May 3, 2016

DOES THE WORLD EVEN BLOG ANYMORE?





What do you call yourself when you used to be a regular at a place, like a coffee shop or to someone's house, but then you just stop showing up? Not because you don't want to be there or don't care, but just cause its not where your life is at anymore. Then, when so much time passes by you wonder if you still want to go there, or if you'd be welcome, or would anyone even notice? And because of your uncertainty, you delay your visit even longer. And suddenly a year has gone past. And do I even blog anymore?

What is blogging now anyway. I tried reading about it and perusing articles on Google to see where the online world lives now, cause if I stopped visiting my own little place on the internet, and the sites I used to visit, I wondered if other people did to. From what I gather I think a lot of people did. People are much more likely to frequent the online spaces that exist within apps, and can be found with the ease of less button clicks, rather than going through the links in their bookmarks, or to places where they blogs are/were so easily curated. I kind of got bored of the double up too - seeing the same thing on someone's Instagram as a blog - wondering why do I need to see it twice. And I stopped wanting to spend so much of my life looking at other people's lives, being less engaged in my own passing moments.

In a small sense I feel like my life kind of graduated a bit too. Instead of planning blog posts into my week, that time was pushed aside by finishing a university degree (and starting another one), starting a new part-time job, seeing that job evolve into a full time job, and feeling like my life became less filled with the kind of adventures and moments that seem blog worthy - unless you want to hear about the random things I hear students say in my classroom (maybe they could fill a blog of their own?).

The truth is our life looks different to how it did when we established this place (can you believe that was over 5 years ago!), but I guess its no less exciting, even if its not documented. I guess what I'm asking really of myself is if I can return to this strange realm of online documentary - maybe just as a cathartic exercise which would cause me to take a few more photos (which I love and miss doing), and to write a few more thoughts (which I also love and miss doing)? I'm not really sure of the purpose anymore (I call my mum enough, she already knows what I do each day). I'll think on that.

April 12, 2015

THE UNKNOWN HOLES IN KNOWLEDGE


"There is other men in me, beside this patient ass who sits here in a tweed jacket. What am I doing, playing the patient ass in a tweed jacket? Who am I talking to? Who are you, at the other end of this patience?
Who are you? How many selves have you? And which of these selves do you want to be?
Is Yale College going to educate the self that is in the dark of you, or Harvard College?
The ideal self! Oh, but I have a strange and fugitive self shut out and howling like a wolf or a coyote under the ideal windows. See his red eyes in the dark? This is the self who is coming into his own.
The perfectibility of man, dear God! When every man as long as he remains alive is in himself a multitude of conflicting men. Which of these do you choose to perfect, at the expense of every other?"

D. H. Lawrence - Studies in Classic American Literature

Our long absences here seem to be unending, it's something I will refrain from apologising for, seeing as another situation is not currently feasible. At present so much of my attention is engrossed with books that seem to constantly fill gaps in my knowledge - all that I was unaware were even there! Above is a section of text I read recently, I found it quite comical yet also heartening. D. H. Lawrence concluded that we must always wrestle against the uncertainties of character. Whatever our virtues, there is always a struggle or a need to apply energy to keep them established.
Sitting here in a four-story library, beside rows of books that stretch further than the length of our house, I can't help but imagine a life where this was the scenery I beheld frequently - but yet at the expense of every other?

Photos: Some of the things we saw recently while in Sydney on an Art Excursion with my Year 11 & 12 students.

January 31, 2015

YOU'RE A SKY FULL OF STARS


We wake up when it's dark. We search out the right words and grumbles to get out of bed and embrace the road outside for some exercise. We get home just after the first light and begin to scramble and shuffle around the house, we iron clothes, we gather food from the fridge for lunch, and we aim to walk out the door at the same time, leaving for work together. I drop Dave around the corner. We kiss and commit to time together later in the day; when our obligations are over, it will be just us.

We love to assemble days that are brimming with motion and have long since lost hope of a life that is normal, observing that it never seems to materilise. Life is always changing and moving. The only thing that remains simple is that each day it is us, waking up together, embracing the days that we make.

Occasionally the surroundings become inconsequential, and I hold a gaze on this man who is truly the best part of me, the best part of my life. Moreover, he is everything I am not, the safety and light that settles my heart.

January 26, 2015

SO LET’S KICK, AND PUSH, AND COAST!



A couple of days in the sun and sand is good, but needs to be topped off with a session or two in the local skate bowl. I blew the dust and cob webs off my custom Eric Boston deck (circa 2006) and checked to make sure that the wheels could still turn before sliding it in between the camping mattresses and the tent.

Dropping in. You smack the tail into the coping and place your left foot down. You stare at the bowl and try and read the camber of the concrete. You estimate your velocity and pick the perfect place to kick turn. Next thing - It's on!

The first run was mediocre, but the second was little better. Sooner or later you hit a full lap of the bowl and eventually two. Each lap you try and push it faster. Higher. Harder.

After more than a year off the board, the best way to conquer your fears is to hit the deepest bowl first. once you've hit the deep one, nothing else seems quite as scary. it took a while before I drew the first blood and bruises. Times seems to stand still as you realise that you're front foot wasn't quite far enough forward and you started your kick turn just a little bit too late. Hang up. Crash.

Old Dog. Old Tricks. I got a few 5-0s and a Rock-to-Fakie on the halfpipe, but didn't reach the coping in the bowl. On the flat ground I landed some Olly's, Frontside 180s, Powerslides and an ever-allusive Kickflip.

Life can get pretty busy and it's easy to let the fun things slowly slip out. Getting back on the skateboard was a good reminder that some of like's simple pastimes should get as much priority as the routine and mundane. I had a sunset session at my local skate park on Friday night. The air was hot. Dry. Still. The park was empty. You smack the tail onto the coping and place your left foot down. You stare at the bowl and try to read the camber of the concrete. You estimate your velocity and pick the perfect place to kick turn. Next thing - it's on!

November 1, 2014

ART EXCURSION TO BUMBERRY DAM


Bumberry Dam Excursion from david and elizabeth white on Vimeo.

At the moment I've just started teaching my first class of Year 12 students. They're such a sweet trio, and I don't think I could ask for a more enthusiastic bunch to take on the journey for their HSC. They go along with my strange ideas for finding art in interesting places and seeing the opportunity for inspiration all around.
This week we went on an excursion to one of our local dams to explore and gather ideas for a preliminary work they are working on. This is a little of what we saw.

October 1, 2014

KATHMANDU, NEPAL



The way a place looks and feels when you first walk along the streets, and drive through the energetic bustle of people absorbed in occupying their lives; is a short-lived opportunity, when everything is fresh, unexperienced, misunderstood and present for only a moment. While we waited beside the rickety baggage carousel, hoping the next collection of bags would include our own, I was reminded that our first moments in a new place can be our most hopeful, we are eager eyed, without routine and completely unaware of how to fit and exist outside our comfort zone. Its precious. Its short. Its valuable. Its a space that we rarely enter.

Travel has that brilliant way of reminding me that there are great and wonderful lives being lived all across the world. And while differences seems to confront me greatly, it seems that what we share in common is far more beautiful and precious. 

September 16, 2014

BEING THE RACONTEUR



"How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we told about our life. Told to others, but - mainly - to ourselves."

Julian Barnes - The Sense of an Ending

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?