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
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
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.
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.
Riot 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.
As a child I would watch the Bathurst race with my father & I am not sure if I was more thrilled by the race or by cuddling up to Dad & seeing him engaged & excited about something. In the end it does not matter, but now I link a sense of excitement to Bathurst each year, anticipation & I look forward to it. This year proved no less exciting it was an extraordinary drive by Whincup/Dumbrell & Lowndes/Luff! Awesome to watch.
FIRST DAY OF WINTER
I have been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember. My parents always let me leave a light on during the night, which they would sneak in & turn off. This would only make the situation harder when I would wake up in the darkness. There would be screaming in my mind during those few terrifying seconds reaching out to turn it on in order to chase the night away. Most of these nights I would escape my bedroom, sneak into Leo’s room & sleep on the top bunk. His quiet sleeping noises were always a comfort.
Now it is dark outside so early & for so long that the nightmares are here again.
I feel fear & it has been so long. I am afraid of the way they move, appearing in the space between breaths, stilted walk & always a backwards-kind-of-forwards. Never uttering a word that I can decipher, only distorted static.
Through the day, in the light they appear at the most unusual times, always quietly before I have realised they are there. I spot the ‘flash’ out of the corner of my eye & see them there in their death. Why always the dead? Why not the living? Are they there? Mum & Dad used to say it was my overactive imagination –
—Never “just perceptive”
Where is the distinction?
The nightmares are never a comfort even though I pine for them if they are gone too long. Never wanting the nightmares so much as needing them. They are what made childhood my own world. Now they only come when it is truly dark. Every night, a cold haze swallows them, stilted by my bedside, if it were not for the lamp I am sure they would envelop me & I would gladly join.
I have an essay due tomorrow but needed to get my brain together.
I Stood Against The Window
I stood against the window
And looked between the bars.
And there were strings of fairies
Hanging from the stars;
Everywhere and everywhere,
In shining, swinging chains;
The air was full and shimmering,
Like sunlight when it rains.
They kept on swinging, swinging,
They flung themselves so high
They caught upon the pointed moon
And hung across the sky.
And when I woke in mooning,
There still were crowds and crowds
In beautiful bright bunches
All sleeping in the clouds.
This poem is by Rose Fyleman from ‘Fairies & Chimneys’. I used to get lost in the land of fairies a girl. I still think of them as I walk around my garden at home & hope they will come out of hiding. They must still be there – & I still believe. I like to think of them as protection. I think Ric has found them & that’s why he loves it so much in the fern garden. When the sprinklers go on he sits in there for hours. He comes out shivering but he seems to love it. I think he thinks it is rain because he always runs around in that too.
Picture from Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book – Brian Froud