September 9, 2014

AN INTERVAL


"The theory she had had when wandering through The Rocks four years before - that time was a great black vortex down which everything disappeared - no longer made sense to her. She saw now that it was a great river, always moving, always changing, but with the same water flowing between its banks from source to sea."

Ruth Park - Playing Beatie Bow

June 17, 2014

THAT TOURIST FEELING

 "After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, is is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there."
Gertrude Stein - Paris, France

I picked up this book and started reading it, a cold midwinter day in Brooklyn. If there is such a thing, I had reached the point in our trip where I had purchased too many books. A quarter of my suitcase was filled with them. I know books are the thing you're not meant to buy abroad, but they are the item I can't help myself with the most, including shoes. After reading the first part of Gertrude Stein's Paris, France, it went back onto the table in the store. Withholding I wrote down the details and my mum gave it to me for my birthday. 

The quoted lines above stick with me as I remember how much I wrote and imagined when away from my daily routines. I'm thankful that the school holidays are a week and a half away. I'm making plans to tackle some projects I've had on my mind for a little while, and catch up on all those parts of life that I always seem to be behind on.

June 6, 2014

HAPPY DONUT DAY

This is one of the finest doughnuts I have ever eaten. A raspberry yeast doughnut from Doughnut Plant, served up at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on W. 29th in NYC. Adding doughnuts to the list of things to do this weekend.

June 5, 2014

MUSING THE WEEKEND


I'm taking a deep breath and a short break, with just 1000 words left between me and the end of this semester at uni. And I almost forgot, we're facing up to a long weekend. A book pile has been assembled and I am bracing myself for a good dose of reading and coffee drinking over the three day break.

I mentioned last week that I had the task of writing a fiction piece that has had me completely out of my depth, but it turned out to be more fun than I expected, so much so that I might give it another go one day. This story has had me revisiting some of the streets of New York City, along with artworks that we found on the walls of some of the galleries and museums.

As always with us, every good adventure and story includes a good coffee shop. Here's a nice cup that we found on the lower east side.

June 3, 2014

THERE WAS MORE TO BE SAID


I stepped out of the car into an empty beach side car park. I could only imagine the shortage of space that would be experienced here in the peak of summer, but out of season the tip of the Cape was empty, dank and forsaken. Sand dusted the edges of the bitumen, like snow gathering on a windowsill. I felt the wind rush against my ears as they became exposed and adjusted, after an hour inside a warm car. The stinging was like the cartilage of my ears was being rubbed back and forth. The wind gripped deep into down into the drum, and suddenly my head felt like a football player’s, trapped and swallowed within a scrum. I pulled up my hood, tightening the elastic, and tugging the fabric around my head, I determined to walk backwards letting my back take on the weight of the wind.
A few steps away from the car I stepped onto a footpath that would lead out onto the beach. The concrete became increasingly covered in sand, until finally it was overcome, and the path transformed; familiar and worn, a cut out track in a mound of sand retaining the impressions of those who feet had pressed the granules of the seaside. Each side of the trail was covered in wispy grass, coating the dune with a thick blonde mane. The slope separated the ocean from the car park like a truce between man and nature.
Taking in the scenery that lay behind me, as I pressed backwards against the wind, I passed the wooden toilet block, deciding between grey and brown, it was boarded up, shut down and vacant, laying dormant for the winter. Standing alone, as a solitary attempt to domesticate the coastline, the building was held with strong nails protecting it from a glint of salted breath. A solitary species, still and abandoned.

I'm revisiting overseas photos, keeping these places fresh in my imagination. 1) is beside the wharf, along the heritage walk in Boston. 2) is a sand dune in Provincetown.

June 1, 2014

GATHERING OBSERVATIONS


"That the seemingly insignificant things that most of us spend our days noticing are really significant, have meaning, and tell us something."

Joan Didion - The Paris Review 2006

A few times I have started writing about the time we spent in Holland at the start of the year. It has remained the part of our trip with the least amount of photos and least words spoken, but for me, it was the part with the most sentiment felt. Wandering again beside these canals and through these streets I found courage to speak a little dutch to the shop keepers and strangers whom we encountered on the street. When I was here in 2009 I had been afraid of sounding silly, so chose to act in ignorance expressing words only in English, hiding behind the full bodied dutch spoken by my family, only camouflaged by my appearance, I was still their Australian relative. 

There is so much more to say from the week we spent in Holland. And over time I will say more. But it always takes me longer to find the words to retell those stories that were so full of everything I love most. The moments where you forget your camera, or only have a blurry phone photo because you were more concerned with the conversation and the limited time you have with those that you are with. That is when the everyday insignificant becomes the most significant of all.

May 29, 2014

AVOIDING DISRUPTION

 "It was still early. I sat on a damp rock, took my notebook from my inner pocket, made earnest notes:
'South - sky thin line of rosy pink, straightened blue-pink, blue greys. Flannan Isles, horizon fine slate-grey line.'
I made notes, but the reason I'd come to the end of the road to walk along the cliffs is because language fails me there. If we work always in words, sometimes we need to recuperate in a place where language doesn't join up, where we're thrown back on a few elementary nouns. Sea. Bird. Sky. 
Besides, it was the Sabbath, the day of rest. A sign at the wicket gate that gave onto the coastal walk read: 'Please, keep dogs on leads,' and 'Please, avoid disturbing the Sabbath.' "

Kathleen Jamie - Findings

When the mornings started earlier this year, we would wake up before the sun to see the light as it hung beneath the horizon creating half tones of pink and purple. And the world was still inside their homes.

May 27, 2014

THE WAY WE GET BY

I'm working on a university assignment today. I have to write a short story. Fiction. Those 3000 words have been hanging over my head for months, along with the weight and pressure I create for myself - wanting to do my best. But the truth about this assignment is that I'm scared. I get lost in stories everyday. They change my life all the time, they cause me to long for new places, to find like minded friends in pressed pages and to begin to notice the world through the eyes of another. And in my deepest longing and hopes to create those same feelings for another, I end up running away from my pencil and paper instead of delving straight in.

Fear must be one of the worst set backs I've experienced as an adult. It's a war I'm trying to step a little more up the plate on lately - rediscovering the determination to overcome. This journey is slow, but it's one I'm glad I'm on.

Right now I'm in that 'first-eighth of a book stage' with a few stories, still deciding which to jump fully into first. One is John le Carre's 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold'. Another is James Wolcott's 'Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York'. Ever since we came back from overseas at the start of the year, I keep revisiting parts of America through the eyes of those who have made a life there.

What words can do, well it's truly amazing.

P.S. Here's some of our washing. Cleaning it and folding it has become one of my favourite Tuesday tasks. Hope you're having a lovely Tuesday, what are you reading lately?