My toe in your water

It’s hard to know quite what to write in this space. Given the opportunity to say anything at all, I find that rather than having everything to say, I have nothing to say. Nothing I am sure of. Who might read this? How might they react? This is public, after all, and I have even less control over who sees it than I do on Facebook (although I do have room for a lot more nuance here, which I like).

But instead I am careful, and cautious, and all those other words that sound like one is mature and adult but actually mean “afraid”.

Well. Perhaps admitting that fear is a necessary step to over-coming it. I’d like that.

Here comes another winter…

Not the most upbeat of titles, I suppose, for a first post on a new blog, but an accurate one. It’s May 31 again, and the autumn is almost gone. A few leaves are still on the branches of deciduous trees, but they’ll by gone in a week or so. Now comes the grey, and the rain, and the swift, early sunsets.

It’s on this day each year I like to come to the little stairway that hangs off the side of the ramp that carries High St from Westgarth up the side of Rucker’s Hill, to Northcote and beyond. It’s my habit to watch the city, as the sun goes down again.

It looks like this

It’s a habit born of a few things: I’ve spent a lot of my life in Northcote and environs; significant dates encourage introspection in me, and, of course, I have a love of the music of The The. This song, in particular:

Matt Johnson’s music and lyrics will always have a place in my heart (I imagine them as the soundtrack to Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer, among other things), but this song is special.

Each May 31, I like to perch at the top of the stairs, watch the city fade into night, and evaluate just how we’re doing. Johnson wrote the song talking about Thatcher’s Britain, but the political and economic ideas of Thatcher and her ilk her never really gone away, and the current Australian government in particular seems guided by them.

Sometimes, it almost feels as if they use the lyrics of Heartland as a checklist:

  • Cut the heart from the welfare state – check
  • Wars on the television, never to be explained – check
  • All the people frightened – CHECK

So alas, this will be yet another winter of long shadows and high hopes…

…still, as Warren Ellis reminded us, “the future is inherently a good thing, and we move into it one winter at a time.”

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll journey into it with me.

Once upon a time…

…there was magic in my life. Or at least, there was a sense, a feeling, something so hard to describe that it might as well be called magic. Even now, I find it difficult to put into words. Often, the best I can manage is to turn to one of a select group of friends and say “You know, you were there” (and oh, how that group has dwindled over the years). Alternately, if the lyrics of My Friend The Chocolate Cake’s “A Midlife’s Tale” resonate with you, well, I don’t think a further explanation is needed.

It was a combination of things, really. A part of it was that I was in love at the time (and I mean madly, passionately in love), but that’s far, far from all of it, for the feeling only started to leave then – it didn’t die with that relationship. Part of it was youth, part of it was adventure, part of it was the sense of almost limitless possibility. And part of it, possibly the biggest part, it now seems to me, was the sense of meaning. It was a time when, to paraphrase Papa Hemingway, “this was a good world, and worth fighting for.”

Without that, it sometimes feels like I am simply going through the motions of a life, not living one. So I suppose it’s fair to say that it’s the life I had that I miss, or at least, aspects of it. I do not believe that it’s the love I had that I miss; I feel that I’ve made my peace with that, however unsatisfactory a peace I may at times find it. (The friends I mentioned above may disagree, but that is how I see it.)

In fact, I don’t actually remember that much of that relationship, ironically. Intense emotion makes it difficult to form memories, and frankly, I’ve had lengthy hallucinations I can recall in greater detail than I can those months. And while I’m aware that a goodly part of the magic I now miss was simply due to that intensity of emotion, I know that that wasn’t all of it.

I wish I had it back, I truly do. Even now, twenty or so years later. And I don’t think of it as gone or lost so much as misplaced. Every so often, I touch it again, for an hour or two if I’m lucky, and I know that it’s there. That there’s still a path to the centre of the labyrinth, could I but find it again.

And I guess the reason I’m telling you this is that, as of last night, I am back on the hunt for it.

Twelve and Thirteen

I see a lot of people out there saying how 2012 sucked for them, and an equal number saying how it rocked for them. That must be nice. To have a memory of a year that you feel strongly about.

To me, 2012 was a nothing year. Good things happened and bad things happened, but none so very great in either direction (not in my life, at least). I made progress on a bunch of projects, I acheived a greater understanding of who I am and what I want, but in none of these was there a sense of any great accomplishment. (Especially the latter, which often felt like either I had finally stopped resisting realizing a thing, or in other cases, that I was the last one to figure it out.)

I’ll look back on 2012 with a sense of disappointment and embarassment, both coming from the same source: I did not dare. I did not risk. And conversely, in other cases, I did not perservere. I did not endure.

These are all failings that I’m thoroughly sick of, so let me tell you right now what’s planned for 2013.

Starting next Sunday will be a medium-sized project, The Annotated Ten Commandments, which will last ten weeks, and which will then be self-published in various forms. That self-publication will not go un-accompanied: in the near future, I’ll be dusting off my old company name and re-purposing it to do the work I really want to do. There will be a website and everything, and the first thing it will do is sell three books of mine that I imagine will fail to endear me to a great many people. There will be another website for another set of publications, which I will also tell you more about in due course. And this is just the start, this is the stuff that’s going to carry me through the next quarter or so. Later in the year will see at least one more book, and definitely some other stuff – although at the moment, I’m still tossing up various ideas. As I settle on things, you’ll hear about them here, though.

There’s also the continuing revision and updating of this site, notably the various Timelines, but also (when I can find the time) the Keating! annotations. There may also be some new features on this site – again, I’m still deciding what to do when, and you’ll hear about it here when I do.

A year from now, when I look back at 2013, I expect to feel very bloody tired – but also, very satisfied (and hopefully, even more ambitious for 2014).

I hope you won’t be bored 😉

I cannot wear your White Ribbon

I have something to say about White Ribbon, but it occurs to me that I may well be misunderstood, in either my words or my intentions, in saying it. So I have decided that there is a certain sentence that I will repeat, in bold, in every single paragraph of this post. It is this: I am not advocating violence against women.

Continue reading “I cannot wear your White Ribbon”