Sunday, December 28, 2008

Welcome to my shed

What a manic time it has been. I have completely dropped off the perch in terms of my humble blog which bothers, I am sure, no one else but me but it does lead me to wonder.

I have created a little time bubble for the next week in which I hope to dedicate some time and energy to things other than journalism work, clothes washing and the general chores of life. Yes it is that time of year when one’s head turns to resolutions and plans but my commitment to myself this week is simple: DON’T TAKE THE LAZY OPTION.

I began last night by actually using one of the 800 bottles in my bathroom cabinet to take my makeup off. Revolutionary? Perhaps not to you but in a life of sloth, it’s the little things that add up … surely.

Getting back to some writing on my blog is another item on the TO DO list. I have taken to watching CALIFORNICATION on DVD and a recent episode has only reinforced some concerns I already have about the Net and the blog blamange that dominates it now. Is it weird that so many strangers are pouring out their thoughts and feelings to us should we choose to log on and read up? I am not sure.

Californication’s lead character, twisted and sexually liberal novelist Hank Moody, is being interviewed on the radio and he talks about the web: “People... they don't write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it's just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King's English.”


I know what he means. This clearly must be the opinion of at least one writer of the show. He has a point. However, my day to day work leads me to constant reading, analysing and interviewing of blogs and their authors and, because many of my subjects are writing with a purpose, I think I do see the value in their outpourings. Only recently a highly intriguing woman who is striving to live a “simpler” and more sustainable life in the Australian countryside, near Bathurst, explained how there were few like minded souls living in her area. While she hand washed cloth nappies, grew her own veggies and picked up old fabric scraps at the op shop to sew with, neighbours were running around in four wheel drives, eating MacDonald’s and saving for even bigger plasma TVs. It was on the web and via her blog that she had found like minded souls. There she could document her weekly efforts at saving the planet and her peace of mind, it was where she could swap tips with other “simple” folk and where she had found friends. Does the fact that they may never meet face to face matter? I don’t know. I suppose it’s better than living like we used to – lonely square pegs in round holes, forever feeling alone and alienated.

My blog, I have been forced to remind myself, is a way of maintaining some writing discipline away from work constraints. It has a purpose but one known only to me. That’s ok. If anything, in 2009 I hope to use it more constructively as a place to explore some thoughts and as a workroom. This is, I suppose, my online shed. Maybe I should redesign it to look like one? I have a constant supply of sticky notes and paper scraps with words, events, websites, ideas scribbled on them. My blog should be the place I pull this stuff together, research and investigate the various threads and chart the results of this activity, similar to the way a home handyman might gather design ideas and bits of woods to try and knock something together.

What happens in one’s shed is one’s own business. What happens on one’s blog can be the same, especially when it is visited almost exclusively by the author. Hmm, I am liking this concept. So for this week I will a) try not to take the lazy option in general and b) look at improving my shed. The first thing required, naturally, is a calendar with girls with big boobs sitting on cars. I’ll just go find one …

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Potato, beer and lamb

The stench of beer and potato that permeates his skin and breath turns my stomach. Watching him there, slumped ridiculously over his ancient meal, I feel nothing more than disgust and loathing. Saliva drips from his half open mouth and onto the cold plate.

He brought a dead lamb home for our son to play with tonight – how adorable! Oh I know he didn’t mean to kill it. He found it on the side of the road, abandoned. He probably did mean it as a gift for Alex but, in his drunken state, lurching and staggering along the cold road home, he squeezed the life from it. Either that or the poor thing died of shock.

Sweet Alex, he has sat in front of that fire, petting the dead lamb for three hours now. He thinks it is tired and cold. When he finally sobs himself into exhaustion I will tiptoe outside and bury the unfortunate creature. Painful explanations can wait ‘til the morning. His father, one can be sure, will remember nothing. At least, usually he would remember nothing.

Damien, of course, remains silently huddled in the corner, his usual position of retreat. His dark 10 year old eyes betray the pain and resignation of an old soldier who has witnessed many battles without honour or fairness. He will not move from beside the stove until his father has been snoring for at least an hour. He likes to be sure the beast will not stir again this night.

Anger seethes beneath those smooth, hairless features. Tonight he took to his father with the old wooden chair. As the ‘big man’s’ hand came down to meet my jaw, Damien was between us, the chair his only weapon. He must despise me too. Mother love, his protector. How uncourageous and weak I have been. Small boys, mere babes, deserve better and they will be protected.

The brick by my bed is left over from the building of the laundry outside, the one that remains unfinished. It is wrapped in Aunt Phoebe’s old lace nightgown. After all, this is a somewhat special occasion.

I will follow our nightmarish routine tonight. The boys and I will go to sleep. As the cock crows the monster will stir, head and bones aching. Scratching and farting, he will cringe at the dawn and stumble to our bed, our marital coffin. As he pulls down the cover he will mumble, “Had a good drink last night love”, then dissolve into snoring and stinking.

Poor, simple, obnoxious fool; the man I once so readily cosseted and adored. Poor fallen, pot bellied, drunken idol; the man who sucks the gaiety and innocence from my children. As sleep engulfs him the brick will end him. It’s just the stains I’m worried about. Still I’m sure it’s nothing hot soapy water and baking soda cannot fix.
Author: Me