Friday, September 24, 2010


Generally I regard September as my Menstrus Horibilis, but my periods are a bit late this year.... (LOL...TMI... erk)

It's a big month of anniversaries -many of them ghastly, but a couple being quite nice...

Anyway - this week has included:
Anniversary of KD's death (3 years ago)
Renaissance Girls birthday (34 years ago)
my brother's death (11 years ago - that's him in the piccy above with the trumpet)
Moving to Melbourne (2 years ago)

It's a big emotional time.
Plus my current work contract started 12 months ago
and we moved to the boganborough palace 12 months ago.

So, I've spent some time looking back, looking forward, looking around. This has been facilitated by the fact that Renaissance girl is on holidays and I've been commuting four hours a day to work.

I'm always relieved to look back and note that time passes, and horrible things move away fast - or I move forwards from them.

I'm so relieved that I'm no where near as tormented as I was 2 or 3 years ago, and that as much as I miss Sydney so much that it physically hurts, that here my life is a lot calmer, and that I am slowly, ever so damn slowly, putting down roots.

However, I was thinking this week of what a small closed snobby little town Melbourne actually is.
I defy anyone who says that Sydney is less friendly than here.
I've lived here for 2 years and have yet to be invited into the home of any Melbournians that I've met. (This excludes close relatives and close friends of my partner, and ex-Sydneysiders)

Even among the close friends of my partner, there are some who have invited her, but not me into their homes.

Reflecting on this is a bit shocking.
I remember in Finland how an East German woman I met, insisted on inviting me around for dinner, saying how it took her five years to be invited into someone's home in Turku, and how, at the time, I found this unimaginable.

Now, I can see how this happens and what it feels like.
Despite the introversion of Renaissance girl, and our cloistered life in Boganborough, we have invited and hosted numerous acquaintances and friends that I've made here - at work or wherever.
but the invitations haven't been returned.

Reflecting on this, I can see why I've stayed on antidepressants, why I've needed regular trips north and why I can't entirely blame Renaissance girl for my isolation here.
And I'm wondering when and how this will change.

Moving to Sydney was hard for the first 3 months. Then I did start being invited to friends homes, and spent the next 19 years fending off invites to dinner, to coffee, to drinks, to hang out in order to make space to accept so many more.
Melbourne portray this as 'superficial' - but I can't see how being able to quickly move into, expand and sustain a wide range of networks over twenty years is superficial. I call it sustaining.

Admittedly the friendships I have here seem to be closer, but I suspect that this is from sheer desperate isolation on my behalf.

Anyway - this is not just another hellbourne whinge.

Part of me has scarily assimilated. I now have my favourite laneway haunts, and can name the AFL team I support and have an idea of where they are in the competition. I know where the best coffee is is most parts of the city and surrounds (It boganborough it's at home), and mostly manage the thermic challenges of the hideous climate here.

There are some really, really good things here.

The first is that we are leaving Boganborough and heading west at the end of the year.
We've found a more manageable love nest on the other side of the Maribyrnong, surrounded by bike paths, sari shops, bus routes and olive trees, and within walking distance of people we've met - including some that have invited me into their home, and some that I hope, eventually may return the invites that I have already extended to them.

Life with Renaissance wife has continued, and it's been hard as hell at time - as both of us have faced and are facing major life changes - but we are both still growing individually, still holding each others hands, and laughing and cuddling and creating as well.

And my work - as maddening and precarious ad frustrating as it is at times - is also incredibly stimulating and sustaining. I continue to meet wonderful people, and find out wonderful things about the people I've already met.
Where I am, the academy feels much less like an academy - and more like a porous hub where a range of people get to meet and exchange ideas, and sustain active connections with local communities - of migrants, refugees and kooris.

I could never, ever imagine anything like this ever happening at ye olde sandstone camelot of my Alma Mater. It's not just the saturation of the sandstone universities with Lara's, Tara's and Sara's - it's their location, and the types of connections and affinities among the staff and students already present. Even the diversity of my old department always felt like a few stranded exiles from the working class, the brown or the not-quite-white, somehow being lumped together - but apart from the outside communities from which we came.

I'm also involved in crazy performance projects and other mad wild schemes of Mayhem. Creativity still manages to burble and bubble out of my in exquisite ways.

I'm not really connected to any visual arts scene here, and I miss like hell - the sustenance of the open, trashy diverse mish-mash of Sydney artists. In Sydney art always felt like an excuse for another party, or a meeting, or a conversation - something that was part of the daily breathe of crazy creative nutters getting together.

I haven't found that here. but I haven't given up hope, just moved my energies into other areas; performing, writing, laughing.

Art is always a relational activity, and expresses a moving towards, around and within circuits and networks that are profoundly social. Many of these circuits are imaginary, as they invoke a connection to come, or a community to come, but so many of them slip easily into a tired cliquiness of 'in-jokes', and internal references.

I always like how in spanish to 'create', or "crea" sounds so similar to the word for 'believe' or "creo". Communities that create are also communities that believe - or dream ourselves into existence, and work towards sustaining this dreamworld into daily patterns of sustenance.