Saturday, February 27, 2010

suffering part 2

So I was talking about suffering just the other day.

Seems I might have known something was coming.

You know when you have that moment, and you think everything is good?

Well, it never lasts and I know that. We all know that. The good times (and the bad) never last.

Long-time readers will know my mother had cancer for many years. She has been free of it for the last three. She had a pet-scan on Thursday and results with oncologist on Friday and he said it looks like it's back. She called me yesterday as I was laughing in a cafe with my friend who's helping me with the renovations. We'd just high-fived at finding our plasterer (yes, he's a spunk as well, and we were hoping he was gay too, so that my friend and he could renovate together.) Then my mum called and said she was in a cafe in Chapel Street having a green tea.

Why did she mention the green tea? I know now, but when she said it, right at the beginning after she'd said It's mum, I knew. Mum has been back drinking coffee the last three years, so her saying that was a little, gentle nudge to my brain, that it was not good news.

For me, us, the adults in the family, it's like well, we just giddy on up and get back in that there saddle.We had seven years of some hard riding, over rough terrain, getting shot at by injuns, our wagon-tops burning from their fiery arrows, rushing through ravines with even rogue cavalry men taking aim. We kept on riding and we made it through, and in such style.

I'm dreading having to tell my Princess, who is also her Granny's Princess-to-the-power-of-2 of this latest change.

It's change that gets us. Change we don't like.

Sorry to be such a downer but I don't want to talk about this to the friends I see face to face. I had seven years of How's your mum? and it all being about My Mother's Cancer. It sounds harsh but she would understand. I will tell her, I'm going to play it all down, not talk about it and we'll just deal with it ourselves.

And in good news:

Taking Ali and his unbelievably gorgeous girlfriend to the airport for their flight outta here today. So that's one thing off my plate. One thing off, ten on?

Wish me luck for the drive to the airport. Long-time readers again will know that it's been problematic in the past, having Ali in town, and even driving him to the airport. Even picking him up.

Fun and games.

But this time has been pretty smoove. Thank Fuck.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, oh yay

I know I'm overdue for some diarama but, dear reader, I have been so busy with renovating the flat I just haven't time to spare. Not a square to spare.
But briefly, this morning, before I go to meet the plasterer, who I'm hoping won't be nasty, who might just be a spunk, to add to my collection of tasty tradeys (cabinet-maker, swoon; plumber, oh-my-gawd; and floor polisher [faints].)
But before I away,

I went and saw it last night with my mo. That's ghetto for mother. Don't you know. She gasped a couple of times and I hid my eyes once. I have images from this movie burned into my retinas, laid down in the visual equivalent of quadrophonic sound. Or is it 8 track? Probably 16 by now, or infinity.
It's very confronting. We loved it, but sad, so sad, but uplifting and redemptive. She was going to break the cycle. What a cycle. We agreed we'd never seen that sort of stuff, so raw and confronting, in a movie before. Lenny Kravitz - the only man in the movie with a face; he was so gorgeois, and kind and sweet. What a movie. Go and see it. Mariah Carey too, like you've never seen her before.
So every week I've been doing buddhist meditation with my mo. It's helping me, I am a bit calmer, a bit smoother, and most importantly a bit nicer to the people I love the most.
This week, the theme was suffering, so in lieu of my self-indulgent ramblings from the '80s, I give you Auden.

Musee dex Beaux Arts
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or
just walking dully along.
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen,
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the
torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


I was told once I should write more poetry, but that was a blogger who I didn't know and who seemed like a bit of a nutter. Here is an exhange we had once.
This is the thing I've learned about poetry, for myself. I like poetry that is clear and you can understand the imagery, this is how I like to read prose as well. I've also realised that poetry has been dangerous for me because it makes me feel too much, like music. I have been avoiding certain emotions and poetry and music especially bring them to the surface. Not deep, dark, really bad things but the stuff of suffering that we all have. Once you get to a certain age, you can't tell me you haven't suffered. And if you're like me, and you've had to get on with things, you push the pain down and carry on because if you don't, if you stop and cry, you'll never pick yourself up.
Oh how woe is me.
We all suffer, it's a part of the human condition and it's important to realise that. We haven't failed if we haven't achieved perfect, ongoing happiness. It doesn't exist, it's a delusion.
Happy Friday all, and have a good weekend too.
And be kind to yourselves, first.
And apologies to the other very famous blog which does poetry on a Friday. I'm not moving in on the concept, it just looks like it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Answer me this, mesdames et messieurs

What do you do if you have just finished your first draft of a story, and it's really more than a first draft. You are now polishing and layering a bit more into it. But it's formed, with beginning, middle, end. Characters are all there doing their thing, action all the rest of it.

And you start reading a book by a fabulously well-known author and you realise


This reminds me of my book. And you keep reading, and every few chapters you go

I am somehow connected psychically to this person on the other side of the world.

Now, get this. It's about the mother-daughter relationship, not an uncommon theme, so that's not a problem.

BUT when she uses the word mauve relating to cosmetics, she has a mother that is mentally ill (mine is an aunt), she has a scene where the main character ponders on rabbit bones and looks at them lined up on a windowsill, along with rocks and stones, and a few other seemingly small things but which all add up to one humungous


and you have the same fucking stuff in your book, then what else can you think but


I have put the book down. I am a little over half way through. And I don't know what to do.

Because it is such a good book, and mine is trifling in comparison. I want to finish it, I am loving it, but then what happens with my book, I have toiled over it for more than 12 months, and which started as a seed a few years ago?

No matter that my mother loved it, and my sister.

No matter that my father sent through his response last night and said things like "I have finished reading your first novel. It's sure to be up for a Miles Franklin! I loved it."

Know that my dad is not an exclamation mark kind of guy. Know too that my dad does not use the word "love" lightly. He is not into hyperbole and I have never really felt that he's been big on the building up of a daughter's self-esteem. He's never taken the care to do all that, never thought to maybe, he is not a nurturer of a small girl's dreams. So when he says something like that, it's pretty enormous.

So, dear readers, what the hell do I do now?

I've organised for a professional manuscript assessment, need to send it off around mid-March.

I have to stay true to it, don't I? I shouldn't panic and go running around trying to change shit.

Well, I guess in a way it's validation, but she's done it so much better than me.


Monday, February 08, 2010

What I hate Monday

In addition to all the recent spammage I've been getting on this blog, what I really, really hate is:

1. when you go to the hairdresser for a haircut

2. when you say ok to a blow wave and it comes out straight

3. when you then go to work and every fucking person in the building comments on your hair, how nice it is, it's gorgeous, it's wonderful, wow, wow, WOWOWOWOWOWOW.

4. then you are left thinking is my normal hair really so shit?