Have you ever come across a title, I bet you have, a brilliant one, original, fresh, that pushes the boundaries a little but it’s not too far out there. It’s not redundant like so many you pass by on the shelves and yet it doesn’t give away too much of what’s inside. Inside! Oh that’s right. You need to write what’s between the covers, not just that snappy title.
It’s an absolutely shame because the title’s a winner, but as for the rest, I’ve got nothing.
Not that I’m up to writing at the moment, no time and all, but I like to keep a note of all the interesting ideas I have. Never before have I had just a title with nothing else to go with it. Not even one little vision, character or voice. You’d think there would be something. Anything! Usually it’s the other way around. I have the idea but it comes nameless, like a sad orphan.
This wonderful title came to me while I was at work. The woman I was seeing thought I was writing something very important in her file, I am sure. Nope. I was writing the title.
It’s a shame. Anyone need a title. I have one.
My son and I rose at the crack of dawn to go to the service. This was our conversation as we sat sleepily over a bowl of wheaties before the son came up. (Son and sun!)
“This is inconvenient, mum.”
“That’s what the soldiers said before they went over the hill at Gallipoi to be slaughtered so you can live the way you do.”
We have never been to the early morning service before and I am so glad we did. It was sober but it was also joyful in the gathered humanity that came to pay respect to those who were so brave. The last post was incredibly moving. The old men who moved through the parade, the ones still able to walk, the rest in cars waving through the window at the small children was a sight to see.
I’ve been in a contemplative mood. Being around people has me thinking about them rather deeply for the first time in a long time. Instead of being neatly isolated in my own little world, I’ve been thrown into humanity quite violently. I work at a clinic that sees some of the most needy in the community. This morning I had a heroin addict and an eighteen year old on her third pregnancy. Just now I saw a HIV + patient I’ve been seeing a few times a week – a charming man and we talk philosophy as I “do my thing” as he calls it.
Today we talked about the cocoon of entitlement our generation has wrapped around ourselves. We are all middle class, we haven’t suffered too badly through these rough economic times and we are deserving of our flat screens and two cars damn it. We’ve not suffered the ravages of war as our parents did, and we’ve not struggled to educate ourselves. We talked about the education revolution we are told we need and the lack of any real knowledge in that plan.
Where has philosophy gone? It was a subject when I was in high school twenty odd years ago, but now only found in a handful of school. It’s one of my sons favourite subjects. Learning rational argument has gone by the wayside. Have you noticed people can’t argue any more? Deductive reasoning, propositions, declarations are all foreign concepts. Now it is about the me, rather than the we. Who is more dominant and who is loudest wins.
Anyway, this leads to me a book we’ve been talking about. ”The Slap” by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas. He is reading it at the moment and It’s one I enjoyed a few years ago. It’s a controversial book award-winning book – the language puts many people off. This morning I said I thought The Slap is a lesson on philosophy. No one character in the book is wholly likeable. No one is moral or good but neither are they completely bad. They are 21st Century Australians, completely entitled, jealous, selfish humans whom we should be able to connect with. They are us. And yet the overwhelming majority of people do not like Tsiolkas’s characters. They see themselves in them in an awkward fun house mirror kind of way and do not like what they see. They think simply and say that’s multicultural Australia, and so it’s not me. But it is us. We are those self-centred creatures who think how an event will impact my life rather than how I can impact the event.
Like I said, very contemplative today.
This morning I did a shift for one of the practice owners and saw some of his regular patients. One particular woman was extremely outspoken about being unhappy that she had to see me, a young woman she thought was ill-equipped to deal with her medical issues. She was extremely rude with her opinions but I kept quiet. Now that I am actually working out of the house I’m coming across people and the outspoken are ones I’m just not comfortable with.
I’m not use to dealing with people who don’t hold back in speaking their mind. What ever they think or feel comes out their mouth with no thought to the people around them. It’s a right isn’t it? And we even talk about people as if it’s a good trait. “She was the kind of women who never held back” “You always knew what was on his mind.” In some ways they are even admired. This seems to be something we seem to ignore in the elderly in particular.
Personally I don’t admire them. I think they have restraint problems and I feel uncomfortable. The license to say what ever you want to anyone at all wasn’t issued to me. Some people have that kind of forceful personality that allows others to forgive anything they say and some of us are rather more meek and so are not permitted the privilege. We put up with the outspoken even when they are wrong, racist and down right crazy. Why?
This particular woman never stopped with her opinions from the moment she walked in, and they did not end. Not even the receptionist was spared, even walking out the door she had something to say. I can’t imagine how the people in her life cope day-to-day. I know I couldn’t. I associate outspoken with being rude and I can’t understand why it’s socially acceptable. I’m not talking about speaking up for your rights but giving your uninvited view about anything you might like to say.
This is just one of the things I haven’t missed but that I am now confronted with in my journey into life.
How do you deal with the outspoken in your life?
Is being outspoken a good thing for you, or do you, like me, think strangers don’t need to know what you think about everything that comes to your mind?
(That was very outspoken for my 200th post and the quote was “The best style is the style that goes unnoticed.” ~ nice. )
This is an advertisement, but it had me wondering how I would describe myself and how a stranger would.
How would you describe yourself?
I’d like to introduce you to a little method I have devised that will give you that bit of motivation you might be lacking. It’s called the zombie method of writing. There is no flesh-eating required but if that’s what you need to do to get you through your word count, who am I to judge.
The zombie method closely follows the motivation of zombies, which is as we know, to feast on your flesh or turn you into a fellow zombie. Zombies are relentless. They do what they need to o to get their clammy hands on your tasty brain. The only way to stop them is to take off their heads. Now we know your head is vital so what ever you do, keep it. You, the writer, should be as motivated as that zombie.
Those of us who are of the living have far more needs than a zombie. We need food that is more refined than a raw brain. We need clothing and shelter; zombies sleep out in the rain. We need love and sex. I’ve never seen a zombie do either of these things and frankly I don’t want to. This leaves the zombie with a lot of time to feast.
If we were to equate brain feasting to creative time, we too could be as motivated as the zombie and write like zombie fends.
The steps to your motivational zombie writing are:
- Stumble out of bed and look around for your writing apparatus. This to a writer is like rush hour to hungry Zombies. All those brains trapped in cars waiting to be eaten. Rather than brains, you have delicious ideas running around just waiting to be put down on paper. Do so now, don’t wait for that breakfast, not even coffee. Have you ever seen a zombie brush his teeth? A fresh brain is a good brain. Or so the zombies tell me.
- Write through the pain. Would you see a zombie giving up his undead dream of endless brains? Neither should you. Words, words, words.
- Your living desire to suppress the growl in your stomach is not worth wasting the smallest amount of time on. Five minutes are all you need. Peanut butter is very nutritious.
- Even when he is sleeping the zombie is thinking up new and better ways to eat brains. Engage yours with positive reinforcement. “I think I can, I think I can,” is a very good one or so I understand.
- Zombies do not have families or loved ones. They do not stop to help a wounded zombie. They forge on and so must you. Harden your heart to your young pulling on your week old pajama pants begging for a scrap of food. Point to the refrigerator with a zombie grunt. It’s every kid for himself around here. Head down – words, words, words.
- There are no movies, trips to the park, a pleasant swim in zombie world and they must not exist in yours. The sad eyed look of your grommets children will only make you weak. Think of the zombies stomping across the landscape and put your head down, waving those runny nose snots away.
You may think the way of the zombie is harsh, but when motivation is at its lowest and your goal is just outside your reach, that all-encompassing focus, that single bloody mindedness of the zombie is your friend.
Just remember one thing – Even Zombies should change their pajamas every now and then.
As any single mother will know, this trip to the theatre to see something that is not animated, doesn’t have a very long car chase, have magical creatures talking or The Rock in it is a rarity, so what was I to see. There were so many options and getting it wrong would be disastrous. I would be in movie regret for some time to come.
I arrived at the local theatre with a dozen choices to make and bit two finger nails down to the quick thinking about it. OZ? Yes maybe, but would it be too Hollywood, too worked, and did I want to be dizzy from the 3D for the rest of the day? Goddess? Do I want to watch Magda Szubanski dancing? It all sounded a bit happy. I Give it a Year? British humour? Oh please, I am British. Great Expectations? What the Dickens?
That left Silver Linings Playbook. OK. Jackie Weaver cracks me up just looking at her. I could do with a few hours of Bradley Cooper but Jennifer Lawrence annoyed me in the Hunger Games. Time is ticking away and the line is getting longer. I need to make a decision before I’m left with Lincoln again. Have you seen paint dry? If so, you’ve seen Lincoln. Silver linings - what the hell is a playbook – Playbook, it is.
There is a spoiler ahead.
There were not too many people in the theatre as I slipped in with my popcorn and coffee. Is that a bad sign or a good one? I never know. Is it like a restaurant? Too few customers and you’re wondering if food poisoning is in your future. Oh well, in for a penny. I pulled my pashmina over my lap ( theatres are always freezing) and the lights went down.
I must have been under a rock for the last few months because I had no idea this movie was about mental health. Oh dear. Someone who has spent time in a mental health facility or three doesn’t want to see someone else’s idea of what it’s like to be in a mental health facility or their idea of mental health for that matter. They never get it right. I squirmed uncomfortably for a moment and was glad I was alone. I rubbed my forehead to make sure I didn’t have my crazy label on. The secondary theme is football. No not soccer, not Rugby, not AFL at a pinch. American Football. What I know about this game can be written on the head of a match.
Despite all this, Silver Linings Playbook is an excellent movie. Someone has done their mental health research (not that it’s perfect but I’ll give it a 7/10) and the actors are more than playing at this, but believable. Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro and Weaver are brilliant, completely watchable, Lawrence in particular who has redeemed herself from The Hunger Games in my eyes. Unfortunately that is where the believability ends. You see, everything works out in the end; for everyone. Yes, even the characters with Bi Polar suddenly come good. Really? Very good acting can not take my mind off the happy ever after that was unrealistic for the problems that presented to me through the movie. The issues that I was made to believe. I felt like I had been suddenly taken to a disney movie at the end. Annoying. Everyone is cheering, the team won and there is love all around.
Other than my gripe about this, it’s a movie I would recommend. I absolutely would. My movie outing was not disappointing.
*The following is written with humour in mind and not meant to insult anyone. The devoutly religious should turn back now.*
Why you should consider me for the job opening I hear is going.
First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I would like to address a few issues that might raise your collective brows:
- I’m not Catholic. This could be a biggy, I understand, but let’s think about it for a moment. An outsider could bring all kinds of change and from what I understand you could do with some changes.
-I’m not religious in any way shape or form. Again, a big step for you to take but I am creative and I am a scientist. I could come up with a whole new concept of the universe that I guarantee more people are going to go for. Have a little faith.
- I’m a woman. I’ll give you a moment to gasp. Yes, that other sex. Oh dear, did I say sex. Look on the bright side; I already wear dresses. I’m totally down on the red slippers. I rock a red cape. My only interest in young boys is to feed, love and care for them That has to be a plus, right.
-While my Latin is not great, I do know someone who reads it well. Rumour has it you have a really big library.
What are the changes I will implement? Glad you asked.
-Women will be allowed to join your community in more than a silent capacity. I see that look on your face. It’s taken you thousands of years to oppress women and I want to come along and undo that in one day. You betcha. I have some pretty convincing evidence any community that embraces its women on an equal basis, thrives. No, dressing men in frocks doesn’t count but good question.
-Priests will be accountable for crimes and handed over to the relevant authorities outside the church. Don’t worry, there are plenty of women who will step in to take your place and prisons have cells, you’ll feel right at home.
-Rather than give out bread, we’ll distribute condoms, in particular to the poor and teens. No, it’s not negotiable. Can someone get that old guy in the back some water.
-We will encourage couples to limit the number of children they have – once again poor communities will benefit the most – by informing them of their birth control options. Please don’t eat those banana’s We’ll need them for a demonstration later.
-The church will no longer list itself as a charity and will pay taxes. I think a few of you just had heart attacks. I thought this might be a problem and I have ambulances standing by.
-The church will distribute more of its wealth to the needy. Yes, I’ll even pay you a wage. You can buy more red slippers.
-Love will be embraced, whether it be between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and another woman. It’s well beyond time that we acknowledged love in all its forms and a gay couple are just as capable of ruining a child’s life as a man and a woman. Yes, I saw a few of you laugh.
-Priests will be allowed to marry. I suggest brushing up on your inter-gender skills. We women can be feisty. The text we will be using is Men are from Mars. Mars is a planet in the Solar System. The Solar System is…. You guys need a lot of work.
-Sex is a healthy expression of love and safe sex will be an educational priority of the church. Priests will be better able to counsel couples from a inside perspective. Get your freak on boys.
-Last, but certainly not least, Mary will be renounced of all her sins. That really was a lousy thing to do to a nice girl. Shame on you.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead your church. I’m sure we’ll get on fabulously. Never mind about the images of Darwin and Stephen Fry replacing the rather gruesome ones of the cross. You will all be supplied with the good book – The Universe in a Nutshell – and a tiny heliocentric model to wear around your neck. Now go, give, love and embrace (not too close.) Oh, and brush up on evolution; there will be a multiple choice exam.
A shopping centre in the Sydney’s Northern Beaches has decided noisy children are no longer welcome and have put up a sign saying they will not be tolerated. What actually happens to those screaming kids is a mystery. Is there a slide they go down, into the depths of the Dee Why Grand bowels. Are they sucked up through a Star Trekeque transporter, appearing like magic into their car seats, or better yet, their own homes were they can be as loud as they like?
This all started when customers in the food court complained about children “running amok” to the management. The managements answer is to ban loud children. Why the management thought that putting their play centre in the food-court would not produce a bit of noise is anyones guess.
When did I wake up in a world that dislikes the sound of children playing? Further than that, a world that dislikes children. Airlines, restaurants, cafe’s, movie cinemas, public places and now shopping centres have deemed kids a nuisance and given in to the demands of those that don’t want to be around other people’s children. You can bet those people demand equal time for their own children. This is a new movement for a childless society. The same movement that uses schools as babysitters but that’s another gripe.
Children are a product of the society adults have created for them. Children are hyper, overstimulated, loud, excited little beings because they live in a the world where grown-ups have to be stimulated, entertained constantly and feel entitled. It’s fast past, it’s IT dense, it’s a multitasking world. It’s childcare, nannies and working parents. Little kids have zero control over their environment, diet and upbringing. No wonder they scream a lot. It’s true, children are louder than they use to be. It’s also true that children have more to be loud about.
Customers sipping their tea do not want to be disturbed by loud children. Here’s an idea. Rather than limiting children to certain zones and keeping families at home, keep the customers at home where they can shop on line. I think I might have hit on the management of the Dee Why Grand, grand plan. Keeping the customer from going online where they can shop in the comfort of their home. It’s quiet there. Mum’s come to the play centre of the Dee Why Grand, grab a coffee, sit down and their kids run around. Sydney’s been a wet place lately and we know kids grow mould when we keep them inside for too long. A spokes person for the Grand said “mothers have to be more responsible.” Customers spend money so it makes sense that customers are more important.
I can understand profit before people. It’s a hard time to run a business, since most of us are shopping online but I want to propose something. Children and the noise they make is not counter to shopping. Children laughing, playing and yes even screaming is good for us. Yes even those grumpy DINKs get a nice chemical rush from the sound of kids. I propose that the shoppers take this happy high from seeing kids laugh and play and even scream and spend more. I propose we once again embrace the existence of children into society and smile at their antics. At the way they can turn from crying to laughing in a moment. I propose we laugh at their jokes, at the way they smear food over their faces and don’t care and the way they can sleep at an ACDC concert ( I’ve actually seen that.)
In this incredibly busy, money obsessed, possession fed world, are we really going to push children back in their homes never to be seen or heard? Crack a smile customers of the Dee Why Grand and smile at the little kids running around while you’re having your cup of tea. They’re the ones who inherit a world you made for them, and we know how little they’ll get to laugh, with the pure exhilaration of being alive, once they realise it’s not all about play cars and climbing frames.