wrath, gluttony, lust, greed & envy

For the first time I have no sentences in my head. I desire everything. I'm achieving nothing.

Work is a heavy and frustrating thing with its repetitive tasks that are hurting my back, my hands and my heart. There are piles and piles of papers on my desk. I must work through them one at a time. My boss insists I prioritise this one lengthy terrible task yet all the other things do not stop. There are false offers of support with little to no follow through. There are senior colleagues making noises about other undone tasks who then rifle through all of my files and papers, leaning over me as I sit at my desk. There are emails about performance reviews from a boss who was handily absent for the busiest month of the year. There are too many things to be done.

In a movie, some kind of movie, I would go in early, I would stay late, I would work weekends. This is not a movie. I can't do that. I can barely manage 9 to 5 on weekdays.

I am exhausted. The Amazing Mystery Illness of Not Yet Death cuts my power cord at the close and open of each day. I am much improved and almost well but ragged painful exhaustion closes its hot toothed mouth around me when I least expect it.

My brother is cross with me for not driving to Katoomba on Tuesday night for his birthday dinner. My brother is cross that I did not somehow stave off exhaustion, work all day, attend my unavoidable 6pm appointment, go home, shower, change then drive for two hours to sit with him and my mother then drive home again. My mother is not answering when I phone.

My work expects me to begin a post graduate course at Deakin (off campus) in a week or two, in addition to my usual work. The deadline for manuscript is May. The current rewrite has 2000 words in it with the rest an incomplete first draft and notes. I am committed to training three times a week with Grizelda, I have to wash and cook and clean and sleep and read.

This is not depression, this is too much on my plate. This is me walking around with no support system and no lifelines. There is no hope of sudden redemption and the miraculous lifting of burdens. There's one way out and that's to work harder for longer and push away the illness and exhaustion. Swat it away like bees and wasps and stinging caterpillars. I'm looking around me at people with partners and for once its not the arms or the love I crave. Its someone to help with the washing, someone to sit by me and talk about what I should do and how I should do it. Someone who doesn't go home after coffee or dinner or a band and shake off my problems and settle into a chair with their loved ones asleep in the next room. Its never been clearer that I'm doing this by myself.

Dear People of The World

Do something interesting.

Two words

Body
Snatchers

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Fifteen minutes til launch time

This is going to hurt, it is going to smell and I might possibly die from any number of hazards. I could get hit by a truck on the way there, I might die of fright during the process, my molecules could decide to abandon me forever and my consciousness will float momentarily free in space before dissipating into a stranger's cup of coffee, a giant set of police horse lungs and the jet stream of a passing aeroplane.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

This is not a review of the Damo Suzuki gig and Dale's Fake Birthday Party. Do you want a guitar and a petty job?

Tex Perkins is alive right now because my brother used to deliver pizza for a shop that owned a fleet of race cars. He also used to run fish from the airport but that's another story.

Ben Byrne and Ivan Lisyak opened the night with some laptop noise. It brought back memories of a thousand nights spent sitting on concrete gallery floors watching boys, including those boys, crouched behind laptops making noise and art while my back bent and butt froze. I whispered to Ron & Rita "I had eight years of this stuff". Rita made a face.

I want to be The Captain of Noise is what Tex Perkins must have thought to himself one day and now behold, he is. He stood in front of the Bumhead Orchestra in a tuxedo waving a knitting needle like a madman. The idea is he points at one of them and they make some kind of noise based on the wildness of his gestures and face. The overall effect is somewhat startling if lacking a little something in terms of noise art. Between songs he turned around to address the audience, this is where the swooning happened. Unfortunately it was me doing the swooning.

The Annandale is sticky at the best of times but Friday night they outdid themselves in the sticky department. Every time I wanted to move my feet I had to curl my toes and grip my shoes or one of two disastrous things would happen. Disaster one; my feet do not move but the rest of me does in a swan face plant. Disaster two; my feet come out of my shoes and step unprotected onto the stickiness.

Dear The Annandale,

Get a mop.

Dale

This is the part where my musical knowledge does its own faceplant. What happened was large in a monument to Superman kind of way. Damo Suzuki, Spencer with The Holy Soul (plus Petey-O, Andrew Gaddo and some other guy I don't know) walked onto stage set up their equipment and cracked open my ribs one at a time until the noise broke like the ocean. I hear that the Melbourne gig was a quiet affair but in Sydney the rock escaped and raged round inside the big room at The Annandale until even Spencer was dancing on stage. I was standing in the crowd cracked wide open and pulsing like a bird on a wire.

Tex Perkins was in the crowd right in front of me, luckily for me I was so distracted by what I was witnessing onstage that I only nearly swooned seven times. Not too bad really.

A woman in a white dress came up to me and said she liked my dress. She put her hand on my waist and said something that I didn't hear. I felt odd, it felt odd, it felt like she knew me but I didn't her. She smiled every time she saw me. She was a leitmotif.

Afterwards Gecko came back to The Peach and we sat on The Peach Deck drinking cups of tea. He's a walking cupboard of discombobulation opening and closing his internal drawers and hidden panels sometimes brandishing a shining swatch or an orb of darkness. He seems dangerous and frightening but only after he goes away. When I sit by him with mug in hand it feels like a conversation lifted from my blueprint. I'm not sure what to make of him really.

At the end of the night lying in bed staring at the sticky shoes on my bedroom floor I felt the music come back through me in spectacular waves of noise, light and fury. I just closed my eyes and smiled.

Thursday's man popped his collar by accident

The Cowboy's band Grand Banks were rather charming like a bumbling Englishman transferred into Canadian Cowboy format. The Cowboy himself stood centre stage with a guitar and microphone wearing his usual clothes and standing in his usual way. I think it was his complete lack of pretentious stage presence that I found most charming watching him up there singing and dancing artlessly with his bum stuck out like a chicken.

The Cowboy appeared to remember feeling comfortable on stage but then he would forget again. I stood near the back of the crowd leaning on a tall table sipping at a pink lemonade. Loene Carmen walked in like a shining god and stood at the bar smiling benevolently in her orange lycra cowgirl dress and tall boots. Grizelda said "Who's that!" while I smiled at Loene and she smiled back. Loene's daughter Holiday Carmen looks like a marble figure carved from the memory of her mother.

The Cowboy's music is cowboy music. He seemed absent from the first few songs like if I squinted I'd see the ghost shape of him standing behind himself clutching worry beads but then in a sudden rush the music became inhabited and was good like an open road and a sure destination.

Loene Carmen played next. Sam, the bass player, was absent because he was traveling back from his Damo Suzuki gig in Melbourne. He was missed. Loene needs Sam and The Mess Hall boys driving her glow out and over the audience with an assured force but still she captivates me.

The Cowboy accidentally popped his collar during a guitar change, then apologised, after discovering his collar was popped, for singing the last song with a popped collar. He's the charming opposite of that pretentious stage twat Tex Perkins. I'll be going to the next gig carrying a hope of hearing him inhabit his music.

2:13am I just got home. I had half a jug of sangria, four cocktails, one coffee and a shandy.


Notes for a blog post

Krautrock heroes give me joints
You can't anthropomorphise (is that a word?) a person because they are already a person
Spencer staring at a Toto poster
Joe Cocker has two massive white semi-trailers and at least twenty men running up and down ramps
I have someone's phone number. That someone has the initials TP. I will never phone TP.
What's going on with that shoe right now
Oh god I'm not wearing my glasses
Where did all the goths go
This has ceased to be sensible and helpful notes
I might take a photo of myself for no reason

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Here we go again

Notes for a blog post at 3:35am

Running Tex Perkins over in the mercedes
Point & shoot gallery with white gloves
A person can actually swoon
I want to be The Captain of Noise
Rib spreader
Shoes stuck to floor
Ever seen a human heart beating while the flaps of skin, muscle and ribs open wide like a cupboard?
Jon Hunter's face in a stage tunnel
All the people, so many people
What kind of gallery holds 7 years still in a trap
That woman in a dress
Pick any name - Gecko
Unexpected trip to Paddington
That's my bicycle, that one there

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Home, home on The Dale (which is what some people call The Annandale Hotel)


The Cowboy left an inventive invitation to hear his band in my letterbox some time last night. He signed the note J---- "Cowboy" B----.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Psychic shower tiles and German surfing Professors of Literature

Ah ha! I thought, followed later by Oh no! This had nothing to do with the fact that I was standing in the middle of the road it was more shower related than that.

Grizelda and I walked to the end of the road to pick a mango, on the way home we swung by the IGA because I was desperate for a frozen dim sim, the kind you bring home from the shop then put in a pot of hot water. I haven't had one for ages but Rita was talking about them on the telephone and that's what set the whole thing rolling.

I walked with Grizelda because I wanted a dim sim; I cared not a fig for a mango. After mango picking we continued to the IGA but the IGA was closed. Most people say I G A but I prefer to pronounce it as a word that sounds like tiger. We plodded on with me grumbling incoherently about frozen things and pots of water while Grizelda held her mango as though it was a grenade. Out the front of the backpackers I stopped to cross the road. This is where the Ah ha! happened.

Across the road sitting in the driver's seat of an unusually small and decrepit red car was one of The Beautiful Boys. I've only met this one a few times. He looked up in surprise and called out to me. I walked straight into the middle of the road. I asked him if he was lost but he shook his head and pointed at his mobile phone. It was an odd conversation in that it wasn't really a conversation at all. We exchanged few words but inside my head went technicolour. I have no idea what I was thinking beyond Ah ha! until I had a shower.

In the shower I was thinking of a way to describe him, that and wishing I had shouted "Come to The Annandale on Friday night". He is like a German literary professor that surfs and then dries off and puts on tweeds is what I was thinking as I turned in the shower and placed my right palm flat against the glass of the shower screen. I thought that's odd, usually I turn left and put my right palm on the second tile down. I turned and placed my hand on the tile. Immediately I remembered the last time I had stood like that feeling at once that I had better move my hand or be overcome. I removed my hand, waited a moment then once again placed it on that tile. It is the tile of sorrow, memories hardened and sharpened their points. Feeling experimental I turned right and tested the spot on the glass screen. Happy spot, all Zissou, fuzzy cats, fig sorbet and German Surfing Professors of Literature.

The only sensible conclusion I can come to is that I have psychic shower tiles, that and I'm thinking odd thoughts about German Surfing Professors of Literature in small decrepit cars. Oh no!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Found object: triangle watch


Object found by Gemma in her mail box because I posted it to her. This really isn't how The Experiment of tag & release is supposed to work. I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by the boring people of planet earth who will not play along with my little game. If I found an object with a tag on it I would definitely investigate further. Come on people! Play!

This watch was given to me as a present in 1989. My friend went to Bali and came back with many exotic things, mostly copper, brown or orange in colour. She also gave me a set of those long metal fingernails that you stick on your fingers when performing traditional dances from that part of the world. I don't know what happened to those. I had a small go at that style of dancing in my bedroom one night but one got stuck in my scrunchie (it was 1989) and I poked myself in the eye with another one.

The watch stopped working in 1989, I wore it until 1992. At first the watch went backwards then it would perform odd leaps of time, sometimes backwards and sometimes forwards. I didn't care. I loved that watch. At the same time I was wearing the watch I unpicked all the buttons from my school shirts and replaced with them with buttons shaped like things such as aeroplanes, bananas and tiny horses. I went through a phase of allowing my shortish hair to stick straight up in its natural afro style formation, sometimes I would crimp the bits I could reach. I usually wore socks with cows printed on them and carried around my flute in its case and my double bass. I don't think it was possible to be less stylish. Its important to note that no one else at my school was doing this. Just me.

To the alarm of every teacher and student at my school I soon after morphed into a pirate shirt wearing rebel leader but that's a tale for another day.

Can whitegoods bring personal happiness?

Yes. I arrived home from work and immediately thought "I might just pop some washing on". This happy thought was quashed by a bout of selflessness. The Spatula is leaving the country on a month long business trip tomorrow morning and I'm thinking that maybe she has some last minute washing to do when she gets home from work. It wouldn't do if I have filled all the new whitegoods with my non-urgent novelty hobby washing thus preventing The Spatula from washing necessary underpants and business outfits.

I wish I had magical superpowers. This wish has remained undiminished since I discovered the concept of magical superpowers. I was sitting in the office wishing for superpowers when I suddenly thought I might just mail order a husband. I waited until I arrived home from work then googled "mail order husband". The first site I clicked on produced a peculiar effect similar to inhaling laughing gas whilst sticking my hand in a blender so now I'm back to wishing for magical superpowers and longing to use the Incomprehensible European Washing Machine. I love it so.

The Dog Ate My Serial

Series Two: Episode Two

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Oh yes

The Peach has turned into some kind of luxury home with quality appliances. We are the proud owners of new incomprehensible European washing machine and top quality clothes drier but that's not what I'm really interested in saying.

I've made a personal comeback. I'm folding laundry in a ball gown smoking cigarettes and dancing to Loene Carmen. I've got my stomping boots on. My red lispstick is smeared but I'm brushing my teeth anyway.

Science with Dale

I am conducting a scientific experiment. Things a writer will do in one day to avoid working on a manuscript in progress include but are not limited to:
  • watching the washing go round in the machine to ensure that it really does tumble in such a way that all clothes have a turn at being washed;
  • scrubbing the shower;
  • cleaning the hard to clean bits around the bathroom taps;
  • reorganising containers in the pantry;
  • reading boring articles in the newspaper;
  • watching part of a Batman movie on television;
  • washing sheets;
  • vacuuming floors;
  • making a new toy for the cat;
  • tying decorative scarves onto chairs then taking them off again;
  • grocery shopping;
  • sorting through old literary journals then putting them on the street;
  • staring through the curtains at the man taking the literary journals from the street;
  • thinking very hard about devising an entirely new look for one's person;
  • checking email inbox;
  • rechecking email inbox;
  • deciding that very large Lois Lane style reading glasses are making a comeback;
  • looking up health fund eye centre hours to see if immedate purchase of Lois Lane style reading glasses is a possibility;
  • asking The Spatula very nicely to please try and purchase a fake birkin bag whilst in Manila;
  • phoning Mother to request a book from the espresso book vending machine in the New York Public Library, a copy of The New Yorker, a scarf, beret, gloves and things not sold in Sydney also possibly a long winter coat if she is confident that she can buy one that will fit me nicely;
  • pondering if I would like a hoodie from NYU to replace my old and falling apart UWS one;
  • adding NYU hoodie to wishlist of things I would like from New York as instructed to write by Mother;
  • driving to office to collect partially broken clothes rack found on the streets of Redfern and stashed in office;
  • telephoning brother to arrange dinner at Mother's house next weekend;
  • sketching things as practice to draw on Mother's plaster over broken foot next weekend;
  • moving stool to convenient location in front of washing machine to check that European washing machine scientists design washing machines that wash all clothes put in them.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

With bullets in their belts

Desperation was descending as I roamed the hallway, sat on the bed and stared at the empty inbox then roamed the hallway again. That's when I said NO! Not bloody likely. I will not become desperate or morose or despondent or frightened. I sent Madam Squeeze a message and behold the response "Spencer and I approaching Newtown. What are your coordinates". Blessed are the accordion players. We convened at the fig sorbet shop at 8.

Spencer was wearing a suit jacket over his clothes and some kind of fancy shoes. Turns out he's been double evicted. The landlord failed to pay the mortgage and the house has been repossessed so the bank is kicking him out. Since the bank owns the house Spencer stopped paying rent so the real estate agent is kicking him out. I am very proud of him. He is the first person I know to get double evicted. House hunting explains the jacket and the fancy shoes but I'm not sure it explains why he had one dry pancake and a glass of water for breakfast.

Madam Squeeze was lamenting her hungry day. She claims to have eaten more junkfood than would seem possible. Spencer recounted the food he had seen her eat that day. He paused to declare the heart attack virtues of twice fried chips from the yeros shop in Marrickville. Twice fried chips? Astonishing. He assures me they are delicious. This is when he divulged his breakfasty secret. What kind of a man has one pancake and a glass of water for breakfast?

Was it a cold pancake? Did he make enough batter just for one then stand over the pan with a spatula in his hand making a sad face and staring at a full glass of water? Once when Spencer was in high school he got ten out of ten in food tech for his pikelet.

After sorbet and much needed connecting with like minds we removed to the pub. All was well enough except we had to share a table with two strangers. The woman had a kind of careless beauty and the man had an interesting scar on his face. Slowly we integrated conversations until we were all chatting happily enough though not with depth or intimacy.

The pub started to fill with a new crowd, the likes of which I don't see in Newtown. They were all differently dressed but in such a way that they went together like artfully mismatched table settings or cushions in a shop window. All the women wore block colours in black and red. Their haircuts were sharp and coloured black or red. Some of them had shaved bits at the back. They all wore dresses, heels and red lipstick. The men were in black, rolled up sleeves, bryll cream sort of hair and had bullets in their belts.

Spencer said "Its Two Tone night" and I thought ah, that explains the limited colour palette. But why there was a there a Two Tone night at Kelly's? I like that pub is because there is not usually anyone on the upstairs terrace, there is no music and it is generally excellent for sitting and chatting. I quite object to tribes. Either that or I am jealous that I am not in one. I am too lazy to be bothered making all my clothes match everybody else's clothes. Besides I am too much of a giant when I stand next to other women to blend with a crowd. What a lot of effort they must all go to. What happens if they decide they suddenly want to own a pink shirt? Do they get voted off the island?

Walking home with my dress and my red lipstick I plugged into my mp3 player and realised its not all that bad. I might have lost a bit of confidence but I'm still walking around looking at things.

It truly is very boring

If you would like to read my other blog email me (dale.slamma@gmail.com). It is boring. It is a locked blog with one reader, that reader is Gemma and it is so boring that even Gemma doesn't read it. This is the worst invitation I've ever read and I'm the one writing it.

Peachy

Restless tetris is yet to provide a solution to my problem of not writing. Grizelda has left for the weekend, as she does every weekend. This is a handy way to avoid housework, I wonder if that is one of her motives? The Spatula is working at a festival all day so I have, for once, The Peach to myself. I sat for a while at my computer and typed. An hour later I deleted the lot. Its not working today.

Sometimes if I have the house to myself I spend the entire time wandering from room to room examining the state of being alone. Breath by breath it is joyful, woeful, relaxing or the gateway for demons. It is possible that I need this time to rest. It has been a tense week. The Spatula a half-lit firework at the best of times and Grizelda unhappy with the sparks.

I have tidied things and washed other things in the new incomprehensible European washing machine. My chocolate brown silk shirt suffered as a result of hiding inside black jeans. It went through cycle number 4, the one indicated by a t-shirt with two lines on it. It is now stiff, odd and my other clothes are patchy with brown marks. They all hang on racks on the Peach Deck.

I don't know what to do with myself this very moment. I have talked to the cat but she offers no suggestions only yawns, stretches and curls into herself. None of my friends will do this evening. I don't want to sit and chatter yet I do not know what I do want. My brother will be dropping by on his way to diner in the city if he has time. I will offer him tea.

When I looked in my diary and saw two blank lined pages I was pleased. Nothing but what I choose to do, nothing but time to write but I have changed my mind. It would be easy to feel anchored against normal currents of human interaction. Suspended mid-depth while the party ships circle on the harbour above. I don't want to sleep with the fishes.

January was a month of revelations and unexpected encounters. February so far is tense and full of dissatisfactions and curmudgeonly fulfilling of obligations like work, washing and breathing. The person I was last month in the dress and the red lipstick seems to have been replaced with one in ugly track pants with unflattering things tied about her head. I've lost confidence again.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Plans best laid

This weekend I am writing. I will accept no intrusion or interruption. I don't care if The Peachettes set themselves on fire and run up and down the hallway (this is not entirely out of the question) I will ignore them. I will ignore all shouting, ridiculous proclamations, monologues declaring that everything in the world is shit (not entirely out of the question), cleaning that needs to be done and bizarre yelling directed at me about past white good purchases from five years ago.

An intellectual production unit will set up and the words will pour out on one glassy electronic note.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Down my fingers

This post has been deleted, twice, due to lameness. Management apologises for the complete lack of anything interesting. Dale may or may not become interesting as the day progresses. Probably not. She just ate a biscuit, she can't remember the name of the biscuit. One of the ones that you can snap into two indentical fingers if you concentrate and place your fingers in precisely the right places. The fingers can be used for dunking into a cup of tea.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Three paper flags, the slap of my feet and a large golf umbrella


I took this photo standing on Eveleigh St. I've never walked down Eveleigh St before. In my mind it has always been a no go zone, a place I fear to tread. Buildings squat like crabs under the skyline of the city in Eveleigh St; I don't know what I was expecting when I crossed the road from Redfern Station and turned right slapping each foot on the road I thought I'd never walk down. I've heard people talk about a hum in the air, I couldn't hear anything but I felt a sort of internal pressure pressing me forwards through the pouring rain. This morning my problem was a confused and earnest one.

Intellectually I wanted to be there, right there at the Aboriginal Community Centre in Redfern, I wanted to say I was part of that, I saw that but on the walk down I kept feeling and feeling. The last thing I wanted to be was an emotional tourist. What right did I have as a non-Indigenous Australian to feel. When I got there I was close to tears until an Aboriginal man walked right up to me and gave me two flags, the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag. He grinned at me and said "Don't forget the Australian flag too" as he handed me one "after all we are Australian." It sounded like a corny scripted line but his grin was infectious and I pushed into the crowd clutching my three paper flags and a golf umbrella.

The Aboriginal Community Centre in Redern sits in stark contrast to the surrounding buildings. It is large, modern and airy like its been dropped in from outer space. I stood towards the back in a sea of umbrellas feeling awkward and wishing I could see people's faces. There was a short introduction to the day and a Welcome to Country then waiting for Kevin Rudd to appear on the big screen. The City of Sydney sent men in uniforms handing out raincoats. The Socialist Alliance sent annoying fuckers with magazines. Suddenly it happened and I stopped thinking and started feeling all over again.

I've been in crowds of drunken bastards shouting and bringing in the new year, I've stood on the edge of the harbour while the City of Sydney exploded its money in the night sky and all around people cheer and stare astonished but I've never stood in a crowd of people busting wide open with everything you could ever feel all at once. Something lifted, pushed up by the communal emptying of lungs with spontaneous joyful noise.

I was part of something this morning, my feet, my umbrella, my paper flags. I feel like a citizen of a new nation.

=================
I left after Kevin Rudd's speech to walk to the office. I was not present to feel the effect of Brendan Nelson and his ill-chosen mean spirited hurtful words.

I'm going down Redfern

To see the speech on the big screen. It is pissing down, I still brushed my hair. This is a big day.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

I failed to remember that the sheep is not poisonous or How do humans steer?

Arrant is how Zissou just described this blog in an email. I'm not sure why he chose now of all times to read my blog for the first time. The invention of shark pants is not my finest hour.

My bottom is still sore. Yesterday I went for a longish walk to stretch out the muscles but I kept nearly crashing into people on Enmore Rd. This got me wondering about how humans steer. Grizelda and I had a go at walking then turning in the kitchen. Grizelda concluded that humans steer with their feet however I concluded that humans steer with their hips. I tried getting grizelda to put her hands on her hips and feel for movement when she decided to change direction, she still disagrees.

This whole human steering business has me once again remembering the horse. Whenever I was riding a good horse the signals for steering and change of speed, pace or impulsion are very subtle. For example a slight bracing of abdominal and lower back muscles can either shorten stride length and increase impulsion or transition down to a slower gait such as from canter to trot, trot to walk or walk to halt depending the emphasis used. Once I rode borrowed a friend's horse for a pony club exam, this was a mistake as her horse was used to camp drafting and barrel racing whereas my horse was more of a dressage horse. Whilst demonstrating that I could adequately control a horse at full gallop I sat up quite tall, braced my abdomen and lower back and slightly stiffened my elbows. This would have caused my horse to slow nicely into a very rounded canter, my friend's horse slid to a sudden motionless halt. The result was amnesia and yet another set of x-rays.

Pondering boringly about horses does not solve my problem. How do humans steer?

Sorry

If I was a speech writer for the Prime Minister then today is the day I would officially shit my pants. I've been reading speeches from past Prime Ministers, Presidents and Monarchs. If you are going to say sorry for over 200 years of unbelievable horribleness of every single kind to the entire Aboriginal nation then you better make it a good sorry. Like I said if I was the one drafting the speech for tomorrow I would be wearing multi-layered disposable absorbent pants. I'm imagining that the pants would operate automatically in the manner of shark's teeth in the way that the old used pants simply come off and and a new layer of pants moves effortlessly forward to take the place of the older used pants. This is a very sensible system and whoever invented the shark should be commended. I myself invented the cow and more recently the goat.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Manic skimming

Yesterday I read a sentence in a book. I must find that sentence again. I'm going mad skimming every line with a sort of manic glass eyed intensity.

It was something like

Irreducibly ugly and perfect like a caesarean operation.

It refers to the tone and language of a poem. I must find it.

Plunge and scrub

My bottom hurts. I was going to say it was because I met a man and he did this thing but I'm hopeless at telling a lie. I hurt my bottom washing bras in a bucket in the bathtub. I was kneeling on the bathroom floor leaning over into the bath doing the whole plunge and scrub whilst singing a merry tune. The backs of my thighs started to get sore and then my bottom. I had no idea kneeling in that sort of position whilst doing the plunge and scrub would make my bottom hurt but hurt it does. I might pretend it is sore from ballet, just for a little while, I don't do ballet.

The reason I am plunging and scrubbing is because, as any lady knows, sending your bras off to the laundromat with other stuff for a bag wash is exactly the same as standing in the middle of a highway tearing up fifty dollar notes. I guess you could stand anywhere really I just added the highway for speediness.

My washing machine became ill last weekend, the washing machine repair man pronounced it dead on Friday afternoon. A sad affair all round. The Spatula offered to go halves in a new one so shopping we went. I am very pleased with our purchase. It will arrive on Wednesday. In Finland they call Wednesday "the little weekend' and it is usual to go out as though it was Friday night, this is not my usual custom.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Is there a difficulty?

I want to write an advertisement but do not know how to word it. I was recently talking to some very serious (about their writing) writers, all with books published and was astonished to learn that they all belong to writers' groups. Some of these groups have been together for twenty years. Infiltrating an established group like that is out of the question, joining one at the NSW Writers' Centre is also out of the question as they mostly seem too formal and are often a sort of training course. I don't want anymore study. I have studied enough for now.

What I do want is a small band of allies. A small group of people committed enough to meet regularly and offer criticism in a helpful, reliable and ongoing way. This where I have a problem. How on earth I am going to find such people. The world is littered with people who say they are writing novels but are not really writing novels. I am fussy and would rule out romance, science fiction, nonfiction, children's books, young adult and poetry, this is because I would not be able to offer helpful criticism to their work more than anything else.

My initial attempts at drafting an ad are crap. Exhibit A.

Wanted. People who write books who are not fucktards.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Good lord!

Look at this.

Faith is not necessary

It is real and does not need imagining or inventing. Ted Hughes, an insightful twat, wrote in a letter "The impression of enormous energy having been exerted is really the battle you've had with yourself." He was of course referring to a day spent writing and not writing. Sometimes I hear people chastise themselves for living and fearing and struggling despite a lack of external demons. There are no wars here, no fire-breathing crushing oppressors, not here on the Light Continent, the Lucky Country.

I have spent some years in reflection on this topic, wondering just what is this invisible burden that would press me into the ground. My Grandparents, now they had external demons; Changi & Shanghai POW camps, crossing oceans, learning languages, the memory of the depression and the tangible loss of loved ones to that mad world violence. What is my struggle? My father was the child of immigrants perhaps that was his. My mother had her own socially constructed struggle but mine, mine is newly formed in words.

It is not new to be at war with yourself. This is not my invention. I'm putting down the burden of wondering at struggling over intangibles and that creeping shame that it is not right to feel battleworn when I have employment and such food and shelter that I have enough to share and still grow fat and be warm. My high quality sheets do not help with my manuscript. My fresh salad and chicken poached with herbs picked from the deck do not help with my manuscript.

I am exhausted and worn flat with attempting to manufacture strings of words. My sentences will not run. My paragraphs sit opposed to each other. The alphabet is ready but scrambled, bastard undecipherable code, and all the while I am raging against this. I am raging for this. I am not imagining the anxiety, joy, hatred, frustration, exhaustion, terror and effort required just to think about writing. This invisible battle is mine and its real.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Found object: pen


This pen was found in Melbourne, in a letterbox by Martin. He picked it up and took it inside because I posted it to him. This is not precisely how the experiment is supposed to work but its a start.

In 1986 I acquired the pen from my father after he got an exciting new shiny white one, with a tiny clock set into the top of it so you could just glance down and immediately see the time. I thought that a pen-on-a-rope was the height of practical yet stylish sophistication. My fear is that so did my father.

In a shock announcement my mother told me that last night she broke her foot, doing a handstand.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

A gown, a theodolite and a garbage truck driver


I drove to work this morning. I couldn't bear one more day of walking through the door sopping wet despite my large red umbrella with hearts on it. Waiting at the lights to turn onto Salisbury Rd a garbage truck turned across the intersection at high speed. I caught a glimpse of the driver steering the truck calmly with a centred grace. He made the truck's turn sinuous with his large tattooed arms and I had an alarming moment of oooh.

Waiting at the lights near RPA a medical person was standing waiting to cross the road. He was wearing one of those green doctory pyjama suits, a hospital gown and a paper shower cap. I'm not sure why he was wearing those things out on the road. I thought the idea was that they were sterile clothes less likely to kill patients with deadly infecting things. He was holding two cups of coffee.

Waiting at the lights to turn onto City Rd a man on the corner was peering intently into his theodolite. He was a precise study of concentration and my third example of things you can do when you grow up. What if your career choices were limited to the examples you saw on the street one day? What if this is precisely what happened to me? What if one day when I was small I walked past an arts administrator and author but didn't realise it? Perhaps I should have walked past the Prime Minister instead.

I dined with Ron & Rita in Tamanas tonight. We sat peaceably shovelling a variety of curries and naan into our faces with Ronita (Ron & Rita's child) sitting quietly so long as she was sat upon Rita. This disappointed me as I had successfully, for the first time in my life, set up a high chair. Afterwards I snaffled Ronita and she sat very nicely on my lap attempting to spoon fig sorbet into her little mouth with a plastic spoon. Ron & Rita surprised me with a giant takeaway container of fig sorbet. A whole giant container just for me! They are the bringers of joy.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Dutch Ambassador's tea cups are a mystery to me

More than anything today I wish to know what kind of tea cups the Dutch Ambassador uses. My washing machine is making sad beeping noises and flashing its little lights. It will not wash no matter which combination of rude words are thrown into the incantation. The teamleading proactive customer relationship building active telephonic woman asked if Friday afternoon was a convenient time for the washing machine repair man to come around. Hell yes, is what I said. Who doesn't want a half day on Friday?

I left a box of miniature crayons in The Duke tonight, with a little swing tag saying 'daleslamma.blogspot.com'. Boli looked at me sideways when I told him my plan. He turned the tiny tin box over and over in his giant palms and said "that's the only way you can do it, isn't it?". He's right, it is the only way I can do it. I am incapable of shedding this traveling snailhouse skin in any other fashion. I'm not sure what it is about this plan that makes it ok to say goodbye to things I have treasured since memory kickstarted its bastard regime but it is ok. This is a joyful unburdening.

Yesterday I got busted on the train. By busted I mean a whole carriage full of besuited morning commuters saw me hang a fuck ugly necklace on a hand rail just before the doors opened and I jumped off at my allotted daily spot. It must have clanged. Its a huge fuck ugly necklace strung with stones and ceramic bits. I was listening to The Rolling Stones and trying my very best not to bust out some bad silent dance moves so I didn't hear the stones clang against the metal railing. I thought I was a spy, better than a spy, I thought I was Super Dale being super secret squirrel in a stealthy casual International Dale of Mystery kind of a way but when I snuck a peek to see if the necklace was hanging nicely I noticed the whole carriage was staring straight at me. The doors started to close on the train so I executed an undignified scrambling leap, the whole carriage watched me out of the windows as the train slid away.

They must not be curious, those staring commuters, not one person has bothered to leave a comment asking about the fuck ugly necklace. I wonder if anyone ever will.

First movement tacit, second movement tacit, third movement tacit

I am waiting for someone to find an object and leave a comment. I am not known for my patience.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Sunday night

Bastard wasteland. So tempting to succumb to its indigo pull. Bastard wasteland of a night.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Reverse treasure hunt

I have a new experiment. I imagine I am feeling the physical weight of these objects. I have carried so many things with me from house to house from life to life. This is shedding. I am taking things I no longer want or need, one at a time, and leaving them for others to find. Where I am able to I am writing daleslamma.blogspot.com on the bottom or inside, otherwise I am writing it on a tag and tying it on with string or ribbon.

It is my hope that each object might catch someone's eye, might be collected as a new treasure. I am hoping that someone who finds an object might visit here and tell me what they found and where they found it. If anyone does I will write about the object, where I got it, who I got it from and when. I'm starting small but I'll work my way up. This is my new daily task.

Tomorrow

I begin depositing treasures around Newtown.

Should I stay or should I go now (to get new curtains)?

Frightful shock whilst in deepest slumber. The cat launched herself from the bedhead onto my stomach then out of the room as fast and as hard as she could. Seconds later a prehistoric sound with simultaneous thump that felt like it rocked the house.

This morning my curtains are shredded and there are torn and shredded parts in the metal fly screen mesh. I don't know what the hell happened. Was it the mean cat from next door? Could a cat do that?

Friday, 1 February 2008

Invisible velocity

It has been gathering, moving at an invisible velocity. I have been waiting to receive it keeping occupied with letters strung together in a kind of code. This alphabet lover.

I have the urge to delve into the large cupboard bordering the right side of the square table I use as a desk. I am wearing pyjama pants loose and long, a silk top and high heeled boots. I can not walk in them but they do not impede typing. There are too many things in this cupboard though they are neatly arranged. I have a row of white magazine holders on the top shelf, I have a bookshelf fitted nicely inside the cupboard, the magazine holders are full of I know not what except for the one full of empty, fresh and colourful manila folders. I have printed my manuscript and will now divide into parts, using scissors where necessary. I have no chapters and have become bogged down in the long breakless text. I must master this project. I will not be dictated to by a neat pile of typed pages. I am the director, the creator, the shaper of this manuscript and I must take it in a firm grasp.

I am home today. I spent most of the morning running ragged trips to the bathroom having inadvertently devoured cheese disguised as something else in my dinner last night. I felt too ill to telephone the office so I sent an email saying I would be late. I was expecting to improve rapidly as the poison left my system but I fell into a dozing stupor, exhausted by inner contractions, expulsions and crampings. I telephoned after ten o'clock to say I would not come in to the office at all. I did not speak to the boss, I suspect he will not be happy. The piles of work on my desk are literally piles but I will not dwell on that thought. It was impossible to leave the house. Impossible. Sometimes a lady requires close proximity to her home toilet.

And now to the cupboard, the folders, the desk, the manuscript. I will eek purpose from this day.