Things I nearly wrote

You fail only if you stop writing.

Ray Bradbury

It’s been about 70 days since my last post.

These are things I have been writing and deleting:

1. Changing the dream.

2. Selling out: The reality of “changing the dream”.

3. Why am I here or: Casting directors who flirt with your audition partner.

4. Anxious Sunday nights.

5. Coconut flour.

6. The death penalty.

7. Andrew and Myuran.

8. Mercy.

9. Rehabilitation.

10. Is this really the world we live in?

11. Nauru.

12. Children in detention.

13. Australia needs more lectures from the UN, please.

14. Real Australians Say Welcome.

15. Is this really the world we live in? (part two)

16. 90s Hip Hop is the greatest Hip Hop.

17. Fake it till you make it.

18. Thoughts on being a 34 year old babysitter or: $20 an hour just doesn’t cut it anymore.

19. Walking home, alone.

20. Cats.

21. Itchy feet.

22. School Assemblies.

23. To the person who tried to steal our car.

24. How many cups of tea are too many cups of tea?

25. Writers Block – The Return.

26. What is the point of this blog anyway?

27. Finish something goddamn it.

28. Hit the publish button.

29. Something is better than nothing.

30. that’s what my psychologist said when I told her I was concerned about doing enough exercise in a day, you know, sometimes you just can’t fit it all in and she said, don’t be so hard on yourself, just think something is better than nothing so even if you just a walk around the block that’s great because that’s something but now I find it hard to even fit in a little something every single day and I worry because if something is better than nothing then what is nothing … nothing is … nothing is nothing and I need to worry about that … surely …

31. Nothing

32. my grandad said nothing is at the end and he seemed OK with all that until nanna died but you can’t truly change your mind when you’re an atheist unless, you know, someone from the “other side” comes over and tells you “hey, there is something” which then completely undoes all that need for faith upon which all this is (conveniently) built and you wouldn’t believe it anyway because you’re an atheist and you can’t truly change your mind on that sort of thing, can you? Besides, we have all seen City of Angels and know the awful consequences of those sort of “visits”.

32. City of Angels.

33. Where are you, Meg Ryan?

34. I’d rather be in New York.

35. I’m doing this wrong: 30 minutes and 20 drafts to create one tweet.

36. Being quiet.

37. Anxiety.

38. Nothing. Again.

39. …

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Wasted day or; 10 things that matter more than Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Music Video Awards

I wanted to write something about this whole Miley Cyrus thing, you know? I feel the outrage and the criticism is so unwarranted and unfair … I mean, come on, how on earth is Robin Thicke getting out of this unscathed? Anyway, I was writing and writing and reading these horribly misogynist interviews (“We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women”, Thicke in an interview with GQ) and I was getting really angry and then, then I realised … I have been wasting all this time on something that, in the scheme of the things, does not really matter. Not at all.

I don’t know why I wasted a whole day reading articles and watching crappy music video-clips when I could have been looking into THINGS THAT MATTER MORE THAN MILEY CYRUS’ PERFORMANCE AT MTV’S VMA (I am shouting on the inside here).

So here it is – THINGS THAT MATTER MORE THAN MILEY CYRUS’ PERFORMANCE AT MTV’S ViDEO MUSIC AWARDS THAT I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING AND/OR READING AND/OR LEARNING ABOUT TODAY (in no particular order):

  1. The crisis in Syria
  2. Iran’s new president – Hassan Rouhani
  3. Asylum seekers
  4. Palestine and Israel
  5. 3D Printing
  6. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  7. Writing something half decent
  8. Cleaning the house
  9. Cutting my toe-nails
  10. Ummmm … just about EVERYTHING! (even the upcoming election and that is saying something)

We are so bombarded by this 24-hour news cycle that we seem to forget what is important, what is actually newsworthy, what should be taking our attention. Instead, we (and by we I also mean I) are sidetracked by unimportant things. Instead of focusing on Miley’s performance, why was the focus not on the misogynistic nature of the music industry? Or the terrible human rights violations suffered by women in many middle eastern countries?

Articles about twerking and the performance itself are in the top-5 list of ‘Most Viewed” articles in The Guardian. The. Guardian. What the hell is wrong with us? (I contributed to that I know – what the hell is wrong with me?)

I am going to work very hard at not getting too sidetracked again … And try to not feel so bad about wasting a whole day on this rubbish.

 

An unexpected cab ride; or, things I learnt from the taxi driver

NYC Cabs, New York 2008, Katy Warner

I think that anybody’s craft is fascinating. A taxi driver talking about taxi driving is going to be very, very interesting.

James Lipton

Today I had to catch a taxi. I don’t do that very often. Whenever I do I like to imagine I am Carrie Bradshaw and I am in New York with amazing shoes and the salary to afford it (the taxi and the shoes). This particularly taxi was taking me to Brunswick (which is not quite New York) because our borrowed 1988 Ford Laser refused to start (which is not quite Carrie Bradshaw’s style) to get me to a casting (which means I am not even close to being able to afford those shoes).

I love talking and I particularly love talking to taxi drivers. Sometimes it works out (I’ve had some enlightening political conversations). Sometimes it doesn’t (I’ve been asked out, rather emphatically, on a “date”). But it is always interesting.

Today I had a brilliant taxi driver who got me to Brunswick

a) on time

b) alive

and, as bonus, we had a nice chat during ridiculously expensive ride (which I didn’t feel so bad about paying due to a and b, above, but not necessarily in that order).

He told me he was trained nurse. Nursing was his passion. It was all he wanted to be. It was the job he loved most in the world. But here he was, driving a taxi because Australia would not recognise his four-year degree from a University in India nor his extensive experience. “Driving a taxi is better than nothing,” he told me. His positivity was incredible.

Along with some wonderful positive thinking, here’s what I learnt from the taxi driver today:

  1. Being called “Boss” has nothing to do with Bruce Springsteen
  2. Always speed up when approaching an amber light because “you never know which ones you will make”.
  3. Education is important (but Australia only recognises those educated in the western world) (i) Australia has a tendency to treat people from non-English speaking backgrounds in the most shameful way
  4. Taxi drivers have to deal with some of the most awful people in the world (“I think when people are drunk,” he said, “they just don’t realise what they are saying”) (i) Some people are gross when drunk (ii) Some people are gross all the time
  5. Positivity can be contagious
  6. Taxis trump public transport (i) Guaranteed seat (ii) Less likely to be coughed all over / sneezed all over / stepped on
  7. Ray-Bans are cool
  8. I am pink – like my EFTPOS Card (I’m taking that as a compliment)

I wish more people would speak to their taxi drivers. Yes, sometimes you may have to give the driver directions, yes, sometimes the driver may just be a jerk, yes, sometimes the driver may have bad-taste in music / jokes / appropriate conversation starters or a turn out to be some sort of homicidal maniac or racist / homophobic / sexist / angry, angry person … But we all know people like – besides, it always makes for great writing / blogging / dinner-partying material. Speak to your taxi driver – you never know what you might learn …

Why I love being a morning person and other lies I tell myself

One must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can’t do anything about them.

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I lie to myself everyday.

I don’t think it’s such a bad thing really. I mean, of course, “Honesty is the best Policy” and “Liar-Liar-Pants-On-Fire” and all that. I know. I’m not natural liar. When I was in Grade 2 I told my classmates that I had been for a ride in a helicopter. I can’t remember the full story but it got their attention. And it was detailed. I remember I was pretty thorough in my storytelling. It was so detailed that I got anxious I wouldn’t remember the full story correctly (I was sure I’d be asked to retell it to the whole school) and be caught out as a helicopter-faker. I didn’t get caught out, probably because I never got to the retelling stage – another little girl said she and her dad met Michael Jackson (or maybe it was Michael J Fox –I can’t quite remember now), who just so happened to fly over to see them in a, yep, you guessed it, helicopter. My once-ace-now-really-lame helicopter story was topped by a far more confident liar and that was the end of my foray into extraordinary stories for my classmates. The pressure was just too much for a seven year old.

Anyway, those aren’t the sort of lies I’m talking about.

I’m also not talking about those lies which lead to complete delusion about ones talents and skills, thus resulting in awful wannabe singers auditioning for X-Factor and being genuinely shocked when they’re told they will never be the next Beyonce … No, not those sort of lies.

I’m talking about lies that can make getting through life just that little easier to manage. They are what I like to think of as the “grey-zone” of lies …

Here’s my lie list –

 1. I love getting up early.

No, I don’t.

But I do it.

And if anyone asks I will say “I am a morning person” and I can hear the little 7-year-old me whispering liar-liar … I’m not really lying. I’m not saying what sort of morning person I am, just that I am one – and I am … trying.

2. I love running.

No, I don’t.

But I do it.

Running is the most pointless thing I do. I just run. Around. And there are all these other people running around too but we can’t really make eye contact or say good-morning because we’re all out of breath or trying desperately not to look out of breath.

But I do like early morning runs (see point 1 above) when you feel like you get the chance to see the sky in a way that many others will miss for that day.

I do like the feeling during the run when you manage to get to the top of the hill without stopping or after a good sprint or when you realise you’ve managed to go further than you thought you could.

But there is plenty I don’t love about it – at times it’s a little boring and a little pointless and sometimes it’s just plain horrible. Your toes bleed and your legs ache and you get a runny nose. I try not to think about it and just go with the lie; I love running!

3. Just getting the chance to audition is wonderful.

No it isn’t.

But I say it.

Just give me the god-damn role. It’s a non-speaking, 10-second moment in a television commercial for a car. Do I really need to audition? In reality, no-one probably needs to audition for something like that. But in order to simply turn up to some of these castings you have to lie to yourself otherwise … well, you just wouldn’t do it would you?

Those people who run acting for film and TV workshops and master-classes, they all have these stories of [insert actors name here] who auditioned for something minor, didn’t get the role but did such an amazing job in the audition that the casting director got them in for [insert name of popular TV series here] and now they are this in-demand, always-working, award-winning, Hollywood-bound actor … Maybe the teachers of these classes are using the same lie that I’m using …

Anyway, this is a very useful lie for keeping sane and not getting overly disheartened when you don’t book the gig. There will always be another audition. And auditions are just wonderful experiences (see point 3).

 4. Porridge – it’s the perfect breakfast.

No it isn’t.

But I eat it pretty much every-single-day.

The perfect breakfast is ricotta hotcakes with berry compote or smashed avocado with poached eggs or coco-pops. I always thought being a grown-up meant having cupboards filled with a whole variety of breakfast cereals like Seinfeld. My cupboard has oats. It’s cheap and it’s healthy. That’s the reality of being a grown-up I suppose. So every morning I cut up a banana and put it in some decorative arrangement on top of the porridge and think about how this is, really, honestly, completely the perfect breakfast. It’s a lie that stops me buying coco-pops and that’s okay, isn’t it?

 5. Admin is just what I do to pay the bills; my real-job is acting / writing.

No it isn’t.

But I say it.

A lot.

Particularly when I’m using Excel.

I also, shamefully, use terms like “my creative practice” – I never wanted to be that person. But here I am. Saying it. Loudly. Particularly when I’m using Excel.

My admin job is my real job. I turn up 4 days a week, for 7.6 hours a day, have a work email address and phone number and desk and Outlook Express calendar that has meetings in it I have to attend and I get pay-slips and superannuation and sick-leave and accumulate holidays and all that “real job” stuff. I haven’t made money through “my creative practice” for about a year – so this makes it a hobby, right? No. That’s not the point. That’s not what it’s about. And I will continue to tell myself this lie because without it … Well … I don’t even want to imagine …

6. No. I don’t want the biscuit / slice of cake / chocolate / wonderful-sugar-filled-treat

Yes I do.

But I don’t take it.

Of course I want the sugary treat. It’s 3pm and I’ve been doing paperwork all day and the tuna salad wrap I ate at 1pm just didn’t cut it and I’ve consider the vending machine options multiple times and then – bam! There they are, standing at my desk, offering me a plate of cookies that were left over from some meeting or a slice of Mandy-From-Marketing’s birthday cake or some other incredible home-made treat drizzled in caramel and chocolate … And I lie to myself. I don’t want it. No, of course I don’t want it … The amount of cake that is served up in the office is really quite something; I need this lie.

 

 

I am hoping, I suppose, that eventually the lies will become the truth: that I will be able to say, and genuinely believe in, all those points with complete honesty. I hope to get to the same point, in a way, as those horribly untalented X-Factor contestants … but in this case use the lie for good rather than evil.

(And I did eventually go for a helicopter ride – about twenty years after the fake-helicopter tale. That’s the truth. However, my original version of the story of the helicopter ride as a 7-year-old was far more exciting …)

Things I learnt today (or; lists made whilst grieving or; reasons why everything is actually okay)

I had not intended to write about grief so much on this blog – but that is thing about grief. It is unexpected. I had not expected to lose my Grandad so soon after my Nan’s passing but we have. I don’t know how it will ever be okay but somehow it will happen: Things Will Be Okay.

In fact, if I really think about it and ignore that awful feeling in my stomach, things are okay now. They really are. I tried to think about this today.

So here’s a list (of course) of why things are truly okay …

1. I do not live in Syria … or a place that is currently in the midst of war or civil unrest

2. I can walk to the park with my own two feet and see it, smell it, hear it …

3. Coffee

4. I have a heater and a bed and a computer and a home

5. I have family and friends

6. The sun is shining (and if it wasn’t that would be okay too)

7. I can write a list

8. I work in a place where ‘compassionate leave’ not only exists but is truly implemented

9. Fountains

10. Ducks

11. Ducks swimming in fountains

12. Memories

13. The knowledge that everything will absolutely be okay …

Things I learnt today (lists made whilst watching the clock or: how to run out that last 90-minutes at work)

I have never worked in admin before. I have discovered it is a bizarre work environment where you can be busy and bored and offered endless slices of cake all at the same time.

Today I finished all my work and had nothing to do. Really. Nothing. I was done. Up-to-date. Finished. It was 4pm.

Here’s a list of ways I have learnt to run out the office clock:

  1. Refresh your emails
  2. Delete emails
  3. Go to the bathroom
  4. Make a cup of tea
  5. Type up stories, articles and ideas for your blog in Outlook (it looks like you are writing an amazingly detailed email)
  6. Create some thoughtfully named folders in Outlook
  7. Create some thoughtfully organised sub-folders in Outlook
  8. Move emails into aforementioned folder and sub-folders
  9. Have a look online for things that could pass for work-related research
  10. Be thankful you have a job
  11. Be thankful you have a job where you can do numbers 1 through to 9
  12. Don’t feel guilty because sometimes you put in way more than the allocated 7.6hours per day and there’s no such thing as overtime here
  13. Chat with your colleague about Game of Thrones
  14. Check your voice-mail
  15. Change your voice-mail using a different name / accent / company
  16. Delete your voice-mail
  17. Repeat steps 15 and 16 for as long as necessary or until you draw unwanted attention to yourself (whichever comes first)
  18. Don’t look at the clock
  19. Make a deal with yourself that you WILL NOT work in admin for the REST OF YOUR LIFE

Things I learnt today (lists made while I have a cold)

I have a cold. I’m trying to look on the bright-side. Here’s what I’ve learnt;

  • You should always put your coat on when it is freezing cold outside. Even if you think you look super cute in that new top you are wearing. You don’t look cute. You look freezing. So wear the damn coat.
  • You cannot catch a cold from being cold (so it’s not my fault but I should still wear a coat in winter)
  • I can wear my comfortable, oversized, that-looks-like-my-grandma’s cardigan to work and no-one minds because I Have A Cold.
  • I can leave work a little bit early because I Have A Cold.
  • I can have extra long, extra hot showers because I Have A Cold.
  • I can just have toast and jam and a cup of tea for dinner because I Have A Cold.
  • Blankets are nice.
  • Some brilliant person invented amazing tissues infused with Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus and Vitamin E.
  • I still don’t know why I need Vitamin E in a tissue.
  • Copywriters sometimes don’t have a lot of material to work with – on the bottom of the tissue box it reads “We hope that you love them as much as they love you and your family” … No.
  • More people than you realise turn out to be medical experts when you have a cold.
  • Sick days taken when you’re actually sick are not as fun as sick days taken when you just need a day off. They are, however, filled with less guilt and paranoia.
  • Being sick on your actual day off is a bit of a waste of your actual day off … But at least I’m saving those sick days for when I’m not actually sick.
  • Honey.
  • Lemon.
  • Honey and Lemon.
  • My boyfriend loves me even with the runny nose and the cough and the messy hair and the complaining and the miserable-face and the complaining and the tissues all over the floor and the complaining …
  • My boyfriend is a whole lot of awesome and he makes good soup (this is not a euphemism).
  • I am very lucky that all I have to complain about is the fact that I Have A Cold.
  • It’s not that bad.