Monday, December 22, 2008

Endings, Exes, and Exmas......

Awww gawwwd.......

it's a skanky night tonight and I'm not even in Adelaide - tho probably the closest I'll be for a while.

i'm heading up north to the anus for xmas and to introduce the Missus to excalibur's sword and the replica stonehenge... and my Mum. Renaissance girl will probably have the least culture shock of any of my exes.... she's even lived in a cnutry town so knows the code of socially acceptable closet baring...... and all the other stuff.

i'm not sure if I'm ready for it... I mean i was there only 12 months ago - and feeling kind of torn between having spent half my life there, and half in Sydney... and I still can't believe that i've actually left Sydney - or to be living somewhere that seems so strangely familiar and yet so different.....

and there's there's the tome - which I'm taking up with me to edit in corners......

We'll hang in sydney for a couple of weeks - to eat fresh seafood and sea real surf and cliffs and smell tropical flowers and feel sweat drizzle around suncream, and then it's back here for tome completion...

I'm really sick of my thesis at the moment. sick of writing, sick of having it hanging over my head, sick of not knowing how or what to do as a dole management strategy to ensure I have enough cash flow to keep me fed, and keep me sane till I submit. I'm sick of my own incredible inneficiency and the way it has bled into other area sof my life..... I ahven't even packed my bags for tomorrow! Everything has become a heaving chore of procrastination. Study is hell. I can't even enjoy a decent bit of theory anymore wihtout wringing my hands at potential footnotes...... and yet if I confine myself to lite words I go mad - ok not mad - just deeply deeply bored......

anywya - following Lauren's example - I'm going to include a summary year of 2008 - (also because i wasn't able to blog very much) . this year was a completely insane year for lots of reasons.... and yet really wonderful in others....

Fell in love with renaissance girl
drafted chapter 5
sensations: mangoes, ocean, couscous in pg-arc, quad at midnite

compound become disaster zone - horror horror horror
I fled to mates' couches
applied for a casual lecturing job
drafted a paper on bad drawing
started work on chapter 6
sensations: long phone calls at night in main quad, 2minute noodles in pg-arc, quad at midnite

found the mousecave and Moved out of the compound after 9 years
Started lecturing job at COFA. Read "the order of things" in an afternoon
turned 37. lectured in singapore
what Mardis Gras? what thesis?
sensations: renaissance girl's biceps, books on a the back of a truck, sore back, cockroaches, laundromats

scholarship OVER. terror! terror! terror!
compound being total arseholes: horror! horror! horror!
Lectured and tutored art history
no mobile reception, internet or phone in the mousecave, mousecave bloody cold and damp
brief holiday in melbourne
what thesis?
sensations: stripey shirts, cufflinks, pin striped trousers, ALFALFA HOUSE, buckwheat noodles, tamari, eggplant

Lectured in singapore again
bought glasses and electronica
Gave paper on Chapter 6 in progress
Moved my studio into a storage unit.
sensations: bourdieu, deleuze, podzilla, dumplings, sore back, acute financial stress, marking, COFA canteen cuisine

end of semester: marking, poverty, precarity
mousecave overrrun by mice
gave a departmental seminar on schappylle scragg
tutored blogging in penrith
did lots of marking at uni... scared essays would be eaten by mice
what thesis?
sensations: mousepiss, ratsac, mould, vacuuming, aircon, flouro lights, all-nighters at uni, scotch & stillnox

Mum's 70th birthday
Holidays with renaissance girl
Started working at ICE
Got the flu
Elizabeth Grosz's new book... hooray!
oh! thesis! if only!
sensations: pink scarf, black furry coat, damp lungs, manoush and potato scallops at Granville, green rat poo, vacuuming

Lecturing again, and working at ICE
finishing a rough first draft
when the going gets tough the touch get out: i gave notice on my flat
sensations: pgarc at night, the feel of 90000 words, manoush and potato scallops at Granville, bad corporate drag, COFA canteen cuisine

the return of spring! and Podzilla
filled the lanes with my kitchen, gave away/sold art, furniture, etc...
Nanna Madges Irigary singalong
Extreme sports tetris filling storage container with my books, art.... and that other stuff
garden party rained out and had to get friends to pack my house, shift boxes...
posted 10 boxes of notes to melbourne, sent 3 crates on a greyhound bus... I flew
sensations: white almond blossoms, sunshine, smiles, cuddles, not sleeping at all, then sleeping a lot, cat snores, black plastic, depot girl.....

moved into the brunswick love palace
unpacked boxes, started to work on the tome
sensations: smooth dry sunshine, skin on carpet, brown parks, Sydney Road, organza, muesli, coffee, holland blinds

More of the same
Moreland centrelink
lots of sewing, THE AGE

Rain, study, facebook, cuddles, cat, love

Monday, December 15, 2008

Anywhere but Here

I've had a funny morning of non presence today....

Started the day reading posts on a british list aksing if drawing is a form of performance and then I read a story about an artists' models protest in Paris yesterday.....

Reading the bits in french - listening to earnest frog - my mind did backflips and I wondered what the hell i'm doing..... here..... slowly clarifying comments, replacing commas, editing footnotes....

I really liked one of the quotes from a news article on the protest.....

"Quand on me demande ce que je fais dans la vie, il y a toujours un temps d'arrêt. Pour moi, c'est devenu aussi naturel que lorsque vous vous mettez nu dans votre salle de bain. Pour tenir la pose, je dois rentrer en moi-même. Poser, c'est méditer, cela me donne l'inspiration pour des poèmes."

roughly translated - it means "when I'm asked what I do in my life, there is always bit of a pause. fr me, it has become as natural as for you to undress in your bathroom. To take a pose, I have to go inside myself. to pose is to meditate, it gives me inspiration for my poems"

Hmmmm ok - maybe not the poetry bit..... and ..... actually I feel quite self conscious undressing before getting in the bat - mainly because I remove my specs and grope around in a blur - whereas I always wore contacts when I modelled.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bloody Hell

After my last lite postings, I thought i'd better add something a little more readerly.

My favourite South Australians rightly observed that according to my wordle analysis - my posts seem to be punctuated with "bloody" and "Hell". i'm still a bit suss about the whole wordle thing - like why aren't prepositions included? Surely "the " "It" and "at" are important? not to mentioned pronouns?

Hmmm - maybe thesis editing is getting to me......

In the last 48 hours I've been struck by bloody hell of the painful variety. I was so proud of weaning myself off painkillers and chocolate, and feeling whole and hearty and sentient... and then the pain struck - in the back of my neck and left me tormentedly writhing and unable to sleep for 2 or 3 nights - save short bursts where I'd collapse only to be woken again by the pain.....the age bored me to a level of despair even greater than scrolling through the status updates of every single one of my facebook friends so I dug out Michelle de Certeau's the practice of Everyday Life to cheer me up.

It did... especially the bit about the brownian motion of tactics by which ordinary people embed a sense of agency and meaning in their negotiations with fairly large manifestions of institutionalised power. It made me feel happy about my own insistence on a stochastic framework for the analysis of power/culture/discourse/phenomenology/etc. in the TOME rather than a proper linear narrative.......

And then flipping through the blogroll I came across Jebni's latest post - whihc is more of a powerpoint-cast:
where things are at goes for 20 minutes but is worth every second,,,,, it is calm, mediated engaging delight......

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Last Year

I'm into this wordle thing.....

Last Month

Maybe last month is more accurate.......

Word Salad

I'm not sure if this is an accurate representation of my most frequent blogged words, but it kind of matches the self referential theme....

click here to see the current wordle

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


A bit of a contrasting view on the 'companion animals'

Donna Haraway. Companion Species Manifesto Lecture 2003 2/10

check this out.....

Rock n Roll!

I couldn't resist posting this image from Alan Jones's current show . Ah! another reason to miss sydney - like as if I'd be doing anything anyway..... I'd just be feeling guilty rather than just isolated......

ho hum. bloody hell.

I wrote to my aunt (who is a writer) whingeing about writing - that it's a stupid hideous horrible occupation. and this is a *good* week - apparently.... After lying around and banging my head against the wall all last week and most of the weekend - I finally had a breakthrough.... and have spent each day slowly and doggedly plugging away on this chapter........

It's shaping up to be good, but bloody hell! I'm sick of the slow stagnant drag.... the procrastination cycle, the crazy eating, lack of sleeping constant guilt detachment vagueness all the time......

anyway - I'm being subsidised by the missus and the rock n roll. I fill out my dole diary and compliantly trudge up the hill each second friday... I can *almost* survive on newstart allowance and hope that maybe they won't put the screws on too hard before.... before.... I can..... and then I wonder why I can't do this any faster?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Despite the weather being a tad ARCTIC I had a great weekend but have headache and insomnia and am taking refuge on the brown lounge chair. the cat is keeping me company on the other brown lounge chair.

I just read the good weekend about bland beauty queen blog promotors, and it's got me inspired in a facebook application kind of way to follow on this little bit from Lauren's bit of the blogosphere;

I thought it might be an interesting test of how or if the viral nature of the internet still works for Blogs....coz I get the feeling that the blogosphere has diminished somewhat as lots of people have moved onto facebook or twitter or something..... the other big sign is that government funded community orgs are using blogs as community development projects (and here, I know I'm part of the problem/gravy train) - and the community sector is reputed to be about 5 years behind the times.....

Here are the rules:
* Mention the rules on your blog.
* Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
* Tag six other
* Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they are tagged.

I'm not sure if there are 6 quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself that I haven't already posted on this blog or stated on TV but err.....

1. My second toes are longer than my big toes
2. I only drink black or very dark beer
3. I'm left handed
4. I'm really quite scared of and repulsed by octopus
5. I didn't wear underpants for 10 years
6. I gave up drinking tea in 1992, and it was very hard to do

As for the tagees..... I thought I'd pick a blog from my different circuits - to see what happens.

Lauren is part of the art blogosphere - so I only tagged one other art blogger - ie Skanky Jane

i picked two of my blogger contacts from the professional world of academia/cultural studies

Glen Fuller is a sydney academic cultural studies blogger and Nazanin is also a sydney academic cultural studies blogger but she's blogging and researching Iranian blogs

Just to further the international scope I included my favourite Eruotrash performance artist star Jesse and my favourite Ausie trash performance artist Zoo

Zoo crosses a few lines; being a firend/artist/academic and queer ratbag... whereas Norrie is officially a queer ratbag and activist....

a couple of people haven't posted for ages and a few may just think this is total spam..... so I'll see how this goes......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bad Hair Days

I found this image on the Museum of Bad Art website which I found on Lucazoids blog

I thought it was a fitting image for today - since I'm having my insane fear of going to the hairdresser being exposed on National TV tonight.... as well as what I've been doing with all my hairclippings for the past 18 years.

At the moment they are all banged up in a storage box in Sydney, along with most of my books and most of my art, and most of my dressups. I'm starting to miss all my clobber and feeling gloomy at the prospects of not seeing or touching any of this stuff for quite a few months into the future.

I'm feeling gloomy about everything at the moment; the weather, lack of sun, sultry cloudy fug, my own voluntary isolation and it's effects... and just a lack of motivation to do anything....

this is despite sticking to my tome targets and having a nice departmental interview, and getting my tax return and being able to do a headstand in yoga... i want to hide indoors and not move until this feeling goes away......

i wish some cliffs were only a bus ride away, I wish there was somewhere nicer to walk to than flat parks with burnt grass, and flat trees with flat grey buildings and flat grey cars

It's been a slow day of trawling friends blogs, doing random facebook quizzes and eating really shit food......

I slept crappily last night and there are roadworks outside so I can't sleep today... I feel jetlagged, slow, sad, stupid... infernally useless, indecisive, dysfunctional, disordered.

i'd better stop. it's not that dire - just one of those days

Sunday, November 16, 2008


sometimes I lerve the world on the poota screen..... zoo quoted my blog, and I've been having an 'awww shucks' mutual admiration moment with the red one, and an ex-PhD student has just publicly whinged about excessive weight gain, and it all makes me feel so much less alone and freaky.....

which might not be such a good thing.

I had a hideous week last week - I got stuck on a paragraph (yep - just one) for 4 days or something horrendous... maybe longer.....

It all started to come apart on monday.... I'd left that paragraph the previous friday for a weekend of domestic frolics, and facing it on monday, I cut and pasted and then I wrote a lot of paragraphs around it......

tuesday... ditto..... followed by a trip to yoga.....

On Wednesday I saw a counsellor, then tried a rousing trip to the NGV . I thought ART would cure me of my hiatus, but.... well..... actually it kind of did, but then I bought and art magazine, came home, read it and felt like I'd eaten a double pack of oreo biscuits... kind of sickly sweet and nauseated but incredibly empty.....

OH GOD. It was so hot by then that I hid in the bath...

thursday - I hid in the bath, sweated, typed a lot, cut and pasted a lot. It was hot.

Friday - I hoped the cool change would help.... I felt nauseous, started typing a hell of a lot, realised I was getting NOWHERE fast... sighed, wrote a grovelling lettter to my supervisor, banged my head on the desk.

I got a headache.

during the week my eating disorder indulgence had been tempered by the heatwave - though I experimented with dreamy creamy cafe con nelo variations..... and ate a lot of salad..... but my arms felt too big for my t-shirts, and I realised I couldn't zip up any of my summer frocks. shit.

Reduced to black t-shirt and black jeans, I decided to trek over to SAVERS to seek out some flimsy coloured raiments in size 16. SAVERS reminds me of the last white trash corner of brooklyn... (or brown trash maybe....) or even more - the Keskutori shops in finland. Racks and racks and racks of polycotton cast offs sorted according to colour, and lots of people jostling in the aisles looking for a bargain.... and there's so much stuff you think that there *must* be something, but ultimately the whole effect swamps you in a morass of discarded consumer fads that the eyes glaze, and everything looks beige.....

by this stage, the sun had returned, and I was feeling grumpy and so sick of the sight of second hand stretch knits that I decided to head down the hill for new stretch knits in airconditioned comfort. OH GOD. The K-Hole of Brunswick is one of those scary portals to hell that crop up in the weirdest of places like Chastwood and lithgow. I went into Kmart, and spent 2 hours trying on 10 different variations of ladies/girls t-shirts, and support singlets, before deciding that shopping mall gelato tones didn't actually cut it as my kind of bright. THE ONLY pants in my size were MATERNITY faecal coloured capris with drawstring waists. the shit trifecta! what a way to cover the arse..... hell. I went home and decided to hide naked in the flat till I lose weight or wait till the weather cools off.

fortunately renaissance girl took pity on me, drove me to some cliffs and we romped on the sand and ate chips..... today I printed out the big scary bit and cut and pasted and rearranged it and DECONSTRUCTED every trace of that evil paragraph line by line, with my trusty stanley knife......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More on Obama

I won't do the whole cut and paste.... but here's another titibt from academic e-lists........ apparently a response to butler.

click on this to read it
btw - weather for smellbourne is HOT.

I texted my mate in Sydney about it for sympathy but he's he's got mouth burns from having Radiation therapy on his throat....

Kind of puts my discomfort to shame really

Monday, November 10, 2008

Uncritical Exuberance?

Here's another yankee guru discussing the regime change.....

by Judith Butler
Wednesday Nov 5th, 2008 7:19 PM

This became most salient in the emergence of the counter Bradley-effect, when voters could and did explicitly own up to their own racism, but said they would vote for Obama anyway. Anecdotes from the field include claims like the following: "I know that Obama is a Muslim and a Terrorist, but I will vote for him anyway; he is probably better for the economy." Such voters got to keep their racism and vote for Obama, sheltering their split beliefs without having to resolve them.

Very few of us are immune to the exhilaration of this time. My friends on the left write to me that they feel something akin to "redemption" or that "the country has been returned to us" or that "we finally have one of us in the White House." Of course, like them, I discover myself feeling overwhelmed with disbelief and excitement throughout the day, since the thought of having the regime of George W. Bush over and gone is an enormous relief. And the thought of Obama, a thoughtful and progressive black candidate, shifts the historical ground, and we feel that cataclysm as it produces a new terrain. But let us try to think carefully about the shifted terrain, although we cannot fully know its contours at this time. The election of Barack Obama is historically significant in ways that are yet to be gauged, but it is not, and cannot be, a redemption, and if we subscribe to the heightened modes of identification that he proposes ("we are all united") or that we propose ("he is one of us"), we risk believing that this political moment can overcome the antagonisms that are constitutive of political life, especially political life in these times. There have always been good reasons not to embrace "national unity" as an ideal, and to nurse suspicions toward absolute and seamless identification with any political leader. After all, fascism relied in part on that seamless identification with the leader, and Republicans engage this same effort to organize political affect when, for instance, Elizabeth Dole looks out on her audience and says, "I love each and every one of you."

It becomes all the more important to think about the politics of exuberant identification with the election of Obama when we consider that support for Obama has coincided with support for conservative causes. In a way, this accounts for his "cross-over" success. In California, he won by 60% of the vote, and yet some significant portion of those who voted for him also voted against the legalization of gay marriage (52%). How do we understand this apparent disjunction? First, let us remember that Obama has not explicitly supported gay marriage rights. Further, as Wendy Brown has argued, the Republicans have found that the electorate is not as galvanized by "moral" issues as they were in recent elections; the reasons given for why people voted for Obama seem to be predominantly economic, and their reasoning seems more fully structured by neo-liberal rationality than by religious concerns. This is clearly one reason why Palin's assigned public function to galvanize the majority of the electorate on moral issues finally failed. But if "moral" issues such as gun control, abortion rights and gay rights were not as determinative as they once were, perhaps that is because they are thriving in a separate compartment of the political mind. In other words, we are faced with new configurations of political belief that make it possible to hold apparently discrepant views at the same time: someone can, for instance, disagree with Obama on certain issues, but still have voted for him. This became most salient in the emergence of the counter Bradley-effect, when voters could and did explicitly own up to their own racism, but said they would vote for Obama anyway. Anecdotes from the field include claims like the following: "I know that Obama is a Muslim and a Terrorist, but I will vote for him anyway; he is probably better for the economy." Such voters got to keep their racism and vote for Obama, sheltering their split beliefs without having to resolve them.

Along with strong economic motivations, less empirically discernible factors have come into play in these election results. We cannot underestimate the force of dis-identification in this election, a sense of revulsion that George W. has "represented" the United States to the rest of the world, a sense of shame about our practices of torture and illegal detention, a sense of disgust that we have waged war on false grounds and propagated racist views of Islam, a sense of alarm and horror that the extremes of economic deregulation have led to a global economic crisis. Is it despite his race, or because of his race, that Obama finally emerged as a preferred representative of the nation? Fulfilling that representative-function, he is at once black and not-black (some say "not black enough" and others say "too black"), and, as a result, he can appeal to voters who not only have no way of resolving their ambivalence on this issue, but do not want one. The public figure who allows the populace to sustain and mask its ambivalence nevertheless appears as a figure of "unity": this is surely an ideological function. Such moments are intensely imaginary, but not for that reason without their political force.

As the election approached, there has been an increased focus on the person of Obama: his gravity, his deliberateness, his ability not to lose his temper, his way of modeling a certain evenness in the face of hurtful attacks and vile political rhetoric, his promise to reinstate a version of the nation that will overcome its current shame. Of course, the promise is alluring, but what if the embrace of Obama leads to the belief that we might overcome all dissonance, that unity is actually possible? What is the chance that we may end up suffering a certain inevitable disappointment when this charismatic leader displays his fallibility, his willingness to compromise, even to sell out minorities? He has, in fact, already done this in certain ways, but many of us "set aside" our concerns in order to enjoy the extreme un-ambivalence of this moment, risking an uncritical exuberance even when we know better. Obama is, after all, hardly a leftist, regardless of the attributions of "socialism" proffered by his conservative opponents. In what ways will his actions be constrained by party politics, economic interests, and state power; in what ways have they been compromised already? If we seek through this presidency to overcome a sense of dissonance, then we will have jettisoned critical politics in favor of an exuberance whose phantasmatic dimensions will prove consequential. Maybe we cannot avoid this phantasmatic moment, but let us be mindful about how temporary it is. If there are avowed racists who have said, "I know that he is a Muslim and a terrorist, but I will vote for him anyway," there are surely also people on the left who say, "I know that he has sold out gay rights and Palestine, but he is still our redemption." I know very well, but still: this is the classic formulation of disavowal. Through what means do we sustain and mask conflicting beliefs of this sort? And at what political cost?

There is no doubt that Obama's success will have significant effects on the economic course of the nation, and it seems reasonable to assume that we will see a new rationale for economic regulation and for an approach to economics that resembles social democratic forms in Europe; in foreign affairs, we will doubtless see a renewal of multi-lateral relations, the reversal of a fatal trend of destroying multilateral accords that the Bush administration has undertaken. And there will doubtless also be a more generally liberal trend on social issues, though it is important to remember that Obama has not supported universal health care, and has failed to explicitly support gay marriage rights. And there is not yet much reason to hope that he will formulate a just policy for the United States in the Middle East, even though it is a relief, to be sure, that he knows Rashid Khalidi.

The indisputable significance of his election has everything to do with overcoming the limits implicitly imposed on African-American achievement; it has and will inspire and overwhelm young African-Americans; it will, at the same time, precipitate a change in the self-definition of the United States. If the election of Obama signals a willingness on the part of the majority of voters to be "represented" by this man, then it follows that who "we" are is constituted anew: we are a nation of many races, of mixed races; and he offers us the occasion to recognize who we have become and what we have yet to be, and in this way a certain split between the representative function of the presidency and the populace represented appears to be overcome. That is an exhilarating moment, to be sure. But can it last, and should it?

To what consequences will this nearly messianic expectation invested in this man lead? In order for this presidency to be successful, it will have to lead to some disappointment, and to survive disappointment: the man will become human, will prove less powerful than we might wish, and politics will cease to be a celebration without ambivalence and caution; indeed, politics will prove to be less of a messianic experience than a venue for robust debate, public criticism, and necessary antagonism. The election of Obama means that the terrain for debate and struggle has shifted, and it is a better terrain, to be sure. But it is not the end of struggle, and we would be very unwise to regard it that way, even provisionally. We will doubtless agree and disagree with various actions he takes and fails to take. But if the initial expectation is that he is and will be "redemption" itself, then we will punish him mercilessly when he fails us (or we will find ways to deny or suppress that disappointment in order to keep alive the experience of unity and unambivalent love).

If a consequential and dramatic disappointment is to be averted, he will have to act quickly and well. Perhaps the only way to avert a "crash" - a disappointment of serious proportions that would turn political will against him - will be to take decisive actions within the first two months of his presidency. The first would be to close Guantanamo and find ways to transfer the cases of detainees to legitimate courts; the second would be to forge a plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to begin to implement that plan. The third would be to retract his bellicose remarks about escalating war in Afghanistan and pursue diplomatic, multilateral solutions in that arena. If he fails to take these steps, his support on the left will clearly deteriorate, and we will see the reconfiguration of the split between liberal hawks and the anti-war left. If he appoints the likes of Lawrence Summers to key cabinet positions, or continues the failed economic polices of Clinton and Bush, then at some point the messiah will be scorned as a false prophet. In the place of an impossible promise, we need a series of concrete actions that can begin to reverse the terrible abrogation of justice committed by the Bush regime; anything less will lead to a dramatic and consequential disillusionment. The question is what measure of dis-illusion is necessary in order to retrieve a critical politics, and what more dramatic form of dis-illusionment will return us to the intense political cynicism of the last years. Some relief from illusion is necessary, so that we might remember that politics is less about the person and the impossible and beautiful promise he represents than it is about the concrete changes in policy that might begin, over time, and with difficulty, bring about conditions of greater justice.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Jumping on the Bamowagon

I read the newspapers with glee last night and again today, and noted the numerous happy facebook comments. thought i'd post up something that arrived in my email inbox.....

Ohhh -how I love to float on the waves of digitally mediated delight......

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Who among us is not at a loss for words? Tears pour out. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. A stunning, whopping landslide of hope in a time of deep despair.

In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves, it was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity: Barack Obama, a good man, a black man, said he would bring change to Washington, and the majority of the country liked that idea. The racists were present throughout the campaign and in the voting booth. But they are no longer the majority, and we will see their flame of hate fizzle out in our lifetime.
There was another important "first" last night. Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war. I hope President-elect Obama remembers that as he considers expanding the war in Afghanistan. The faith we now have will be lost if he forgets the main issue on which he beat his fellow Dems in the primaries and then a great war hero in the general election: The people of America are tired of war. Sick and tired. And their voice was loud and clear yesterday.

It's been an inexcusable 44 years since a Democrat running for president has received even just 51% of the vote. That's because most Americans haven't really liked the Democrats. They see them as rarely having the guts to get the job done or stand up for the working people they say they support. Well, here's their chance. It has been handed to them, via the voting public, in the form of a man who is not a party hack, not a set-for-life Beltway bureaucrat. Will he now become one of them, or will he force them to be more like him? We pray for the latter.

But today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet. I know, pinch me.

We may, just possibly, also see a time of refreshing openness, enlightenment and creativity. The arts and the artists will not be seen as the enemy. Perhaps art will be explored in order to discover the greater truths. When FDR was ushered in with his landslide in 1932, what followed was Frank Capra and Preston Sturgis, Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck, Dorothea Lange and Orson Welles. All week long I have been inundated with media asking me, "gee, Mike, what will you do now that Bush is gone?" Are they kidding? What will it be like to work and create in an environment that nurtures and supports film and the arts, science and invention, and the freedom to be whatever you want to be? Watch a thousand flowers bloom! We've entered a new era, and if I could sum up our collective first thought of this new era, it is this: Anything Is Possible.

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

We really don't have much time. There is big work to do. But this is the week for all of us to revel in this great moment. Be humble about it. Do not treat the Republicans in your life the way they have treated you the past eight years. Show them the grace and goodness that Barack Obama exuded throughout the campaign. Though called every name in the book, he refused to lower himself to the gutter and sling the mud back. Can we follow his example? I know, it will be hard.

I want to thank everyone who gave of their time and resources to make this victory happen. It's been a long road, and huge damage has been done to this great country, not to mention to many of you who have lost your jobs, gone bankrupt from medical bills, or suffered through a loved one being shipped off to Iraq. We will now work to repair this damage, and it won't be easy.

But what a way to start! Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Wow. Seriously, wow.
Michael Moore

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


the brunswick love palace is pretty light on the white goods front.......

I was strolling around the northern edge of brunswick yesterday after dipping a toe into the remainder of the welfare state, and wandered into a whitegoods warehouse clearance thingy.....

NBC was on the tube near the till and I could hear an endless content free monologous drawl......eventually I asked the attendants what was the ACTUAL ...err... RESULT.......

they were taken aback at my whoops of joy, and asked if I'd actually "been" to America. I cracked the Aussie keeping it real cred and went "yeah, mate, I was there last year. Loved it. the Yanks hated Bush. My sister in Law is getting a green card. this is good news."

I wans't quite sure of how political to be to 2 blokes that had just sold me a blender and a toaster oven on credit. After the above, the guy looked at me and said "Make sure you keep your receipt for the warranty"

I strolled down Sydney road under the baking fug of november clouds, feet shaken by the throbs from the street machine noise factory; started to parch out at Franco Cozzo's and started sniffing around for for some water. Inner Suburban Melbourne is very different from central amsterdam and doesn't really do the small takeway snack outlet thing. (Oh, Febo where art thou?) Most of the hot bread shops are 'bakery cafe's' and most of the el cheapo cuisine joints are pizza parlours or some kind of restaurant experience... I'm still a sydney gal who likes to swill as I stride so I had to think about my habits, and my needs and what was around me.....

I saw the retreat and I caved in...... Went and ordered a "Schooner of Pub Squash" at the bar. the barperson looked at me and said "you're from New SOuth Wales, aren't you?" and showed me a pint glass. "Oh, yeah".........

sitting, sipping a pint of lemon squash outside, and rearranging my shopping I pondered the strangeness of the so almost familiar. Same language, same culture... bt these tiny little points of spaital difference, the minute topographies of a flat city gridded into tramtracks, train lines and baking asphalt, bright flowers and wrought iron on parching lawns and nature strips. Ubiquitous utes and technicolour boganmobiles with bodykits and mag wheels... An infinite ecotopia of cute girls on bicycles, (the sporty, the girly, the skinny, the curvy, the butch, the boho..........) tho I still haven't found a site to collect the queer rags in my poundable circuit...... (surely they have gay and lesbian venues northwest of fitzroy?)

I repacked my white goods, lugged them home, grilled some capsicum, made some hummous and toasted some manoush with Zatar, it was all good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Loving the Nags

I'm back at my desk peeping out the window for touches of blue. Sadly all I can see - is the shiny bonnet of some car in the carpark......

Melbournia seems to mainly consist of 2 variations of clouds: heavy grey sodden cold ones - or scary baking paper style sky coverings - on sweltering humid days that have no rain......

Anyway - at least yesterday was a beautiful sunny basking kind of a day....

Rennaissance girl and I hoofed it over to a mates BBQ where we sat in a backyard dozing and murmuring and giggling - and then briefly entering the home to 10 minutes of adrenaline fueled GLORY.....

Well - not quite.....

I love how horse race commentators alsways sound like OZ CRawl on Speed completely insanely speeded up slurring.... punctuated by "round the outside" and a breathy intake......

Kind of reminds me of Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Girls" - only with a different accent and different metre... but essentially it's a rhythmic spoken word soothe - accompanied by the drone of flies and that wonderful climactic ambiance of the last stretch....... as the crowds sigh and start roaring.......

I dunno why I'm trying to recuperate something that I basically think is fucked on every single level. I'm up there with Mahatir and Mohammed on the gambling thing....... I reckon it's a worthy tax on those who can't do maths, and a hand cutting offence for those who profiteer from it.....

and the whole bush bogan snobbery factor makes me puke.......

Anyway- cup day was a worthy conclusion to another breath holding feat of manic screeds.... doing crazy 6 hour shifts - then other 6 hour shifts.... tapping away - writing/editing/compiling/composing........

Sometimes I think it would be nice if writing wasn't so bloody INTENSE.

I had a vague hope that doing a tome would force me to be less insane about writing and my undergraduate habits of procrastinating into a feverish wallow of self loathing before bursting into a mad-panic flight of adrenalin fueled insanity - would be resolved... and I'd become one of those earnest dogged rational types.......

I mean wallow/panic/boom/bust/collapse cycle works well for 1500 word rants - but not for 90 000 words surely..... alas - and this is a very sorry admission....... It hasn't changed - just intensified........ My mental "sound bytes" now consist of 10 000 word chunks - imagined in an instant and executed in a sleepless sweaty mania......

I eat too much, don't move, don't wash, grunt at Renaissance girl and trip over the cat......

Having realised that writing is rewarding but insane unhealthy and unsustainable, I'm kind of wondering what I should take up next as a rational form of income sustenance........

So i'm off to ye olde dole shoppe to see what vestige of the welfare state I can call upon to feed my eating disorder and pay the rent while I keep tippy taping away......

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I'm having SERIOUS procrastinitis issues

I've been faffing around in extremis dodo avoiding writing up.reediting/amending some article that I wrote AGES ago for some publication.... and I've gone beyond a point of such abject stupidity where I can't even write a sentence and I've been facebooking myself stupid, and sewing gratutious vulvas (Last night it was gratuitous pink & silver Kylie minogue faggot vulvas in tribute to the repressed selves of Jake and Ines coz we were watching Brokeback Mountain) and indulged EVERY SINGLE eating disorder I can mention (icecream, tim-tams, cheese singles, cheese spread, peanut butter on toast, dahl, duck, 2minutes noodles, brown rice, finnish licorice, wasabi peas, blueberries, silverbeet, etc... etc... etc......

and I havne't seen any art, and I haven't done any exercise, and I haven't done any writing, and I didn't go to reclaim the night, and I haven't had any beer, and I haven't seen any friends except that one friend I randomly ran into by chance, and I'm got the PERFECT PLACE to work hard and not be distracted.... but fuck o fuck - life sans horror crises pressure is..... WHAT?


It's TIME to pull my finger out

but...... my brain is stifled, stuffed, stupid, slow

Friday, October 17, 2008

Leaving the Cave

Racked by insomnia and deprived of industrial strength bleach, I've decided to take out my makeover tendencies out on my blog.

After subsisting for 3 months without the internet at home (gasp!) I've finally returned to the land of the undead, and so - hope to resume more regular posting......

I'm also a bit scared that I've let facebook take the place of blogging - and - it's so dodgy, really.....

and it's been a BIG year so far...

In brief - Renaissance Girl dragged me south and I now find myself happily ensconsed in the Brunswick Love Palace. Much conjugal felicity ensues and - we even have a cat. It's so sapphicly blissful I could.... well.... smile! A lot. and i do.

Melbourne is *weird* - and I can't quite believe that I've left my beloved blue city of cliffs and seagulls for wide flat streets and endless grids of wrought iron brick bungalows......

and the weather is truly shite - I'm glad I spent a full 15 months in sydney - basking i temperatures of the low to mid to high 20's for most of the year. Melbourne doesn't really do weather in the 20 degree range - it kind of veers from the teens (11, 14, 19 degrees) right up to the low thirties. In a single day.and back again. they blame the weather on Adelaide.

No one ever warned me about melbourne heat - so it's quite a shock to realise that i've moved somewhere that is often scorchingly hot. There's been a drought here for the past decade - so it ain't really green or gardenish - and watching the spring flowers wild and fry in the slowly emerging summer is a bit depressing..... I can hardly bear to look out the windows when the tram passes through the browning savannah of Parkville (and we're still in spring) - and sometimes I glumly muse that Melbourne veers from all grey to all brown - without the vivid blues and tropical floriade of sydney..... and I sigh.

I discovered another other source of chromaporia just down the road.... In trying to reinstate my bookish habitus, I got a tram down to melbourne uni and went to an art history seminar..... which - content wise was pretty bloody amazing actually - but I had a moment of blinding horror and near hsyteria..... err.... wathcing the audience memebers enter - and witness ALL THE ART ACADEMICS WEARING BLACK. I don't just mean the odd pair of faded jeans, a t-shirt, or a jacket - but the fully fledged raven look; muted hair, tailored flowing robes of fine light absorbing garments around the small wraith like forms of the females, and impeccably tailored, impeccably noir shirts and jeans for the menfolk. I'd joked about this in sydney - washing ut the last of the orange dye from my hair, and buying a black leather jacket - but here confronted with a monochrome swarm of screaming class conformity I shuddered and quickly slunk out the back of the lecture theatre.....

Such traumas make it a bit hard to stay motivated for my tome completion - but that's what i'm here for - the final sweaty slog of editing, reshaping, structuring...... all in the absence of distraction from teaching, parties or bright colours......

I went and bought bright pink curtains for the study

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Weeds from the Popes Garden

got this from the eggs benedict site - delightful! delightful!

Sadly the swarming morass of hypocritical humbug has left my throat in a pus-filled sore, red swollen hell and I've been confined to the mayhem cave all week.

Extreme grumpiness ensues

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bourdieu and Nietsche

An Unlikely combo, surely!

but I've had both on my mind lately (among many other things... it's been a hectic few months)...

I guess it started with the cartwheels I was performing for my students trying to initiate them into the joys of Pierre- and particularly his notion of habitus as this great little sticky sociocultural phenomenological prosthesis between us and it/the other/stuff... what spewtown bohos used to call "aura" - the sticky mire that enables us to be socially mobile, or mired in our own socially deforming crust of......psychic fixity

….and that's where Nietsche came in - or at least Deleuze's take on his idea of ressentiment which is frogophile for Resentment - kinda.... oh and so much more....

Anyway - somewhere between the cartwheels and dodgy powerpoint lectures on habitus in 2 countries, and peripatetically slaving away at the tome, and moving house, and packing my studio into a box, and throwing away a heap of stuff, and falling in love.... I seem to have hurt my back.

My yoga teacher recommended AdhurVirasana - which I always want to call Adorno Virasana - which is such a lame wanky pun that only about 3 people in the universe would understand and they would all moan, so I won't attempt to translate my feeble grasp of sanskrit here - but, in any case, it's not eliminating the pain - and I haven't got the time to spend all day with my toes together, knees apart, buttocks resting close to my heels as I stretch my arms and hands forward, and take pressure off my back, coz I still have STUPID amounts of work to do- and that's not even touching the sides of my thesis.....

So - I'm left with a minute re-imagining of pain, the specificity of pain, how it shapes me, shapes my thoughts, my movements and being in the world......

I find migraine (the blinding headache bit at least) a kind of euphoric pain - it's SO INTENSE that I end up staggering around in a kind of haze - sort of blown away by the intensity - and forced to be vacant and calm, gliding around feeling detached and wafty....... It's excruciating - but harmless so I've learnt to relax into it and moan softly, and try and stay upright till it passes.

Whereas back pain - or this precise digging between my spine and shoulder blade is a stiffening, slowing, irritating pain -with about the same intensity and irritation of period cramps - so I can't concentrate on anything, and hunch my shoulders further, and dream of being at home alone with unguents and muscle relaxants......

this particular spot of physical torment has a very precise history. My year 2 teacher was a sadistic Nun who terrorised the whole class, and hit us on a weekly basis (this was in 1978). Generally she'd whack us with a ruler on the right hand , which would consequently turn red and swollen and throb too much to hold a pencil and would consequently get hit again. (It made me pretty glad to be left handed). I was never really sure why we got hit (we were 7!) and always too scared to ask. I was also too scared to ask to go to the bathroom, and used to spend the entire day trying to control my bladder. As my classmates unfailingly still remind me I failed twice.

There were worse things than getting the ruler on the hand though. One day we were going over the results of a spelling test in class, and she came behind me to ask me how I'd spelt some word, and discovered that I didn't have the sheet in front of me. (I'd missed the test because I'd been away with the mumps). THUMP! She struck her fist into my back, driving her ring into this precise point between my shoulder blade and spine and winding me in the process. All of us would try really hard not to cry - but that day - tears involuntarily sprung to my eyes, and I went red. The pain, powerlessness and humiliation were mixed into this one bruising sensation. I held my breath, and spent the next few minutes swallowing the lump in my throat, feeling ashamed that I couldn't demonstrate my ability to spell (my nerdiness started early), helpless that I'd missed the test, embarrassed that I was about to start crying in class, and physically weak and tired (I'd only just returned to school).

I'm not just trying to earn people's pity from blabbing sob stories about my own child abuse - because I'm more intrigued about how corporeal punishment actively shapes our subjectivities. Particularly when it is performed in public settings like schools, and becomes part of a collective social memory - such as among my classmates, and our families. Corporeal punishment didn't get phased out of catholic primary schools until the 1980's, and only recently has become acknowledged as a form of child abuse - and some of our parents admit that they didn't challenge the practice of one none terrifying, beating and abusing their seven year old children because many of them had also been physically and mentally abused by far worse teachers in their own childhood.

In terms of class, culture, society and habitus - the proliferation of child abuse within the catholic system actively worked to create docile humble bodies, that experienced systemic power as something external and uncontrollable. It happens much less so now - but I'd say that up until 20 years ago - you could almost smell the difference between recovering catholics and others - particularly in sites like universities - because this sense of powerlessness, being hard done by, and ressentiment - was so fixed in - not only to the psyche but the very physicality of our being. ressentiment - is not just resentment - (which is a feeling) - but according to Nietsche - it becomes something that is essential to the ontology of 'slaves' - or those intrinsically neurotic, powerless, subaltertan, reactive 'non-monadic' beings that incapable of confidence or change.

I go a bit queasy when I start reading or thinking of the essences of things - so rather than giving an ontological account of ressentiment and slavishness - I'd much rather consider it as habitus - a deeply encrusted mode of bodily becoming - often defined from without and within which our very mode of being in the world - our capacity to encounter, apprehend and challenge it - becomes fixed or limited. One of the reasons why I love the habitus , is that it makes those sneaky ephemeral bits of bodily becoming that contribute to essentialist ideas of selfhood and agency (things like charm, ease, confidence, charisma, aura etc) actually describable, traceable, articulated and changeable. Good old marxist that he was, Bourdieu cannily linked such material facets of social relationships to socio-economic analysis, and I still love him for it. the habitus can be articulated, and modes of being - can be isolated, altered and instructed. there are ways of appearing to be at ease in ones clothes, or one's room, or one's class, that can make a transition from being a shiteating scum of the earth to a schmic meister of monadic deterritorialisation a fairly transparent and accessible possibility for a lot of people.

I am on the very last leg of the transformation of subjectivity that is the completion of A TOME. Tomes are not just about writing a ninety thousand word essay - but involve an intense process of 'self-making' and negotiating our own formation as high-functioning subjects of the knowledge economy. It's not just about wearing a puffy hat and getting letters before your name instead of after it, but an enormous amount of complex psychic negotiation of upward social mobility conducted in the absence of financial and consumer reward.

In the real world - we get to negotiate our social mobility through the acquisition of consumer goods that convey our status. In PhD land - you stay fairly poor - and stuck in some weird adolescent limbo of university grants, and odd bits of teaching/research work proffered like delightful glinting carrots designed to egg us along towards a possible future as a tenured academic. So a lot of the appeal is in our heads. As is most of the work. It's the nature of the beast. A heady mix indeed.

I've reached that last little bit where the nice eternal sunshine of the spotty mind is coming to an end, the scholarship is over, and I'm having to undertake payable work in exchange for the cash I need to pay rent and eat. The end of my scholarship coincided with the end of my 9 years of VERY cheap rent and tenured housing. Extracting myself from the compound (where Abel still resides) was a hideous, drawn out and painful process that took 3 months and left me feeling persecuted, powerless and paranoid for most of the autumn. I put my head down, worked hard and hid myself away.

About 6 weeks ago - I started feeling REALLY OVERWHELMED and started to involuntarily hunch while I walked - clutching my cramping gut, which felt like it had been kicked in. I was going from my performing monkey act in front of students to my monastic setting of my flat, facing the tome, various books, lots of cockroaches and complete silence.... It was a pretty weird space to be in. My mobile phone was dying, and I have no landline or internet access at home so I felt completely alone there - mostly in a good way, but it was still uncanny... My mornings were always blissfully peaceful - but I was staying out teaching or writing until 10pm most nights, so home felt like a weird cave where I’d cower and hide, until I felt I could face the world again. Mind you, it’s a pretty cozy, fruit filled, book-lined cave with a backyard and nice but unobtrusive neighbours, so I’m not exactly slumming it.

But I’m intrigued by the gaps and contradictions within and between the various facets of my new adult life. Like being sent overseas and given a daily living allowance equivalent to my weekly living allowance here, and working out how to cover my patched underwear and homecut hair with enough clean second hand clothes so I could fit in as an authoritative member of the cashed up university community. And trying not to scream at tenured colleagues for delays and misestimates in my pay, while wincing at the extra interest accruing on my visa debt as I wait to be reimbursed for work I’ve already done, and look for more work, in order to earn more money to keep my overdraft fed, my bills payable, my fridge full.

It is at the tail end of my PhD, when I’ve been released from the security of a stipend, that I’m resenting my colleagues and my life the most. I’m resenting those admin and academic staff who have their own office, or who have a fixed position and who aren’t surviving semester to semester. I resent the vagueness of senior lecturers who haven’t worked out academic calendars or timetables, and I resent the Byzantine machinations of university administrators. I resent colleagues who aren’t studying as well, resent my students who aren’t studying enough, resent friends who work but don’t study and ask me When are we going to catch up? I want to scream at them NEVER!!!! This resentment is pretty much about me having a bit of a tanty, and feeling a bit tired and scared about everything, really, but it’s interesting what it does to my body.

Feeling precarious and persecuted in one area of my life, I started to hunch my shoulders and cower generally, and how this habit of hunching and cowering has strained my back... which leads to more hunching and cowering because I'm in pain, and stiff and sore. Bent back, hunched shoulders, cricked neck; I can’t see properly, can’t focus, can’t walk, can’t breathe. I stagger around lugging bags onto public transport, not knowing where I’m going or why. I jump to attention responding to things, I feel pressured, and tired. I feel I haven’t got enough time, and I feel like I waste the time I have; because I’m not writing, and I’m not painting, I’m not exercising enough and I’m not doing a lot of things that I wish I could.

Part of me wishes I was 12 months in the future, living with my squeeze (the summer romance has definitely blossomed) instead of squeezing study and work from my tired brain and exhausted body. A big part of me wishes I was in some imaginary fairy land – of those fleeting pure moments of writing – just writing, of feeling calm, and focused and inspired and capable. These times exist beyond the circumstances of material security or temporal pressure – but come and catch me in the strangest of places, and at the oddest times. Like most crazy nutters who study or create big things like Tomes, these fleeting moments of ecstatic absorption are why we give ourselves over to the impossible.

Universities are interesting because they allow space to imagine that such states could exist on a regular basis – even while doing everything possible to restrict and confound such intellectual creativity. I’m trying to find a form of paid work that gives me enough mental space to keep seeking those moments of bliss, but that won’t deaden me away from being reminded that they exist. Teaching is incredibly exhausting because it involves constantly working to convince students of the possibility and delight of learning – but those moments where they do make discoveries and challenges are almost as rewarding as when I make them in my own work. Academic work also gives me a bit of a boost to my imagined sense of cultural capital, even if I do have patches sewn into my socks. There are many places where I don’t even know how to move, because the habitus of entitlement, of prestige, of social aspiration and intellectual vacuity is so completely alien to the way I know how to make the world bearable. My habitus is linked to a form of ressentiment , and paranoia, but also to a naïveté and joy, in a delight in new people and new ideas, and a visceral disgust with the dead hand of competitive advantage, increased turnover, and coercing people to do something that they don’t want to do. It’s why I can’t work in retail or promotion, and why I’m scared of hairdressers and sales assistants.

Back to my back, and breathing into this sore point, trying to twist and turn and cursing my inability to pay for the 5 visits to a chiropractor that would probably solve the problem, I’m trying to discover different ways of sitting, standing, sleeping. Trying to find a different way to be in my body and in the world, trying to find the physical ways to negotiate an ever shrinking psychological space between what I need to do, what I should do and what I’d like to do. Bodily learning is slow, and I find myself mouthing incantations from yoga at the strangest of moments, where I surprise myself at my ability to discover a pose, to find the words in Sanskrit, and ever so fleetingly to find the prahna, the calm, balance and poise of being in my body and my mind. Discovering my limits and my capacities is exhausting, but exciting too, but letting go of old habits, moving out of my habitus into zones of discomfort and unfamiliarity is often just hard.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Not drowning waving

She has a moniker even more Shakespearean than my own. Incredibly feminine, which she is not; indelibly literary which she is. Like the sage progeny of a mad king, she has a feminine grace, strength and calmness. And she came out of hell and madness, took me by the hand and now leads me to the light. Am I smitten? Yes. She swept me off my feet carrying me into oceans of sunlight glistening, green water swirling, her mouth grazing mine, her eyes holding my own desperate stares, and this time I’m not flailing in my needs, my desires, my fantasies, but sensing something else growing between us.

While desperately hoping that this mashed up thing in my chest doesn’t get mangled again, I’m quietly trusting that it probably won’t, and if it does… well… I haven’t respected someone this much for a long time, at least not someone I desired, and maybe somewhere between desire and respect there’s some form of trust. It’s a very odd feeling but a nice one.

How do I write of the textures of our encounters, clambering, clutching, crawling… discovering our insides and edges and fine smooth surfaces? Can I write in colour alone? Without the slow crumplings of velvet, the gossamer of fine threads, the slick of honeyfucking, mango juicing sliding coloured coming? She is the mystery of dark brown corduroy, the musky thrill of black leather, the softness of emerald velvet, the reassuring firmness of polished metal, the warmth of wood. She’s the madness of tangerine pulp, the brilliance of cerulean, the fearful intensity of yellow, the passion of burgundy, pink blushings under our cheeks, caramel wrinkles between our thighs… I’m seeing colour, smelling colour, sensing singing sighing in colour.

Like she says, it’s all good.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rat Running

I've seen the main quad at midnight too many times this summer.
I think I know all of the campus security guards
My broken hairs are scattered over the desk
Layers of my scum are building up on the edges of the keyboard

At times my mind races incredibly - I skimmed through foucault's the order of things yesterday, digging in, foraging bits, throwing them together in some crazy soup.

At other times I feel like Lautreamont's character in the chant du maldoror... welded to this desk, I feel accretions of this space, of me, are slowly fusing into their own (gasp) becomings.

Maybe I should have gone to yoga tonight.

I have spent so many hours here, mouth shut, fingers splaying, dancing fits across the keyboards.... pulling my hair, pissing, drinking a lot of water, timing myself by my bladder, my my mouth, the rhythms of the air conditioning....

I live off fruit, muesli, 2-minute noodles, choy sum, couscous, tinned tuna, cheese singles, peppermint tea.

I've given up coffee.

this is terrifying, exhilarating, delightful, delirious intensity. Somewhere in the middle of this i've fallen madly in love.

the tome. the end. it's not far now.

I won't be finished by the time I'm 37, but hopefully before I'm 38.

chapter's writhe their way out of me, squirming strange delights - of schlonky typing, poor referencing, footnotes trailing off into half thoughts... to many conclusions! not enough signposting! so many openings, endless openings opening endlessly up before me.....

and now I have found another book roughly in my area - which I have to repudiate in order to hedge my little piece of scholarly turf... which is one of the strangest amalgams of conversational philosophy and catty critique I've ever come across.

I remember looking at my paintings 6 years ago and thinking "christ! they are as idiosyncratic as the wrinkles on my vulva!' and here again I'm confronted with my own insistent subjectivity... madcap adenoidal ramblings through skeins of ideas, conversations, propositions.... seventy five thousand words and counting.....

so... yeah, slowly... so slowly it's chugging along

Saturday, January 19, 2008

discount dreams

things were getting pretty dismal for a bit.

I knew I'd reached completely new lows when i found myself inadvertently cruising the manager of the local two dollar shop. I'd been standing around, with my newly shorn neck exposed as I flipped desultorily through the discount CD's.... and she came up to me, asked if I needed some help, and said they had more CD's under the counter.

This had never happened before, in a two dollar shop. she had a toned down version of the dykey patchy foiled up tortoiseshell hairdo, and she looked at me and I looked at her, and blushed, and selected a generic compilation of miles davis. Met her eyes as I made my purchase, scurried home to wank over torrid fantasies of fucking to bags of glitter and ribbon and feathers fluttering around us... A TWO DOLLAR SHOP ROMANCE!?? Unlimited dressups for scragg... - the stuff of tinsel and dreams.

The next day I went back, courage in my throat... lurked in the aisles again eyeing off bottles of discount soft drink... she faced me head on and asked what I was looking for. "Err.... bubble Wrap?" I stammered. 'We've got none here" was her curt reply. Damn. I scurried off. Sulked, sadly and stupidly wondering who I was trying to fool.

At the real home for xmas, I collapsed, felt myself on the verge of losing something of myself. No, I mean, really. It was the first time for ages that I had really big doubts about what the hell i'm doing with my life.

At night, stalking around at sunset, I wandered past the best christmas lights in town. The house, a magnificent Mcmansion single level bungalow, could have come straight out of the shire, or the US midwest. big house, big car, big roly poly family. Cosy, comfortable, secure. I recognised the matriarch, and blushed, scurrying around the corner. thirty years ago she'd been the object of my torment. I'd found her impossibly stupid and thick and dull and compulsively bit and scratched her, only moderating my torments after being given a demonstration stroke of the cane. I'm finding it hard to articulate what my 5 year old assessment of her intellectual prowess was given that neither of us could read, but she was like a slow old cat - and I was a hyperactive myopic maniac. (So little has changed - I still experience similar levels of visceral rage around really slow, stupid or stoned people that I have to walk away fast so I don't bite them on the face). So – she inside, ensconsed in consumer luxury, a loving hubby and kiddies, and the same job for 20 years.. and me, outside, half mad, heartbroken, alone, and childless… trying to reinvent a world that I often don’t really feel like being a part of.

I had really big doubts about EVERYTHING at that moment.

Like why Do I react, and rebel, and fight and squabble and grumble against everything? Why can’t I be complacent and content and happy? I don’t think I’m that much better off for having so much insight into everything? Or so many books? Or degrees? I went home and swallowed phenergan.

The next day I got up, and walked up to the local bottlo. “How ya goin?” they asked, “Can we help ya with anything?” “I’m Crap” I responded. “I’m tossing between a slab of UDL and a bottle of spirits… what do you reckon?”. They looked a bit surprised and remained silent. I got the disco themed bottle of Absolut and took it home, to wash down the Phenergan with some DVD’s.

Sometimes I wonder if the chinese calendars are correct after all. I hadn't spent time alone and single back in the cnutry for 12 years, and it was the first time in 12 years that I'd gone out alone drinking, facing faces familiar and strange, trying to recite the old stories of why i'd left.... make my life into something that could be recuperated into the verbiage of respectable rural australian values.....

And I passed, really well. Scored an interview on the local radio. Nice expert. And I managed to go out and not score myself any attentions from local lads or the Sappho of Bilo. I spent xmas eve on the verandah of one of my old friends, joking about the joys of living in a redneck inbred rugrat farm with her hubby, and sinking stout from a tallie around the Barbie, and trying to feel half human. And xmas was OK really and I came back to Sydney, and didn’t meet any more jailbait on the train thank god coz the seven hour monologue by the last escapee from silverwater had done my head in, and I was back here home safe at last… and I don’t often seek refuge in alchohol, but lately I have, coz things got really really bad for a while, and alcohol numbs the brain, shuts up my head, kills the cells that make me such a fractious neurotic miserable shit, and when I’m alone, all alone with this, with me, with my thoughts, and everyone around me looks calm and content, and slow and stupid, I think… “fuck, WHY should I try to be different?”

That’s when I have to get out.

The country nearly kills me sometimes… the endlessness of neatly mowed, fenced off contained smug LAND. With cows and trees and tractors and electric fences, and it’s all owned and proper, and it goes forever and there’s nothing at the end of it. You look out and see you future, wind up and circle back to where you started. Here is Nowhere. Here is hell.

Back in Sydney, where even the air feels like a skanky teenage armpit, I feel freer, like there’s a reason to fight for breathe among the fug of flowers, sweat, traffic and humidity. Catching buses to the edge of the land – to strange littorals between sea and water, on the edges of cliffs, watching waves hurl themselves against rocks, heaving and smashing themselves like my mad ambitions. I love it, I feel alive, delighted, so incredibly calm by comparison……

After the hell of last year, something miraculous happened, and it has given me just enough hope that maybe things aren’t as fucked as they seem. I’m not just talking about Hunt Coward being ousted – but about something else, that has made me feel that being a reactive neurotic fractious bastard doesn’t sentence me to a life of isolation and torment. That there are decent people around, and I don’t have to pretend and play and put up with shit. That I don’t have to play dead to survive, or put up with people who do. That I can speak and write and act, and some people will eventually listen and respond with something more than superficial syconphancy or terror. My rage feels less mute, my heart less smashed up.

Friday, January 04, 2008


That moment when it all unravels, when word becomes flesh, when thought processes collapse alongside boundaries, when you can’t see and can’t stop and blindly throw yourself forward into the firing line or the abyss or the sky or the sea or the oncoming traffic and there’s no way to tell what is coming next but only that it is inevitable. Propelled by a force somewhere between epiphany and complete breakdown, running to or possibly from, a safe space to shed skin and share scars, coming to in a puddle of sweat, hurt and scared and distressed and mute and shaking and bewildered and above all grateful. You’re not the girl you think you are.

the above bit comes from zoo who hadn't posted in AGES but it was well worth the wait

I've got some great friends innit?

Is it just me who falls in love with people from their words? who reads philosophy with tears in my eyes? who shudders with excitement to meet other writers? who finds the mad midnite reading of others words almost as intimate as staring into a lover's eyes?

We burnt Lang's diaries this week. two of her closest friends. two friends who fell in love with her words, and ideas and dark secrets. two people who she showed them to. words to make your hair fall out. words that burn into you eyes and leave a dark sad stain on the soul.

she'd read one section to me nearly 12 years ago. We sat in Tamana's North Indian diner and her voice hardened as my eyes filled with tears and I shook. I don't know what book it was. I didn't want to look, didn't want to open up her secrets if she wasn't here to offer them.

She begged us to burn them. We promised we would if we had to.

I wish we didn't have to, wish we didn't have to sit, drunkenly, sobbing silently into the night, tearing out each page, not daring to look as we scrunched them one by one,feeding them slowly on the barbeque.

Half way - the skies opened and pissed down on the fire, the soggy balls of paper, our sodden faces. I bought more beer, we found vodka and sat in the rain and kept tearing. The rain stopped. we swilled vodka and splashed it on the paper, relit the fire and kept burning.

book burning.

how many books unwritten, sclerified in her crippling limbs, murdered by her pain. Her body choking on it's own memories, seizing up and finally killing her, her dreams, our dreams. sodden sobbing misery.

today we wandered down to waverley cemetery. the ocean was crazy, cliff crashing waves, thundering and spraying us beneath a rare slate sky. We threw the ashes down into the water. Let her words follow her flesh. Let her words follow the sanctimonious lies of he who cannot be named, we let her words follow her flesh, burning brilliant words, cleaning and being cleaned by that beautiful heaving beast of the sea.

Salt spray met my tears and I smiled. this was a fitting sendoff.