Saturday, 26th January, 2019 (4.43am)

It’s Australia Day, Woopty Doo!

I don’t think I have one iota of patriotism or national pride. On a collective level, I am pretty much disgusted with the ignorance, fear and conservatism displayed by the members of this down under society. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fantastic people in this country, enough to keep me from getting too angry or depressed. But what the fuck!

Primarily, look at who we voted into federal parliament recently, not once but twice – the Liberal National Party for fuck’s sake. The second time we voted them in, after Tony Abbott was deposed, was the most disappointing. One common observation at the time was how Australia has a tradition of not voting the incumbent government out after only one term. Oh dear!

There are calls to change the date of Australia Day. The first peoples of this country call Australia Day, Invasion Day. And so it bloody well is. Today should be a day of mourning. England invaded and illegally and immorally took possession. We can’t change that, but what a poor date to celebrate our so called great nation.

But what is worse than the 26th of January being the date for the celebration, is the total lack of will by the government, and a significant number of the electorate, to do anything at all for the first peoples of this country. After over 200 years of persecution and neglect we still do not have a treaty, and it doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. I don’t have pride in this nation, I have shame.

The recent attempt by the first peoples to connect and reconcile with the nation the invaders named Australia, as outlined in the Uluru Statement of the Heart, was summarily dismissed by the then PM, Malcolm Turnbull. His reason: it has no chance of gaining a yes vote in a referendum. That is so gutless and pathetic, but sadly possibly correct, that I want to cry.

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A monk in saffron robes wanders the Sunday market. He has a shaven head and carries a small dilly bag. He is looking over some trinkets on a trestle table.

People look at him and wonder what on earth a monk is doing in a place like this.

The monk finds what he is looking for.

Nothing.

Sunday 6th January 2019 [5.38am]

 

My computer gets slower and slower as times goes on. A bit like me actually.

I thought about closing down and rebooting, sometimes that works I think, but I fart arsed around a bit and closed some stuff and now it seems OK. I’m never sure what is going on and to find out can take an hour or so on Google and in discussion forums.

It’s a bit like motor cars, they get more and more complicated and nowadays you haven’t got a chance in hell of being able to fix them with a set of basic tools. One day some smart business person is going to make a bomb by selling no-frills cars and computers. You know real basic models with all the essentials and none of the fancy-schmancy bells and whistles.

While I was fart arsing around this morning, I thought about my blog and wondered could it do with a new look? My current wordpress theme is 2011. So I applied 2019, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Nup, sorry, I’ll stick with 2011. “Out-of-date” one might comment. I don’t care, it works for me.

At the moment I am trying to get back into a regular writing habit. It is a new year and, though I am not a big fan of reflections of the year that was, I must admit that 2018 was a year where my output of stories waned somewhat. Of course, I have a decent list of excuses/reasons for this, but I am not going to defend myself. It’s OK, in fact it is a characteristic of nature that stuff comes and goes, waxes and wanes, peaks and troughs. It don’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is that I get joy from writing and that it doesn’t become a burden, ie, an arduous, joyless discipline.

I’ve never been one to set goals and strive with all my might to ‘get ahead’. The term ‘get ahead’ irks me terribly. It epitomises so much of what is wrong in this current climate where laissez-faire capitalism appears to permeate every fibre of our society. Competition has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. And if I think about some of the things that our children experience in school and on the sporting fields and dance studios after school, I get sad and angry.

I have said this once and I will say it again and again: Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest applies in many situations, but it does not apply between individuals within a social species such as Homo sapiens. Social species survive as a result of co-operation not competition.

long jetty_fotosketcher

It’s not a race.

Getting back to blogs, in the main I find them a good way for us to share and co-operate. Let me give you an example. Somehow a while back, I stumbled upon the blog of author Libby Sommer. In one post, Libby mentioned that her collection of short stories will be published by Ginninderra Press, a small Australian independent publishing house. Most publishers do not accept short story collections, apparently they don’t sell well – and of course it is all about sales if you want to get ahead. Libby spoke highly of this publisher, so I had a shot. I collated 49 of my stories into a collection that I titled Dead People Don’t Make Jam. I printed it off at Officeworks. I sent it by Australia Post. I got an email back. My book will be published. How good is that!

It takes a while for this all to happen, it might be out by Christmas 2019. It don’t matter to me, it is the validation that counts. So thanks Libby for the inspiration and thanks Ginninderra Press for publishing my book.

And thank you my blog for helping me back into a regular writing habit.

Life is Lumpy

A writing routine is a beneficial thing. It gets you in a habit. It facilitates the finishing off of stuff. It makes you feel good, in control, on top of your world.

Life likes to erode routines slowly and surely. This entropic reality can be averted with some good old fashioned discipline. Say, No, and get back to your writing routine.

But then sometimes, life smashes routines beyond recognition. The death of a good friend will do it. The death of two good friends in two horrible weeks will do it. Life doesn’t space out deaths evenly so that those of us left living can carry on with routines. Life is lumpy.

three sisters_FotoSketcher

Crossing a road is a lumpy business. Cars come in bunches. Sometimes the bunches are close together with the gaps uncrossable. Then, with no rhyme or reason the bunches stop coming and a huge gap appears. You can cross that road now without any worry, a snail could cross that road now. Be patient. Life is lumpy, life comes in bunches.

The appearance of treasure at the op-shop is lumpy. Some people, supposedly in the know, say the good stuff goes out on Thursday. Are these op-shop experts in cahoots and giving us the bum steer? Thursdays are no better than any other day. Treasure appears randomly and is largely dependent on one’s mood at the time. Look at your last op-shop purchase. Does it shine like it did when you laughed inside and handed over that three dollars thinking what a bargain, and, who would throw this out? Treasure is a state of mind. States of mind are fickle and absolutely unable to be forced into Thursdays.

Routines themselves don’t facilitate creative spurts where the words flow and time stops and you feel like a medium channelling universal truths. Life is random, the spurts come in lumps, often in bunches of lumps. Routines simply get you: on your bum, at the desk, with fingers match fit, at the right time of day or night, ready to channel those random exhilarating spurts of writing magic. That’s all.

Some of life’s lumps are bigger than our ability to stick to routines. Don’t punish yourself for getting washed up on the rocks by the rogue waves of life. These destructive disruptions, beyond our control, are the stuff of life, without them we would have nothing to write about anyway.

Be thankful for the lumps.

And make the best of the gaps in between.

My Friend, the Essay

Copy of email received yesterday:

Dear Writers,
 
I am happy to inform you, your entry into the Fellowship of Australian Writers Qld Literary competition, short story section, has been awarded a Highly Commended.
 
The Committee would like to congratulate you on this win.
 
In the new year we will be publishing all winning entries, highly commended and commended in our magazine Scope. Could you please email me a copy of your story so I can file it for the new year.
 
Erica Woolgar        In Another’s Trouble
Jim Brigginshaw     The White Horse
Anne Andrews        Cat Destiny
Ruth Morgan          A Dangerous Night
Barbara Gurney      Honest People
Jonathan Furneaux Second Father
Sean Crawley         My Friend, The Essay
Kim Horwood         Flossy’s Fisherman
Once again, congratulations. You will receive your certificate within the next fortnight.
 
Kind regards
 
Virginia Miranda
FAWQ Secretary
Needless to say, happy about that.
I have just put this short story HERE