It is that odd little transition of seasons where summer should have left us but somehow, it is still hanging on in there. Like a shy wall-flower, autumn had been pushed into the shadows by glare and cloudless midday skies. But on days like today however, this lovely season which signals the end of daylight saving here in New South Wales, radiates with its own beauty of late afternoon sun-showers and those big ocean swells.
Obsessed am I with this ocean when it is brutal and unforgiving. For some reason, seeing the waves monstrous and wild strikes at the romantic spot in my heart every time. I am endlessly drawn here when the big swells hit and to swim in those waves renders you humble with the greatest of respect. When a big monster billows and slams, the very best you can hope for is that you resurface. You will swallow sea water and lots of it and possibly a small fish but that big peeling wave and deep liquid beauty is absolute perfection and all you can do is surrender to it.
I have an awful lot on my plate at the moment and I am trying to be kind…or at the very least, a little kinder to myself during this time. I find I don’t have enough hours in my days at present and when I cannot accomplish all that I have set out to do I become restless and dissatisfied.
I am also in the process of de-cluttering. A stripping down of sorts. It is a frighteningly monumental task which involves unpacking literally hundreds of boxes which house years and years of collecting and memories. It is the idea of simplifying and the beginnings of a minimalistic life which has been the driving force for this…..that and the fact I am beginning to develop the materialistic requirements of a swagman.
I am sorting and cataloguing and parting with many, many items and although it was (and still is) very difficult to do so, I am now enjoying the process of letting go. There are some things I cannot discard though and I will happily remain tethered to those for the remainder of my life time but as for the rest it is arrivederci! Some items and collections are quite valuable and some are not. Some hold great sentimental value and some, not so much. Some items are being sent to an auction house, some I merely give and donate and some will be sold at a sweet little place called ‘Miss Sadie Pineapples’ Beautiful Vintage Emporium‘ as a gathering of a quirky and eclectic mix of strange, wonderful, weird and beautiful items.
I am currently working on writing projects too and in particular a book. I have been at this novel for quite some years now. At times I write in fits of paralyzing self-doubt but I write simply because I love to do so and for me, there is much joy in words. I write too because there are stories to be told and because I always believe there is an audience for genuine human life which is not without the harsh truths. My writing at times certainly does not skirt the issues. It is not devoid of discomfort and snatches of mess and nor does it cloak the existence of humanity in a neat deceptive veil.
I have filled many, many note books as all of my thoughts and ‘books’ are handwritten until transferred to the computer. I love my notebooks and always carry one with me and this miscellany has become very precious to me. There are plots and characters and life clarifying challenges, chapters and clusters of fiction upon the pages of my note books. Real life, what it means to be human and the complexities of personalities all go onto my pages. There are gracious, kind and loyal characters. The deeply flawed but eccentrically lovely outcasts. The complex, social ugliness, the low life’s, hateful failings of the very weakest of people, the truly brave, the merciless and mischievously conniving characters of actual existence and experience are all in my books. Real life and those in it certainly do offer up the very best ensemble cast!
As with most things I am deeply disciplined with quiet direction therefore I will write every day even if it is only three words on a page. I am, it seems, compelled by my very soul to write and these notebooks are also deeply private. My heart has gone into these notepads for they are what I am unable to ‘say’ at times. When I have felt monstrously defeated and devoid of all hope it is there among the pages as sorrow and gut wrenching heartache but there is also much happiness, dreams, light, strength and whimsical sketches and drawings.
I read too and it seems I have a great affection for the male author and especially one who writes in neurotic alcohol soaked prose. I love the flawed caustic raconteurs who write about love, lust, their misbehaving bowels, frail egos, drug fueled murderous intent, crippling heartbreak and exploding aardvarks.
Of course I acknowledge my novels (actually of which I will confess there are many books including children’s and young adult) may never turn in to more than mere words in my notebooks but as a true optimist, I always believe.
So back to this one book in particular for which I needed the insight of men as it is written from the view of a male narrator. I wanted the opinions, the perception and the raw honesty of men. I wanted conversations with complete strangers. Those easy conversations where you and the stranger are open and thoroughly honest because anonymity is the key. Chances are you will never ever see that person again in your lifetime. It is the perfect opportunity to say what you will and one man I spoke to told me, within moments of meeting him, he was eight days out of prison and eight days without trouble. Another was obviously absent a few brain cells but bless him, he made up for it with his ‘can do attitude’. He was happy and kind and not hurting a soul which when you think about it, really is what life should be about.
A couple of other encounters weren’t particularly productive and just when I was feeling ever so slightly deflated I happened upon a handsome older man. Now I like older men…..very much in fact so frankly, this was no coincidental meeting. He said he was 81 but he looked remarkable for his age and I would have taken him for around 70. I could easily picture him at his zenith – a good looking tanned surfer dude of the 60’s, button down shirt, nights out at the Trocadero in Sydney and with an endless steam of beautiful blonde girlfriends. I stated what I wanted from him and he happily agreed.
Over very good martinis we hit almost every subject except the weather. Life, loneliness, longing and this man could speak of heartache like I had not heard someone speak of it before. We mused on destiny and fate. That sometimes lovely breath of coincidence where a good chance meeting will forever change your life. Of relationships, of women and men and why each do what they do. We spoke of what men want and don’t want. Of what they admire and of what they find contemptuous in women and then, we happened upon that big heady province of all ghosts and demons…… Love!
Now I have often found love to be a tricky beast. An ineffable mystery, something to be unsure of and all this talk of it made me feel as though I had stumbled across a vampire and like a very naïve boy scout I was ill prepared. How was it I found myself without garlic, a crucifix and a wooden stake to hand! You see with love, there is a very good chance you will eventually open up your heart. And that can be to anyone be they lovers or friends knowing there is a very real possibility your heart could be completely broken and your soul trampled. But what happens if you remain unattainable! Unreachable of that most cherished of human offering.
I guess when you render it all down ‘l o v and e’ really are just four simple letters. They are often the most difficult of words to say but they are certainly the most precious and they are the ones I believe we all must utter to someone at some stage in our lives. Love really is the very best gift we can offer ourselves and without question, the most valuable thing we will ever receive from someone in our lifetime. I understand people will hurt you, and sometimes purposefully as that is sadly human nature for some but the trick is to find the ones who are worth you suffering for. Finding them is the true holy grail.
I reveled in my open, very good and robust conversation with this intelligent man. Discerning conversation truly is the most wonderful exercise for the brain and soul. At times we had completely opposite views and outlooks which was great. My motto is to always be your authentic self and hold sacred your own mind, words and integrity for without them you have very little! ‘Air Supply’ was playing in the back ground. Love and other bruises, a song I had not heard in years but it was just as lovely and significant and lyrical as it was when I first heard it over 38 years ago. I knew if All out of Love came on I would be plagued to a severe bout of melancholy! It played three songs later and I was doomed! What is it about the 70’s. Such an innocent yet wonderful time.
After three hours I left the bar and this remarkable man and walked toward the beach. I was off to brood in that big salty pool that I am endlessly drawn to no matter what time of day.
As I walked barefoot across the sand I thought about all that we spoke of. Tom had said he was always in love and I thought about how it must feel for someone to exist with that aching human hope that seemed to be such a huge part of living.
The remainder of the afternoon slipped by and I turned to walk home. Walking is always when I do my very best thinking. When I walk I process and reflect on almost everything. On this walk I thought too that perhaps underneath all of the mess and chaos of life and love and the fragility and uncertainty of relationships forged and lost there really was something quite beautiful and wonderful. I was very, very sure of it now ……xx