A Violet Sunflower Day

Those moments/days when a memory comes to mind & you know if you let it free you will weep & then your eyes will swell & your head will hurt & the day will be stained & ruined by the footsteps taken back in time. That’s today.

You know that you have too much to do to let that happen. So you force it away. You push through your pain; put it back on the shelf for another day. That black jar that lets in no light, dusty, scratched & beaten up. It sits up there on that shelf; you will get to it one day. You’ll let yourself have the headache. But not today.

Today I am going to play with my dear Daughter. I am going to dance, talk, laugh & be silly with her. Every minute I am with her I am going to let myself be filled by her youth & her beauty; her learning & her ideas because our sons & daughters don’t all make it & I want to breathe In every moment of her while I am able.

© 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟶 𝚅𝚒𝚘𝚕𝚎𝚝 𝙰𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚜

© 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟶 𝚅𝚒𝚘𝚕𝚎𝚝 𝙰𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚜

A Fragile Rainbow

© 2020 Violet Ashes

Sometimes I forget just how fragile she is.

I left the house late, 6pm, to go & get some groceries in the hope the shops would be quiet. Just a handful of things – but important things. Like bread, cheese, milk, ham.

While I was gone Cory experienced the full force of an overwhelmed, tired toddler’s complete meltdown. To his credit he didn’t try & rationalise or reason with Violet. He just held her until she fell asleep, sobbing in his arms. It didn’t start over anything in particular. Her brain just stopped processing anything rationally.

When I got home she was passed out, snoring heavily on the couch. I could tell she’d been crying. Cory looked relaxed but perplexed. It is hard, there’s nothing you can do when she works herself up to the point that she’s crying that she’s crying.

I woke her so I could give her some dinner. She said her head was hurting & she started crying again. She asked for medicine. Her eyes were glassy & red & she was cradling her head. Rubbing her eyebrows. So panadol to the rescue.

Now she is sitting on the couch eating her dinner, smiling, laughing, happy. Watching ‘Rainbow Ruby’ which appears to be this generations version of ‘Care Bears’.

There’s so much going on & yet nothing at all. We’re mostly stuck at home. Jack & Violet have been inside the house for a month except for exercise & the occasional run to the post office where they have to wait in the car & I hope they don’t get kidnapped or suffocate…

© 2020 Violet Ashes

We watch them. We explain what’s going on in simplified terms. We try not to scare them but they know that something is very wrong. I argue that they should be scared. Fear stops you doing silly things.

Jack keeps taking everyone’s temperature with his grocery scanner & saying that we are ’37’ or ‘100% ouch’. Then he gives us a bandaid. Violet keeps packing her backpack with all of her precious things & knows where her shoes are at all times in case she has to run from the virus. That’s how they make sense of it & protect themselves.

When I see her sleeping I remember just how small & delicate these kids are. Violet is almost 3, Jack is 5. That’s not long to be expected to take on so much. We’re healthy & lucky.

For now, I am content to know she slumbers under a safe roof & she is loved in epic proportions. We protect her & Jack the best we can. The responsibility of guiding them through something I barely cope with, myself, is hard but paramount. And I will do it even if I have to watch a zillion episodes of ‘Rainbow Ruby’ just to make her feel better.

#RainbowRuby #daily #VSLR #JSAR #Covid19 #Corsmor #parenting #kids #family

Iso Hunt

There’s a fog in my brain.
I’m going to have to go for a long walk today.
I am desperate for sunshine & fresh air.
A real nature walk.
Might make up another scavenger hunt for the kids
Here’s the last one.
We couldn’t find a ladybug!

Thank you the following sites for the inspiration.

jamonkey.com Scavenger HuntSoEasyBeingGreen

#daily #kids #education #nature

2020 04 Apr 14.04.20

Two Flags

26th January is Australia Day.

My Husband & our kids are Indigenous Australians but most of MY family immigrated just prior to WWI from Germany, Ireland & Scotland. Yep, I’m white. In high school we were called ‘skips’. In honour of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, I guess.

The 26th of January marks the raising of the Union Jack in Sydney Cove. This is when the British officially declared sovereignty over Australia & took control of the land – by any means necessary.

To me Australia Day has been about celebrating freedom & enjoying family & friends. It has been about looking towards a future where everyone is given equal opportunities. Where feelings about ‘Invasion’ are healed by positive relationships between all Australians. I believe this can be accomplished by raising our kids to be respectful, educated & caring people not hampered by the guilt, hurt & damage of past wrong doings for which they cannot & should not be held accountable.

What happened to the Australian Indigenous population during the 1700’s & onward is a disgrace. Considered inhuman they experienced atrocities that continued for over 200 years. We all, Australians, know this. We learnt about it at school, we were told about it by the community, by our Indigenous friends & by the media. Indigenous Australians are no longer considered inhuman. They have the same rights as anyone else. The government has issued an official & formal apology to the Indigenous Australians of this great land.

The government & it’s citizens have all said ‘Sorry’. Even those of us that weren’t living here. Those of us who joined Australia, after those times, have said (& whole heartedly felt) Sorry. Perhaps the anniversary of that day would be a better choice for Australia Day?

I do not mind what date Australia Day falls on. The date has no meaning to me. The date does not form part of my ethos surrounding the wonder & excitement that is & has always been Australia Day. It has simply meant a day to spend together. Together as a family, as a country; united. But for some it has great meaning. It’s the day their whole future was changed & their worlds turned upside down.

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Under the Morton Bay Figs My son & my Dad ©Violet Ashes 2016

Almost every town in Australia has some sort of Australia Day tradition. Where I grew up you got up at 6am & threw the deck chairs, blanket & Esky in the car & made your way to the park by the river under the Morton Bay Fig Trees (yep, they’re native & they’re beautiful) for a gold-coin-donation breakfast provided by the local Rotary & Apex clubs. There were games like ‘dunny races’ & performances by children’s choirs & Indigenous Australian dancers. They gave out citizen awards & the Mayor talked about the future of the town. We stood up for the National Anthem under two flags: the Australian & the Indigenous Australian. I never could understand why there were two flags instead of one, but I just accepted it.

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Australia Day 2016 – Mayor of Gawler    ©Violet Ashes 2016

Just accepting it as the ‘way it is’ does not work for me anymore. I often state (tongue in cheek) “as the mother of Indigenous children…” However, in this instance I am not joking. I believe it is well overdue time to unite. To let go. Not to forget but to heal the past by moving toward a future united. To teach our children about a world where we can live without the guilt of our ancestors but of the love & compassion they had for this land, all land. For the desire for freedom that we all have. Even those of us who are white love this land & feel a deep connection to it. It’s where I was born, raised & gave birth to my own children. It is home.

So, if you must, change the date. It does not affect the feeling, the ‘vibe’ of the day for me. But it will for some. And if moving the date helps ALL Australians, Indigenous or otherwise, enjoy their day of unity, harmony & freedom then do it, I say. Do it.

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My son, Jack    ©Violet Ashes 2016

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My son & I    ©Violet Ashes 2018

 

 

 

Motivational Fig

This year I have a motivational word by which I want to define my year: ‘Growth’. Emotional growth – sure. Knowledge growth; definitely. However, the biggest part of my life in which I want to experience growth is my garden. Growing things, being outside & teaching my kids how to grow food & work together to build something is one of the reasons we moved a bit further out in the country two years ago.

There is freedom here, not complete freedom, but space & quiet that we didn’t have before. It has helped clear my mind & my heart of a lot of things that were holding me back in my growth. I think I have had a peek into the life I have always wanted — but it will take growth.

I have not published a blog since September 2016. A lot has happened in that space. Most importantly, we met our final family member, the beautiful Violet. I plan to add a few blogs that will fill in that time so life makes sense, but I might not get a chance. In any event, the last year has certainly been challenging. I not only met my daughter but my Son turned 2. He is a running, yelling, conversing, building machine & keeping me on my toes. Unfortunately, I also lost two of my best friends this year quite unexpectedly. The loss of those two souls in my life has left a silent hole in my heart. I have many unanswered questions. I miss them daily, hourly, minutely. I wish they were here to play with my kids & chat about our lives. There is so much I could say that trying to find the words leaves me exhausted.

In any case, to mark the beginning of 2018 growth we planted a healthy green Fig tree in our back yard. He was a gift to me from a friend (RG) & has been lovingly tended to since he was a seedling. He has been ready to find a permanent place in our yard for a little while but today seemed like the right time. It will be interesting to see how his growth matches my own. The soil here is mostly clay so it will be a challenge to keep him healthy but what’s growth without challenge?

Fig Tree

Jack & our newly planted Fig Tree

Motion Sickness

Photo ©Violet Ashes 2014

It starts. As soon as the morning is here – the sickness. That twirling in my stomach & itching in my throat. I’m up, the baby is crying out & I go to him & try to soothe him. I fail & he whimpers. I crawl back into bed but it’s too late; it has begun & won’t leave me until sleep comes tonight.

I think of all the things I wanted to accomplish today that, now, are made harder by this thunder cloud in my belly. How much slower & harder it will be. How, with my husband gone, managing life is a struggle & grows more tiresome everyday.

Quitting is not an option.

I have never quit. I have only ever left things undone, always expecting to get back to them one day. Even people. I start to think about how many people have quit me, instead, & suddenly the thunder roars ever louder.

I try to put that out of my mind & I listen to the traffic go by.

I like hearing the cars on the Thiele Highway in the small hours. You know the time when it’s not quite night & not quite morning. I think of them all as going on a fantastic journey somewhere. Their cars laden with suitcases, jackets, snacks & newly made playlists for the journey. All of these travellers wide awake with the excitement of the getaway in the fresh air. If I think of them that way & the noise of the rubber beating the bitumen & the endless engine rumble it doesn’t aggravate me. It soothes me.

I can’t sleep. 

Carpet Veins

These are two of my favourite photos of The Doors. I first saw these photos when I was about 10 years old & I have never stopped wondering what they were thinking about… or what happened to that amazing carpet; to me it looked like the veins on an arm & they were all coming out of Jim Morrison. It’s possible these photos are the reason I became obsessed with the veins in my own arms & spent years carving them up, who knows, perhaps I was looking for a Door.

The Doors, 1968
Photography by Art Kane

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© Art Kane 1968

Art-Kane-7

© Art Kane 1968

7

“All 7 & we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
& we will smoke them all
With an intellect & a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now & u are mine
& together we’ll love through
All space & time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die”
– Prince

2016 04 Apr 23.04.16 11.21PM Snapchat-4492316920341982313_a

© Violet Ashes 2016

Glorious Construction

A short evening stroll A short evening stroll tonight led me to a glorious sunset. 🌅❤💜

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Freeling, South Australia. ©Violet Ashes 2016

Small

It’s 5:32am & my little boy is stirring from a night of quiet dreams. My stomach flutters each time his sweet voice comes through the monitor. I lie here listening & hoping he returns to his peaceful mind; for a few more hours, at least.

Nothing makes me happier than holding him in my arms & knowing he is safe. Each time we part I feel insecure & protective. Sometimes I sneak a look at him dreaming in his cot & I vehemently hope he will always be safe & know that he is loved & wanted.

My boy, growing so fast, before my eyes. His hand, once so small that he could only grasp my individual fingers, now grows so quickly that I find us palm to palm. His long fingers interlocking mine, for a moment, & then loose again & always sticky.

He reaches out for his Dad & says his first words “Dad, Dad, Dad…” & every time I hear that little voice it makes me giggle with its insistent, soft tone.

No one will ever be more loved than our children, of that, I am certain.

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© Violet Ashes 2015

Relief

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It was a relief to see something so beautiful in the sky last night after the terror of the last few days of bushfire in South Australia. I’m so thankful my family are safe. ❤💜

Velveteen Inspiration

A little while ago I became a Patron of one of my heroes, Amanda Palmer. Being a Patron means I help to pay for her art. It means she can make the art & music she likes without needing a record company. Right now, she is 8 months pregnant & yesterday she stood naked in full body paint in front of the New York Public Library to raise awareness for literacy & gather books from supporters for needy children. She stood as a living replica of the Verity statue by Damien Hirst & as people dropped off books she moved to a new position. Anyone who has been 8 months pregnant will know standing still for any amount of time is difficult & painful so I was in awe of her efforts. Literacy is something Amanda obviously feels passionate about, as I do, so when she stated in a recent interview that her favourite children’s book is ‘The Velveteen Rabbit‘ I could not ignore what is for me, a meaningful coincidence. Continue reading

JSAR

His hair sultana blonde
& skin cotton soft.
My son with eyes a twinkle
Stares with an innocent wonder
Into my eyes as I say his name.
His nose wrinkles with his giggle;
A new voice harsh with overuse.
His whole hand grips my finger
Such strength from my small boy.
Countless raw emotions fill me
& he smiles kindly as my tears well.
I laugh at his made up words
That infuse me with hope & joy.
Within this bond; a new discovery –
A person inside I had never met.
One who sings, dances & laughs.
A woman focused & calm,
My mothering a mix of trial & error.
One day when he is older
I will ask him how I did
& hope he grades me favourably
My boy with sultana hair & blueberry eyes
With the cherub cheeks & Angel’s Kiss.
I love you with my every heart beat,
My son.
©Violet Ashes 2015

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Photo ©Violet Ashes 2015

Filtered In Winter

Today is the first of a precious few winter days without rain & the first time I have had to get out into my garden & explore. It is a different place in the winter – the plants either go dormant or thrive. There are hues of brown & purple that are not visible in other months.

I find the garden to be one of the only places I can go to just be where I do not have to think. My mind clears & I lose hours in a sunny afternoon pottering about. Without the garden I would be lost. Sometimes it is not enough to look out from my kitchen window; I was pleased to get out in the sunlight today & took my camera with me.

I have been experimenting with coloured & macro lens filters – it is much more difficult than I imagined. There is no ‘point & shoot’ scenario – it takes time & patience; both of which I find sparse at the moment. The first of our winter blooms came out of hiding with the unseasonable sun – I hope there will be more in the days to come.

Strawberry Bloom - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Strawberry Bloom – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet Succulent - July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

Violet Succulent – July 2014 © Violet Ashes 2014

After The Storm

This morning I drove around listening to Mumford & Sons, trying to find distraction & since then it has been a day filled with contemplation. Good contemplation can, of course, always be done while shopping. Navigating my way through racks of women’s clothes, shoes & jewellery. I found myself standing in the jeans section & looking at the way the store was divided. They used nicer & more marketable words but each section was clearly thus;

Section 1: skinny, young & hip – lovely fabrics, cut well – sizes 6 – 16 only
Section 2: older, fatter, sensible – basic colour wheel & no imagination – sizes 10 – 18 only
Section 3: maternity / so fat you might as well buy maternity – all in garish colours & floral prints – sizes 16 – 26 only

I wandered through each section & also noticed that what was a size 16 in Section 1 was a totally different Size 16 to that in Section 2 & in Section 3. I was confused. How can you call it the same size? What dressmaking school did they attend? I did not understand.

I bought something from each section just to mess with their statistics.

I had to negotiate the grocery store after that – one of my most loathed tasks. People everywhere with no clue what they need or want. People picking things up, smelling them & putting them back. One lady ran over my foot with her trolley. I just stood still on the spot & was tempted to scream.

At least the coffee aisle was the one closest to the entrance of the supermarket. How convenient, I thought. Then I noticed it is the same aisle as the chocolate & lollies. How conveniently annoying – putting something everyone needs next to something everyone wants. Pure evil. I did not give the Cadbury’s hazelnut chocolate any eye contact as I walked swiftly passed & kept my head down all the way to the opposite end of the shop where they keep the milk – you need a winter coat all year round down there.

By the time I got home & invented something for dinner, tucked it away in the fridge & sat down to fold socks my mind was racing. Racing with anger for all the fat people who like coffee & cannot avoid the chocolate. For all the skinny girls that want to dress sensibly but cannot find clothes to fit & fat women that want to dress stylishly with the same problem.

Noticing that I am middle of the road on all of these issues only gave me further pause.

I knew I was avoiding my real problems by filling my mind with trivial ones & only adding to my anxiety but I couldn’t help myself. I took a peak in my email for anything exciting that might have happened in the 10 minutes since I last looked. An email stood out – a WordPress notification from the blog of Jain Carey Photography. A post entitled “After The Storm.” I opened it. I stared at the photograph. I was whisked away to shores of still water & instantly, I was calm. I am always affected by great art & today was no different. Perhaps I should take a copy of this photo in my purse with me the next time I visit the supermarket.. I could have stared at that photograph for many hours, I could have started at it all day… had the washing machine not beeped…

After the Storm by Jain Carey Photography

After the Storm by Jain Carey Photography

After The Storm — Mumford & Sons

& after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
& I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won’t rot, I won’t rot
Not this mind & not this heart,
I won’t rot.

& I took you by the hand
& we stood tall,
& remembered our own land,
What we lived for.
& there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
& love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill & see what you find there,
With grace in your heart & flowers in your hair.

& now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That’s why I hold,
That’s why I hold with all I have.
That’s why I hold.

& I won’t die alone & be left there.
Well I guess I’ll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full & man so small.
Well I’m scared of what’s behind & what’s before.

& there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
& love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill & see what you find there,
With grace in your heart & flowers in your hair.

Lightning Bolts

Zeus-Hera_shadowsineden.blogspot.com

Last night I dreamt of Zeus & of Hera & their children. Eileithyia – with her watchful eye has followed me through the last two years & two dead babies. She whispers to me & although I understand her in the dream I do not remember her words when I wake & yet her words haunt me.

I awoke with pain lingering in my abdomen & tears on my cheeks. My husband asked me what was wrong, why was I crying & I maintained, “I’m alright, I’m fine” but I am never sure if I am.

The two dead babies in my dream – they float. They stare at me but they do not talk. I know who they are, even now, but they are not mine anymore. Eileithyia runs her hands over my back & through my hair. Whatever she says, upsets me.

I am not the same person I was before I met Eileithyia in my dreams. I am not as fickle or forlorn but I am the same amount of furious. There is a burning in my belly, a ferocious fire that wants to burn the world down – holding in my words, my thoughts & my feelings for fear of hurting people is like having lightning bolts streak through me minute by minute. If only I did not care. Perhaps I could let it out & the burning would stop. Perhaps I would be reduced to Ashes. If only.

We do not talk about these things anymore, my husband & I. I am too angry & he is too sad. All the waiting & the disappointment. The passion & the pain. It beats down our door every month & we fall deeper in all the time. We both know it cannot destroy us, we know no matter the outcome we are stronger together & stronger than anything the Gods could throw at us. But in the meantime, our daily lives are filled with hope & uncertainty; of conversations not endured & decisions not made.

“People ask me how we are,

We are, I say, mostly lost.”

Lightning Bolts – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Two lightning bolts were delivered to my room,
They were gifts from Zeus.

I rock the bolts in a bassinet of pine.

People ask me how I am,
I say “I’m all right, I’m fine.

I push the lightning bolts in a pram,
Till the sun goes down & it gets dark,
& the girls from Jubilee Street hang out their windows,
& they wave & ask me how I am tonight.
I say “I’m good, I’m all right.”

In Athens all the youths are crying from the gas.
I’m by the hotel pool working on a tan.
People come up & ask me who I am.
I say if you don’t know, don’t ask.

Zeus laughs – but it’s the gas.
& he asks me how I am.
I say “Zeus, don’t ask.”

My lightning bolts are jolts of joy,
They are joy boys from Zeus.
I feed them porridge in their booster seats of knowledge.

& in the cradle of democracy, the pigeons are wearing gas masks.

My lightning bolts play in the elevators,
They slide down the hotel banister,
& Zeus throws a gas canister,
& it spins around the pool,
As pigeons wearing respirators steal the lightning bolts.

Zeus wants them back.

O my bolts of joy,
O my darling little boys.
They are lost to us.
& people.. .
They are never coming back.

At night I watch them sleep,
& cry years of tears,
& it’s not the gas.

People ask me how we are
“We are,” I say, “mostly lost.”

Sunset Ribbons

Sunset 142 ©Violet Ashes 2014

Sunset 142 ©Violet Ashes 2014

A crackled orange ribbon floats through a bruised & clouded sky.
As I peer through my camera lens I start to wonder why
With all this beauty at the end of the day
It took me so long to work my way
Out to the balcony to view the sunset every day.
©Violet Ashes 2014

Every night the sky is a constant surprise to me. Even the sunsets under a dark grey sky with barely any colour still hold interest & the emotion it elicits in me is extraordinary.

My Sunset 365 Project (You can visit HERE) is a third of the way through & although almost every day I forget I have got to go out & take the photo I have managed to do it & also enjoy it. I have seen incredible colour in the sky – sometimes I cannot believe it is real & often comment to Corsmor that no one is going to believe I haven’t photoshopped the colour.

In fact, sometimes the hardest part is finding a quote to match the beauty of the sky. I could not find one today, so I wrote one…

Travel Your Road

“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, & ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.”
— Daniell Koepke

According to ‘the Internet’ Daniell Koepke is the founder of a Tumblr called the ‘Internal Acceptance Movement’ (IAM) which discusses recovery, self care, mental health, body image, self acceptance & issues of social justice.

At first I thought, “sounds like a bunch of hippy crap…”
“Platitudes & promises…”

I visited the site & started to look around. There are a lot of saccharine things; catch-phrases & clichés. However, I found that a lot of her Tumblr was relevant. They may sound fanciful but, when you think them through, a lot of the quotes & points Daniell makes resonate & remind me to stay on task. To not get caught up in petty arguments or feel rejected or neglected. I am in control of how I feel, no one else. How I react to a situation is entirely up to me even if I am baited.

On bad days I fall for the bait every single time. When I am feeling insecure or suspicious everything that is said & done around me makes me feel bad about who I am & I question my worth. There are a few people who remain in my life that seem to have the ability to take control of my self-confidence & flush it away. On good days, which is most of the time, I don’t even notice those people or I pity them.

My aim is to become indifferent to them. To see the barbs they throw at me & care not if they hit me. That would be a glorious experience.

Maybe someday.

Led Astray – © Ben Good Earth Art Photography

Back In The Tori Forest

I have had 4 days with the new Tori Amos album: Unrepentant Geraldines & although I have only heard it all the way through, oh, about 30 times I feel I can safely say this is an unrepentant masterpiece.

It is Tori back to where we all want her deep down – at the piano with a soft drum & guitar hum, suitably, in the background. Her voice floats over a range of tracks that explore stories of unapologetic & unrepentant women through art & from various points of view. A shapely yet delicate web of experience, memory & desire have made up this album & I could not help but feel it must have taken significant time to compose. I have since read that Tori wrote these songs “in secret”*. Through this solitude Tori has produced some of her most melodious & distinctive sounding songs to date.

There are epic tales in these odes (‘Wedding Day’, ‘Wild Way’), beautiful, haunting lyrics that whisper & curl around you as lullabies do (‘Weatherman’, ‘Invisible Boy’, Maids of Elfen-mare), fun & bizarre tunes (‘Giant’s Rolling Pin’ & ‘Rose Dover’), a duet with her daughter, Tash (‘Promise’) that would touch the heart of any mum & then there are those special few that will be your favourites (‘Trouble’s Lament’, ‘Oysters’).

I was lucky enough to get hold of the deluxe edition of ‘Unrepentant Geraldines’ which has one extra track & for me it was everything I felt was missing from the album & this track remains my favourite: ‘Forest of Glass’. I found the darkness & depth of the track completed an incredible album. An unrepentant album. And as ever, I remain, an unrepentant Tori Amos fan.

Forest Of Glass – Tori Amos

Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
The owl hoots & the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Robbing the muse
Is, Is that what I’ve done
They turn & laugh
Back you do cannot do
We are the robin’s muse
& we will sing for you
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
The owl hoots & the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
In his forest of glass
Forest of glass

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

*Tori Amos on ‘secret songs’ and SA“. IOL. 26 March 2014

Happy 450th Mr Shakespeare

It has been 450 years since William Shakespeare was born – a very long time.

It has been 20 years since I saw ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ performed in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with my wise Aunt Jan Marie – a long time.

I fell in love & his words have adorned the margins of every notebook I have scrawled in since.

So happy birthday Mr Shakespeare, you understood me then & you understand me now…

“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen & shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
& though she be but little, she is fierce.”
— Helena in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, 1590-5196

Oil on canvas by Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Queen Mab’s Cave’ inspired by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ & exhibited in 1846:

Queen Mab's Cave - by Joseph Mallord William Turner

ANZAC John Arthur Slattery

J. A. Slattery IMG_9114a

Every year I take out my Great Grandfather Slattery’s badge, colours & dog tags to take with me to the ANZAC day dawn service.

John Arthur Slattery
Service Number: 2256
Rank: Private
Roll Title: 43 A.I.F.
Date of Embarkation: 12 Aug 1916
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

John’s Battalion, the 43rd, consisted of 30 officers & 991 other ranks. He stayed with his Battalion through every battle & was one of only a handful to return at the end of WWI.

John, along with his battalion, landed briefly in Egypt in 1916 then went on to Britain for further training. They arrived on the Western Front in late Dec 1916.

The 43rd Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders, Belgium. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines & in October the Third Battle of Ypres (also named the Battle of Passchendaele) where they were in the front wave of 16 waves of men.

The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley, France. In April they helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux. In July the battalion was part of General Monash’s attack at Hamel. In August & September the battalion helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line.

The 43rd joined the advance that followed the 2nd Division’s victory at Mont St Quentin & it was during this operation that Temporary Corporal Lawrence Weathers earned the battalion’s only Victoria Cross. Weathers was mortally wounded in the battalion’s next battle. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel John Farrell wrote “..he died at the Regimental Aid Post, & lies buried on the battlefield.”

John was discharged on 25 Sept 1919 & returned home safely to Australia to his wife & children.

LEST WE FORGET

A Place Called Nirvana

Like teens all over the world, to me, the death of Kurt Cobain was devastating. I was 14. It was the day after my birthday. 

20 years on as I watched Nirvana inducted into the American Hall of Fame I thought about Kurt constantly. For days sentiment hit me in a big way. I still have ‘In Utero’ (my favourite Nirvana album) on repeat wherever I go. The lyrics to ‘Very Ape‘ spurn me on.

I read Kurt’s journals daily in a sleek black hard-covered book that was published after his death which contains scanned pages from his journals, notebooks, bits of paper, letters he wrote – even his suicide note. I laugh & shake my head at how much of it is filled with his dark humour. Anguish, yes, but he had such a good sense of humour.

Today I looked through my own journals from around that time. The 1990’s were my teen years & Nirvana’s influence on my mind & my writing was clear. I found a poem I wrote which is made up of different Nirvana song titles. I laughed again… & shake my head…

A Place Called NIRVANA

You are like Lithium
& you Rape my Spirit.
Your Apologies Smell Like Bleach
& Buzz from your mouth.

As you Come In Bloom,
I hear your Heart-Shaped lies
Sifting through me like an Aneurysm.

A girl about to Turnaround,
My Lips are Beeswax & Hairspray,
Holding in Tourette like words
That could Drain You
Of the Territorial Plateau.
On which you Sliver.

Nevermind this (New Wave) Downer.
Last Night I Slept with Polly,
Then Sold her Sunbeam for a Gun
So I could Burn Out & Fade Away.

Written by Violet Ashes 1994
© Violet Ashes 2014

Journals & In Utero

Journals & In Utero

A Spoonful of Sugar…

I was born on Good Friday. So I kind of consider today my lunar birthday. My planet, Mars, is high in the sky near the moon which is full & bright, much like life should be. We had a Blood Moon Eclipse on Wednesday. I should have seen the warning.

A phone call in the early hours of this morning has left me in mourning & it has poured with rain ever since.

I have thought a lot of my uncle who died last night. He was quite young & though not always healthy this was unexpected. My father, near inconsolable, told me through tears & husky throated words. Slipping between shock & understanding as I lamented the loss & offered support. I moved swiftly into protective mode as I always do when either of my parents are upset.

There is nothing I can do. I cannot fight death & tell him to stay away. I cannot promise things will be alright. Of course they will be alright but where Geoffrey should be there will always be a blank space. He is the first of a family of 5 brothers & sisters to die, & suddenly, it is a shock to us all.

I remember Geoffrey most in his early twenties. Sitting me down as a little girl, pointing to himself in his High School pictures & saying;

“This is me, this is when I got sick” & me asking in my 8-year-old way
“what kind of sick? What happened?”
He replied; “I took things & my head got sick”
“Oh,” I said, in almost a whisper
“But I’m okay, I’m happy” he said.

Geoffrey developed early onset, severe & chronic Schizophrenia. There were a lot of tough times after that conversation. Geoffrey lived with us for quite a while; my parents took care of him until his illness became unmanageable. I remember him being there & the care they showed him even when things were tough. I do not remember the stress my parents must have been under with 2 young children of their own & a sick (yet medicated) young adult all living together in a small cottage. I only remember the impression that family takes care of each other & love is important, it makes people happy even when things seem bad. It makes life bearable.

In the decades that followed, medication for Schizophrenia improved. At times Geoffrey made more sense in conversation than the rest of my ‘sane’ family put together. He certainly made more noise. I always knew when he was visiting my other uncle because they lived one street over from us & the noise from his drum-kit would fill the street. That used to make me laugh. Now the thought that I won’t hear it makes me melancholy.

So we are one less but I did learn something. The love of family that takes care of you when you need it most; the ones that feel it when you’re gone, are the ones to keep the closest, if only in your heart.

Blood Moon Eclipse 2014

Blood Moon Eclipse 2014

Violet Ashes Sunsets

For my 30th birthday my family bought me a new camera. A Canon EOS 450D. I had always wanted to try my hand at ‘real’ photography – yes I was the annoying person at parties with the camera out – but I had never had a decent camera to really stretch myself.

I have been practicing with this camera for on/off 4 years now. So this year I decided I would do something that would stretch me & ensure that I learn – fast.

I started a Tumblr photo blog – http://violetashes-sunset.tumblr.com

The aim? Take & present a photo of the sunset every day of the year 2014.

Each day I go out & take a photo of the sunset. Then I come inside, choose the best one & post it to the blog along with some words about sunsets.

I try hard to lay off Photoshop & only soften or sharpen the images with the occasional crop & colour saturation enhancement. This can be hard sometimes – especially when presented with a gloriously colourful sunset. It is easy to get digitally carried away – so I have learned to just take my shot & when it is a nice shot with lots of colours, I cross-post to Instagram (http://instagram.com/violet_ashes) with some fancy filters just for fun. That way I get it out of my system & keep my photos for the Tumblr as natural as possible.

I have tried to take the shot from approximately the same position every day – but sometimes I am out & about so I take it from a different location. On the odd occasion I simply cannot do it I ask a friend to ‘guest’ for me that day – which has produced a couple of really nice shots.

It is only April & already I have learned so much from this project – not only about photography but about commitment & patience. Getting that ‘perfect shot’ is harder than I thought it would be. I have learned all about my camera & I am still learning.

As I approach taking photo number 100, I look back on what I was taking at the start of the year &, already I can see how far I have come.

I feel positive about this project – it gives me a sense of accomplishment & satisfaction that I can produce something beautiful. I am gaining confidence, not just with photography but in my writing & presentation of myself to the world as an artistic person. It is a learning curve & I am happy to be on the journey.

Sunset 70 11 March 2014

Sunset 70 11 March 2014

I Hope Not.

IMG_7835ab

I hope that I am wrong about God
I hope that there is magic in this world
That when I die I awaken to a splendour
That takes my breath again

I hope that being an atheist
Does not upset God or the Fairies
I hope that they forgive me
When I finally meet my end

I hope that the Circle of Oaks
The chanting & the sacrifice
The stone temples & the statues
Were not bred & built in vain

I hope that underneath the ground
There is a heaven to be found
Where I can see those ones again
Whose hearts refused to beat

I hope the feathers I have collected
Reveal messages & dreams
Of untold stories & romance
From a friend I have never known

I hope through all these faithless years
I have missed out on something special
& when I die I will kick myself
For not knowing life is precious

Written by Violet Ashes 8th April 2014
Image taken in ‘The Forest’, 14th September 2013
© Violet Ashes 2014

Things Have Changed This Is Not The Movies

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Things have been hectic for the last few weeks & weeks are turning into months since we lost our second baby. Corsmor & I have tried many times to sit down & talk, to discuss the future, but every time we do life interrupts us with phones, doorbells & distraction.

My writing is on hold again with so many other obligations, I worry every day that I may lose my ideas or that my characters will run back to their forests. Gone forever. In my mind they have lives I struggle to ignore. I keep thinking about all those movies where life is perfect. Movies with whole neighbourhoods of families that support each other – the evil always coming from the outside in, not the other way around.

In the movies people go off the grid all the time. They say “no” without consequence. In the movies family & friends are sensitive to your feelings & understand when you need them to leave you alone. In the movies, people support you when you need them & they don’t try to push you to be something you’re not. In the movies family & friendship are not a one way street. In the movies miscarriage trumps someone else’s dentist appointment, writers are heroes & everyone can have babies.

In the movies.

In real life there is no such fairy tale. The real world crashes in on your every private moment. The hours between dusk & dawn are no longer sacred. Those minutes in bed between the kisses good night & the kisses good morning are under threat of interruption.

Since these last few hectic weeks have ‘tornadoed’ through our home I have found myself growing angry & restless. I am fed up with the world outside. I want some time, time in the dark. Radio silence.

Music is one thing I use to disappear out of real life. I have found myself with a whole new playlist on my hands this year. Expressing so many different emotions.

This song by Bob Dylan is, at the moment, at the top of the list; because after the last few hectic weeks having to bury so much inside I feel different. My perspective on what is important to me has shifted. What I need to focus on is me & my writing. If there is to be a baby or a writing career then the focus needs to come higher on the priority list & that may mean some relationships have to suffer, well then so be it “I used to care, but things have changed.”

Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me & nothing behind
There’s a woman on my lap & she’s drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes
I’m looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
This place ain’t doing me any good
I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain’t no shot cuffs, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove
Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too
Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
If the bible is right, the world will explode
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can’t win with a losing hand
Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
Putting her in a wheel barrow & wheeling her down the street
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
You can hurt someone & not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me
Mr. Jinx & Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Reflection

We fell in love in an afternoon & the sun set as we kissed.
The beauty of the dimming sky; a reflection in your blue eyes.
We kissed & felt a new forever beat in our chests.
An eternal sunset burning in our hearts each day born anew & ending with a kiss.
A kiss as sweet & warm as that first afternoon.
 
I await the setting of the sun each day for the chance to kiss again.
Each sunset on another year together;
a beauty, a reflection, and a promise to each other.
This love is as certain as the sun setting on the day.
 
10th of February; 6 years to the day
a happy anniversary of that first afternoon
I can measure the years of our love in sunsets.
Affection in your eyes that never dims
And a bond which not storm nor rain could break.

Sunset 41 IMG_0657Tumblr
  

6 Weeks & None

A prenatal scan at 6 weeks revealed we had lost our second baby. After a week of bleeding & bed-rest this was not a surprise but, again, we had hoped that all would be well. Again, I feel like I am in pieces strewn all over the ground – like there is a chalk outline following me every where I go.

We had to wait another week for a second scan which thankfully revealed I did not need a Dilation & Curette to remove the baby as I did last time. I say ‘thankfully’ because it was so traumatic last time – for both of us. The physical pain, though, was more severe this time. I was not ready for it.

The hardest thing, I think, is the waiting. Pregnancy is nothing but waiting. It is a total lack of control. This time I really had felt quite well, I felt positive & excited. Corsmor was certainly more cautious than I. His caution weighs on me, a blanket of guilt.

There is a lot going on around us at the moment & I feel eyes on us. I feel them expecting us to move on from this much faster than we did last time. The surprising thing is that it does get easier. Which in itself fills me with guilt. What I really fear is that we won’t get time to process it together. To plan our next move; forward motion, onward. These losses are the things that tear couples apart. I have seen it.

Corsmor & I are told we should not make having a baby our priority or our goal. That we need to devote time to careers, real estate, travel & time together. However, having a baby means the world to us, it seems impossible not to make it our goal. It is one of the reasons we married – to start a family. We never imagined it would be difficult. I left my job knowing we would start a family & I would have all of me to devote without the stress of my job which had been highly stressful & all-consuming…

A year & 2 miscarriages later we are still without a family or any promise of one. It feels so far away. Sometimes I feel like a character in my own book. Everyone around me playing their parts. If only I could see the ending – if only I could skip to the last page & know it all turns out okay, how much easier all this might be.

chalk-outline

Philip Seymour Hoffman

image

Image via andsoitbeginsfilms.com

I do understand suicide. I understand the need to kill pain; to end suffering. I believe we are masters of our own bodies & that life is not just a right but a choice.

Having stated my beliefs I find myself in opposition to them. True suicide, still shocks me even though I have had my own brush with it. When I hear of someone who has committed suicide I am just as shocked & saddened as anyone else. However, I also feel intrigue; a need to know every detail. I am sure I am not alone. The search for answers is almost always fruitless when it comes to suicide, but I undergo the search anyway.

While I am conducting these searches I typically end up getting quite jaded about the whole thing.

This week the world heard about the suicide/death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The details have since revealed themselves as heroin related. I am not sure how anyone ever knows a heroin overdose is suicide or just an accident. Unless of course there is a note. In any case, P.S.H was a successful, talented & no doubt wealthy man. A man with flaws & a man with an addiction. I wonder what it is that made him make those choices? Were they choices at all? Did it all just get out of his control? I wonder, if you slowly kill your body with addiction to drugs can it be classified as suicide when those drugs finally take over?

I will never know, but what I think he has accomplished, suicide or not, is the definitive end of his life. Unfortunately for those he leaves behind they are the ones that have to suffer for his art, they are the ones with few words to explain.

Words I do have: waste, addiction, shame. Words I do not have: tragic, sad, understand. Rest Philip Seymour Hoffman, if you can.

GeoCaching Adventures

Corsmor & I have had some wonderful adventures in our time together. Every where we would go we would find something interesting to do & something neither of us had seen before. Almost a year ago we discovered something that facilitated these adventures & has taken us to places we would never have otherwise visited.

Geocaching.

My Dad (Sparky) mentioned it in conversation over coffee one morning & I was a bit miffed that I had not heard of it before. So we looked into it & we have been hooked ever since.

So I headed to the internet. I found www.geocaching.com & read the FAQ’s. I signed up & made up a team name for Corsmor & I. I bought a handheld GPS. I looked up, tracked & found my first Geocache. I was hooked.

So for those of you who have not heard of Geocaching – here is my run-down. It is an orienteering treasure hunt. It runs world-wide & is constantly changing. There are multiple treasures & maps to that treasure. It is fun, exhilarating & at times exhausting.

Participants use a hand-held GPS (or if you don’t have one, there is ‘an app for that’ available from Geocaching.com) to search for, hide & locate containers called ‘Caches’ that contain all manner of things from information, toys, swaps, & trackable items.

The search for these containers can take you to a quick roadside stop, tourist attractions or places of interest you may not have known existed. For us, this was the best part. Heading off into the bush or down dirt roads we had never travelled before has landed us in some quirky, beautiful & wonderful places – often with breathtaking views, something to have a bit of a giggle at; we have even watched whales in the ocean.

Usually a Cache will be a small water-proof container. In this you will find a log where you must sign your team name & date. Usually the container will have trinkets as mentioned before & you can make swaps for a bit of fun. Our emblem is a sparrow so we always put in a silver sparrow charm for someone to swap & we try to pick up something interesting we can trade somewhere else.

There are many nuances to Geocaching. Much too many to count or relay here. What I can say is that it is highly enjoyable & highly addictive. Corsmor & I have been known to spend entire weekends geocaching. The great thing about is that it gets you out in the world. You see new things, meet new people & you learn to communicate in an even better way.

At times, I will admit, I can grow quite frustrated. Corsmor is our driver & I am the navigator. This can cause friction – but it usually ends in laughter. Especially when I have turned the map around so many times I might as well be looking at a blank sheet of paper. What it has helped me with is my sense of direction. My instincts have improved as far as direction & what looks like a certain ‘cache location’. It’s also great exercise.

We have also met some great people in our travels. Fellow Geocachers who are doing the same thing we are doing while pretending not to do it at all. It is a lot of fun.

So if you like adventure or find yourself with a boring day ahead check out Geocaching.com (I promise, they’re not paying me to write this!) & get started. You won’t regret it.

Here are some of the amazing & weird things we’ve seen along our travels we never would have known were there otherwise:

‘Astro La Vista, Baby!’ – GCM4N8

Cache Owner – TeamAstro.
Hidden: 24th November 2004 / Found: 16th September 2013
Pump Station in the Gilbert Valley, South Australia

This was a ‘multicache’ where you head to a certain set of GPS coordinates provided on Geocaching.com & from there you find & receive new coordinates. You keep doing this until you get to the final location where you will locate the final cache. In this case it was a disused heritage pump station & Corsmor had to attach a guide line to his belt & disappear down a long tunnel counting the steps until he found the cache.

GeoHubby at Astro

GeoHubby at Astro

 

Astro La Vista Baby

Astro La Vista Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ghostly Gum’ GC27GD9
Cache Owner – OrangeAngels
Hidden 26th April 2010 / Found: 30th September 2013

Back roads of Coffin Bay, South Australia
It was a quick ‘drive-by’ cache with a funny looking tree. It gave us a bit of a laugh.

Ghostly Gum

Ghostly Gum

‘Top of the World’ GC16TQA
Cache Owner – TheMundsters
Hidden 20th October 2007 / Found: 31st March 2013
Beautiful view from a hill at Mount Crawford, South Australia

Top of The World

Top of The World

Top of The World

Top of The World

Just 4

This morning I had a positive pregnancy test. I would only be very early – 4 weeks at the most. I am positive about this despite what happened to our first pregnancy. I feel healthier & ready – for whatever happens.

There are a multitude of feelings I have about this. This morning when I saw the positive test I wondered whether I should wait to tell Corsmor – but I know that I can’t live that way. First of all, he is my husband, I can’t lie to him. Secondly, this baby is half his, I can’t deny him experiencing whatever there is to experience. I won’t say that I am not hesitant.

We are heading to the beach today & I will tell Corsmor on the shore – where there is nobody but him & I, the ocean & the waves. Whatever his reaction I am sure he will be happy. I am sure he will feel similar to me, hesitant, but happy.

Footprints by Vanerich

Footprints by Vanerich

 

Poppa

Poppa's OrnamentThis ornament hangs on our tree every year in memory of my Poppa, Maurice John McInnis. I miss him every day, but at Xmas most of all.
 
When I think of Poppa I think of golf, whiskers & trousers. I think about the way he always kept his glasses in his top pocket in a soft leather holder I used to stroke when he’d cuddle me. I think about the way he would tease me as a little girl, carrying a handbag – how he joked that he wished he had a handbag too.
 
I remember his laugh, how it would crack, half pitched & high in the middle. How his eyes would water when the laughter really took him – the same way my Mum’s eyes do when she laughs.
 
I think about Poppa’s finely manicured lawn that he tended daily & trimmed with scissors if ever there was a blade out-of-place. The feel of that lawn under my bare feet when we would visit in the summer – no matter where he & Gran lived a beautiful lush, green lawn adorned each home.
 
I think about the way Gran called him ‘Johnny’ & he called her ‘Love’. How they had matching recliners with lace doilies Gran hand-made for each one. I remember him in that recliner watching Port Adelaide Football club play on TV – a-top the TV was a model ship – filled with his gold coin change that he put there to save for something he might put in his shed.
 
In Poppa’s shed was homemade Draught beer with a light box he built himself to keep the temperature steady as it brewed. That shed, always neat & tidy & filled with gardening tools. Poppa’s tomatoes were the pride of the family – sweet, juicy, ripe & red. Every year we were treated to fresh ham & tomato sandwiches, homemade sauce & Gran’s tomato relish. I think about how much I miss those tomatoes & watching him in his hat tending to the plants.
 
Poppa loved to fish. He loved to laugh. He loved to garden & he loved his family. He was a proud man – he was gentle & he was the kind of man you met & his soft voice lingered. I think people liked Poppa – he was a gentleman & a hero to my brother. He had a temper – but it was rare & purposeful. I never saw it.
 
I don’t think Poppa ever knew how much we all loved him & how much his impression would linger. But it has & it does.
 
That ornament was given to me by Gran the year Poppa died. Every year I put that ornament on my tree & I think of him. I miss him & I smile – I hear his laughter in the house & I think, I hope, that maybe he knows how much he is missed, how much he is loved, so many years later. My Poppa.

Beyond

 
 
Sitting on a cold concrete cricket pitch. 2 AM. Vodka – Raspberry.
No one had told me I was clever before
And I began to understand that I could think
I could think what I thought on the page
By writing it down
On the pages you read when we were riding on trains
In the years of late adolescence into early twenties – beyond
Writing & sketching & painting & drawing
Our lives in our broken-girl language that
Engulfed notebooks & scraps of paper on my desk
No one had told me I was allowed to believe before
And I began to understand that I could think & dream
On pages, in notebooks, with pens & with pencils
Sharing echoes of nights & skipping rope ideas
You were the influence & the alcohol & the cricket pitch
That I think about when I am bruised & stuck for material
The idea that I can be clever & totally believe-able
Came from your mind into my hands
To the pen, to the page, to the world – beyond
I wish I could give you something to pay you
For telling me who I was when you could, when you did
But you’ll go to bed tonight empty handed,
Thinking & wondering & painting your dreams
Because you knew what I didn’t when you knew it, way back then
And you’ll live knowing more than I can ever comprehend.
© 2013 Violet Ashes

Sachin

Sachin by Patil Makarand

Sachin by Patil Makarand

Sachin Tendulkar retires; an amazing player, childhood hero & a good bloke. I will miss watching him play.

“Batsman walk out into the middle alone.
Not Tendulkar.
Every time Tendulkar walks to the crease the whole nation,
tatters & all,
marches with him to the battle arena.
A pauper people pleading for relief,
remission from the life long anxiety
of being Indian,
by joining in spirit their visored saviour.

Wednesday or Friday,
Tendulkar lifts his gleaming bat,
points it like a sword towards the TV
cameras after his customary hundred,
and a million hands go up in blessing;
and in begging, pleading silently
for redemption from the oppressive reality
of their existence; seeking a moment’
liberation from their Indiabondage
through the exhilarating grace of one
accidental bat.
One billion hard-pressed Indians. Just one hero….

The poor Indian lifts his hands to Sachin Tendulkar in supplication:
give us respite, a sense of liberation;
lift us up from the dark pit of our lives
to well-lit places of the imagination
with your skill-wrought perfections.
Give us an idea of what a light thing life ought to be.
Take our blessings; but give us a break. Please win. Win for us…”

By C.P. Surendran

Violet Dirge

 

PianoDeath.jpg

Not long ago I was asked which songs I want played at my funeral. I have always thought this a private request & although it is written in my will & there are a few close to me that know what needs to be played, I began to think more about this & about why I feel so protective about these songs.
 
Had I chosen the songs for me? For my family? For my husband? Would there be any mourners to hear the songs? Would they cry…? Do I want them to cry…?
 
I started to look across the web at other blogs & found that a lot of people are talking about this subject. I started to ask my friends & family about this. Almost all of them had a clear idea of what they wanted to be played at their funeral. Even though they will not be there to hear the songs or see the reaction it seemed intensely important to them.
 
Music has been a huge part of my life so I found it a difficult decision to pick just one song, so I settled on three & the version of the song is just as important as the song itself. It was a private experience, I am protective of these songs, they have been on every compilation I have ever made – they have been everywhere with me. These songs are like children to me. I will love them forever & I never grow tired of them. The lyrics speak to me, they remind me of events & emotions. I think about them constantly. They have been constant companions throughout every stage of my life.
 
To settle the question, yes, they were chosen for me. Not my family, my husband, or anyone else. And come the day that they are played the mourners may all look around the room & wonder why they are being subjected to these songs but (I hope) there will be a few in the room who will hear me in the songs & know why I chose them. If not, then they will be left with the puzzle to ponder – perhaps they can listen to them on a journey somewhere & think of me in a new light.
 
In The Air Tonight (Live Version) Phil Collins
 
A Forest (Acoustic Version)The Cure
 
Precious Things (Album Version) Tori Amos
 
There is one more song which I keep just for Corsmor, my Husband, it is not to be played at my funeral unless he chooses. It says so much about us & how we love each other – something I’ve described in the past as “nice weird”.
 
Deep In The Woods (Album Version) The Birthday Party (Nick Cave/Mick Harvey)

I have uploaded them to my YouTube video channel, you can view them by clicking on the name of the songs above.

Tadpoles

I have known Violet for a very, very long time. Some might say, I have always known her. She will always be a part of my life, whether I ever physically meet her, or not.
 
There are times, like now, when the house is quiet & there is nothing to do that I can almost hear her, calling me from the backyard pond, covered in mud, ankle-deep in tadpoles with a daisy chain in her hair… “Mum…!”

Please Please Please

Boundaries

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy & vague. Who shall say where the one ends & the other begins?” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

I have thought a lot about boundaries lately. Boundaries between friends, lovers, Man & Wife, the living & the dead; the best situations, & those in which I thrive, are where the boundaries are clearly defined so that one can push them whenever one needs. There is no point scratching at a door that disappears but if you can climb in through the window it is all the more exciting don’t you think?

image

Dead-On Instinct

So when you are a girl whose instinct is usually dead against her, who rarely follows her gut because her gut is almost always wrong, what do you do when it starts screaming louder than it ever has? When your whole body says,
   “no, no, no”
but you brain says,
   “Hey, what they’re saying is logical, it will all be fine?”
What do you do with that?
 
At some point do you have to stand up & say NO. Or do you have to put your trust in those around you & in their experience & hope (because that’s all that you can do at this point)?
 
I would like to hear from people whose instinct is always dead-on & learn how to find & follow mine… I have exhausted all the conversation options around me – they end in me telling other people that they’re right that I shouldn’t worry. Yet, there is this nagging, beating, banging in the back of my brain saying they are not right, they are not right at all.

You're Right 01

Wide Asleep Lunatic

Rene Descartes Quote 01

My dreams are troubling me again. The struggle to make meaning from them leaves me unbalanced throughout the day. Some say that dreams are meaningless, a random filing system of zero’s & one’s made up into images. Some say that dreams have great meaning & the search for the true meaning could take hours, months or years of psychotherapy. I do not have time for either of those things.
 
There are thousands of flip-dictionary dream books on the market. None of the solutions they offer feel real. However, I fail to come up with my own answers as to the meanings of the images I see. What do they mean? Why am I seeing these things? Would I be changed if I knew?

Trigger Happy

I saw this image on Tumblr today from the movie ‘Léon (The Professional)’ (1994). It reminded me of an old friend from Canada – it was his favourite film & quickly became one of my all-time favourites – partly because he liked it & the gap in our ages felt like that in the movie – but because it was about a lost little girl who clings to a man who is also lost an during those years (1997-2001) I could relate to that. He teaches her a bit about guns & a bit about patience & it was good for me because I was irascible & trigger happy.
 
Perhaps it was one of those strange – feels – like – it’s – fate – coincidences that I saw this picture. I feel a little like that lost girl again & after seeing this picture I got back in touch with Ray just to tell him I saw the picture & say “I hope you’re doing well”.
 
I hope I hear from him soon but it’s been a while & he has a lot going on.
 
I am going to sit down & watch ‘Léon’ again this afternoon. I wonder if it will be as cool & educational as I remember.

Leon (The Professional) (1994)

Leon (The Professional) (1994)

Velvet Buttons

It will be our second wedding anniversary in a week & a half. There are days where I feel as if the time has flown but honestly, right now, it feels like just the right amount of time.

Despite the last two years throwing some of the most difficult challenges at us, at me, that I have ever had to face I am amazed & proud to say that I can still get up each morning & look myself in the mirror. Okay, sometimes it is through the slit of one eye, but it is still me that looks back & at the end of (most) days I smile. The principal reason for this is the man who chose me to be his wife. After almost a decade of knowing him I can honestly say that I would not be here, if not for him.

With our cotton anniversary looming I have been, naturally, thinking about our wedding day – running all the memories through my mind, it is still fresh & beautiful in there – so many tender & spectacular moments that are too divine to describe. As always, I recall my favourite moments & there it is. Shining out in the light on its pedestal. That one shining moment, that is still my favourite from that entire day.

Corsmor & I left our wedding reception much later than we had planned – we were having so much fun & we had to force ourselves to leave. Under the arch of love we bid farewell to our guests & made our way to our bridal suite. We stood in the middle of our room & looked at each other. In the background the murmur from the reception continued on (& on for the next hour or so…)

Corsmor stood behind me & unbuttoned the back of my gown – there were over 30 buttons which were covered in velvet & encased a zip. His fingers worked them all & he slid the zip down with ease. My dress fell to the floor. I turned & kissed him, passionately.
   “Mr Rolfe, may I present your wife?” I whispered
He grinned & his blue eyes glistened. Lump in his throat, he laughed & kissed me again.

My feet were aching & I felt weak. Corsmor ran me a bath & I slipped into the bubbles with no complaint. It was then I noticed that my hands were a light shade of bordeaux – the dye from my velvet wedding gown had worn off onto my skin. I grinned.

I lied there with the handmade diamond pins still in my hair, my glossed red lips, my wedding ring & my engagement ring sparkling. I am sure that I was grinning, my cheeks were aching from smiling all day. I closed my eyes. I drifted.

When I got out of the bath & put on my warm linen robe & found Corsmor outside on our balcony – his suit still on, his tie removed & his top few buttons open. He was fine-looking. Handsome, strong & neat in his suit. He had, had his waistcoat made from the same velvet as my dress – his idea & it was soft to touch & the colour set off his dark, olive skin.
…”You look pretty” I told him. He laughed again & shook his head.

The moon shone behind us, a light fog hung over Mount Lofty & the music was still beating at the reception. We could see the room glowing from our balcony but we could not see in. It sounded like there was a great party, still, going on.

We sat out on the balcony for hours – we smoked, drank champagne & we talked. We traded war stories about the day, about our families & friends, about how happy we were & how much we loved each other.

This precious time on the balcony in the small hours of the morning are what I remember most from the day because it was just us. It was the first time we had been truly alone all day – our first time alone as man & wife & what did we do? We talked. Like we always had – talk had always come first. From the first moment we met online;
    “Are you going to say something? I am going to delete you if you do not talk to me” he wrote
It was a challenge & I accepted.

That is nearly a decade ago now.

Only hours previous we had our photo taken in front of that same balcony & in our window sill. I knew that years later we would want to remember our room & the moments alone. Pictures & notebooks full of stories; that is how I remember. Without them, I am lost.

When the air began to chill & the wild birds started to rustle; the music from the reception had stopped long ago (I had not noticed) we decided to go back to our room.

I texted my brother, Leo.

   “Happiest day of my life…”

& it was.

Wedding Day

Velvet Plantation

I met her when I was 7. We were friends. We were in love. She went away.

I thought about her every day for the longest time. Until we met again. 7 years later.

She showed me what love is. She came out of nowhere, even now, I am certain she did not walk, but floated. We were inseparable, we spent days, end upon end, with each other. She showed me how to kiss, how to love, how to want & how to need.

We floated on clouds & whispered with cotton ball mouths. We slipped open our veins & fed velvet lust to each other. I hear her voice in my head even now & I want to walk off a cliff for her.
 
There is a place I go – it used to be just us. I would see her there, lying in the grass staring up at the stormy sky – I would walk through a freezing stream, through fog, afraid & there she would be waiting. I would lie next to her, shivering, & with my eyes closed I would slip my hand in hers & wish the dark away. She would whisper my name through the haze – she would find the calm in me & pull it out. In all my darkest moments I have been in that forest with her, my calm brought back to me by her whisper.

For two decades it has just been us but now there is another – he stands tall like a terrible soldier – I freeze in my tracks & the girl that I was holding disappears. It is just me & I run. I run towards him, not away. I look behind me & there is no one there. I run alone, I run fast, I run right through him.

The faster I run through the forest the closer he gets to me until I cannot run anymore. This happens over & over until I cannot run anymore. The faster I run the harder he holds me when I finally find his heart against my heart, the beats blaring in my ears – he whispers so close to my ear that I feel his breath flow through me, warming me – he whispers my name & I whisper his.

Dreaming of the forest is something that haunts me, now daily. Everyday adds another beat, another breath, but it is the same fog, the same stream, the same grass, my girl & my soldier. Standing tall. Whispering my name.

Sometimes I wonder if they will ever meet. If he could bring her home.

She went away. We were in love. We were friends. I met her when I was 7.

watch: http://youtu.be/uYzkioskF6A


Forest

Lousy Engineer

Sometimes I wake up not knowing where I am, or who I am. This morning was just like that. Not an out of body experience but the kind of shady-eyed, heart-racing, full-bladder wakeup where you only have one thing on your mind. & once you’ve visited the toilet you look in the mirror as the cold water runs over your hands & you wonder who the hell you are looking at.
“Is that me? Are those my mascara stains?”

YES.

Waking up this week could take forever.

Feels like my body is rejecting me. My brain & heart are in different places & I swear I can feel the spring run through my blood redesigning my DNA. It is never satisfied. Bring back the winter. I approve of the rain & the cold. The long sleeves & the late mornings. The blue dawn & the days I forget my umbrella & refuse to run.

By the end of this week spring will have taken full hold of September & there will be beauty everywhere. Greens, pinks, blues – flowers & faces. I can’t help but let it absorb me but I don’t really approve.

I am not as cruel as you think I am, or as angry.

He works hard & the harder he works, the more often I am alone. The harder he works the more I appreciate him, but the harder he works the less I see of him to appreciate.

It is almost 3pm & the day has been swallowed – I cannot remember what I have done other than write & think & drink cranberry juice. My bladder is screaming at me, I have to go & each time I lose my train of thought & every time I see that girl in the mirror again. I do not know who she is but I would like to peel her face off & build a new one. She is not who I wanted her to be & I cannot figure out how to map my way to who she should have been.

Ashes ©Jan Marie 1986

Ashes ©Jan Marie 1986

Clair de Lune (Moonlight)

I awoke screaming this morning with a man standing over the top of me. In those few seconds I was submerged in decades of memories & my heart pounded out of control. As my eyes focussed & my ears warmed up I heard Corsmor whisper,
    “Hey it’s only me… are you okay?”
I closed my eyes again, slowly. My eyelids visible to me as they shut out the light. Confusion & then relief. As I rubbed my sore neck & shoulders it was then I realised my skin was clammy with sweat & I was shaking uncontrollably.

I got myself up & shook the horror somewhere deep down while I showered & washed off the nightmares that I could not remember. The water was hot enough to burn my skin right to the bone; boil me alive. I stayed that way for an hour or more.

When finally I did get out of the shower, I saw myself in the foggy mirror, my naked body looking small & overwhelmed with red & stinging scars. As I dried my hair I remembered moonlight from my dreams. I wrapped a towel around myself & walked barefoot to my piano where I sat down. The notes from ‘Clair de Lune’ filled my mind. My fingers shook on the keys & I stroked them like a long-lost pet,
“can I remember how to play… this?” I whispered
Then, like the rusty magic of a teenage boy my fingers floated & pressed on the keys, I knew the tune & it knew me. Then came calm, unimaginable.

This tune is part of the soundtrack of my life – first heard as a girl. I dreamed of one day seeing Paris, of walking streets unknown, unseen. Lying somewhere on the grass staring up at a new night sky – stars I have never seen – in a place of beauty rivalled only by the music it makes in my mind.

(visit YouTube to hear – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LXl4y6D-QI)

Moonlight in Paris

Sing With Rapture & Dance Like A Dervish

‘Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy & who’ll love you the same way back. & how do you find him? Forget your head & listen to your heart… Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey & not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” ~~ Anthony Hopkins, Meet Joe Black

Spring has sprung & we have had some good news at last – just one more operation to get out of the way in October & all should be well.

Running risks, getting hurt, trying, clawing, healing, screaming – all these things are living – but loving – that is still new to me every day & every day I wake up confused… he is still here… he must be mad, purely & utterly mad.
 Ashes & Corsmor

Tea With Faeries

Faeries in the gardenRiot Grrrl sent me this pin today & instantly my mind flew back to my childhood. Of many hours spent in my Grandma’s garden chasing faeries. Rioty, of course, knows this as we have spent time chasing faeries together – you know a girl will be a friend forever if she will chase faeries with you. It makes perfect sense to me even as an adult.
 
 The photo was taken in a garden on Woodside road in a town called Chester in the UK. Upon reading this I knew the photo was special, for reasons of my own.Coincidences are everywhere at the moment.

It is a beautiful sunny day today & the air is just moving enough to knock the white & pink petals from the almond trees onto the ground. It looks like a blanket of snow – but the warmth that makes my skin tingle tells me it is not winter. As I spent time cutting back the nearly flowering Jasmine on our front hedge I remembered all the gardens I have spent time in, first as a child & as an adult. I have never been far away from one & they are still my favourite places.
 
I found this photo of me as a kid in our garden; the sun on my hair is just like today & my smile has not changed. It was taken by my Aunty JB & it looks like I was looking to host a very big tea party – I remember that tea kettle – it spent many years on my arm while I chased faeries & drank tea with Grandma.

Tea with Faeries

1 Month

Online today I was doing some pregnancy & conception research. I went with the specific questions about ovulation & to check the app I had been using on my phone was calculating it correctly.

After watching some videos & reading the stories of women that conceived in various ways & timelines I moved my attention to searching for ‘conception after miscarriage’. I read a couple of articles but after 10 minutes I started to feel sad & uncomfortable. Anxiety took over my body & I had to close the sites down. I sat in my office for a few minutes staring at my wedding ring. Feeling the tightness in my chest & the spinning in my head begin to subside. I breathed slowly & evenly. It passed. Today marks 6 months since we lost our baby at 8 weeks & still I feel anxious at the thought of conceiving again.

Today our baby would be 1 month from being born & due on our wedding anniversary. For the last few weeks I have felt okay about this, positive that we would conceive again. Today, however, all I feel is sadness. I am trying to pick myself up with some positive music & to put it, somewhat, out of my mind. Distractions do not really work. I have to accept this because I have no choice, it happened to me, to us. It is just that some days I struggle desperately to let it go. To feel moved on. Like there is something holding me back. Memories…

I read back in this blog to earlier this year. The monumentally long blog about the day we lost the baby stings in my eyes as I read it. I have to stop. 
(Go HERE if you’d like to read it)
There are no platitudes here that make this better. No clichés. No quotes… And I am alone. Well, & truly, alone.

And I’m not gonna live my life on one side of an ampersand
And even if I went with you I’m not the girl you think I am
And I’m not gonna match you
Cause I’ll lose my voice completely yeah
I’m just gonna watch you
Cause I’m not the one that’s crazy
Yeah…

I have wasted years of my life
Agonizing about the fires
I started when I thought that to be strong, you must be flame retardant
And now to dress the wounds goes into question
How authentic they are
There is always someone criticizing me
She just likes playing hospital

Lying in my bed
I remember what you said
There’s no such thing as accidents

But you’ve got the headstone all ready
All carved up and pretty
Your sick satisfaction
Those his and hers matching
The daisies all push up’n
Pairs to the horizons
Your eyes full of ketchup
It’s nice that you’re trying
The headstone’s all ready
All carved up and pretty
Your sick satisfaction
Those his and hers matching
The daises all push up’n
Pairs to the horizons
Your eyes full of ketchup
It’s nice that you’re trying

And I’m not gonna live my life on one side of an ampersand
And even if I went with you, I’m not the girl you think I am

Amanda Palmer.  “Ampersand.” Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Roadrunner Records, 2008

Alexander Jansson

~ Alexander Jansson ~ a man whose illustrations make me want to slip right into the image & explore. He opens up so many words & I am thinking of making wallpaper of his images – they are true fantasy – I want to disappear into them & become one of the characters. I can stare at them for hours & continue to see something new, whether it is a face or a light or a tree. Always something new to see. His images fuel my imagination. They are the kind of images I would like to hang in the bedroom of my children. Something to fuel their imaginations & their dreams.

“Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.”
 ~~ Marsha Norman (American Playwright & Dramatist won Pulitzer (1983) for Night Mother)

Alexander Jansson - 2010 The Bridge

Alexander Jansson - 2010 It Was a Dull Night

Alexander Jansson - Transition (night)

Alexander Jansson - Dogen and Boyds flying curiosity shop

Alexander Jansson - 2011 The Stairs

Alexander Jansson - 2010 Kates Motel

Alexander Jansson - 2010 Evening

“Good King of Cats, only one of your nine lives”

What I hear is “I don’t trust myself”.

Let me put this down here so that you can hear me. So it can never be deleted. Established 2013.

What I want from you is friendship. I want the kind of friendship that develops over years. Where trust is given but also earned. Where we know so much about each other that it is comfortable & safe. Where we can spend hours together doing activities & our partners can trust us. I want to be able to talk about anything & everything. I want to be able to talk about politics without one of us getting angry & I want to be able to talk about sex without it becoming about you & me. It is not about you & me. It is about the bond.

It does not matter to me that I am attracted to you. I am attracted to lots of people. I would argue that no one is friends with anyone they are not, on some level, attracted to. It is simple biology. Desire is natural. What happens in our heads is entirely ours & no one can judge that. Dreams are not actions.

You said you find this situation unusual. That I would be honest with Corsmor about how I feel. The proposition that you & I can be close without having to have a sexual relationship, you find new & unusual. Well perhaps it is by today’s standards. Today’s standards of unachievable romantic-movie versions of love, friendship & marriage. To me marriage is about constantly learning from each other because you can be completely honest without fear of recrimination or embarrassment. It’s about accepting the other person & vowing to help them become someone more than they are. I see friendship the exact same way. Real friendship. It’s like a marriage & both are hard work. Sure, most of the time they flow along nicely in a routine but you have to keep a constant vigil on that. It stops being easy if no one cares & no one puts in effort.

So here I am, married, which I always wanted to be but never thought I would be. Me. Married. & Corsmor – married? Do you know how many times I have had to field the question,
“How did you get him to marry you?”
It is somewhat insulting & shows how little they know him. I didn’t ‘get him’ to do anything. We fell in love. We spent many years developing a connection & friendship before we ever became a couple & before ever having sex but we had been committed to each other from day one. We both knew we would spend forever together & we’d go to the ends of the earth to make that happen. And we did. That’s the difference.

You & I both have partners who love us & who we love back. They are significantly awesome people. They are the number one’s. They are what makes both of us special. She comes first & so does he. I respect her & I respect what you have together.

I am committed to my friendship with you in the same way I am committed to my marriage. I am committed to learning about you. To being there when you need me & annoying you when you don’t. It’s not logical in my head. It’s just a bond that we seem to have. A bond that I would like to see become something more than friendship, something like best friends, or brother & sisters. But in reality, it probably has a league of its own.

If this is something that you want – if it’s a desire you share or you see this potential in me, then please, keep talking. If not, just say goodbye & let this end. Go back to how you were before we talked. & be happy. Because I can’t do this if you are scared. I can’t do this if you’re unhappy. & I won’t do this if every day we’re faced with fear. Trust yourself. Trust me. If we don’t have that, then there’s nothing here.

tumblr_mrsglrDg5J1s2turgo1_500

Tybalt

The Unnamed Feeling

I have been busy scanning Corsmor’s photos from his albums this week – going back through his whole life. Very few of them are marked with dates so I am relying on his memory, which is excellent, his recall is uncanny.

It has been unnerving staring at pictures of past loves & friends – some of them are not even alive anymore. It does not feel like jealousy, but an emotion a lot like it which at the moment I find to be nameless. He has lived so many lives. Here, with me, he seems to have settled & he is happy – but I look at those photos & wish I knew all the stories, all the moments that he thinks of when he looks at them.

I am not enjoying the process at all – I thought that I would, but I am finding it more & more difficult. I have never been jealous of other women – certainly not his ex-lovers but looking at photos from their lives together, some that span half a decade or more is proving to be quite difficult for me. My stomach is upside down & today I have taken a break. Even after hours away the images are burned into my brain & I cannot shake this unnamed feeling.
 
I know what Corsmor would say if I told him this is how I felt & he would be right. He would say it is his past. That they are stories that make up who he is & I love who he is. He would say that he married ME & not them. That I am the one. That others were loved but that they did not last.
 
All that is logical & I understand that. Unfortunately, it does not make this unnamed feeling go away.
 
…Your love is like a studded leather headlock
Your kiss it could put creases in the rain
You’re rarer than a can of dandelion & burdock
And those other girls are just post-mix lemonade…

She Drove

Here is the morning after & my head is pounding. Bleary eyed & my stomach in a perfect storm. The physical suffering is not what bothers me the most it is the judge & jury in my mind on an endless questioning haze watching hours of reels of my actions & my words. Lying here I am certain I will die.

There is no going back. Now I am changed forever. These things have to be written into the story of me whether I like it or not. Whether I remember them or not.

As the day goes on I remember more & more of what I do not want to remember. The hatred in me grows ever more & by the time night comes around again, I have still not left the bed in which this happened. The saying “you made your bed” rings solidly in my ears.

At 4am I get up, my naked feet land on the cold wooden floor & they creak on the way to the bathroom. I force my eyes to look in the mirror as I force my knotted hair behind my ears. I am not sure who is looking back at me. Natural looking beauty worn down by the last 24 hours, there is another person smirking back at my tear-filled eyes. & I remember her name; Nectar.

She emerges from the bathroom – moving swiftly & I am left behind. She grabs the keys to my car. She leaves the house & she unlocks the car. Behind the wheel she rests her head on the headrest & breathes out as she turns the keys. The ignition turns & the car comes to life. Amanda Palmer starts to blare & sings “we suffer morning’s most of all”. She is not wrong. I reappear in the rear-view mirror but it is not me that pulls out the driveway.

If I had a memory I would detail her movements & what happened next. All I know is that Nectar drove a long way away having done the damage & I went back to bed.

I have to drive
I have my reasons, dear
It’s cold outside
I hate the seasons here

I suffer mornings most of all
I feel so powerless & small
By ten o’clock I’m back in bed
Fighting the jury in my head

You learn to drive
It’s only natural, dear
You drive all night
We haven’t slept in years

We suffer mornings most of all
We saw you lying in the road
We tried to dig a decent grave
But it’s still no way to behave

It is a delicate position
Spin the bottle
Pick the victim
Catch a tiger
Switch directions
If he hollers
Break his ankles
To protect him

We’ll have to drive
They’re getting closer
Just get inside
It’s almost over

We will save your brothers
We will save your cousins
We will drive them far away
From streets & lights
From all signs of bad mankind

We suffer mornings most of all
Wake up all bleary eyed & sore
Forgetting everything we saw
(I’ll meet you in an hour
at the car)

-Amanda Palmer “I Have To Drive”
Mirror

Hot Air Horizon

image
Looks like an amazing way to escape. I would love to see this.
 
More than 350,000 people flocked to fields not far from the city of Metz, France to witness 408 balloons take to the skies for the annual Lorraine Mondial Air Balloons festival 2013.

Mystic Kitten

I spotted this blackboard wisdom at Jeanneret Wines in the Clare Valley today on a tour around the valley with the purpose of restocking our dwindling wine rack. After what feels like an eternal winter the pickings are looking slim & we agreed it was time to go & grab some of our favourites.
 
The cellar door at Jeanneret is probably our favourite of all cellar doors. A few kilometres up from the famous Skillogalee it is a little haven hidden away where the romance fills the glass because they have learned how to bottle beauty. The roads are rough but the view is beautiful & serene. I am in love with this little gem & if fate ever smiles my way with a lotto win this will be my first point of call.
 
Now the guy who runs the cellar door is known to some as Richard, but to those of us repeat offenders we know him as Dickie. He is a splendid fella & chatting to him is just as special as the wines he (liberally) pours for tasting. The feeling here is that you are welcome – take a seat. Sit by the fire & enjoy your tasting – once you get to the Rank & File Shiraz this is exactly what you will want to do & you will want to savour every drop.
 
Another resident of this little establishment is a sly cat who we refer to as ‘Sink Kitty’. He is the second incarnation & is a healthy vintage of 19 years. He lays about in the old sink by the window where he can keep an eye on newcomers & likes a pat & a piece of cheese. His predecessor lived a long 27 years & you would be correct in thinking maybe they have the key to a long life out here. Good wine, good cheese, a small forest of gum trees, glorious vines & an attitude that kicks the ass of any other winery in the region.
 
We bought as much as the plastic would allow – but not so much we won’t have to come back just as soon as the season changes. I am already looking forward to our next adventure at Jeanneret…

image

There Is Always Light

It is raining here again & I love the sound of it. It is so peaceful & makes the whole house so dim & smoky but not pitch black, just a comfortable dark. Like being underwater in the Murray River. If you look up, there is always light.
 
 I think about Harry in his grave, the small streams of water sliding over the freshly turned earth. A glistening makeshift headstone.
 
 My niece & nephew came to pay respects last night. Maximus says,
   ‘I’m sorry you died Harry’ as he bends down, rubbing the stone that marks his grave.
 My sister says to Bella,
   ‘At least he’s not in pain now & he can sleep.’
 Bella stops in her tracks, puts her hands on her hips, looks up at her Mum & says,
   ‘He’s not sleeping! He’s dead!’
 
 She is so right & the statement made me smile at her 5 year old wisdom. What a mind that kid is going to have. I am so proud.

Cycle

I cannot explain my close attachment to the Blue Tongued Lizard that has lived in our garden for 3 years but he is important to me nonetheless. I found him today bent over in the garden, looking not-quite-right. It is only 10 degrees here today & far too cold for a lizard to be trying to sunbake. I noticed he has been coming out to bake for a few weeks now, in winter, & thought it odd. I picked him up & gave him a bit of a rub to warm him up, his belly stirred but his eyes did not open. It did not feel right to leave him lying out there to get picked off by a cat or a bird, so I picked him up & took him inside. I made him a makeshift home in my nephew’s toy box with some rocks & dirt from outside & put on a strong lamp to help warm him up a bit.
 
He did stir some more once he warmed up a little. I added a lid of water & some cherry tomatoes which were always a treat for the lizards that Leo raised when we were growing up. He has not touched either one. I spoke to Leo who said to drip some water in his mouth, if he was thirsty he would react – which he did.
 
He keeps doing these deep sighs from inside, curling up a little & then he flattens himself a bit to get more warmth. The sighs hit me in the chest every time, like a series of last breaths. I hold my own breath each time, I am quiet & hopeful that he will keep going.
 
I wish there was more I could do.
 
He has not moved for an hour now & I am too afraid to put my hands in, in case he has died. I am going to wait for Leo to get here & take a look at him. I do not think the news will be good.
 
Corsmor & I live in a little wilderness haven here & enjoy watching all the wild creatures come & go as they please. They are remarkable & motivating. Life is inexplicably going on around us. I have watched Sparrows swarm over the bread crumbs Corsmor throws to them, Black Birds couple up, build nests & eggs hatch into the quickest growing babies I have ever seen. I have awoken to the sounds of Kookaburra’s singing in our Jacaranda tree & fallen asleep to the sound of frogs in our back yard pond. What I failed to realise is that death is going on all around us at the same time. It is taking those beautiful things away from us. A cycle I had never really thought about.  & here I am sitting next to it, with a glimmer of hope & hopelessness all at once. There is nothing I can do but wait.

Sunburn

There is so much I would like to say but no chance of knowing where to begin so I feel that until I do know that I should not. I do not even know how to tell you that much.

What happened did not just come out of nowhere. I felt trapped & coaxed into a corner; into subjects & actions & a darkness where I had not wanted to go. Then you described yourself as a vampire & I knew I was looking down into my grave. Then you said I was not special & I knew that I had been buried.

You said the most important thing in a friendship is trust. Then you told me you trust no one because everybody has their price. How can something be important to you that you, yourself, are not willing to give?

This plays over in my head. I re-read everything in my mind. I play it back in my voice, in your voice, from different angles, upside down. Nothing. This is all still a mess to me & I do not know how to come back from here.

In the very beginning I told you that I always disappoint people. That I always fuck things up. That it was, this time, important to me that did not happen.

Well here we are & here I have done just that. I am left with a silence caused by my own words & my own darkness leaking out into yours.

I wish there was a light that would fix this. I wish I could switch it on & the page would fill with a glow that erased the hurt & confusion. I wish we could talk. Even if you are a vampire. After all it wouldn’t have to be sunlight & if I were real careful, maybe neither of us would get burned.

A Sweet Pair

There are those days that all we want to hear is “I Know” & “it’s Okay”. Those days always come at the worst times. When there is no one around that wants to placate to our feelings. Those days burgeon into times where we cannot get anything right. We chase that sense of happiness that we had days previous but they have absconded. They have betrayed us for the lost boy we see in the mirror.

But I know; it is okay. I know because there is an identical identity hiding just behind the mirror. She will step out if only you would stop looking at your own reflection & see the truth of the both of us looking back at you.

kiss by slevinaaron-d2yj4mp

 

I Know ~~ Fiona Apple
 
So be it, I’m your crowbar
If that’s what I am so far
Until you get out of this mess
And I will pretend
That I don’t know of your sins
Until you are ready to confess
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know
And you can use my skin
To bury your secrets in
And I will settle you down
And at my own suggestion,
I will ask no questions
While I do my thing in the background
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know
I can’t help you out, while she’s still around
So for the time being, I’m being patient
And amidst this bitterness
If you’ll consider this-even if it don’t make sense
All the time-give it time
And when the crowd becomes your burden
And you’ve early closed your curtains,
I’ll wait by the backstage door
While you try to find the lines to speak your mind
And pry it open, hoping for an encore
And if it gets too late, for me to wait
For you to find you love me, and tell me so
It’s ok, don’t need to say it

Red Pedestal

“The practice of putting women on pedestals began to die out when it was discovered that they could give orders better from there.” ~~ Betty Grable

I have been up on this pedestal before & learned that if you do not use it wisely then it is just a platform from which to fall further. Having fallen as far as a girl can fall I can attest to the limitless freedom with which I was filled. Especially since the man I trust the most puts me up there & then pulls me down as he pleases – the freedom of no control is extraordinary.

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Modern Bond

Modern day BDSM… 

“Flutters awakened inside her as he fitted his hands at her waist;
“What if I don’t like it? What if I want you to stop?”
“You’ll have a safe word. The second you say it, I’ll stop.”
“What if I forget my safe word?”
His lips twitched.
“All you have to do is answer a security question, and I’ll send you an e-mail to reset it.”

 ~~ Lisa Kleypas, Crystal Cove

Fireworks

He told me that my name was pretty;
Kissed me hard & revealed “I had to know”.
There were fireworks under a tiny roof in traffic.
Salt & pepper hair drifted across his forehead
And then through my pining piano fingers.
 
Heavy thoughts, choices made,
Crafted, conscious waiting, a lingering longing.
Our beating hearts, inseparable.
 
On that first day you watched my car pull in,
I watched you cool & easy on the corner.
The stalk. The hug hello. The perfect day.
 
A long walk up the stairs with you behind me,
A blurred movie rolling in an art deco cinema.
Wilting – waiting – willing your soft touch on me.
 
My drive home now absent from memory
Bar the thoughts indescribable of you
Lifetimes lived already, apart, alone.
An eager thrill filled my mind; could I want to?
Make an ordinary life — with him?
 
And no one could have told us that
As he kisses me there are fireworks, still.
Under a tiny suburban roof,
His salt & pepper hair, her pining piano fingers.
A life,
A dream,
A knowing.
 

©Violet Ashes

It’s getting dark darling…

I will get around to explaining this when I have sorted some of it out in my own head. For now I am going to stay out in no-man’s land & enjoy the uncomfortable silence between messages as life trundles on around me.

“I See A Darkness” – Johnny Cash.
Well, you’re my friend and can you see,
Many times we’ve been out drinkin’,
Many times we’ve shared our thoughts,
But did you ever, ever notice, the kind of thoughts I got?
Well, you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know.
And you know I have a drive to live, I won’t let go.
But can you see this opposition comes rising up sometimes?
That its dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind.  

And that I see a darkness.
And that I see a darkness.
And that I see a darkness.
Did you know how much I love you?
Is a hope that somehow you,
Can save me from this darkness.

Well, I hope that someday, buddy, we have peace in our lives.
Together or apart, alone or with our wives.
And we can stop our whoring and pull the smiles inside.
And light it up forever and never go to sleep.
My best unbeaten brother, this isn’t all I see.

Oh, no, I see a darkness.
Oh, no, I see a darkness.
Oh, no, I see a darkness.
Oh, no, I see a darkness.

Did you know how much I love you?
Is a hope that somehow you,
Can save me from this darkness.

Strawberry & Lemon

Finally found my favourite Schweppes Pink Lemonade & bought every bottle they had in the store… Now I just have to convince them to order me a whole case 🙂

I remember this as a child & it tasted like magic to me. My first sip was like being 6 years old again – only with the power to drink as much of it as I liked. 🙂

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9 Lives

The last week has been a challenge. An in the mind, in the heart challenge.

There are plenty of things that can be & have been said about Corsmor. I have heard & listened to every word. I have felt every word – both the good & the bad. Some of it the loveliest praise that could be given, some of it like needles in my bed. None of it is new or surprising to me & none of it pushes me away. When you marry someone who has had many lives this is something you accept. It is something you take responsibility for right alongside them. I told him this last night. To which he replied “this is the last of the nine lives, the last chance”.

I cried so hard inside.

So this is the responsibility I have. To ensure the last of his nine lives is one people will never stop talking about…

I Don’t Blame You ~~ Cat Power

Last time I saw you, you were on stage
Your hair was wild, your eyes were bright
& you were in a rage
You were swinging your guitar around
Cos they wanted to hear that sound
But you didn’t want to play
& I don’t blame you

I don’t blame you

Been around the world, in many situations
Been inside many heads in different positions
But you never wanted them that way
What a cruel price you thought
That you had to pay them back
For all that shit on stage
But it never made sense to them anyway
Could you imagine when they turned their backs
They were only scratching their heads
Cos you simply deserve the best
& I don’t blame you
 
I don’t blame you
 
They said you were the best
But then they were only kids Then you would recall the
deadly houses you grew up in
Just because they knew your name
Doesn’t mean they know
from where you came
What a sad trick you thought
that you had to play
But I don’t blame you
 

They never owned it
& you never owed it to them anyway
 
I don’t blame you

D-Mode

Well it is Depeche Mode day in London today – the concert of concerts and although I cannot be there is hasn’t stopped me listening to all of their albums all day. To be truthful I did not expect some of the songs to be so hard to listen to. Some of them, like ‘One Caress’, ‘In Your Room’ and ‘I Am You’ take me back to a time so close to my heart, into an area of my past I try not to stray. My heart physically aches when I hear these songs.

Almost all of them link me to a very special man with whom I shared many long nights. One of the darkest & most amazing periods of my life. Depeche Mode was the soundtrack at that time, there was nothing & no one else but him & the Mode. Even when things seemed a total mess, he brought me to a point where nothing in the real world mattered. He became my reality. He took me out of the blackness of depression & brought me into his light. For this, I am eternally grateful.

He heads off to the concert today – his excitement is palpable & I desperately wish I could have been there. The sadness that engulfs me when I think of him, listening to Mode in the heart of London, without me is almost unbearable but inescapable.

Even though we have both moved on to other people & different lives we still keep in contact. I cannot imagine how it would feel for him to be gone… I cannot imagine his (still beautiful) face being gone.

Missing someone is one of the hardest things to feel. Especially when there’s no real way to rectify it. You just have to miss them. You have to wish for them. And then, you have to let go.

I Am You ~~ Depeche Mode

You have bound my heart with subtle chains
So much pleasure that it feels like pain
So entwined now that we can’t shake free
I am you and you are me
 
No escaping from the mess we’re in
So much pleasure that it must be sin
I must live with this reality
I am yours eternally
 
There’s no turning back
We’re in this trap
No denying the facts
No, no, no
No excuses to give
I’m the one you’re with
We’ve no alternative
No, no, no
 
Dark obsession in the name of love
This addiction that we’re both part of
Leads us deeper into mystery
Keeps us craving endlessly
 
Strange compulsions that I can’t control
Pure possession of my heart and soul
I must live with this reality
 
I am you and you are me
I am you and you are me
I am you and you are me
I am you and you are me
 
There’s no turning back
We’re in this trap
No denying the facts
No, no, no
No excuses to give
I’m the one you’re with
We’ve no alternative
No, no, noDepeche Mode 2013

Nil satis nisi optimum

 The news on Corsmor’s lips this morning as he woke me that Crystal Palace had been promoted to the EPL overnight. Guess I better move out now ‘cos he is going to be unbearable when they play my boys at Everton!

 They will be interesting matches that is for sure. Something to look forward to.

Crystal Palace 2013 01    Everton FC 01

You Don’t Know Me At All

So you think you know me from little things I have said or because you’ve known me for what you deem to be ‘long enough’. I will tell you now, it will NEVER be long enough…

I wanna ask you –
Do you ever sit and wonder,
It’s so strange
That we could be together for
So long, & never know, never care
What goes on in the other one’s head?
 
Things I’ve felt but I’ve never said
You said things that I never said
So I’ll say something that I should have said long ago:
 
You don’t know me
You don’t know me at all
You don’t know me
You don’t know me at all
 
You could have just propped me up
On the table like a mannequin
Or a cardboard stand-up & paint me
Any face that you wanted me
To be seen.
We’re damned by the existential moment where
We saw the couple in the coma &
It was we were the cliche,
But we carried on anyway.
 
So, sure, I could just close my eyes.
Yeah, sure, trace and memorize,
But can you go back once you know
 
You don’t know me
You don’t know me at all
You don’t know me
You don’t know me at all
 
If I’m the person that you think I am
Clueless chump you seem to think I am
So easily led astray,
An errant dog who occasionally escapes and needs a shorter leash, then
Why the fuck would you want me back?
 
Maybe it’s because
You don’t know me at all
~~ Lyrics by Ben Folds

Rainy Night

It’s raining heavily & steadily tonight. It’s quiet in the house other than the water overflowing the balcony gutters & the combustion heater struggling. Damn this rented house.

I haven’t been tired in so long now but I’m not missing sleep as much as I am missing waking up. That snuggly warmth awaking next to my husband, the struggle to wake. Since I don’t sleep & he snores I’m mostly relegated to the couch most nights. So waking up never really happens in an official way, more like a stubborn, sticky eye, yawn wake up from sleep I was aware I wasn’t getting.

Going to make a concerted effort to get sleep in my bed tomorrow night… The mornings are just too good to give up for insomnia & Veronica Mars re-runs.

 
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow.
I never meant to cause you any pain.
I only wanted to one time see you laughing.
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.
 
Purple rain, purple rain.
Purple rain, purple rain.
Purple rain, purple rain.
 
I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain.”

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33

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33 years of less Joy in the world. I hope your rest continues to be a peaceful one Ian Curtis.

“New Dawn Fades”

A change of speed,
a change of style.
A change of scene,
with no regrets,
A chance to watch,
admire the distance,
Still occupied,
though you forget.
Different colours,
different shades,
Over each mistakes were made.
I took the blame.
Directionless so plain to see,
A loaded gun won’t set you free.
So you say.
We’ll share a drink & step outside,
An angry voice & one who cried,
We’ll give you everything & more,
The strain’s too much, can’t take much more.’
I’ve walked on water, run through fire,
Can’t seem to feel it anymore.
It was me, waiting for me,
Hoping for something more,
Me, seeing me this time,
Hoping for something else

Autumn Cravings

I am craving oranges.
Or maybe it’s orange cake.
Must find a good recipe…
And then make it look like this… OMG. Why don’t we have 24 hour supermarkets here?

It’s raining outside, finally. It’s been an annoyingly summery 28 degrees all week & now it’s the weekend it’s cooled down & here comes the rain. My roof is leaking again though. The roof is leaking & the shower drain in blocked in my bathroom, water everywhere. I am sure there’s irony in there.

It would be nice to have a slice of orange cake to make the day slightly more zingy and fruity fresh.

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The Hunter

“If travel is searching
& home has been found
 
I’m not stopping
I’m going hunting
I’m the hunter
I’ll bring back the goods
But I don’t know when
 
… Thought that i could organise freedom
How Scandinavian of me
You sussed it out, didn’t you?
 
You could smell it
So you left me on my own
To complete the mission
Now I’m leaving it all behind
 
I’m going hunting
I’m the hunter…
 
You just didn’t know me!”
~~Bjork

Feeling a little wild at the moment – wanting something to sink my teeth into, this ‘being finished at a decade old job’ thing is not as easy as I thought it would be.
 
There are so many wishes in my mind – they run silently around chasing each other trying to beat each other to the front of the line. I wonder which one will win?

Image.:: Original artwork by Jessica Stewart – www.whenyouescape.com ::.

Into Darkness


Off to see the new Star Trek movie in 3D tonight with Corsmor & Sparky. The glasses give me migraines but it’s so worth it 🙂
 
It will be nice to get out of the house and escape for a couple of hours, feeling so house bound now (even though I’m not). Just lack any motivation or inspiration for anything other than lazing around & playing out in cyber space.
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Earth From Mars

This is Earth from Mars. It reminds me that I am not the centre of the universe & neither are you. It reminds me that the more you ignore me, the louder you’re communicating how you feel about me. Nothing is more obvious than when someone doesn’t want you around but it’s one of the hardest things to accept. All very good reasons to look up in the sky sometimes & decide whether something really matters.

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Patience & Fear

Light many lamps & gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, & will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated war; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?
But Death replied: ‘I choose him.’ So he went,
& there was silence in the summer night;
Silence & safety; & the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thunder of the guns.
— Siegfried Sassoon: The Death-Bed

The desperation that filled me a month ago is easing slowly every day. I am distracted by the fact that in a month I will leave the job I have been doing for 10 years & training my replacement. A decision Corsmor & I made when we found out about Pip & now I have to accept & live with it despite the fact things have changed. They are moving my job to Sydney & we decided not to go – I try every day not to think about the ‘what-if’s’ & just hope that somehow this will turn out right.
I remind myself that I am not alone. That many women & men have gone through this & so much worse before. I do get comfort from knowing that time may mend this & must be patient. It is an exercise in tolerance & fear all at once.

What I Carry Inside

I miss you but I am not sure you were ever really here? I would have really liked to know you all the same. You were never here, & now never really gone.

It is 3 days since they told us that our baby had no heartbeat. That little flicker of life we had been mesmerised by only 2 short weeks before was gone. Run away, put out, disappeared…

I already knew but I had hoped on hope & words from Corsmor that everything was okay; that I was just following worry instead of happiness. He was wrong about that but not wrong to hope.

My instant reaction to the news was anger & my head filled with the throb of “I told you so”. I felt strangely vindicated that all these weeks of growing this baby I had known in the back of my mind that it was slipping away & though I had said it many times no one had believed be. Now I felt angry that no one had listened, when in fact nothing could have been done but to wait & to see.

Vindication quickly subsided when looking into the eyes of a truly disappointed & cruelly devastated Husband. One who hoped so hard & held me so many nights while I cried as I bled, as I cramped & as we hoped. His eyes filled with tears looking into my eyes. Not knowing what to say or to do, being only able to stare at me & clumsily rub my leg.

I got up from the table & entered the change room. I wiped the ultrasound material & spots of blood from my between my legs with a scratchy & stiff napkin. Put my still-warm clothing back on, the pants I had bought prematurely & with excitement for my ‘growing belly’ suddenly seemed so big that they could fit me & this entire empty nightmare into them easily. The numb began to wash over my whole body. I gathered myself in full knowledge that the technician & doctor had just gone to arrange to ‘fix this up’ to make sure we ‘get this out of you’. Like it was a dangerous, diseased growth that must be removed & I began to feel that’s exactly what it was.

Walking out of the change room I asked Corsmor if he was okay. He shook his head & said “I’d like to hug my wife’’ to which I requested he did not as I knew that I had a lot more of this to go through today & could not start the crying now. He understood or appeared to.

The technician came back in, her face ashen & so young, no more than 22, not knowing what to do or say except “you have an appointment at 10:30. You don’t have to see our receptionist or pay just leave & go to the hospital at 10:30am”. As I walked past her I said “thank you” & then instantly wondered what I was thanking her for.

So we went back to our house that to me seemed quieter & bigger than it ever had before. He grabbed me in the hall way & the tears escaped me. The heaving, heavy, snotty crying that explodes from you when you cannot hold it in any more – the opening of a terrifying door I was about to walk through. I closed it. I pulled myself away from him. I sat down & I stared. I had nothing to say. To be honest, this is the conversation that I do not remember. I do not remember what we said to each other in the dim, quiet lounge room while the rest of the world ran about on their Tuesday morning beginning to the business day.

I couldn’t stop moving so I called my sister. She came straight down – living only 4 houses up was a blessing this time.

She came in & knew. I shook my head & said “no heartbeat”. Her eyes, like my Husbands only half an hour before filled with tears. But Lara – she is tough & did not let me see too much. Knowing she is the expert on all things baby (having had 2 beautiful babies many years ago) I asked her “what are they going to do to me”. So she gave me some of the run down on what happens now. Why they do it & what all these strange words like “Curette”’, D&C etc. stand for. She really does know it all. The reality sank in a little that my baby was now becoming a ‘product’ that had to be removed. It was not alive anymore. I was not a mum anymore.

Since I could drink it now as I’d fasted for the ultrasound I made myself a double coffee. Making it was warm, it was familiar, it was normal. It was a comfort.

We sat in our lounge room & calm moved over me. As only Lara can she explained why this happens, why she was sorry for us but we talked about the positives too, we joked, we giggled, I winced at the pain from the cramping I was still experiencing.

Only days before I’d finally stopped bleeding & I had felt really well – healthy. I left the house for the first time in a week. My feet were so clumsy in the car that they slipped on the pedals until I was used to driving again by the end of my street. I went to the grocery store just to wander, to get out. I couldn’t believe how much energy I had. Half way down the magazine aisle I almost fainted. It had suddenly occurred to me that I had stopped bleeding & I felt good because the baby was gone. This was terrifying. The thought that I had suddenly felt well & was smiling because my baby had died was enough to make me sick.

It was then that I knew.

4 days later, here we were sitting in my lounge room talking about how they would remove the ‘missed miscarriage’. How they would take away the dead baby. That I would have to go to the hospital & sit in the maternity clinic with the other fortunate Mums & Dads knowing my baby was dead but still inside me. The emptiness was overwhelming. The numbness was a comfort.

We waited in the full car park as a lady reversed her car. Corsmor said “that was lucky wasn’t it”. I could not help but berate him. “Lucky? Yes I feel so lucky”. He apologised. I felt awful. We walked in,

“I’m Violet Ashes, & I have an appointment” I said

“Oh you’re Ashes, okay, yes, the doctor is in theatre but he will see you as soon as he gets out please take a seat” she motioned at the waiting room chairs

“Thank you” again I wondered why I kept saying this?

We sat… & we sat. The tears came & fell as I watched the beautiful mothers & their round healthy bellies. They all had fuzzy black & white photos of babies to be born & I thought of the photos I had. The baby with no heart, the yolk sack, the foetal pole, our everything; our nothing. I watched their attentive husbands & their smiles. I felt so happy for them all, not begrudging at all. How wonderful it must be, I thought. Do they know how lucky they are?

It was half an hour before the doctor came in. Still in full scrubs & dragging another female doctor with him. He was hobbled. His back looked sore. He made a joke about the long walk to the consult room. I didn’t laugh. We sat in Birthing Room 4. He explained slowly what had happened, the hows & the whys. I heard words like ‘chromosome’, ‘natural’, & ‘25% of women’. I wasn’t really listening. He explained my options. Like any option except ‘get this out of me’ would have been acceptable. For the first time I started to listen. I was shocked. The option of ‘you can wait & hope your body expels the foetus’ & ‘we can give you medication that does that & you will bleed it out’. Was he serious? Does he expect me to unceremoniously & with absolutely no dignity or medical assistance bleed my baby out into the toilet over ‘the next few days’? I was disgusted that this was even an option. As if I had not been through enough. I opted for number 3. Put me under, take it out, & send me home – an abortion. The idiot in my head felt relieved; at least I would not have to deal with right to lifers.

He explained he would have to get me on the end of the surgical register as I had explained that it being Tuesday, waiting until Friday was not an option.

“They will not be happy when I tell them they have to stay late” He said.

Again, shocked, I quipped,

“Well I will swap places with them if they like. I would love to be at work complaining about working late instead of here.”

He agreed.

The next few hours were the worst in my life.

My husband & I were shuffled off into another waiting room. I could not hear what the Doctor said to the nurses except,

“You can take of that can’t you? …”

“Okay, take a seat” the nurse said to us.

We sat & waited, filled out some paperwork. It was quiet. We were quiet.

We sat in uncomfortable chairs, uncomfortable with each other, not knowing what to say. My mind drifted in & out of consciousness. Another nurse came out to ask if I’d been given any instructions & I opened my fist to show her two pills I’d been given by the Doctor.

“Did he tell you when to take them?” she asked, to which I replied,

“No, he said you would ‘take care of that’.” So she left us to call him — more waiting.

After 10 or so minutes she came back & said she would take us through to the next waiting room & a nurse would help me. Corsmor made himself comfortable & I looked for & used the bathroom. A typical hospital bathroom it had the smell of having been used extensively. That acrid scent of dry urine filled my nostrils & the bright fluorescent lights made me look pale.

Only six months prior to this I had been in hospital to remove a benign tumour from my left ovary. It was a terrifying & extensive experience. One I was not sure could ever be topped for sheer terror factor, until now. When I’d been led into surgery that day by a very grumpy nurse she had lost her mind over the fact that I had not taken off my make up (apparently I was supposed to know to take it off despite the fact I’d never been in hospital before). So, knowing this, I took my make up off this time. Most of it was blurred & sketchy now from all the crying – but I removed what I could with paper towel, hand soap & water. The taste of Glycerine filled my mouth – I turned to vomit but having eaten nothing that day I wretched.

Exiting the bathroom I was confronted by another nurse; but I smiled at this for the first time in days. It was a woman I’d known most of my life. Her daughter & I had grown up together in a round-about sort of way. Her face was kind & soft, I was pleased to finally see someone I knew & automatically trusted.

In preparation for my coming abortion I had to put 2 tablets in my vagina in order to widen my cervix. A most disconcerting & inaccurate thing to be asked to do – no real instructions given to me, just insert & wait so that half the job is done by the time the doctor comes to remove the ‘material’ from my womb. Yes, because that’s what really matters here, I thought to myself. Ensuring the surgeon can get home to his family on time & doesn’t have to mess around with me for too long. I’m all about the help. “Thank you…” rang in my ears.

Back in the bathroom again she’d instructed me on how to put on the oversized gown, hat, shoes & dressing gown made of paper. It was so big on me I thought I might disappear in it. Disposable clothing. Just like this pregnancy now felt to me, disposable.

Corsmor grinned a little at me as I came back to him & settled in one of the maroon, 70’s shaped & well-worn recovery chairs. Not long after this the cramping started again. Heavy cramping & I could feel the blood seeping from between my legs into the industrial sized pad the nurse had given me. I began to cry again. Tears, inescapable ran freely down my cheeks. Corsmor looked panicked & I told him he felt so far away. He picked up an office chair & moved as close to me as he could. His strong, twice-the-size-of-mine hands wrapped around mine & he stared at me unable to speak.

I began to tell him how I had known, how I had understood all along that I was losing the baby but that I had wanted to hope so much it was not true. He nodded along to what I had to say like it was an old favourite tune. Insecurities began to swallow my brain & I explained that I expected he might leave me now, not being able to follow through with the birth of our first child. He looked confused, hurt, astonished.

Corsmor is 12 years my senior & with me at age 32 I had always felt this was a race against time. Despite this we had done things the traditional way; the courtship, the marriage & then the baby. This is how we had planned & how we had wanted it. In the back of my mind a crazy lady (& I am sure many of our friends) whispered that he had married me to have his kids because of the age gap this could be the only explanation. Of course! This was obvious! How that lady misunderstood.

Corsmor squeezed my hand so tightly that my nails dug into my palm. He told me how wrong I was. How I was what mattered to him. Not a baby. That if there was a choice between me & the ‘pip’ it was always me. This was new information to me. It was wondrous & it was heart breaking at the same time. Heartbreaking that I had never realised how truly amazing my Husband was & how much he loved me. I was as much a part of him as one of his limbs & I felt so humble.

Tears plummeted down my face, as much from the cramping as from the emotional boxing match I was in. It was truly exhausting. Nurses came & went with more pieces of paper & more signing. More intimate questions about my pregnancy, my health. I cried all the way through the Anaesthetist telling me this was normal, & what the risks were.

The sound of risk sounded thrilling. The thought occurred to me I might not wake up. I embraced this thought. I went numb. I stopped crying & I was all business. Something inside me snapped, or woke up. I am not sure which.

Soon they came to walk me to surgery. A nurse took my arm. I kissed my Husband good bye. My helpless, lonely, hungry & tired Husband had to let me go. I watched him walk out, knowing he had to drive home & sit in silence until they called him to say it was done. & there was that face again. That terrified, only-just-holding-it-together face that he had shown me six month earlier when they had wheeled me away to surgery. I could not think about it & I turned away.

A nurse told me to lie down on the table. My paper gown ripped & rustled as I unceremoniously climbed up. They bickered with each other over their duties & how late they were now that I was on the register. They pricked me with needles, they put sticky tape all over my arms. I lied back staring. I felt like a piece of meat on a chopping block. No one smiled, no one looked me in the eye. I begged the universe not to let me wake up. Let me die.

“Count back from 100” the nurse to my left whispered in my ear. My lips did not move. My mouth was dry & I could not speak. As a cloud of cotton wool filled my memory the nurse on my right removed my underwear.

I woke in recovery with a nurse holding my hand & stroking the fringe of hair on my forehead. “There she is” she whispered. “How do you feel?” she asked

“Sad” was all I could manage before a barrage of tears broke through. I was confused & I was in pain. Nothing felt as if it was real & yet too real at the same time. I was cold & my body shivered. I cried. The nurse sat by me for half an hour. She talked me round to a soft sob.

“The Doctors will tell you to wait to try again but they don’t know what women know. Wait until your next period then try again, you will be very fertile & I’ll see you in here before Xmas giving birth to a healthy baby.” She explained

“I don’t think so. I can’t see me wanting to ever risk this again” I said.

“Is your hubby waiting outside, when did you get married? The small talk had started & I told her about Corsmor. How much I loved him & asked when I could see him. I had never wanted to see anyone so much before. The nurse wiped my tears & brushed my hair with her fingers.

“Let’s brush your hair for your husband & wipe those tears, okay” she said.

The woman in the bed next to me explained to the nurse that she had opted for an abortion because she was single & too old to have a baby. The nurse brushing my hair, her breasts knocking against my arm, breathed in sharply & looked at me with terror in her eyes. There was no escaping the conversation next to me.

“It’s okay, that’s her choice & her right” I said. The nurse looked relieved. Here I was, just had the baby I had wanted more than anything removed & I was making the nurse feel better. No one can ever say that I am not charitable again.

They wheeled me out into the recovery lounge & I settled back into the 70’s recliner.

I do not remember a whole lot from this time. I felt sick & dizzy. Corsmor looking worried & the nurse would not let me go until I drank something. I got myself undressed & dressed in my own clothes in the overused bathroom again & wore another industrial sized pad that no oversized pants was ever going to hide.

Corsmor walked me to the car which he had parked too far away & expressed his guilt. The walk in the open warm air was nice, I never told him that.

The last 3 days have been a blur. Mum, Lara & Bella have visited, flowers from my boss & friends have arrived. The house looks like a funeral parlour. Corsmor has not yet gone back to work & does not let me out of his sight. His ‘unbirthday’ passed on the 28th February & he was miserable. My mum visited with cake but the rest of the world either forgot or stayed away which has only added to my guilt. I feel as if I have ruined his life.

I called my Dad & told him about it all today. He was upset. I couldn’t handle the disappointment in his voice & I hung up.

The anger is just about to come through me in the next week or so – I can feel it welling up inside. This whole process has been nothing short of the worst 8 weeks of my life. What began as something magical & joyful has become clinical & heart-breaking. The words ‘our baby died inside me’, torture me. The heart we saw beat had simply stopped. Even though everyone tells me that there was nothing I could have done, that I did everything right, the guilt the bare fact that I lost our baby that will never leave me. I will never be the same, I will never be that innocent again.

It is unlike me to think of a positive at a time like this. However, the one thing that I have learned in these 8 weeks that I will carry with me forever, the only positive, is exactly how much my Husband loves me. How much he supports me. That what happens to me happens to him too. He feels what I feel & he understands. I understand for the first time that his love is way beyond anything I ever imagined. I may have lost our baby but I will carry that with me, always.

Disappearing

 

Avec le Temps

The most beautiful song of all time.

‘With time’ (Avec le Temps)
 
With the time
with the time everything goes away
we forget the face and we forget the voice
the heart when its not beating anymore,
there is no reason to look further, you need to let go and it’s just fine with the time
 
with the time everything goes away
the other one that we have loved, that we`ve searched for in the rain
the other one that we recognised on the corner with just one look
between the words, between the lines and under the make-up
with a made-up oath the night is going away
with the time everything disappears with the time
with the time everything goes away
even the miraculous memories,
they pull you a long face in the death gallery where I shop
every Saturday evening when the tenderness is leaving me with the time
with the time everything goes away
the other one in whom we believed for nothing and anything
the other one to whom we gave the wind & jewels,
for whom we would have sold our soul for cents
the other one for whom we suffered like a dog
with the time everything leaves
with the time
 
with the time everything goes away
we forget the passion and the voice too
the voice which told you quietly the words of the poorest people
don’t comeback too late, be careful not to get cold
 
with the time
with the time everything goes away
and we feel as white as a worn out horse
and we feel frozen like when in a stranger’s bed
and we feel lonely perhaps but at peace
and we feel cheated for the lost ages – so truly
with the time we don’t love any more
 
 

Google Glass

“Polished” version of Google Glass to go on sale this year for under $1,500 | The Drum
http://m.thedrum.com/news/2013/02/23/fully-polished-version-google-glass-go-sale-year-under-1500

I am so excited about this, I’ve been watching this project for ages – now it’s got a launch date. Watch the video, it looks like “yeah, so what” but I think it’s a good leap forward in interconnectivity. Given, yes, it will require the broadband & 4G network in Australia to improve & no doubt costs a fortune, but so did DVD players in the beginning. Now they’re $20 in all department stores & all our VCR’s are at the dump. Ok so I’m Google biased but I still think it’s nifty. And it will at last be cool to wear glasses. 😎

Beating a Drum

I have not stopped bleeding since we got back from holiday but today we had an ultrasound & saw Pip for the first time. Floating there, 4mm long, approximately 6 weeks old. We held our breath & there, in the middle of the picture as we watched – it moved. A heartbeat.
 
There are no words to describe this moment. Especially since I had been so positive that the technician would find nothing at all, that my fears were real & I was losing our baby. But there it was, plain to see, a tiny little beat – new & slow, but there nonetheless. The technician said she thought that it may have even just started. Corsmor, holding my hand, could not take his eyes off the screen, & then that shine in his eyes – the relief. I will see those eyes every night when I go to sleep for a long time.
 
Although this is a relief – I am aware that this does not necessarily indicate all is well. But today, it is enough to stand in the middle of our kitchen, hold each other & look at our photo of Pip on the fridge & hope that pretty soon, the door of the fridge will be filled with pictures of love that has its own beat.

Pip

Just 6…

We spent the long weekend for Australia day camping in Victoria. We decided that since we had just had a positive pregnancy test it would be good to get away, just the three of us, & relax. I felt fine. Healthy, full of energy.
 
I am certain I cannot be more than 6 weeks pregnant but the started bleeding started the minute we got home from our weekend away. I am terrified. I have read so many websites & books that all say bleeding may be  normal this early but many that say it is not okay. I have taken another test, it indicates still pregnant. I do not know what to do & I am not sure there is anything I can do. My immediate reaction seems to be sit here & stress. I cannot get  my mind off the possibility that maybe I have done something wrong, that I should not have told Corsmor & I should have just left it alone – waited a little longer. Maybe we should have not gone away? Stayed home? Maybe I pushed myself too hard? Perhaps this is just a warning & tomorrow all will be forgiven.
 
On our trip away ‘Pip’ was been mentioned so many times & become part of our lives. Preparations already being made in our minds.
 
I do not know what to do.
 
I am fearful it is all too late.

Us on holiday – our favourite beach – Bells Beach, Victoria.

Bell's Beach, Australia

Bell’s Beach, Australia

Nothing Else Matters

I walked out into the kitchen & told Corsmor we are pregnant this morning. It is very, very early but it was a certain positive. He held me tight & his happiness filled me with hope.

We took a short walk in the forest & went blackberry picking. As Corsmor ate handfuls of berries, his hands stained burgundy, he nicknamed our baby ‘Pip’.

This news we have waited for does not feel real – but I am filled with joy & it does not leave my mind for a minute.

I am tired & calm & it is the end of a very surreal day.

I feel as if we are beginning something. Something that is truly ours is happening. It is life.

So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters
 
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters
 
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters
 
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know

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2013

“Finish each day & be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders & absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely & with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make 2013 the best days you’ve had yet, happy new year all, with love.

Saturdays

“Time isn’t a straight line. It’s all… bumpy-wumpy. There’s loads of boring stuff. Like Sundays & Tuesdays & Thursday afternoons. But now & then there are Saturdays.” ~~ The Doctor (‘The Impossible Astronaut’)

Since today is a boring Monday & also New Year’s Eve we took a drive. Ended up at the Coorong – a lovely place for a walk.

IMG_20121231_125533

Ready to Serve

It is the days between Xmas & New Year’s Day where I like to take stock & think about the inventory in my life as the year draws to a close. This cocktail that is my life has shaken & stirred me into something unrecognizable from who I was when I was born. It is sweet & it is sour; I have swallowed a lot of stuff I really wanted to spit out but I think I have moulded it into something that tastes divine.
 
I have been really lucky to find people who like the same variety of life that I like & it makes all those terrifying burning moments more bearable. Sometimes it is just one person I need, sometimes it is a whole bunch & occasionally none of them are my cup of tea, but I know that when life becomes a trifle troubling they will be there for me as I will be for them.
 
So as I head into 2013 I know that as I negotiate the days I carry with me a little collection of spirits that I enjoy – sweet or sour, they are all welcome in my life & I am happy to share all the days ahead with them.

2012