Augusts with Wendy

A few years ago, Tuesdays became my least favourite day of the week. It was all accidental obviously, but there was a year when Tuesdays always seemed to go pear-shaped. Bad news would arrive. I’d have a headache. Little irritations that just took the glow off Tuesday. I became a little obsessed with the stupidness of Tuesday. And then it went away.

These days it’s a month. August. Over the last few years August has not covered itself in glory. In fact, it’s been a bore, a pain in the rear, a month of boring Sundays that never seem to end while we wait for the first sniff of Spring. It’s been like that again this year, except, this year, 2017, I’m fighting back.

On the weekend I did a violin exam. This was a self-imposed challenge I set myself about 7 weeks ago, which isn’t actually very long to get organised for a music exam. But I was becoming unhappy with my violin-ing. (That’s not a technical term for playing the violin but it is my term). I’d put in lots of hours in 2014 and 2015 relearning and learning technical skills, bringing my playing to a standard where I was able to pass my Associate diploma exam. That was also a self-imposed challenge. It was a now or never, early mid-life crisis kind of moment. Either pick the violin back up again – fix myself up – and do it properly – or resign myself to never ever playing something like “well”. It was immensely rewarding. Then I preceded to get myself a lovely new instrument and faffle around without much consistent practice at all, thereby losing some of the work I’d done in the previous two years. Silly billy much?

So it was time. Stretch myself again. Set myself a goal. Am I goal oriented? Indeedy I am. Without something to work towards nothing happens. As soon as I put the entry in June, things started happening. In my impulsiveness to do something for myself I forgot it would be happening in August. The horrible month. The month I just try to survive. I struggled with a lack of motivation, but the deadline sitting out there on 12 August eventually got me moving. And then I managed to get myself involved in the CRUSH Festival’s Text as Art exhibition. As a writer. I applied for this. October is when it happens so I hadn’t considered the fact that I would need to write something in August. That’s now. Another deadline is looming. Damn you August, making me think about stuff. And then, I managed to successfully apply for QSO’s A Day in the Orchestra which is coming up this weekend. That’s right. A weekend in August. Suddenly I had HEAPS of music to practice and not much time to do it in. And I had something to write too.

These things are all challenges I zeroed in on and set for myself. I’m thinking now that these things – the exam, the QSO, the Text as Art – might all have been ways that I am making myself cope with August. Yeah that’s right. The old subconscious has been at work. August might be my least favourite month in the year after February. August can still be cool. The sun isn’t up early and I have trouble motivating myself in the morning to GET OUT OF BED. However, I am forcing my self to do stuff. To not give in to August’s Augustiness. Its lethargy. I will beat you August. You will not get me down. Yes I might be lying in bed until the last possible moment every morning, necessitating that I eat breakfast at work, but I will be busy, active and doing new things whether I like it or not.

Without realising it I had filled August to the brim with experiences that are asking me to move out of my comfort zone. What does my comfort zone look like? Basically it’s a brown sofa with lots of throw pillows and an Apple TV remote close at hand. Just right for the usual, dull August. I’ve spent a lot of the last few months sitting there watching reruns of Will and Grace. Clearly, I’m telling myself this needs to stop. September is just around the corner and I need to be prepared. So this year I’m thankful for August. Perhaps I’ve broken its nasty spell at last…….

a timeless, shining song became home

Reading this post earlier in the week* transported me back to the time when I returned home after a term at university. Long ago. Before the time of constant contact enabled by technology like the my smartphone, which is never more than a few feet away from me, and social media which is my continual companion.

Then, leaving home meant lining up at the pay phone with spare change to call home once or twice a week. Outside in the cold of Toowoomba, standing in a queue with the other first years, wondering what the heck we had got ourselves into. Thinking on it now, it’s a miracle I survived. I was neither particularly independent, intrepid or ready for the world.

Naive would be perhaps be a kind description. Homesick could have been another.

But adjust I did and quickly. That first year away, studying music was one of discovery – of Brahms’ symphonies, new violin concertos, piano repertoire, REM, Nirvana, Triple J with Helen and Mikey (when it was good), hyper colour t-shirts (never owned one), Levis, making new friends and starting on the journey to being an adult.

It was a puzzling jolt to come home and catch up with school friends who I used to spend every day with and realise that we no longer had anything in common.

Scene: the Bundaberg Pizza Hut Restaurant in 1991, with my peers. (Yes it existed and yes it did have the “salad bar” with the bacon bits).

“What was the best thing about uni and living on campus?”

“It’s great how I don’t have to eat pumpkin if I don’t want to”.

I’ll just clarify this was not my answer but it was significant.

Our paths had diverged.

Pumpkin Schumpkin. I could care less. I wanted to know about other stuff.

What about the learning? What do you think about the world? What makes you laugh, cry,  get angry or have some other kind of emotional response to the universe now? What films have you seen, books read, new music found and heard, TV discovered? These were the conversations I’d been having at uni. My school friends were also at uni. Why were we talking about pumpkin?

I remember nothing else about the great 1991 Pizza Hut get together. Not even the pizza. It didn’t happen again. Perhaps she eats pumpkin now, perhaps she doesn’t. And the Pizza Hut Restaurant is now Officeworks.

At the end of 1991 I was home for the holidays. I was uptown Christmas shopping and for the first time ever I heard Here Comes the Sun playing over the muzak. It shimmered.

So we continue to return home. We’re not who we were. Home still welcomes us. And points of resonance emerge in unlikely places.

That Christmas in 1991 I received the Abbey Road CD.

I hadn’t asked for it.

The timeless, shining song became home.

 

 

*thanks Theo.

 

Milk and mandarins

It’s that time of the year, or the month, or just the morning when I’ve suddenly been taken over by the need to take stock……Is it the winterish blues I wonder?

Making : this crochet rug in a bid to use up all the leftover yarn from last year’s crafty efforts. It’s called the oblong story blanket. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll bother with the pom poms.

Cooking : Not much at all but I am planning to make soup FROM SCRATCH on Friday.

Drinking : Tea, chai, water. That’s it really. My go to beverages.

Reading: Lots of articles on the interwebs about USA politics and then despairing.

Trawling: through articles about makerspaces and redesigned school libraries.

Wanting: a new Radley handbag but being financially responsible and holding out.

Looking: forward to spending some days in Brisbane early next week.

Deciding: what to wear every day in what passes for winter here in the subtropics. I’ll give you a hint. No cardigan required.

Wishing: I could get used to my new glasses without feeling queasy.

Enjoying: the luxury of time.

Waiting: for my Princess Leia Baccurelli brooch to arrive in the post. It’s been AGES. #firstworldproblemobviously

Liking: my new Everest violin shoulder rest. So comfy.

Considering: starting a podcast with a friend.

Wondering: if there are already too many podcasts in the world

Loving: the sunny days

Pondering: whether and when to get a new cat……

Listening: to the birds chattering away outside this morning

Buying: Milk and mandarins yesterday at Aldi.

Watching: let’s see….Glow on Netflix, Will and Grace on Stan, the Office (US) from ITunes, Doctor Who on ABCTV, Ronny Chieng International Student on ABCTV…..other things…..

Hoping: the last remnants of this cold finally disappear in the next few days. It’s been a month.

Marvelling: at the cuteness of my baby nephew!

Cringing: at Trump, Trump always Trump.

Needing: to change my violin strings

Questioning: just why I thought it was a good idea to enter the footy tipping at work. Such a pain every week. Perhaps it would be better if I actually followed the football? Who can say?

Smelling: my lemon and sage shampoo

Wearing: a grey linen and rose top, 7/8 jeans bought in New Zealand. I’m quite the fashion plate.

Noticing: the ache in my hip….from too much sitting

Knowing: I need to up the exercise.

Thinking: I need to do some violin practice

Admiring: People who are intrepid, brave and not scaredy cats.

Getting: thirsty for a cuppa.

Bookmarking: see Trawling (above)

Disliking: my endless FB checking on my phone. Solution: FB app deleted for a bit.

Opening: bills, bills, bills. They never stop.

Closing: my old income protection insurance policy despite that relentless efforts of the guy on the phone to convince me to keep it yesterday afternoon. I was kind but very firm.

Feeling: mostly content. Can we ask for much more than that?

Hearing: the traffic humming out on the main road

Celebrating: being on holidays for a week or two.

Pretending: I’m about to do the washing up when really I’m going to leave it until later.

Embracing: my addiction to new shoes.

It was in my pocket the whole time: Discovering Orla Kiely

There’s a new Coles in town. Because what this city needs is ANOTHER supermarket. I hadn’t bothered with it at all, even though it’s in my part of the ‘hood, mainly because I’m a Woolies girl with the very occasional trip to Aldi when no-one is looking for the fresh, refrigerated pasta.

This morning, however, Easter Saturday, I had to buy one thing – an easter chocolate for my sister. I had seen the crazy amount of cars at Sugarland (ahem, Stockland) on Thursday so I suggested to my shopping partner (me Mum) that perhaps we should duck into the new Coles.

It was very shiny and new with lots of cheeses and a deli where you can pick your own olives (although I did wonder why there wasn’t a proper sneeze cover thing over them). And then I saw it. The muesli of my dreams. Not in taste terms you understand because I haven’t tasted it. But in beautiful packaging terms. Dorset Muesli in a beautiful blue cardboard box with a pretty leaf design. And it was on special. Always on the hunt for a new and exciting breakfast cereal I picked it up. Me Mum informed me that she had tasted it on holidays in Grafton last year and it was good stuff. That sealed the deal. I found my Lindt chocolate (on special) and a new 3 dollar notebook, whipped through the self-serve and that was the end of that.

Later that day, in a fascinating Dorothy Parker-esque exchange of texts with my friend the artist who writes beautiful blog posts right here, I mentioned the thrilling excursion to Coles and my discovery of a new muesli. I even (and you may want to sit down for this because it’s pretty heady stuff) took a photo of the packet and sent it to her.

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And after finally reading the fine print I made a hilarious joke.

Perhaps it should say “honest, tasty and royal” I texted in a humorous reference to Prince Charles. Ha ha ha. Indeed.

Smart, well informed artist friend noted kindly that that was mildly amusing. She also noted (and here we start to get to the point) that the packaging was “Orla Kiely homage in design”.

hmmm. I thunk for a moment, having no point of reference for this so called “Orla Kiely”. I texted back. *googles Orla Kiely*. See how I used the little asterisks like cool people do when they want to show that they are taking an action.

What the heckfire? My browser went bonkers showing me beautiful designs from Orla Kiely. Where I have been? Under a rock. Perhaps. I found homewares, bags, clothes, watches and more. Within a few minutes I was rocketing around eBay looking for bargains like there was no tomorrow. I fell in love with teapots, cushions and dresses.

I also researched Dorset Cereals.  Had Orla Kiely in fact designed their beauteous packaging which had captured my muesli-loving heart? Nope. But their 2006 rebrand “acknowledged the influence of Orla Kiely”. Nice work Dorset Cereals. I’m guessing that was a cheaper design option.

I know what you’re thinking. Interesting story Wendy but not really fascinating enough for a blog post.

Wait. It gets better. Or longer. One or the other.

Later today it was walking time so I grabbed my phone and made to leave the house. Now I’ll just point out that this is the same phone that I have been carrying around in a phone case that I got for Xmas (4 months ago) and chose myself from one of those el cheapo places in the middle of the shopping centre.

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Yes. Your eyes do not deceive you. Orla Kiely. (Although I’m imagining it is a knock off as it was only about 20 bucks). Nevertheless…….

So what does this tale of new grocery adventures, muesli from Dorset, discovering new designers whose aesthetic you immediately fall in love with and being such a numbskull you don’t even realise you’ve already discovered it and have been carrying it around on your phone for months all mean?

I don’t know but if you’ve got any clues please let me know.

Birdbrained

Time flies. It is a three full months since my last blog. And I have much to say about birds —in particular finches and penguins—so this could take a while. And I posit that you won’t really learn anything about either bird by the end.

In 1995, while living in Darwin with Nearest, I met the most wonderful young scientist. He was studying the decreasing population of the Gouldian Finch – one of the most colourful, teeny tiny squeezable (but not too hard because it’s a finch) birds in Australia. As a commercial illustrator I was not amazing, okay, no need to guild that lily – no counter comments of support required. I had friends in the business who were, and still are, amazing at it. So I don’t put this up as finery, but really as example of how past lives always inform the present in our work. And how surprising and fun it can be, to be asked to dip back into a past life, and the birds themselves made this illustration the sweetest of things.

049_Finches 1Let’s call him Peter, as that’s his name: Peter commissioned me to paint some Gouldian Finches for a poster asking the public to report sightings. This is pre-photoshop. (I know kids, what even is that?) And some of the finches had to be vanishing. Cue the hand made ‘opacity slider’.

So with poster produced, birds and scientist and illustrator continue doing what they do. Twenty years later the poster artwork boards a plane and wings its way to me for some alterations. Peter and Robin (that’s a human, not a bird) have had the work framed and on the wall. We’d always talked about a minor addition to the area that had been left vacant for the poster text. And it was time. As time had flown. *continues with tragic bird wirds*

050_Finches 2I quickly realised I was even less of an illustrator now, but it was lovely to ‘revisit’ the dry season grass plains of northern Australia. And, fortunately, I could add in some soft washy grass that wouldn’t compete with the little birds as I don’t think I’m actually capable of realism any more! Hah! Here’s a musical interlude: Elbow ‘Starlings’

A week later I stood in an installation at QAGOMA, shallow breathing while Gouldian Finches fluttered around my head and whizzed past en route to coat hanger perches and stuffed stocking hidey-holes.

052_Finches 04

I was initially conflicted by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s musical installation of live finches, From here to ear (v.13) 2010. These lovely alive little creatures flitting about inside a gallery space for 3 months? But I overheard a member of the Queensland Finch Society speaking so lovingly about the birds to a visitor that I ‘calmed the flock down’ (thanks Karen) and rested into the soundscape and the experience. And it was magical. AND the birds had begun breeding in the installation and laying eggs! GET OUT! (which is what the invigilator said nicely to me as it became obvious I was never going to leave that gallery)

Here Céleste Boursier-Mougenot talks about the sound. And just re-watching that video reminds me of why I love to write on a blog. The writing itself now feels part of the art making. And so today, when I didn’t really have time to write *so insanely slow at it* I realised it might be what I needed to shift me back to my own upcoming installation work and to be able to talk with the sound composer about what it is I’m doing.

Just as soon as I know what I’m doing.

When you’re not an installation artist, to say you’re working on an installation sounds preposterous. A celebration of drawing, and a sharing of an experience is my intention. The drawings will be installed along with a soundscape. QAGOMA printed material quotes Celeste that the piece was created ‘for listening and experiencing’ and that his aim is to ‘amplify our feeling of the present moment’.

54_me on MacQ 2013It’s really rare to see wildlife en masse in a wilderness environment. It’s rare for them to exist that way on our planet now, and subsequently rare to see it. It’s an absurd goal to attempt to convey this experience: 40,000 penguins on a beach, 20,000 in a rookery, hundreds coming in and out of the sea all day long. I sat on that Macquarie Island beach while one waddled up and sniffed my rain jacket. It. Was. Unforgettable.

So, colour is back in the cupboard for now, and I’m drawing. For me too, this is the resumption of blogging as it is plaited together with thinking about the working day now.  And I’ll record some penguin progress here as ‘Calling Home’ moves towards installation in late August in The Vault at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

053_Penguin charcoal

 

Belated reflection on writing

I spent the weekend doing the thing that all educators should do on a regular basis.

I became a student.

I don’t do it often enough. I don’t think teachers do it often enough. There’s a difference between sitting through some professional development session with a group of colleagues to actually putting yourself out on a limb and participating in a workshop as a student with other people (who may or may not be teachers).

What’s the difference? I’ll give you a hint. One scenario often involves a degree of cynicism and frustration at being “made” to participate in some kind of training that someone else has decided is essential for you. The other scenario means you have chosen to learn something new for your own enlightenment. So you have to leave your  ego at the door and give yourself over to the learning experience.

That means answering questions when you’re not sure if you’re right or wrong. It means trying when you think you are wrong or hopeless. It means sharing your work with the class and teachers even if you don’t want to, and your heart is pounding in your chest, your mouth is dry and you just want to hide under a conveniently located table.

I wrote more about it here:

 

All the books I have not read

I seem to have lost the ability to read.

Don’t freak out. I mean I can read words just like normal.

The problem arises when they are placed sequentially in a fancy, literary-type book.

I’ve noticed this little issue for a while and it’s been growing and growing. I can’t be bothered reading award winning literary fiction any more. It does my head in. I have no patience for it. It’s slow. It ponderous. It makes me fall asleep. Is the problem with me or the books?

Most recently I’ve failed to get past the opening pages of The Poisonwood Bible even though I’ve had it on loan from a patient friend for over a year. Meanwhile I’ve re-read all of LM Montgomery (Anne, Emily and the like), every autobiography or memoir of a writer, comedian or actor that’s been release in the last couple of years (Tina Fey, Rob Lowe (x2), Amy Poehler, all of Caitlin Moran’s books, Graham Norton, basically any British comedy with a half-arsed idea for a book – Rob Brydon, David Mitchell, Russell Brand and the like). In the past year or so, I’ve also read all of Freya North’s chick-lit, and everything by Alexander McCall Smith set in Edinburgh. I’ve managed the latest Ian Rankin’s bar two.

So I guess it’s not that I can’t read. I just can’t get my brain to focus on certain kinds of reading. Why?

Well I’ve done a lot of staring into space over the last few days and I’ve come up with the following reasons.

My attention span is short. I do blame social media even though I like it and think it serves a useful purpose most of the time. (a topic for another post)
My attention span for anything more complicated than Frankie magazine or the latest Buzzfeed listicle is also kaput. I blame completing a PhD. My brain had to work very hard for a long time. It got tired.
Some books are really thick and big and look boring. I would rather watch the film/TV series/read the Wikipedia summary. It’s quicker.
Books that win prizes (Booker, Pulitzer, Miles Franklin etc etc) are often more about writing than reading. Just a rash, unsupported statement there. Do with it what you will. See points 1 and 2 for why I’m not expanding on it here.
So this non-reading thing has been coming on for a while. And it’s concerning me because now that I’m bona-fide librarian surely I should be reading “worthy, proper books”. Well we all realise that is a snobby sentence of the highest order and that the high-low culture dichotomy collapsed some decades ago (see cultural studies 101 for further details). But still, surely some of these books I don’t seem to be able to read are lovely?

So with that in mind I’ve set myself a reading challenge. It’s called All the Light We Cannot See. I’ve got the rest of the holidays to read it. I’ve deleted FB from my phone to avoid the endless, mindless scrolling and liking. Twitter will be next. At the moment I’m allowed to keep Instagram.

I’ve read the first few pages. I’d tell you what they were about but I can’t remember so I’m going to have to read them over. To succeed I am going to have to read in the morning, sitting up in a chair with a cup of tea. I may have to take notes.

Wish me luck.

14.04.17 Update

I did it. I finished the book. I read the whole thing. It was great. Sometimes I fell asleep, but not immediately. I read it in the morning, the afternoon and the evening. I even got to the point where I couldn’t wait to get home so I could keep reading! Success. Achievement unlocked. Hurrah for me. etc.

FB is still absent from my phone. Not that I haven’t replaced that mindless scrolling with mindless scrolling through twitter and instagram but I guess it’s one less app to mindlessly scroll through which has to be something right? My current rule is that I can use FB when I am sitting at my computer which is less than 6000 times a day so I think I’m cracking the FB habit.

I”m also on the lookout for my next book that isn’t on my Kindle.

Reading.

Withandwithoutspace

I had the opportunity to see my old studio after Christmas. When I say studio, I mean the partially open garage under our old house. I worked part time there for 9 years, winter and summer. I stumbled through 6 solo shows, made some gems, made some rubbish, hosted friends there with their easels, blasted the neighbours and their pets with everything from Bjork to the Bee Gees, and made some more rubbish.

I would trundle down the back stairs with car keys, reverse the bubble car out onto the street, and shazam I had a studio! Anyone who works in a tight space totally understands the need for room to move. Sure, sure, I would occasionally shuffle backwards into another car, or over a saw horse (who left that there?), and even the agitation of the washing machine did not (sigh) agitate me. I had space.

I had space. And concrete. And ventilation.

047_2016-paint-space-at-42
Version 2016
044_2007-reeds-painting-at-42
Version 2007

There are many things I’m laughing about in this Version 2007 photo. Let’s start with the choice of safety boots whilst using a compressor powered staple gun. In other photos in this collection Nearest is assisting – in steel caps and safety glasses!

045_2007-starting-comm-at-42And there’s my beautiful easel and the home made, heavy as all get out, stretcher frames: working any way we could to make things a little cheaper. Behind the stretched canvas is a little cupboard which actually held auto parts to accompany the line of oil and grease containers under the bench. For days I worked alongside a friends car as it lay disembowelled, engine suspended by block and tackle, awaiting closing surgery. It was a productive place.

So you’re currently on—hopefully still on—my little nostalgia trip. Places we live and work have such a huge impact on our happiness, our processing, our peace, our chaos. I left this studio in mourning. For my mother. I had spent the final 10 months hanging in there, committed to an exhibition, using an energy to paint that was flagged. And it bore some soggy fruit, that’s for sure. The 2009 GFC had just kicked in and nothing sold. I shipped the pieces out to friends walls, packed up and headed to the next life.

The next three years or so was spent working in a space half the size. It was pretty dysfunctional and unproductive. Or, rather, I was IN it. And the downsizing did seem to have a tightening effect on the work, and I often used the lack of space as a tired excuse to not work. When not castigating self on that period, I also reflect that the Spotted Gum series came from that tiny space and planted me firmly into my new surrounds.

046_reeds-study-for-frogs-25-x-30-x-2-2003
Study for Frogs, 2003, Oil on Canvas (diptych), 25cm x 30cm x 2

After visiting the old studio I stayed at a friends house the night to help break up the road trip home. And walked smack bang into a little study painting from 2003 on her wall from my first solo exhibition. With room to grow, this 60cm study led to a 2m wide piece. The opportunity to paint so large back then was an exciting experience.

In late 2012 we built a studio. It’s a rare thing to custom order your own space. I suspect it may only happen once in a lifetime.  If I got the chance to do it again, I really wouldn’t change anything about it. It has the 3 main ingredients: space, concrete and ventilation. And the luxury of a giant storage cupboard and painting racks and an extraordinary view.

This new studio totally transformed my life. I step into it and don’t want to step out – so much so I forgot to go sketching out bush for a couple of years! Now when I’m away from it I pine for it, and I thank it every single time I step into it. It’s solidified my art practice in terms of routine and process. And if I ever have to leave it there will be tears, but it’s just a big room in the end, and I would take with me some valuable experiences.

I learned a lot about myself in that garage in Brisbane. And I gave myself permission to let the studio space have priority over the living space (with gentle consideration to partner and his living space). I think we can box our practice into a make-do area when we should actually let it leak out into our life… because it is our life. The more room there is, the more you can do, the more you can make, the more people you can invite to share the space, and so your art life, thoughts and practice are more activated. And buzzing.
Buzzing is good.

Footnote: cool concrete is essential for your studio assistants.

048_concrete-and-puppy

 

How do you “cope”?

Firstly, congratulations to me for waiting 24 hours to write this post instead of ripping it yesterday when I had my Ranty McRantface happening.

Breathe.

In through the nose.

Out through the mouth.

Repeat for 24 hours.

But, I hear you ask in great wonderment, what had you so riled Wendy that you were ready to claw someone’s face off just like in the movie Face Off (note: haven’t seen Face Off so I’m not sure if that is the plot but let’s say it is for the purposes of this post)?

Excellent question lovely readers. You’re very lovely. Well done.

Let me eventually get to the point by restating to you a question that was asked of moi twice in a 72 hour period by intelligent, bright people who I really like and have lots of time for.

Q: Say Wendy, how do you cope, you know, intellectually, living in Bundaberg?

WTF. Had they turned into snobs while I wasn’t looking? Or were they really curious? Either way Houston we have a problem. Before we get down to business, I’ll just point out a couple of things.

  1. This is not the first time in my life I have been asked this question
  2. One of the questioners actually lived here for 20 years, raising a family, working, doing stuff, you know, the whole box and dice.

(Two things. I pointed out two things)

So I guess the thing about this question is it immediately implies that Bundaberg is an intellectual wasteland located in a cultural desert devoid of anyone of any smarts, interestingness, capacity to hold a conversation in words of more than one syllable, ability to form opinions about the world and our place in it and other such qualities which are clearly available only to those who are blessed and clever enough to be living in our capital cities and their immediate surrounds.

I may exaggerate here given that part of my reaction to the question was to feel tremendously insulted and patronised. As a result, in both instances, I stumbled out a response that probably appeared to apologise for my life and did nothing to further either questioner’s impression of the aforementioned intellectual wasteland that, in their minds, is regional Australia.

I tweeted out a little of my rage yesterday afternoon and as usual Twitter came back with the commonsense and support I have come to expect from my little corner of this life-saving social media platform. Thanks twitter sphere. Ace.

So in no particular order here are some of the things I shoulda/coulda responded with:

  1. I don’t understand. I’ve spent so long repressing any semblance of my intellectual capabilities and dumbing myself down so I can fit in with the locals that I don’t reflect on my life or my circle of like-minded people. I just play the pokies from 11am onwards using my Newstart allowance while I leave the kids in the car with the family pet during the long hot days of summer.
  2. Mmmm, cope intellectually you say. Well, I’ve just this minute arrived from a string quartet rehearsal where we worked on the first movement of Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major under the guidance of a retired professional musician who (among other things in a long and successful career) was a close personal friend of Sir Neville Marriner from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? No? Heavens to Betsy and you call yourself chockas with culture living down there in the big city.
  3. Cope? Intellectually? Well I’ve never had to worry about those two words in the same sentence or question before. I’ve been too busy chatting with my awesome friends and family about things like music, art, education, politics, and other such topics on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re quite popular as conversational issues.
  4. Intellectual coping skills? Oh no. I don’t have any. I just wake every morning weeping at my own idiocy for living here where it only takes 5 mins to get to the grocery shop, beach, doctors, movies, cafes. Did I mention there are no toll roads or confusing tunnels and we have real chai available? Oh we’re also able to listen to exactly the same radio programs on RN AS YOU CAN IN THE CITY and we do also have the same TV stations. Have you heard of Netflix, Stan, ITunes? NO – of well we have access to them too so we keep up pretty well.
  5. Social media? Oh, sorry, you refuse to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Social Media platform of your choice. How do you manage to read the New York Times, The Guardian, Slate, The Atlantic, The Saturday Paper, read First Dog on the Moon cartoons, read Longreads, and the zillion other great intellectually stimulating and interesting stuff that comes into my phone everyday? What’s that? You subscribe to The Australian? In hard copy? Oh….I’m sorry. I didn’t realise.

Okay, so maybe Ranty McRantface hasn’t disappeared completely (and perhaps has been joined by Sarcastic McCynicalFace) but I’m tired of this garbage. Let me state in no uncertain terms just so we’re all clear.

There are smart and stupid people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.

There are good and bad people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.

There are boring people everywhere. Yes. Everywhere. Even in the city.

There are kindred spirits for each and everyone of us. Sometimes they’re in the city and sometimes they’re in the regions. Sometimes they’re online and you’ve never met them IRL. That doesn’t even matter. I “cope” by seeking them out. By stumbling across them and being delighted. I do just what you do living in the big smoke. We’re all the same.

So check your metropolitan-intellectual privilege at the door please if you’re coming to visit me. I ain’t got time for that shit.

Shout out to my tribe of kindred spirits. You’re all totes amazing.

Farewell 2016

Hello 2017. I’m taking a leaf out of the amazing Pip Lincolne’s blog and taking stock, looking back at 2016 just a little bit and thinking about what is happening in my life right now.

 

Making : some new tops and skirts for work which starts on 16 January. Best get cracking.
Cooking : Nigella’s chocolate festive biscuits (turned out great) and rocky road for Christmas. The kitchen was as surprised as I was at this sudden culinary turn.
Drinking : Sparkling mineral water. So cool. So fizzy. So good for summer. Plus a little bit of the old Bundy Ginger Beer. Pinot Grigio if wine is called for.
Reading: Tom Cox’s books about his cats. Just discovered. Loving them.
Trawling: the internet for clothes bargains. May be slightly addicted to this now.
Wanting: To be less obsessed with my phone

Looking: at the computer screen.
Deciding: How to balance work, life, exercise, social life and music activities in 2017

Wishing: Donald Trump was not going to be the President of the USA

Enjoying: the week between Christmas and New Year. Cocooning, recharging time for this introvert.
Waiting: for autumn. I know. It’s a while off yet.

Liking: this song by Justin Timberlake which is surprising because I’m not a JT fan at all.

Wondering: why the cat always chooses to sit in the hottest room in the house in summer

Loving: going to the gym which is completely surprising to me and everyone person who knows me.

Pondering: what 2017 holds

Listening: to lots of Stevie Wonder. Legend. And podcasts….always podcasts.
Considering: what to do first today.

Buying: fabric, clothes, shoes, music – all those great things

Watching: Seinfeld on Stan from start to finish, Flesh and Bone on Stan (even though it’s totes too much for me – one episode a day), lots of old movies on Netflix and iTunes
Hoping: that the new Sherlock is good tomorrow.

Marvelling: at extroverts. How do they do it day after day?
Cringing: daily at President elect Trump
Needing: to tidy up my music room and music cupboard

Questioning: our obsession with fireworks on NYE.
Smelling: a beautiful jasmine and green tea candle

Wearing: my jim jams as I write this. My new gold saltwater sandals whenever I go out. GOLD. (as well as other clothes)

Noticing: People who talk with you compared to People who talk at you.
Knowing: I need to go to the grocery shop.
Thinking: I don’t want to go to the grocery shop
Admiring: All my amazingly talented and kind friends
Getting: a headache I think.
Bookmarking: lots of articles to do with teacher librarianship.

Disliking: photos of sunrises. Yes I know you’re up at the crack of dawn. Stop showing off. (Inner Grinch: released momentarily)

Opening: a new year full of possibilities
Closing: the door on 2016
Feeling: contented most of the time. that’s got to be good right?
Hearing: cicadas
Celebrating: becoming an aunty in 2017
Pretending: that I’ll tidy the house today. Unlikely.
Embracing: music-making