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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.

The circus. Week 3. Blogging for survival

They always burnt the grass after the circus left town. Cauterising the ground. Erasing any evidence of them. Like a guilty, dirty little secret.  I remember. It was in the spare lot on the estate and my sister and I would go there. Later. After the heat was gone. Looking for coins. Or jewelry. Or any treasure that had fallen carelessly to the grassy floor of the big top. And remained. Through the matinees and evening performances, under the feet of the towns children and beyond the reach of the monkeys.

I found a sooty crucifix once. I kept it in my ballerina jewelry box. Feeling a small tingle when I touched it. It’s an old memory. So ancient that it is a relic of a primal and pagan past. A time when wild animals were tamed for our pleasure. Living and working in a relentless cycle of performing and travelling. Not like now. No animals are harmed in the making of the circus. In Australia. Anymore.

No, not anymore. We can watch the circus from the elevated position of our high moral ground. Safe in the knowledge that all is well.  For the animals. That are no longer caged. We can go to the zoo for that. Or the supermarket. Or MacDonalds. Well not caged exactly, vacuum packed really.

I eat chicken Parmigiana. I love it so much, I order it at any opportunity. But something is troubling me. I think it’s my cat. Who isn’t mine. Aside from her carnivorous tendency to predate on frogs, which is an exceptional and unnecessary burden placed daily on my ‘do no harm’ Zen. It’s about her feelings. She has many. 

A man who wrote his thesis on the rights of elephants in Sri Lanka once said ‘I started out writing about the rights of people, studying the loss of humanity during conflict and I gave up, I gave up on people. Now I choose to think about the dignity of animals instead’. Looking at my cat I’m wondering if I’m there. If I’m giving up on people too. I think I’m on a continuum between human rights activist and crazy cat lady, inching closer to crazy daily. Much closer.

So I’m back at the circus. Heading for the big top. The fairy floss. The bench seats. I hurry everyone along. My pagan past is snapping at my heels. I can feel the sooty crucifix and smell the unmistakable scent of caged animals. I nearly trip on my own desire. To feel the seduction of the exotic other. The lure of the time before knowing. Before the burden of awareness. 

As the lights dim and the music starts I glance at the faces of my companions. My family. Up and down the generations. In that dusky light I see them. Rapt. Expectant. Shivering with anticipation. And I smile.

Here we all are. Tamed for their pleasure.

Open enemies. Week 1. Blogging for survival.

The ancient Astrologers had a name for those who would bring you undone. The ones that wished you harm, the ones who would happily see you slip on a banana peel during your campaign speech or inaugural oration. The ones who have heat blisters from their boiling core temperatures just thinking about you ever being happy, the ones who just loathe you. Publicly, loudly and daily. These charmers they named ‘open enemies’.

I have a compelling kind of admiration for these guys. They are the burlesque of the hater world. Lots of colour, some snappy moves and a baring of the breast when required. So open are they about the pursuit of your painful and embarrassing demise that they make no secret of their hopes in the matter and often share their vision of a better world. Without you in it.

It’s the hater pantomime that curdles the milk in my morning tea. The benign seeming someone who is really an icy machine, calculating the ways you can be made to suffer. The quiet achiever who during their work hours is researching how to hex you with interminable itching and have you buried alive with your hands tied behind your back. The one who is not in a hurry because they have all the time in the world to think about you. And not in a, shall we say, really uplifting kind of way.

It’s all energy. And I’m thinking a lot about energy lately. How to keep it moving. A bit like a pass the parcel. So even if you unwrap a real stinker, you don’t have to hold onto it for too long. Not so much about shifting responsibility but more a strategic feint. Just moving sideways so that energy doesn’t hit you like a medicine ball.

Open enemies aren’t my beef. I stand a fighting chance with someone so transparent. And although war games do not appeal to me, a couple of strategic hip and shoulders are never out of the question. It’s like bringing in Lion pooh from the Zoo and sprinkling it around your perimeter to ward off the tom cats. I’m not big. But I’ve watched the movies.

So it’s these other someone’s I’m learning how to be in the world with. Learning how not to share my energy with, or send my energy to. Trying to master the Zen of ‘that felt really bad and I’m going to teleport myself to somewhere else right now’. And you know, I really think I’m getting somewhere with the energy thing. Which is good.

Because I need all the energy I have to practice untying myself while buried alive.

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