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That old devil called the past: Week 21: Blogging for Survival

Today I did a survey. It took about 12 minutes. It tried to measure how much I worry in relation to how much I believe in a god. And yet in the eons that have made up my lifetime I have never previously made that connection.

And yes there is definitely a connection. I worry about God a lot.

I remember listening to babies cry in church. Becoming fussy in the arms of their silent, anxious parents. Once their noise hit the appropriate level of nuisance they were banished, along with their carer to the ‘Mothers room’ out the back. A room that smelt of stale farts and moulding draperies. A room where the Sunday sermon was piped in through a crackling old speaker salvaged from the wreck of the Hesperus. A room that made babies cry even louder.

There were the Deacons. A group of men who held the church congregation to ransom and whose role was as mysterious as the Knights Templar but with less costuming. Holding secret meetings, counselling wayward boys and judging women who didn’t behave. They were fun.

And the array of prohibitions that seemed as interminable as the wives of Solomon. There were the boundary disputes: Who could go to heaven, who might go to heaven, who, I’m sorry, just didn’t make the grade. The generosity police; who could give, who could receive, who could love, who could forgive. And the exercise limitations; When you could have sex, dance, gamble and drink. Or not.

Communion was also a terrible ordeal. Those beautiful little glasses clinking in the tray, topped up with the most delicious looking red cordial and the neat squares of crustless white bread, fit for an angels tea party. But no, not for the experimentalists. I tried some anyway. Hanging back after everyone started to file out and guzzling the dregs from the discarded glasses. And it’s funny now, thinking back, because that is actually a skill I have maintained. You know. Trying things I’m not supposed to. And drinking other peoples booze.

Oh yeah. The animal sacrifice. The ritual slaughter of the roast chicken. Put on to cook by the minister’s wife, on low, in a covered frypan at 8.30 on a Sunday morning. By the time it was consumed at 12.30, that animal had really suffered.

And Mrs Haig’s singing. Lifting her voice in exultation. It really scarred me.

And it’s not that I think this has any connection to God.

And that’s why I worry.

Regrets of the living: Week 20: Blogging for Survival

Gosh there is a whole whammy of self-help out there.

Also lots of lists. Of the ‘five things you should know’ variety. But clearly don’t.

I have paid these lists a little more attention than is good for me. Particularly those hideous masochistic ones like five ways to tell if your partner is cheating on you and five things you should never eat again and five things not to say to a person in crisis. Unfortunately I read all of these after the fact.

I’m taking an interventionist approach. So I read ‘five regrets of the dying’ and perpetrate a new level of guilt warfare on my psyche. After reading it through a couple of times I realise it isn’t really about regrets. It’s about wishes. ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, I wish I’d been brave enough to express my feelings, I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends and I wish that I had let myself be happier’.

And wishing is a state of hope, even if takes us to the saddest, darkest places. It is for the living to have regrets, so if we are good at time management we can get to work on them with a reasonable chance of return. A regret investment.

Channeling the self help counter culture, not embracing the ‘have no regrets’ part of me, I get to work on my list. I chew through a block of chocolate and most of my Zen in the process because I’ve called my self delusion in for a show down.

I cut. I edit. I rearrange until I realise I’m still doing one of the things I regret. I look longingly at some of the regrets in the recycle bin. Some of them look longingly back at me and whisper seductively, ‘you want us, in all our melancholy stickiness, you know you do’. And I do. I know I do. One in particular won’t go without a fight. I was 7. I teased a girl named Wendy Breany. I called her a fatty bombardi. She cried. But there it is. In the bin.

I settle on the final five;

I regret eating animals,
I regret believing in a hierarchy of forms,
I regret not noticing pain. Mine, my child’s and my worlds,
I regret not chasing beauty to her lair and
I regret only discovering Florence and the Machine last week.

Tonight I’m letting myself go. I apologise to Wendy Breany. I have been tormenting her with regret for way too long. She needs to be free. Likewise the chances to be kind, brave and just. And to be an aerobics instructor. I savour the taste of this glorious nostalgie. But before I get too comfortable I remind myself that this sweet romance with lament cannot go on forever. At some point I will have to start thinking like a good economic rationalist and get to work on my investments.

I start making another list. Tofu, soya milk, lentils……

Stars in her sky: Week 18: Blogging for survival

On your anniversary. I remember you with love.

Donna was born under a rare planetary alignment.  In cosmic terms, Donna’s life was a galaxy and in that galaxy, we were all her stars. Like a true child of the universe Donna felt and responded to the push and pull of the planets, sensitive to the workings of the great forces of this life, in ways that many of us earth bound creatures could only wonder at.

For Donna, creation held more wonder than the stuff and nonsense of the purely earthly plane. She revered the wisdom of all feeling creatures past, present and future and held close to her the memory of the child she was and the beautiful and fragile child within all of us.

In many ways Donna is still as mysterious to me as the day I met her 20 years ago. However I remember that day with joy because I thought an elf had taken human form and come to make mischief amongst us. I still think that. The mischief that Donna made in this world, amongst us, the people she drew into her orbit, was the mischief of surprise. Surprise at her depth of loyalty, commitment to those she loved and the offering up of a kind of relationship that was as unique as it was unrelenting. Donna loved for life.

On us she bestowed many offerings. Incense for all occasions, smudge sticks to chase away our demons, prayers and mantras for our souls suffering, marri sap syrup for sore teeth, herbs, potions and remedies for the troubles of our time. Only Donna would perform reiki on a broken down Volkswagen. In her inimitable style Donna suspected the world of modern medicine and doctors of conspiring to steal our souls. Those bastards she said would be the ruin of the world.

Of all of her gifts to us, it is the gift of her life that we are here today to honour and celebrate. For many of you who experienced one of Donnas massages, you will know that the woman had a vice like grip. One Christmas Donna surprised us all with a family gift voucher for her massages. We draw straws to see which one of us would be the first victim. When Donna got a hold of you, she didn’t surrender easily.

Donna did not surrender the love she had for this life and the people whose lives she touched. She cared for many of our children and with the force and love of a Mother hen watched them anxiously as they grew into adulthood. When any of them tripped and fell or got tangled up and bewildered by the journey into adulthood, she suffered for them. To her, those connections were a gift and she treasured them and grew them as her investments in the universe.

Loving Donna is not for the feint hearted. At any time Donna could catch you off guard. Donna held our hearts and minds accountable for any traces of wounding that threatened us. Loving Donna was our act of surrender. Giving way to her determination to live on her own terms and to challenge us all to wear life like a pair of her multi coloured leggings. In Donna we had a talisman against growing old and cynical and crusty. For she loved that we loved her for that.

Donna would quarantine a rooster for sexual misdemeanours, Donna would make wishes for the health of our gardens, Donna could talk you into doing a past life regression with her  and Donna would tell you that she loved you every time that she saw you.  We were always reassured that our star was in her sky. Many times she would say how lucky she was to love the people in her world. Many times I would think…………this has nothing to do with luck but more the opening of our hearts to the kindest, gentlest soul we will ever meet.

Donna loved her time at the Aboriginal community in Yuendumu and the insights she gained during that time always stayed with her. She would speak of the Indigenous love of country as a love that she shared and felt priveleged to be part of. Donna loved this earth and everyday she expressed both humility and wonder at being a part of it. Her fire ring was built to honour and welcome the elders of our land and her garden reflected her love of wild and untamed beauty. Donna missed those she had lost and sought to keep them alive in her daily world. She would speak of her Mother and the daily conversations she held with her. With each passing of a life Donna would commit to honouring and remembering the best of them.

Donna honoured the living as well as the dead. Her life spoke of the rhythm of the past, the present and the future, with the hope that one day we would all be as one. She loved her Charles and would muse on her good fortune to be born in the same lifetime as this generous and loving mate.

In true Donna style she could be relied upon to take the piss out of anyone. We shared a mutual friend named Richard who she longed to embarrass. The occasion presented itself one day when he was saying something he thought was rather serious. Donna walked into the room and yelled out in her booming voice…….”Hello Big Dick!”……….and then burst into her wild laughter. Donnas laugh could break glass.  She was always able to laugh at herself and never missed the irony in this theatre of life. Donna laughed and Donna cried and Donna expressed every emotion in between. And I loved that in her because she always expressed what I could not. To me, she was the most otherwordly, interesting, frustrating and mischievous person I have ever known.

It will take 176 years for the planets to align again in the way they did when Donna was born. At that moment another child will be born. That child I hope will offer the world again some of the mystery of life. That child will not walk amongst us however, Donnas stars. What Donna loved us for was our ability to see her in her beauty and uniqueness and in many ways it was our love for her that made us more than ordinary people. I do not grieve for Donna. I grieve for our lives without her.

Doing hard time déjà vu: Week 17: Blogging for survival.

I can’t predict the future. When it arrives, I know I’ve seen it before. Lately, this road trip, with long stretches without a petrol station, has got me looking at the empty gauge. Unable to tear my eyes away lest the little wavering dial finally drops below the red E. And I’m stranded, in this lifetime, like a Cyclops. With no vision of the future, except the moment of its ending.

Hindsight is awesome. I have used it to make myself feel superior on many occasions. Like when my friend invited me to join her on a holiday and I said I would rather drive a stake through my foot. In hindsight I decided that I would phrase that differently next time. Although I suspect she may have her own brand of hindsight on that. And then there was the wedding video, and my Mother in law and my voice carried and the video had sound and I didn’t realise. Yeppers. In hindsight. No more Mothers in law. And the Sambuca. A whole bottle. On an empty stomach. Hmm. Yeah. In hindsight. Lots of cheese sandwiches next time. Then there was the time share, the yellow hot pants and those liquid blue eyes….

So. Hindsight. Thanks a million. You didn’t save me from myself at the time, but you enabled me to reauthor the events so adeptly that I came out smelling like roses. In my mind at least. Except for the hot pants.

Prescience, precognition and déjà vu need another alphabet of analogies to begin to describe. How there is no chance to return and rewrite. How there is no second and third person narrative. How the experience pushes the override button on ego, logic, reason and natural inhibition. How it demands that you be so fully present in the moment of living something twice that you wonder how you survived it the first time. And just how much life is distraction.

Sometimes it’s the small things. The sentence you can finish for someone else. The person who is knocking at the door. The clothes you knew they would be wearing. Why someone is sad. The name they will call their baby. The lover they are yet to meet. The secret they haven’t told you. The wish they haven’t made. The hope they dare not give voice to. Moments. Insights. Slicing into the space between hearts.

I take these in my stride. An added bonus on the perception spectrum. Generally a handy enough talent.

Recently, however, the safety switch malfunctioned. After a trip to Nepal. Becoming one big prescient present. Memory, feeling and foreknowledge coagulating on each half spoken word. Dulling any sense of curiosity and deadening the lightness of being. For a lover of divination, and clairvoyant junkie, this is a bad trip..

The one who knows me well suggested I attempt a simple logic puzzle. You know. To try and activate the non functioning side of my brain. After two days I asked her to send me the solution. ‘No’, she said, ‘there is still plenty more for you to try in the book’.

And that’s the problem. I have the solutions. A lifetimes worth. No idea what to though. How do you work back from the end?

Heavy with my own importance I’m half watching the man on the beach with lanterns. It’s a blue-black sky. He approaches and holds a lantern aloft. ‘Do you want to make a wish?’ Pfftt. I’ve seen this before. Pay the money. Light a candle. Let the lantern go. Go back to self satisfaction. He looks again with smiling eyes. ‘Not you. Your daughter’. So I turn to her. Do you want to make a wish? And she is running onto the beach. The woman child I knew before she was born. The moon girl. And she holds the lantern as it warms. Then releases it to the night, craning her neck to watch it take her wish heavenward. She is tingling and talking singing.

And I take a long, deep gulp of that wishful night air. I’ve never seen this moment before. And I’ll never see it again.

Kindness Nouveau: Week 16: Blogging for survival.

I fought my way out of sleep this morning. Quite relieved to bring consciousness to bear on the hell of my dream world. It was some epic horror story. I was alone. The last person in the world. I refused to give up. So whatever or whomever was in charge of this universe had left me to it. So it was just me really. And my high moral ground.

I considered the meaning of this. Literally and metaphorically. It’s not like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and hear the eerie silence of no one at home. Then walk to the shop and find the door to the Coke fridge wide open, the cash register blinking and an untouched pile of Sunday Times. Then check my phone and find I’m the only person active on Facebook and no one in the world has tweeted for 12 hours. That is not actually going to happen. Sorry Hollywood. Metaphorically however, I could say, I’ve just been told.

Truth, Versions of the Truth and what I know to be true create a vortex that could flatten towns and leave small animals cowering under rubble. The theatre of life is all well and good. I’m happy to watch you all improvise and interpret. Stepping in and out of character, reediting past story lines, deconstructing narrative forms, creating new family trees and erasing current love interests. Just don’t mess with my bit of the story.

I’m rethinking my strategy for the 100 year war. I have made it to the halfway point. And held the line. However I’ve spotted a few advance scouts recently. Casting a curious eye over what is mine. Some of them have maps. Which they roll out. They look at the empty, unclaimed space and they mark an x on it. That’s ours for the taking they say. No one lives here.

Some of them just wander in. Accidently. Drifters. They pick some fruit and water their horses. They rest awhile. Some clean away their leavings. Some inscribe their names on the living walls of the space. And some take mementos. Others were abandoned here. And sought refuge. Making little spaces in the warm earth into which they curl themselves. Round and small.

I wait in silence for them all to leave.

The cat that isn’t mine, and the baby who can say my name, insistently pull at the ragged edges of my storyline. Reshaping the silence. And the metaphor becomes a living, breathing present. Redraw your territory, open your borders, cede your tyranny or have a baby and a cat take you prisoner.

Someone lives here. And she says ‘welcome’.

 

No cows were harmed in the production of this blog: Week 15: Blogging for survival

Knee deep in the smoky water of the Ganges they sieve through the earthly remains of every body cremated here. There are teams of six, working in shifts around the clock. Scooping, sieving, flushing, scouring. Their job is to collect the jewelery of the dead. It belongs to the owner of the Ghat. It is the work of the untouchables. Except they don’t exist. Anymore. They say.  

Our jeep hurtles along a dusty outback track. Attempts are being made to seal sections of these roads. By hand. It is women who do the bulk of this work. The dry horizon is dotted with saris in every colour. Labouring in 45 degree heat with baskets of rubble on their heads. Their job is to pave the way of the future. The future that belongs to all people. Because the caste system doesn’t exist anymore. They say.

Returning from a night of feasting, our guide insists on stopping for a Jaipur delicacy at a road side stall. Our tuk tuk pulls over and he jumps out. I move to follow him and see that next to the stall is a small child, naked, sleeping. She is vulnerable and unprotected. His foot lands precariously close to her tiny form. I recoil, hiding in the shadowy darkness. Wrapping my sadness and indignation around me. Because this doesn’t happen where I come from. Anymore. They say.

I’m in the modest kitchen of the Gurdwara Sikh temple in New Delhi. Volunteers move around me. Stirring, chopping, mixing, rolling, serving, washing, measuring. Working. Without clamour, a mountain of food is being prepared and served. It is aromatic and nutritious. I ask how many are fed here on a daily basis. 20,000. Per day. I ask again. I cannot comprehend the arithmetic of this generosity. Because this doesn’t happen where I come from. If 20,000 people needed feeding in one day we would declare a state of National emergency.

And then I’m striking a deal for a beautifully embroidered kurta. It’s a well choreographed dance. He sets an astronomically high price and I say ‘I got two for less than that elsewhere’. He asks me where. I name another Indian city. He says ‘it’s different here’. ‘Not so much’ I say. ‘People are still people. Everyone is still trying to get by’. We move out of the temporal momentarily. ‘Ah yes’, he says, and nods his head. ‘But it’s not really about the money is it’? And he eyeballs me. ‘It’s about the dignity of the exchange’. And I nod my head and say, ‘yes, it is different here’.

And I’m losing my place in the dance. Because like Marion Milner says “Everything that one thinks one understands has to be understood over and over again, in its different aspects, each time with the same new shock of discovery.”

And I’m shocked. That doesn’t happen where I come from.

This train is bound for glory: Week 14: Blogging for survival

Overnight train from Varanasi to Agra. Going to sleep with the memory of the haunting ghats and waking to the anticipation of the Taj Mahal. Our little band of travelers quivers with excitement. We have been advised to bring our own food onto the train. The journey will be long. The food inconsistent and of dubious quality. We ask the hotel. They make us good food to go.

I cradle my carefully packed falafel and fruit salad during the tuk tuk ride to the station and guard it from harm as we push through the throngs on the platform. As we wait for our train I nurse a feeling of ‘I’m just so pleased with myself right now’. Having negotiated the physical and emotional territory of India during my journey I feel that really, I can rest smugly on my resilience and probably spend the long train journey writing a blog about how I have ‘found’ myself in India.

Our group is a source of curiosity. A little theatre within the larger drama of public transport. People watch us. We watch our bags. The gods watch the trains. And I watch my falafel. One of my travel companions has been valiantly attempting to get a mental foothold on the family tree of the Hindu gods. All 3 million. I wonder which one is present today.

We all turn towards each other, forming a loose boundary. Staking our little bit of personal space. Space that we have no claim to. In India. Space that we surrended when we chose. To travel. To ‘meet the local people’. ‘To see the real India’. Space that we each cling to. In our own way. Mine is in the shape of my falafel. Everything could go to hell in a handbag, but it’s OK. I have my supplies.

One brave soul makes a border crossing. Standing next to me in a green sari asking for something. Quietly and insistently. I feign indifference. And deafness. I avert my eyes. The epic horror of giving money to one needy person in India and being trampled to death on a train station flashes before me. She continues to ask. Only me. I continue to look away. And then she takes my hand. Gently. It’s the law of love. Compelling you to turn to those that touch you. She is beautiful. But her hands are a disaster. Burned and clawed. She isn’t asking for money. She needs food.

The falafel moves seamlessly from my hand to hers. She makes a small sound of pleasure. There is no stampede. One million starving kids don’t run me down looking for falafels. Life moves on.

Later we board the train. Indians are excellent travelers. They can make themselves into whatever shape is required. Compacting life into a cameo. And yet we struggle with our bags, ipads, travel blankets and sanitisers. We create impasses wherever we stand. Desperately seeking space and not finding it. Seizing it from others and not meaning too. Trying to share and not knowing how.

The night passes. Along with the many vendors. Bearing tray after tray of aromatic and exotic delights. Masala tea and enticing snacks. Offerings from the 3 million gods. Who are surprisingly alive and well. Riding the trains of India. And blessing the food. And the people. Even the silly ones. Who bring their own falafels.

The Alchemy of Goodbye: Week 12: Blogging for Survival.

It is early morning. I hear magpies. Calling the day into consciousness. Singing up the souls of the dead. Heralding yet another goodbye.

There is choreography to the pain. The busyness of packing luggage into the car, shuffling cases around, numerous trips into the house for forgotten dolls and shoes. Lengthening the moments, making small talk. There is a conversation about the planned route home and the likelihood of inclement weather, where we will stop for lunch and what time we might arrive. Then, we the children are delivered into the nauseating clutches of the family car, being told not to fight and to put our seatbelts on. Vainly attempting to draw our eyes away from our Mother. And her sadness.

The goodbyes of my childhood are infused with pathos. My Poppa, unable to find words, would cry each time he and my mother parted. My father, lying sobbing, on the body of our Labrador, dead from snake bite.  Jacky Utley. My childhood friend. Waving to me from her Dads’ station wagon. Heading to Canberra. Never to be seen again.  Myself at 15, leaving for a year abroad, with the youthful expectation of being able to return, in time, and pick up where I left off. And my first love. Each one, indelibly changing the structure of my memory.  

Today I’m on my way to the airport. My son is driving. And talking. A deeply understated human being, he uses words like semi precious stones. With care. I catch them. I hoard them. Greedily. My lucky charm for the days ahead. Future proofing my memory. With the chemical compound for goodbye.

In the lead up to my departure I listen for the words that signify the start of the sequence. They come. They are cast toward my retreating self. An amalgam of End Game statements and opening gambits. You are leaving again. This makes me feel alone.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel anxious.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel excited.  You are leaving again. This makes me feel your absence. 

The alchemy of all these goodbyes has distilled the raw elements into a powerful elixir. One that frames the present, capturing the beauty of those I love, urging me to love them more, in this moment, than ever before. The baby learns to say my name and the cat that isn’t mine decides to sleep on my bed. These little faces are unbearably soulful. And maybe they always are. It’s just today I am saying goodbye. Again.

The awareness of how much it all matters makes me wonder if I am the subject of a bad chemistry experiment by fourth grade extra terrestrials. There is an entire living planet in the throes of death and rebirth. Hellos and goodbyes. Now and forevers. For all that, I might as well be a brand new species. From the unbearable pathos genus. With no collective noun. Because it consists of only me. Racing toward extinction anytime soon.

To each goodbye I say, ‘that hurts’. ‘Damn that hurts’.

 And so, like the experiment I am, I yield at the thought of a scientific breakthrough. For if I discover the formula for unbearable pathos, I will market it to airports to put alongside the Chanel and Dior. ‘Unbearable pathos – Enhancing your preflight emotional overload with flashbacks to your childhood. Bonus scenes of you crying in a range of exotic locations’.     

In honour of the Alchemists of old, I board my plane.

I’m heading towards goodbye.

 

.

 

Courting the curfew: Week 11: Blogging for survival.

It’s mid week and I’m out late. I know it will get messy.  I throw caution to the wind.  Calling home would be a thoughtful thing to do. I’m often thoughtful. About that sort of thing. I decide to have a different thought. I’m walking in someone else’s shoes tonight.  Size 12 Converse.   

The evening proceeds without event. An average movie with predictable sex scenes and some gratuitous violence. Spiced up with a string of unconscionable acts all committed without regret. Why? He was hypnotised.  By a woman. Of course. No one will trip on the implausibility of a professional hypnotherapist hooking up with her client, him becoming obsessed with her and trying to kill her, her rewiring his murderous brain through hypnosis and then getting him to steal a 26 million dollar painting for her. Just because. Yeah that story line really vibrates with authenticity. Women do that kind of thing. All the time.

After the movie it’s a meal and then coffee. Happy Birthday old friend. Hope life is good for you. We had some fun times didn’t we. Yes, I think of you on occasion. Mostly though I try to have a different thought.  And tonight it’s about rewiring my brain and creating new pathways. For my dreams. And those size 12 feet.

I drive home in monastic silence. Moving in the darkness between my old thoughts and the new. Apparently it takes 600 repetitions of the same new thought for it to get a permanent foothold in the brain. And yet I wonder. This moment, right now, feels unforgettable. And it will only happen once.

The owner of the size 12’s meets me at the back door. “Where have you been?”, “I’ve been worried about you”, “why didn’t you call?” The tone is in turns accusing and apologetic. “So you’re OK?”, “Alright I’d better ring Nanna back to tell her you’re not dead”. I’m a little surprised, but more intrigued. And I pull something from the permanent foothold in my memory. “Aw, you know, I was having such a good time I forgot to call and then when I did think about calling, my phone was dead. I didn’t think it would matter anyway.” He boils with anxiety and frustration. “It’s not really good enough, I was worried, and you could have just called to let me know you would be home late.” He stalks off. Unhappy fails woefully to describe what he must be feeling.

I can describe it. In excruciating detail. 600 repetitions fails woefully to estimate the number of times I drowned in that feeling. Size 12 is the youngest of my three offspring. And the unlucky recipient of my newest incarnation. Mother turned child. I have stopped picking up after myself and started talking with my mouth full. I go barefoot outside and talk to strangers. I have been loudly slurping the last bit of my drink with my straw and I have been running away from home. A lot.

I allow myself to succumb to an ancient sadness. Grieving for what must come to fruition and what must fade away.  Without the poignancy of this grief I would forever remain on an endless theme park ride of responsible parent and forgiving lover. Never able to alight to a more liberating and less predictable vista.  

And oh, sweet child of mine, these are not unconscionable acts, committed without regret, under the influence of hypnosis. These acts are the culmination of everything I know to be true. Of a lifetime of thinking. And of the kind of love that demands that life be given ones fully conscious attention.

And you know what? I already have my 26 million dollar booty. No need to steal someone else’s.

Anarchy and Arcadia: Week 8: Blogging for survival.

My hotel suite has a whole room for sitting. For watching television.

And so I do.

That’s the whole idea right? To leave the everyday and the familiar when you go on holidays. To repurpose your thoughts into some other shape. To see if your English breakfast tea still tastes like it comes from China. Like most tea.

So I watch. I don’t have television at home, so it is tantalisingly exotic. I think the idea is to compose yourself into a roundness, surrounded by inert roundnesses like cushions, pillows and doonas and chocolate biscuits and cups of tea. And then to became round and inert yourself.

Roundness comes quite easily. Inertia is more selective. I’m trying to cajole the twin engines of sarcasm and drama critic into moving from the cheap seats in my brain and into the lotus position. With limited success.

Television is a square. And the roundness of my understanding cannot comprehend its shape. The words and colours attack me with squareness. Like many little Lego bricks tumbling out of the box. All with the possibility of being made into something plausible, like a fortress or a jet fighter or a fire engine or a wall even. But not quite getting there. Just an unmade rubicks cube that twists and turns with a press of a remote. And is never solved.

I don’t mind living with unsolved puzzles. I had a 1000 piece jigsaw of a castle that I worked on for ages. Until the cat used the box with the unused pieces as a litter tray. I threw it all away. It’s OK. I saw the photo on the front of the box again as I tipped it into the rubbish bin. Oh yeah. It’s a castle. No crisis, no existential dilemma. No raging at the creator of cats because I didn’t solve the puzzle. I’m Zen with mystery and chaos.

The Art gallery of Victoria has whole rooms for watching art. The idea is to decompose the very shape of you and to lose it in energy and vibration. So that it is your very self that is tumbling out of the box. With the rich possibility of becoming part of the light.

And the monumental squares that serve as frames. They are there to hold the energy. To draw a boundary around its effortless spill. A frail attempt to keep the tide from creeping and the stars from falling.  And merging with the roundness.

I’m standing nose to nose with the Arcadian landscapes of the Neo Impressionists. Thousands of dots. Creating light bursts in front of my eyes like when I furtively glanced at the solar eclipse as a child because my parents warned me not to.  Tiny mosaic worlds.  A blindness of radiance.

And now I’m not seeing a picture. I’m feeling the anarchy of the colour that is the same shape as the pores of my skin and the cells of my blood.  And I become radiant too. Lifted up from the insufferable palette of the hotel room with the inertia of the square.

And I muse on the shape of anarchy.

And the roundness of my understanding perfectly comprehends this shape.

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