Monday, August 26, 2019

Dirty ears

Last week I had my medical for the oncoming fire season. This medical checkup is great for me because I never go to the doctor. When I was younger, the only reason I went to a doctor was because I was pregnant/needed the obligatory pap smear/had unwell children. I tend to sort my own stuff these days.
The worst thing that came up in my medical assessment for this year, was ...

Hey! Here are some orchids!

Dirty ears. The nurse peered into my ears with that thingy and wrote down on my report 'dirt in ears'.  The doctor later advised me on how to care for my ears.
Flame said to me recently, while looking over my bed that crouches next to the living room fire. 'Sarah, you'll never find a boyfriend with a broadaxe and a cask of wine next to your bed.' Like she's an expert on the psychosexual aspects of relationships, gender and film studies. Apparently it is really all about ear health.

It's funny ... I was gonna write a post about orchids and how I've seen the most amazing orchids over the last few weeks. It's been a shitty season for fungi but really good for orchids.
Anyway, despite what I regularly do to my body and mind, I came through the medical with blazing colours, except for that ear thing.

How are your ears going folks?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Whale skull

Sometimes we dreamed together. a strange thing. We'd wake up in the morning and when talking, our dreams would be similar, even the same.
A few days before we camped at Cheynes Beach, I woke in the morning and told him about my dream. I was on a beach, a long sandy expanse, a squeaky sand kind of beach where the sand is so fine and white, it squeaks beneath your feet. I walked through the standing ribs of a stranded whale.

Half drunk we wandered down to the beach and that's where we found the whale's skull, standing like a gigantic hip bone on the sand. That night we slept on a shelf of granite, drank Stones green ginger wine and fished and pulled up shitty bream and rock cod. 'That skull is mine,' I said to him that night. 'I had a dream about that whale. It's mine. You have to help me get it tomorrow.'

It's quite illegal to take whalebones from the shore (even seashells, so I hear). In the pre-dawn gloaming we pulled his one-tonner ute up beside the whale skull. It must have weighed a ton and a half, but with his crow bar and a bit of lever-logic we got the skull onto the back of his ute.

The next day we drove through town on our way home with a bone that was maybe 8 feet long and 3 feet high. It looked like an elephant's ears. It was amazing.

Recently I told my son the story about how me and his dad found the whale skull and he said that it was mine now.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Pronouns Shronouns

I’ve recently had the opportunity to think about pronouns and non-binary gender politics. Frex, I’ve been assessing manuscripts by writers who use non-binary pronouns such as they, or them, to describe themselves.
I’m thinking, while reading, ‘what is so bad about growing up in this female body? I’m proud being in this female body.’

We have grown up in societies that place emphasis and value upon our gender or marital/sexual status. Something I hated as a kid, when I collected my parents’ mail at the bus stop, was the letters addressed to Mrs (“husband’s birth name”). They, the government departments not only deleted my mother’s name, they also deleted her right to her birth and maiden name. even as a seven-year-old, this reading of the envelope's covers made me furious.

Things have changed somewhat and I doubt that Mum would put up with the name of her husband being given to her in correspondences these days. One thing hasn’t changed though, our titles. A year or so ago I got my doctorate. It meant a lot to me. Not because I’d earned the title of ‘Dr’ but because I could now fill in forms requesting my title as ‘Dr’.

Not ‘Miss’ (I am sexually available.)
Not ‘Mrs’ (I am not sexually available.)
Not ‘Ms’ (I may be sexually available but possibly too fucked up with too much baggage to be of interest to a man.)
Finally, after more than forty years on this planet, I could fill out my title as :
Doctor ( raised middle finger.)

So I’m thinking that the they/them is actually pretty cool to bypass all of this kerfuffle.

Monday, August 12, 2019

F*ck off, we're beautiful

This morning I woke up before dawn and drove into town, climbed a mountain to see the sun rise in the east. It is always an Albany's 'fuck off, we are so much more beautiful' moment.

And then lichen ... oh lichen.


A few days ago I drove a 200km round trip to attend a JobSearch meeting, reciting to myself the whole way 'I am grateful to be invited to this compulsory meeting. I am full of gratitude for my unemployment benefits as it has allowed me to be a bear for a full fortnight at my favourite place, the inlet.'

Yes, my hibernation was for a full two weeks. At times I wondered about my mental health but really, I think I just needed a break. It's been pretty stressy recently, so sleeping, eating, reading, drinking, has been an absolutely marvellous break time in a place where I feel safe and at home.

Anyway, I motored to my appointment, schooled myself on gratitude, had a lovely encounter with JobSearch lady, and then walked into a local art gallery to get my art fix. About six women were sitting around a fire, plastic chairs on the concrete floor. The gallery was shut, they explained, 'but you are welcome to join us' for a meeting about the use of text in art.

I looked around thinking, so this is the beginning of that joke, right ... 'A writer walks into a bar and -' but what followed was a few hours of like-minded creators talking about their art and their creative processes. Never before have I been so keenly aware of how starving I am for this conversation. I love my friends and neighbours; the pig hunters, shack dwellers, bar tenders, fire spotters and wood workers, but I miss terribly the focussed discussions of esoteric yet disciplined researchers. Friday, I met with landscape architects, graphic artists, painters, musicians and poets, and we talked about how we do the things we do. Friday around that fire was absolutely bloody brilliant.