shine on

i'm pushing this pressure away with a mighty force. i can't convince myself to yield to the task; to fold in and create my best achievable version of what might have been accomplished had I begun earlier.

i do this.

well, just writing that makes me want to slap my face. it's not true. i sometimes achieve everything and more than i could dream of... then there are weeks like this.

i have a deadline looming. it's important to me and i want to do very well. each time, over the last 6 weeks, that i sat down to create, i'd distract myself with curvy trunk lines and tui songs and vaseline gloss and things. here i am, now, with the weight of my procrastination on me and to lighten my anxiety what can i do but write it out.

earlier when i said i do this - i suppose i meant that this feeling is quite familiar. last minute scurrying. i used to wonder if i was somehow deliberately sabotaging myself. if it's no good then its not my fault really - i rushed it together at zero hour. i could always do better. the thing is, i genuinely don't feel like that in this case. i am inspired and feeling confident - well, i was - and i really want to do my best and shine. i want to shine!

he tells me to partition my day and plod away so i can be sure it will be done 'well enough'. that rankles because i am partial to brilliance. pah! well enough? what is that to me - surely, i'd rather fail.

well, baby you may get your wish...


he knows my name

i sit in my spot on the far away chair - at the end table by the window - feeling divorced from the others. i suspect we all feel that way - except perhaps that confidant, curly haired girl who talks loudly and ignores my annoyed telepathic attempts to shut her up. i am ready to do all that is asked of me. i am eager. i am primed. i am self-conscious - it has been so long for me.

he stands up and closes his eyes;  i watch him shed his big weight and all the stories connected to it - he shrugs it off, along with his reticence and his introversion and his silence. this is the moment i wait for. every time he does it, i breathe faster, like i know it's significant. i might need it one day.

he stands, still big but also beautiful and knowledgeable and accomplished. i don't want to miss his words and i seethe when the curly haired girl asks her neighbour if conner called her and if she's going. i turn to her as if i might be disturbed by her rudeness but she is oblivious. her lack of awareness will make her a crappy writer - that helps me.

then he speaks - my cheeks fizz and my ears strain and i am under his spell. he moves me. i worship his memory and his experiences, his ease and talent. he throws away a picasso story - i pick it up for my reference. he shows us mechanics and lubrication and he pulls examples from thin air - i suck them in.

now to me. i follow his directions. i pour my guts onto the sunny page and sort through them with the pretty floral pen my girl gave me for my birthday, last year, when i had swine flu. it hurts and i am breathing raggedly. then it's all over and he wants someone to be brave. i want to be brave for him. i go red in anticipation of my nerves and my dry mouth and my shaky voice and then, i raise my hand.

when i am finished, he looks at me for a bit longer than a beat and he asks me to go again. i go again. oh glory. he tells me about my green apple with dents and bruises and my one green converse hi-top with the scribbles, he holds me up and tells them to look at me. he asks my name again. sorry, what's your name again?   he looks at me differently now and i must have him always look at me just like that.

it's done and he sits down, his bulk heavier now, his grey ponytail a little less silver. he's almost gone. i squeeze past the chairs in my row, feeling raw and tired. when i reach the bottleneck at the door, i turn slightly at the sound of my name. he looks up at me over the rim of glasses that i've just noticed he wears. excellent - he says.

he knows my name.


i say

what's wrong?
my bones are tired, my hip hurts, my tooth needs fixing, my shirt is ripped, my house is cluttered.

what's up?
i am challenged, i'm feeling pressed, i am juggling, i am alert, i am panting.

what's new?
my morning starts in darkness, my quads are strong, my bag is full of pens, my girl's kitty plays outside in the dry leaves.

what's more?
i am grateful.


every little once in a while

at thirteen she is capable, independent and confident - how i love her mind, the thoughts she still shares and her quirky, and increasingly sophisticated, humour. 

since she got home from school on friday i've barely seen her - she popped in yesterday to change her shoes on her way to the ferry with a group of friends. watching her swish in, kiss me, pat the kitty and toss a few fond words to Leo and Mayonnaise - her fish - i wanted to grab her and hold her close to me on the sofa while i read her stories, or rub her back for hours like a once did. oh, but she looked so happy and beautiful - and she hugged me tightly and told me she loved me before she was gone again.

she and i have grown together; traveled together; lost and mourned together; created a life together. as he slowly joined us, we made a trio of integrated parts - a small whole. she is gradually branching off and i am watching her, puffed with pride and grateful beyond measure. every now and then, though, when she slips back into my arms as her little girl self, my heart sings and everything feels just right.


each day is valentines day

"do you promise to wish me happy valentine's day first?" 
i agreed. she is still such a little girl, in her heart, and it touches me.
this morning, at 6, he woke me with soft kisses and valentine salutations - i stroked his freshly smooth cheek and said nothing. 

he loves me and sees everything i could ever say, in my eyes.


gossamer view

"being a woman is a privilege," i remind myself as i curl on my bed - kidney-shaped or foetal.
it is. some days are like this. i let my head do it's thing and follow the thread...
  • gotta get my hair cut
  • gotta get her hair cut
  • wonder if he's ready for a hair cut
  • the kitten is probably due for a worm tablet. oh - need to get the vet food for her next time - runny poop with the market one.
  • wonder if she fed her fish; "did you feed your fish, zu?"
  • sigh
  • wonder if i should take a pill
  • tea
  • where did i get that rose petal tea?
  • it's hot
  • it's so hot
  • groan "ahhhhh" 
  • i want pineapple
  • am i even due yet?  isn't this early?
  • wonder when mumma hit menopause
  • oh, violin. where's that form? "zu, where's that form?"
  • i wanna do the sculpture walk
  • it's so hot
  • i still wanna do the sculpture walk
  • 4 o'clock we're doing it - i don't care
  • "we're doing the sculpture walk at 4... ok?"
  • i like silver and violet; violet or pansy purple - blue purple more than red
  • i like silver; gossamer 
  • i could put silver on my curtains
  • i have to paint this room. i hate this room
  • i like this room. i like the water through the window. i like the trees through the window. i like the room. i don't like the curtains. daddles put those curtains up. we bought them in remuera and he put all those little cream plastic things on them. we really liked them for him. it's ok if i don't want them. he doesn't care. i should get the lawns done. i miss my daddles 
  • quick breathing 
  • deep breathing 
  • gotta get some lunch food for tomorrow. perhaps they'll go with a list. he'll stick to the list. they'll split the list and be back with everything, including a treat for me, in half the time. am i like my mumma? i don't chat to everyone but i guess i dawdle 
  • it's hot
  • my neck's sweaty
  • hate my hair on my neck
  • i gotta get a hair cut


lost in conversation

i had coffee, this morning, with my dear friend. we talked about this and that for a while and then we starting talking...
we jumped into parenting and all the confusion and feelings of ineptitude that it presents, went on to 'other people' and how messy they are, found ourselves at hopes and dreams - which made us both a little coy, and ended with feisty hallelujahs and pats on the back.
i came home feeling fizzy and a little annoyed at all that i didn't quite say. i am an introvert but i open to intimate friends and loved ones - i know i do.  i tend to measure words but i am skilled at determining an authentic message, composing it with heart and mind and presenting it with my sincere blessing. today, i wanted more. i felt like worming into my guts and wriggling around until i found the switch that turned on the super-soaker - i wanted to flood the table and teacups with more of me. 
he thinks it's the midazolam i was filled with yesterday before surgery, making me feel a little disassociated. i respond strangely to many pharmaceutical drugs, so he is probably right. looking forward to connecting with myself again, though. 


wait for me

over the next three days i must prepare for a medical procedure. i am allowed to eat mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs and i may have vinegar and 4 water crackers. i love mashed potatoes, so i'm feeling ok about it.
 i find myself measuring my expectations of this n.z appointment against my experiences in the u.s. surely it is slicker there, if slick is actually to be desired in a colonoscopy, i don't know - but i remember it was quite low key. i called to make an appointment that suited my schedule and my prep was simply to drain myself of all obstructions, on the day, with a nice little lemon drink that i picked up from my local pharmacy. it is quite a different matter here. after a referral from my doctor, and a few prodding calls, the clinic wrote to me to suggest an appointment 6 months hence. "oh, but my doctor believes i am an urgent case," i said, "with my family history of 'death from colon cancer' etc, i surely rate a closer appointment."
"i'm afraid not. you have been judged by a team of specialists who will be happy to see you in 6 months - um - valentine's day." her voice brightened... i suspect she has an ardent lover who will treat her well on february 14th. meanwhile, i reconciled myself to the 6 month wait.
last wednesday i received a package from the clinic with some pills and a powdered drink sachet. this came with a friendly letter instructing me on the do's and dont's; in's and out's (if you'll allow)- along with a date change.
i admit to flutters and jitters. i've experienced those since my first procedure in 2000, about a year after my mumma died. i can't help but imagine her sitting in the waiting room, comforting herself that it would all be just fine. not for a moment believing that she would walk out of the clinic with a death sentence. on wednesday, i'll be sitting in that very same clinic waiting room - thinking about my mumma.


crime in colour

i dream in technicolour... i'm almost blinded by the flamboyant images that flood my subconscious in the small hours of my REM sleep.
last night, in response to some innocent flirting, my best friend chopped up, boiled and made gravy out of a man who's only crime was to become engaged. i was terrified at her certainty as i tried to convince her that he did not deserve to die. 
what is happening in my head that i should dream with such flavour? whatever it is, i don't care for it. i spent most of the morning trying to deconstruct the dream and have it make sense in my life but all i came up with was my vegetarianism and a vague sense of uneasiness that i may be a bit of a hard-ass once in a while.

no surprises there!



not overwhelmed exactly, but feeling uncomfortably full.

first of all, my stomach is a belly and i'm deciding how i'll dress her. glitter and sequins is just not me! i think i'm more of a jeep gal, like the ice-cream ad when i was 9, although silk and brushed cotton are my two choices for lingerie.

secondly, my brain better pick up the pace or she's going to be outrun and that won't work for any of us.

third, i have some sweet memories and i'm forever being side-tracked. the trick there is to wait until it's time to go to sleep and unleash the chest to dribble into my dreams. the memory chest.

fourth, i'm responsible and i want her to find gold in her teeth and treasures under her bed. i want everything for her. my love and devotion and awe squeeze my shoulders and sometimes i feel like i'm bouncing on a bed whose springs have been sprung.

lastly, i'm in love and one day i might be a little old lady listening to my own love stories. i want them to be - oooh - an outstanding collection of herbs and spices; my tales from long, long ago.

so, tonight, i arrange 1-5 in a row and ask for an extension because i am a bit sleepy and want to lay down.

true colours

i was watching a woman on the ferry, this afternoon. she had long, wiry grey hair and small rectangular glasses. she sat down opposite me - even though there were plenty of other seats and i'd deliberately  plumped myself up and stretched my bags across the banquette so i'd have the table to myself. nothing personal, i just prefer to sit alone on the ferry. i peeked at her through my dark sunglasses, wondering if she'd want to chat. i didn't. i wanted to stare at the water but found myself staring at her instead.
she looked at me a few times, quietly and steadily - enough so i had to make a bit of a show of busyness to prove i was unavailable for banter. i pulled out my phone and flicked off some texts; grabbed the kindle and fiddled through some pages; dredged up a foodie mag from my bottomless-pit of a bag, which kept me occupied for about 5 minutes; then, popped up to the cafe for a bag of chips and ate them very slowly.
she, on the other hand, sat quite still and rested her head on one hand, propped up by her elbow. she looked out the window and i noticed the sunlight catching some fine lines around her mouth. her eyebrows were slightly raised and gave the impression that she was a little perturbed.
perhaps she sensed me looking at her, for she turned to me and said, "isn't it hot?" I lifted my dark glasses, so as not to be rude, and mumbled an affirmation. we looked at each other and neither of us spoke. her eyes were light blue and crisp - not at all gluey or watery with age. she had a sort of sparkle, if i'm being fanciful, and i felt myself smiling at her.
i couldn't think of anything to say so i didn't try and she turned her sparkle back to the water.
the ferry headed into the bay and i started gathering my things, ready to make a run for the exit. she pulled her carpet bag onto the table and leaned her arms against it.
"what a beautiful coloured bag," i said to her.
"yes, isn't it? my husband bought it for me in Singapore. he saw it in a shop window and brought me to see it the next day. he said it reminded him of me - bright and colourful," she giggled. i felt a sort of sick sadness in my stomach. this little grey haired woman had once been loved and cherished. now, her man had gone and she was left with the bag that served as a memory of his long ago declarations. suddenly, i wanted to talk with her. i wanted to know all about her life with her man and her travels to exotic places and her thoughts about everything.
we both stood while the ferry was being tied to the wharf and i kept my eyes on her. she looked over and smiled and again mentioned the heat. i saw small droplets glistening in her silver hairline and i imagined her making her way home on the bus and unlocking her door, patting her cat and sitting in front of a brisk fan. i hoped she had something cool to drink in her fridge.
on the gangplank she turned, smiled once more and said, "have a lovely day, dear. stay nice and cool." i nodded and said, "yes, you too. have a good night."
i walked behind her, weaving around the crowds of tourists which flood our small island throughout the summer. i kept sight of her as she headed to the parking lot and into the embrace of an older, distinguished looking man who towered above her. i quickened my pace to get a better look and saw them walking, hand in hand, to a nice late model sedan - which, i'm now convinced, was equipped with air conditioning.


and another thing

men and women are not the same. there's no doubt that the edges blur for some, but for the most part - men and women are equal and opposite versions of the human animal.
i know how a woman thinks. at some level, i instinctively understand a woman's emotional landscape - whether her personality chooses to make theater of it or whether she tightens her emotions under her bonnet and deals with them in private - i can find a resonance in the fact of them.
funny therefore, to watch a young woman emote - to see vitriolic scrawls across a page painted with pain; to see her requests; her need for assurance; her confusion and her resolution to give not an inch. i perfectly comprehend her suffering and yet i remain unmoved because she's got it all wrong. if we were closer i might tell her, but i probably wouldn't.
this is of great interest to me, as i routinely get it all wrong. i cause myself angst which i create by illogical assumptions (assumptions in general, really), projections and my particular version of creative thinking - the thought experiment. he doesn't do this. he is a 'just the facts, ma'am', man.
i'm teaching myself the catch and release method of processing, now. i tug items from my bonnet one by one and if they really exist - i acknowledge them; if i've created them from emotional play dough, i let 'em go.

eh - i'm working on it.


on air

i'm building a castle for my princess, or maybe it's for me. i agonize over hues, heights and depths and change my mind. she waits and hopes it will be done one day - while she still needs it. 
oh, it's a beautiful thing, in my head. i glory in the practical prettiness of it all and curtsy modestly when i'm told, time and again, that i have a talent for design. 
"oh", i say, "i don't know about that".
 in my head, my triumph makes headlines. meanwhile, she waits for me to make a start.

can do

it is my business to feel his pain
i can be certain when he is unsure; i can be knowledgeable when he is confused.
if i am here - if we are here together - i don my superhero cape and lift the boulder from his shoulder.

as long as i place it gently where it can do no harm (and quit running with scissors).


late evening blurb

i hear rapping in the bedroom. her friend has written lyrics and is now performing before the camera whilst standing on the bed. i'll probably see it on facebook in the morning. i want to sleep. he sleeps. he sleeps sweetly but not before he made me tea and rubbed my shoulders and kissed me like he meant it. after my nap i grumbled to myself that i'd be awake till the wee hours, now. it was a sweet, deep nap and i liked it well enough at the time. i dreamed of new orleans and bourbon street and me wearing a white organza gown with a fleur-de-lis in my hair, holding a mint julep. i had a mint julep in n'awlins but it tasted like medicine. i preferred the hurricane from pat o'brien's. i still have the glass. come to think of it - how crazy that i have the glass. i rode into town on a bicycle from new hampshire and left on a bus headed to alaska - from there to boston and eventually back to new zealand. i still have the glass. that's something. the kitten came in to say goodnight or she doesn't like the rap. either way, we can play fetch with the ping pong ball, now. it might make me sleepy.


finding myself cleaning
finding myself explaining
finding myself sighing
finding myself hiding
finding myself resting
finding myself reflecting
finding myself sniggering
finding myself sharing
finding myself communicating
finding myself relishing
finding myself understanding
finding myself understood

special delivery

a bit like having a baby, i have an urge to push out all the language and rhythms and cadences that are flooding my busy brain. what would emerge first? i think the simplicity - a clarity and distinctness. then i'd deliver harmony and balance - something to sway with and hold on to. i'm not forgetting the heartbeat - the steady, trustworthy fundament of all the creativity and experimentation which skips blithely along beside. slowly then, the treasure is uncovered - the gem that ultimately pays for it all - not so fragile but invaluable. no need to take notes - it changes in the morning.



i'm listening intently for my voice and there's a good chance i will find it here; in these posts; on this blog...

i'll listen to my belly and all her gurgles - that's where it begins.
i'll listen to my thrumming aches and nervous twinges - that's how i'll know i'm on the right track.
i'll listen to my breathing - she might try to conceal the path with loud sighs and sharp intakes, but i'll be prepared.
i'll listen to my thoughts... the lofty certainty and timid questions; the kaleidoscope of colours and swirling pictures - that's how i'll see that i'm close.
i'll listen to the stillness - that's where it will be.

then, i will call to my dreams - i'm ready.
catch me!