Saturday, May 30, 2009

Scone Triumph

Steph has hit the scone jackpot. And don't they look amazing?

I've only made scones once, and they were a disaster. Next time I'm following the CWA recipe!

Friday, May 29, 2009

a terrible thing

i see
the girl across the road
in an oversized t-shirt
her limbs falling out from the sleeves
like branches
her face red, her braces
glistening in the morning sun.
tears from her eyes
dripping like wax

I ask: cup of tea
as if it were a full sentence
but the full stop comes early
and it's jail jail jail
he can't go there again she says

it's the cool darkness of the gravel road
before her that she can't stand on;
the path too dangerous
cars too fast
fists ready to roll

her face contorts as she swears
not at me, but beyond me
at the grey horizon
hoping to make amends
for the thing she hasn't done
the words she spoke in haste

but the soles of her feet are
jammed to the concrete
and she can't move on
stringy hair sticking to damp face
legs purple with fear

he with his leather and lace
surly burly curly hair
wanting to belt the lot of us
into the sky

where do his thoughts go
when later that day he's
sitting across the table
from a woman
a police woman
with a husband and children;
one, a girl toasting life
with a full glass
ready to be smashed

a terrible thing

Last Sunday, before morning church I woke not to my alarm, but to the sound of a woman wailing and sobbing.

I waited a few seconds, to make sure I wasn't dreaming, then lifted up my blinds and looked out the window of my bedroom, which has a clear view onto the street below, and out to Parramatta Road.

I could see a young woman (perhaps she was just a girl) wearing an-oversized t-shirt and tracksuit pants, standing in an alcove outside the apartment block across the road.

She was sobbing and crying out for a jacket and thongs.

I didn't know what was going on, or why she was there. Sure there is a pub next door, but it had closed hours ago, and she didn't seem drunk, just extremely upset.

I thought about what to do. I had many jumpers I didn't mind giving her, and I could offer her a cup of tea and a chat. Figuring I was safe enough, I went out in my PJs with a jumper that I never wear.

She was red faced, and had long stringy, tear-filled hair and braces. I had no idea how old she was.

At first, she didn't want to talk. "I'm fine. I'm fine", she kept saying. She was not fine.

I offered the jumper, which she accepted. It hung off her slight body like a wet tea towel. It just looked wrong. But at least she would be warm.

Not knowing her circumstances, or if I was intruding, I asked her what had happened. Between sobs she said she had been locked out of the apartment block by her boyfriend, who had come home at 6am "And that's when it all started", she said.

I felt a strong urge to hug her. I wanted to comfort her and take her home and offer her shelter and be the mother she needed right now. But she was around my age and it would be absurd to play that role.

So I told her that if her boyfriend was abusing her, she didn't need to put up with it. She could call the police, and leave the relationship.

"But then he'd go back to jail," she said.

My heart curled into a ball. The complexity of the situation was starting to overwhelm me. I could not imagine how she had been dealing with it herself.

I offered her my phone, and once again a cup of tea. She said again, "I'm ok."

At that moment, a man who looked angry, but not out of control came around the corner near the pub. He walked what seemed too calmly towards me. As his eyes met mine I suddenly realised - it's him.

He threw the security pass at her, and said directly to me: "Why don't you just f'n call the police? That'll solve it. Just call the f'n police." His eyes were locked on me, but I didn't feel scared, just sad.

Then he hurled words at her. "You're so f'n ugly. You're evil. You're evil." He said, seething.

"I hate you too." she said.

Then, she said something I never expected, and couldn't understand. "Well it can only get better. Can't it? We can only do better than this."

Was I hearing right? Did she just offer to kiss and make up? She was being enveloped by irrational thoughts. I didn't know what to do. Part of me wanted to say "Are you crazy?"

Her boyfriend crouched down and looked at his phone. Being drunk, he couldn't punch the numbers properly. Eventually he got the combination right: 000.

I still don't know why he called the number. He walked away.

I again asked the girl if she wanted to use my phone, or come up for a cup of tea. She said no.

I felt there was nothing else I could do, and while he wasn't being violent perhaps she could go inside.

Once more I told her she didn't need to put up with his abuse. But she was still crying, just staring past me into the morning sun.

I went home, and started to make breakfast. It felt wrong to go back to my stable life of morning coffee and toast, but I didn't know what else to do.

Within 10 minutes, I heard shouting and screaming coming from the street. I ran back to my bedroom window. All I could see was the man threatening her across the street, forming fists and punching the air. It looked so petty, like a dog barking aimlessly at passersby. But I knew he was capable of more than that.

When he started to cross the road towards her, while yelling and threatening her, I thought I had to ring the police.

It felt awful. What if it sent him back to jail? Suddenly I understood the position she was in.

I rang. As I was describing the scene, a police car pulled up outside the apartment. Instantly the boyfriend dropped his fists and assumed 'victim position'. Shoulders shrugged, he spoke to the police.

Across the road, another officer was speaking to a girl wearing my jumper. I was relieved. From the apartments above, an old man watched on.

I went back to getting ready for church and had a shower. After getting dressed, I looked again through the window. The boyfriend was in the back of a police wagon, while the girl was still talking to the police.

That was the last I saw of them both.

To be honest, the whole incident really threw me. What disturbed me most was the control he had over her. She felt powerless to defend herself, and even wanted to protect him from jail.

The other thought that kept going through my mind was: this happens nightly, daily even, in people's homes everywhere. I just happened to see it played out on the street. And I am powerless to help those people.

It made me thankful that we live in a society where the police actually come to incidents like this, where women are encouraged to speak up against violence. But it made me so sad for that girl, and for the hundreds like her who are silenced, to scared and manipulated to get out of toxic relationships.

Well, yesterday Jo tells me she was locked out again, screaming and wailing. Two people went to offer help to her, and she told them to leave her alone. I can only guess he was taken to the station on Sunday, but charges weren't laid.

Today, I saw a police car outside the apartment block.

I don't know when she will realise she needs help, and has the power to say no. I don't know when he will realise he is an abuser.

It is a terrible thing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Poisoned Chalice

So I've just heard that the new Editor of The Monthly (which I'm a subscriber to), is a 23 year old former arts student from Melbourne. That's my age and background! Granted, he's been doing a PhD in Baltimore for the last few years, and is an extremely gifted writer. But hey... that's crazy!

This is hugely controversial, given the recent exit of 39-year-old Sally Warhaft from the position.

I can't help but think it's a poisoned chalice for the young guy. From what I understand a lot of their key writers have stated they'll no longer write due to the sacking of Warhaft, and of those that are left, who knows if they'll respect a 23-year-old?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Can't get you out of my head

For me, this photo sums up the intrigue surrounding Harvey Cushing's existence. He was known as an aloof, oftentimes capricious character. His family were seemingly neglected in the pursuit of science, and yet he was so dearly loved by his assistants, who made him this cake, to celebrate his 2000th brain surgery.
Everything about this man and his life is fascinating. I've done a bit of writing, but I think I need to plan everything more. It's good to get something down on paper though.

sydney writers festival

my friend, up close

cockatoos at the botanical gardens

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A little quiet

It's a little quiet here at the moment. It's not that I've stopped thinking. I've been thinking quite a lot - about the ethics of writing, about harvey cushing, about brain surgery, quantum physics, the history of the Jewish people, eternity. You know, all the normal stuff.

I'm just not inspired to write much here right now. But soon, my friends.

WOW wedding

I don't normally gush over these things... but this wedding is stunning.
They made the most amazing hand-crafted invitations ... with photos taken on a blue piano in a field!... and typewriters with music rolls as your table centrepiece?! gush gush gush.
PLUS the groom MADE the bride's dress!!

Photos from iDiY

Thursday, May 7, 2009

autumn in polaroid

Anniebee's autumn sky

Dells bells in berlin

autumn light by futuro woman

oh, autumn! michibanban

light bulb, polifemus

10 things to do this Autumn

....# Go for a long walk, with something interesting to listen to, be it the radio, a podcast, an album you love... or just listen to the world. Breathe the crisp air in and treasure it!
....# Make a giant pot of steaming hot pumpkin soup with crusty bread and a dollop of plain yoghurt, and give some to your neighbour.
....# Go to your local library, and pick up a book by an author you've never heard of and read it.
....# Go to the beach, all rugged up, with a picnic (or fish and chips) and share it with someone. Make sure you bring a warm jumper!
....# Write a poem, with a reference to Autumn.
....# Help out at a soup kitchen, or knit a blanket for Wrap with Love
....# Go some place with a woodfire, and just sit there, reading, talking, laughing.
....# Visit the writers festival. Go to an event that you haven't circled, that you wouldn't normally go to. Be surprised :)
....# Catch the train somewhere, anywhere really that's out of Sydney. And enjoy watching the countryside pass you by.
....# Think of all the things you can be thankful for, and be thankful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Autumn attire

A selection of beautiful handmade scarves selling on Etsy. I'm currently knitting my own, boring scarf that is nothing like these. But we live in hope!..

I love the colours and texture in this scarf from Acke

This scarf by ecologicalartist is the reason why presentation is everything (nice photography) on etsy. At $200 you'd want this to be made of some amazing stuff, and it is. All hand spun, woven and knitting. The materials are peace silk - collected from the wild in India (of course..) and Oaxacan cochineal (from some insect thing) and organic wool from a local farm! Wow.

This is a handwoven silk scarf by True Blue Ltd. Looks super soft and beautiful.

I love the novelty factor with this cupcake scarf, and the model/crafter looks exactly like a friend from high school (don't you reckon, Steph?), and they even have the same last name. Freaky.

This wonderful scarf is made from a recycled, vintage bed spread! Cool huh? So beautiful and silky soft...

Hah love this. What a huge huge scarf - called a Soopascarf. The colour is a dreamy oatmeal. And what an awesome photo. By Yokoo.

More Yokoo love. This time a sweet pea green.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Autumn celebrated in verse and prose

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

John Keats - Ode to Autumn.

My sorrow, when she's here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Robert Frost - My November Guest.

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves
away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long.

E. E. Cummings

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson - Nature XXVII, Autumn.

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn

Emily Bronte

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer
is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Autumn wins you best by this, its muteAppeal to sympathy for its

Robert Browning

A celebration of Autumn

This week I'm going to celebrate Autumn on my blog.
It's my favourite season - the leaves change colour, the air is crisp, you can wear scarves and other winter trappings without feeling like the Michelen man like you do in winter. It also heralds the start of hibernation: nights under a woolen blanket on the couch watching a tearjerker, trips to the blue mountains, hot chocolate with marshmallows, light and frosty mornings...
To start with, here are some photos of Autumn, taken in Orange exactly two years ago (has it been that long!?)..

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sounds of life

I work from home a few hours a week, and when I'm in my bedroom on the computer, I hear all sorts of interesting things. You see, I live 60 steps away from a pub, and 70 from Parramatta Road.

The dominant sounds are traffic and birds, which I don't mind.

The less dominant, although more arresting sounds are:
people yelling (usually alcohol induced)
motorcycle clubs blowing up
and lately..
people coughing, vomiting or spitting.

My neighbour seems to have some form of pneumonia or emphysema which sounds pretty bad. Our apartment blocks are about 1.5 metres away from each other, and the sound echoes between them.

There's also a car dealership round the corner, and the employees come out for a smoko near my window, and one of them has a habit of hoicking spit globs up just when I'm settling down to write something. Nice!

I'm pretty happy living in the city, and without the occassional aural ambush, I think I'd be unsettled.

What do you hear where you live?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good news and Bad news

Good news: The new poet laureate has been appointed, and it's Carol Ann Duffy, the first ever female PL.

Bad news: The ability to live purely off writing is doomed, according to Ian Jack in this article from the Guardian.