Friday, July 23, 2010


Is 'downward dog' in the morning light on the veranda watched by an audience of kookaburras, butcher birds and magpies

Is the precarious assemblage of lengths of bamboo supporting the broken and rotting guttering

Is the spectacular sight of pythons mating in the sunlight on the solar panels on the roof

Is mildew growing on every wall in every room and in probably every cell of my body

Is the quiet at midnight, a pause that allows me to feel my grief and longing for far away family and friends

Is shy platypus living amongst the lilypads that carpet the surface of the dam

Is the box of a dozen pairs of gumboots under the house and the joy in finding one pair size ‘large’

Is the generous space and multiple rooms in which to lose my reading glasses several times a day

Is white ant, industriously and silently crumbling away at the foundations of my belonging

Is the constant burden of privilege I feel as I sit here on my arse and pray for the millions of homeless, hungry and abused beings living in a parallel universe, right now.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Medicine or Mischief?

Cleary, it’s a witchetty grub. Or is it? I retrieve it from the mound of wood chips, grateful I haven’t sliced it in half with the shovel, and take it inside to show my sister Margaret. Dad and I used to eat these in Barrabool Road in Geelong, I quip. Down by the row of pines on the back fence. He’d pluck the grubs from the wood pile, one for him, one for me. They taste like coconut but sweeter, and gritty. The experience was one I shared exclusively with dad, and one-on-one experiences with dad were a rarity in the 60s. Simple, yet full of warm fuzzy feelings. There’s a dozen more where these came from, I add. Should I eat it? Up to you, she says. Something about its size makes me feel a bit queezy, I’m used to much smaller ones, and that greyish bit on its nether regions looks kind of weird. I burrow it back into its home in the wood chips and continue barrowing loads of mulch. Later on, with my new found knowledge of a secret harvest of witchetty grubs in the garden, and having just read ‘The Songlines’, an inspirational account of the aboriginal dream time, I set about trying to find some reference to witchetty grub dreaming on the net. There’s dozens of artworks, but little or no explanation. I stumble on a site that suggests that witchetty grub fat when rubbed on the skin makes a sick person better. Novel! A dispensary of therapeutic fat squirm at my back door. I flick onto google images and chance upon a surprise discovery. What jumps out is a comparison of a grub that is sometimes mistaken for the witchetty grub but is actually the white curl grub, or scarab beetle. A serious little pest that kills lawn and other flora. Mischievous Mr Curly has been masquerading as medicine, naughty blighter!

Just as well I hit pause on the culinary act.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A life in scraps

It’s unusually cold tonight, eerily silent. The fire’s burning and there’s enough wood to last the night. This means tomorrow I’ll have to confront the dragon at the sawmill to buy another $15 boot load. Worth it I suppose.

I just went outside to break a dead branch off the tree to give the fire a boost and clumsily stepped into a bucket of putrid water. Now I stink and my only thick socks are wet. Ma che stupida!

Tonight I need kindness, a healing massage, or divine inspiration, but instead I find myself obsessing about the slow and cunning osmosis that happens through the flimsy wall that separates my writer and critic. I’m practising some voice dialogue and even think sometimes a session with the therapist might be a good idea, but mostly I'm just arguing with myself and trawling through the scraps. Scraps aplenty. Nylon scraps, brown, fawn and crimson swirly abstract bits; cotton liberty prints, crushed velvet lengths in ivory from the Fatherhood Festival, scraps of faux fur, skin print, tapestry, emu skin, calf hide, vinyl. There’s scraps from opulent teal quilts and scraps of floral upholstery weave in rich mauve and eucalyptus green, leftover from the cape i made for my new and virtuous non-smoker years ago. Trimmings and cords and ribbons, braids in intricate hand-made designs, tiny bronze elephants and coins sewn in, and woolly hearts, and pom poms. Victorian tassles and Spotlight tassles. Dark blue pinstripe wool and violet and magenta felt that reminds me of my sister Margaret. Linen and poplin, fleecy and drill. Olive green rayon. There’s 50s white cotton lace, 60s daisy flower-power. Bits of old rugs and geometric black and white and red retro cuts, a cut above the rest those pants! Exotic strips of golden raw silk from Varanasi, ah, the bridal dooner cover fashioned when I was certain my internet date was the one. Peacock blue silk from Hyderabad and silver sari scraps from Byron Bay via Calcutta. Pinwhale and brown jumbo corduroy. Scraps of lycra in happy orange. Netting and tulle in rainbow hues. Dark night taffeta, even darker chiffon and organza. 20s black lace from the gothic wedding I dressed. Red leather ... the prostitute’s hot pants. And so much more. All locked away in the storage shed, miles away. Why it's taken me so long to give them a voice I'll never know!

Oh, did I say lots of scraps of relationships.

Monday, July 5, 2010


He came to challenge, inspire and calm. They ate. Pasta with chilli, sitting on the white-sheeted couch. He said do you like my new shoes. She said I hate them. They laughed. The fire paid homage to the mood with a dance from its Book of Memory. They spoke of long ago, laughed and scoffed in condemnation, sipped red and talked. Of a country of songlines and mysterious beginnings. He cracked macadamias on the hearth. They smoked. Leonard Cohen called from the back room, there's a crack, a crack, in everything, that’s how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in! They spoke of the heart’s longing to satisfy its hunger and of the vascularity of the gut. They sipped Rooibus with honey. Watched the nightly news and wished they hadn’t. He descended the stairs, lined with fallen camellias in the cold dark night to feel for wood. They ate Lindt in tiny broken squares, it had to last. She touched on her drowning plimsoll line and He of children and death. He answered her call, this messenger of good fortune. He came back