Tag Archives: slice of life

I Am The King

I’m riding past the fibro houses linked like rosary beads, counting them as you would Hail Marys because only Mary understands housing commission. And everyone knows at least one teenage mum. I stole the bike from someone’s front yard but told mum I found it in a hard rubbish clean up. Gave it a coat of paint from a spray can. Maybe one day I’ll drop it back where it came from. Right now, I am king and priest.

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Three Words for the New Year

In the light of celebrating the changing of the Gregorian calendar into 2018, let’s acknowledge Greg’s dating nomenclature: Happy Greg’s Day!

But, another three words to define this changing of the calendar on the wall, the diary on the desk, the scraps of paper used as notes and the back of my hand useful for the writing of lists, is to refocus the directions, habits and purposes of what you wish to achieve.

These are my three words for 2018: Patience, Fortitude, Tenacity

They are defined by my theological outlook and perspective, and have connections to events and situations that have impacted, are impacting, and will impact me. The changing of a calendar date doesn’t mean that all the craptacular events that happened last year haven’t continued on this year; I still have to deal with them. They impact myself, my family, my creativity. 

To be honest, 2017 was a year of continuation of years of crapness that feels like someone having handed me a never-ending roll of toilet paper. It helps clean up the mess but the mess keeps on coming. I didn’t, and haven’t, dealt with some of it well and the effect compounds into multiple areas but especially my creativity. 

No new stories written. Nothing published. Ideas planted, germinated, rising about the soil and scorched by the sun. It’s been a barren few years in terms of creative output. 

So how do these words help me refocus for the coming year? It’s about forming positive habits and achievable steps, looking at the long term destination rather than short term gains or (potential) rewards. 

Patience – like that of a saint. The ability to weather the storms and circumstances, and to travel when the conditions are good. To me, it’s having a longer perspective, a focus on the horizon and not simply the step immediately in front of me.
It’s a cultivated habit, a fruit of character and personality. To keep doing the work, not seeing the reward, while others around you are blessed and keep on going with nary a care in the world. I will have my reward in this life, or the next. Not to be distracted by the success of others (applaud them, support them, champion them) because they have done the work that is required. 

Fortitude – defined as courage in pain or adversity. Basically, above all, to stand.
So much has sucked away the creative impetus and momentum over the last few years and it has taken up a significant amount of emotional and mental energy. Often it’s painful and demoralising. Especially when it’s not happening to me specifically but to close family members who you take care of. It’s hard to see someone you love in pain and there is not much you can do except hold a space for them, and yourself.
Sometimes I feel like an anchor point for those around me but I’m afraid I’ll lose my grounding. But, digging in and digging deeper. 

Tenacity – keeping on when all you want to do is give up. And I’ve been feeling like giving up a lot lately. Had a rough gig on the weekend; it wasn’t a train wreck in terms of my drumming but for whatever reason it felt awkward and crap and at the end of the gig I wanted to break my drumsticks, sell my gear and quit playing drums. 
But that is one gig. I will have other bad gigs, I am sure. I’ve also had great gigs. Each day is a chance to refocus, start afresh and be thankful for mercy and grace. I’ll be looking at the next gig this weekend not through the lens of the past gig but at the possibility of what awesomeness it could be. Back to the practice pad.

Im summary, three words are meaningless without a plan to make them a habit so I’ll keep making notes, keep reading, keep writing. 

What would your three words for the year be?

Handwritten Pages #27 Origami Heart

We knew him as the boy who flew a kite from the classroom window on a very windy day. He said it was made from pages of the local newspaper pilfered off a random driveway on the way to school, straws from the canteen, and half-dried scraps of sticky tape. A loose thread pulled from the strap of his backpack anchored his flight of fancy. It gained altitude and we added our own strings to let it fly higher.
We asked him why he did it.
He said he had an origami heart.
The next day the wind was still and he did not return. At an assembly we found out he took his life.
The day after, we made kites. Some flew, however briefly; others smashed into the ground. I don’t think we truly understood why there’s no art to find the mind’s construction in an object.

Handwritten Pages #23 Return to Sender

Return to Sender

As the mail dwindled to bills and junk mail, so did his supply of scrap paper for shopping lists, reminders, numbers to call for appointments and snippets of love letters he wrote to his wife, dead now for three years; and the secrets he told to the person he imagined at the end of the address marked, “Return to Sender.”

Handwritten Pages #22 Storytelling

While you and I loitered outside the 7-Eleven after school, sucking down one dollar Slurpees, I saw a tangle of sneakers hanging like a cluster of grapes from the power lines.

I said we could harvest them, make bootleg memories that won’t mature until we’re twenty years into the future when we’re telling our stories to our children.

It made you laugh and you dribbled onto your uniform and I could see the colour of your bra. You asked what if it tasted like a ragged doormat. I shrugged. We walked on past the high-hanging fruit for ours is the now. But I looked back and wondered, if in the future, we’d buy from the Bottle-O because it’s convenient, rather than labour for the truth of our storytelling.

This piece was inspired by a line from Omar Musa’s TEDxSydney talk in 2013,  Slam Poetry of the Streets. You can view it HERE.
I hope he doesn’t mind the appropriation of his lyric.

 

Handwritten Pages #17

 

Standing inside the phone booth, its panes of glass crumbled to hail stones on the concrete floor, with the receiver cradled against my ear, I pretend to put coins in the slot while listening to the dial tone. The static drone a soundtrack to the anonymity of pain. Stabbing the numbers in a sequence I have never forgotten, hoping to call the ghosts of the future to tell them not to wait up for me.

My Shopping List of Regrets

if i collected
all my shopping lists of regrets
i would take a permanent marker
erase them all
and make a black sky
to populate with stars