For Whitney…

It resonates.
This moment between moments, when our compulsion
to be
is not comprised of wishes that we were other than we are.
A moment when – however briefly – we are
all that we can be.
Life, reality:
These things can do no more to us in that moment
Than reach heavenward –
their determined, stumbling hands twinkling with uncertainty –
and try,
foolishly, 
to encase us between their grubby fingertips.
Pretending as though somehow
we
these newly-freed birds of the air
are not so bright against the greying, lavender sky of this life
as we know ourselves to be.
In this moment –
however brief our efforts at perfection;
however short our time –
this, our last second as what we are
for now
remains as true as the
north wind, tumbling across the earth.
A certainty for an uncertain world.
Such is this wildness, this
last aria of life.
For a heartbeat, it will bank:
a hard right that leaves those behind, breathless
daunted,
hearts gaping;
emotions without name flowing like
a thousand rivers.
But such is the height of our final note;

Such is the price of our song.
Whether we die in ditches,

Or wrapped in the useless threads of luxury
we must, each of us, leave behind.
Truly,
this life will dive away from us all at some point.
Like a bird that seeks a fish beneath
the sea of all it is to be human:
changing, unpredictable
beautiful but dark as sharks that
have forgotten how to hunt but not how to lunge.
At some point,
we will all make our own tumblings
into eternity
and the consequences of the lives we chose.
What then?
What shall be our echo?
Our refrain to be cast to the stars:
Shall it be hollow? Shall our song
be just as the lies we speak
to each other,
to ourselves,
as we stand
generation to generation
before the bathroom vanities of our kind?
No.
Let our song be as that of one
who has passed by only in body.
Who says
Though I existed,
I also have lived.
Though I was broken,
so in being scarred,
I am healed.
Though now I am dust,
once
I had a moment.
Fierce as the sun.
And it was mine.

© Erin Brown 2012

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The Destination of Good Procrastination

So I’m sitting here, writing yet another prologue to my book.

Which naturally means I’m procrastinating ridiculously by returning to this poor, neglected blog of mine and spilling out yet more of the ever-tumbling crazy that I never seem to run out of.

Today, I’ve gone AWOL from my original story and stared writing something random about England in 1415. Which somehow morphed into France in 1415.

What the frak this has to do with anything I don’t know, but I feel like anytime I write something that actually sounds good, I’m happy to take what I can get.

And it does sound good, today. Well, goodish. Amazingly.

And for the record, did you know how many hours you can spend on Google looking up info on weapons from the 1400’s? Seriously. Do it and see if you leave your computer after anything less than 2 hours.

As it stands now,  the Christmas wish I’ve had since I was three – an Oscar – has now been dumped in favour of a long bow and a catapult that has the potential to launch giant flaming fireballs.

Which I will then use to threaten my way to an Oscar.

I know. The brilliance is OVERWHELMING. Kneel, minions.

As for the book, the more I think about it, the more I think my main character and I are locked in a kind of war of attrition: each trying to wear each other down with potential plotlines. Sometimes it’s like she knows best, sometimes I do.

It’s kind of like having a thumb war with myself. In my head. If that makes sense.

I have an idea, I dump it, pick it up again five years later, suddenly decide it’s shiny, slap it into a random scene I’m tossing around that day, then do it all over again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s blessed me with the lesson of knowing the value of not throwing stuff out : as long as I’ve got it, I can always go back to it. The other thing I’ve been really blessed with is great encouragement, and when I need it, opportunity.

If I need stuff read, constructively critiqued, brutalised with a red pen – whatever – I have people who are willing to do that.

So essentially, I have it good. Great, even. I write what I love, I’m supported in that, and I am in full control of 100% of the content. I don’t care that I don’t get paid for it – I am so lucky to have the opportunity to do something I’m passionate about, and come hell or high water, what I create is mine, and stays mine.

To be honest, this is something I don’t think I’ve valued as much in the past as I have learned to over the last ten months or so. Continue reading

The Awkward Art of Verklappiness

Verklempt (adj) — choked with emotion (German verklemmt = emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way; stuck)

Happy (adj) — 1. Feeling or showing pleasure or contentments; 2. Having a sense of confidence or satisfaction with a person, arrangement or situation.

Verklappy (adj) — the feeling of simultaneously wanting to comfort eat your body weight in chocolate out of misery, start a bareknuckle fight in a biker bar, and spontaneously re-enact the entire opening sequence of The Sound of Music out of sheer joy at the fact you are alive to enjoy this particular moment in the grand expanse of human history.

So it’s the long weekend. The last day of the Anzac Day/Easter Weekend to be exact, and I’m sitting here at the computer in our house in the country. It’s just after 8pm, after the kind of day you wish all Autumn days were like. The sun shone and the air was crisp in the morning before heating up; a day of really blues skies dotted with wisps of white cloud, where you feel like you really can see every inch of the far reaching countryside of gold plains, hills, houses and trees. The landscape is all red roofs that sit interspersed with leafy dark greens; everything is intermittently punctuated by scarlet, orange and canary yellow bursts of deciduous colour.  Every now and then, at the last half hour of twilight when the sky turns this deep, indigo-fringed lavender colour, there’ll be these giant square patches of fire roaring in the distance, where stubble is being burnt off for the winter in preparation for a new crop to be sown later. Scorching orange squares of heat that contrast wildly against the cold that descends so quickly here at night. Now, of course, it’s dark. You go outside and you’d swear you could see every star in the cosmos. Here everything is clear, quiet…serene. The day has disappeared like a drawn veil to the west and you can’t help staring up at the sky. One that makes you swear  you’re looking out at the universe as it truly is.
My dad is watching tv. My mum is boiling the jug as we prepare to drink our third or fourth round of tea for the day.
And all I have is this double thought.
That this is home, and that everything fits.

Continue reading

Times Like These

I am a new day rising
I’m a brand new sky
to hang the stars upon tonight
Times Like These
Foo Fighters

A wise man once said that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. If this then is true, and we are all in the gutter, then you are more than one of the few who looked up. You are, rather, one of the yet fewer still who looked at the stars with a determined heart to become one of them. A desire to be the very best at the thing you loved. And you were.

So thankyou.

For the rarity of your passion. For every wild and helter-skelter second you shared with us on the road to that place. For the laughs and goosebump-inducing moves that you pulled. For never saving anything less than your absolute best for want a better audience. For having the courage to do what you needed to do for yourself in the end. You are the firework that never faded. The Edge that will never dull. And we are the people who will always be grateful.

Ruby Slippers for Dog Days

According to Wikipedia, the term  Dog Day has two points of reference. The first is meteorological, referring to the hottest, most sultry days of summer, which ancient peoples  believed happened whenever the earth found itself closest to the star known as Sirius, or The Dogstar. The second is metaphorical, in reference to days defined by being “very hot or stagnant, or marked by a dull lack of progress”. Considering summer – particularly an extremely hot one – is my least favourite of all seasons, coupled with the fact that progress today has been about as easy to come by as carbs in Jennifer Aniston’s pantry, few expressions seem to fit more to this particular moment in my time better than this one.

I’m sitting here, with the flu, without the ability to taste anything and I could swear someone used the time I was sleeping last night to fill my head with cement. Which I don’t think has quite dried yet. Everything is heavy, sloshy, sore and tired. An absolute bugger of a day, really. And somehow, tomorrow I have to sing. At a wedding. In front of people.

Any number of people will tell you when you have days like this, that the best thing you can do is to get over yourself and think of how many other people in the world have it infinitely worse than you. To be fair, they have a point, to a point. It’s good to realise that it could always be worse, but for the record, after 28,  years as a petit mal epileptic (where you have absences rather than full body seizures), therefore being ‘that weird girl always getting called to the counsellor’s office’  and subsequently being oft reminded by strangers and random doctors that I could always have terminal cancer or have been born missing a limb, I have learned for myself that just because your problems aren’t other people’s problems, doesn’t mean yours aren’t valid.

No. I’m not homeless or dying or stuck in the middle of a civil war. But bugger it, my nose is runny, I haven’t slept, my eyes are watering so my make-up’s gone bye-bye, I can’t eat, my voice sounds like a chainsaw and I look like I’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge. What then, I ask myself, does one do with all this exactly?

Well, thankfully, this particular one has an awesome best friend. Who, even more thankfully, is always filled with brilliant ideas.

Continue reading

Grace In The Face Of A Gathering Storm

Outside tonight, the wind is howling. Sometimes it dies and things start to still, but it’s never for long; mostly it just sounds like a poltergeist stuck in a blender, making the air spin and tumble through our house like some invisible tide of unruly miniature cyclones. Whirly whirlies we used to call them when I was a kid. I don’t know if they still do that. It’s halfway through an Australian summer, and I’m sitting here trying to comprehend the coolness in the air tonight. This is wrong: I know that. This is my favourite kind of weather, but I know I should be baking, sweating; randomly sticking my head in the freezer for a burst of ice and making cold towels for my neck out of drenched tea towels that have been used to roll up ice cubes into the material, to put over my face to help me sleep. That is the summer I have known all my life. By now we would’ve won the cricket and all been bunkering down for a summer of tennis. We’d be looking up at the perpetually blue sky, craning our hot, damp necks and wondering if this blistering dry would ever break. We’d watch, as desensitised as we could be, the nightly news reports stating that 85 percent of our state or more was drought affected. There would be digital maps of our coastlines, covered in red, yellow and orange patches to signify the level of desperation due to water shortage. There’d be stories about how farmers were being forced to hand feed their livestock, and the rock bottom prices for which said livestock were being forced to be sold. There’d be more stories about bushfires; how they were sweeping through acres of bushland as was always the case in this season, destroying everything in their path. An endless parade of scorched, parched faces and landscapes that we knew like the backs of our own hands.

Not surprisingly, it seems strange and wildly disconcerting to remember a time when the greatest prayer of this country was for a great fall of rain. Continue reading

UPDATE: How & Where You Can Donate to the QLD Floods Appeal

After posting yesterday about the QLD Flood Appeal, it has been really heartening, and extremely humbling, to see how many people have used this blog to get the word out about the importance of getting behind Queensland by providing financial assistance. Just in case for some unforeseen reason(s) you are unable to access the link provided to the Queensland Government Flood Donation Info Website, please find below all the details you will need to donate to this cause. Please note that the details below are exactly as appears on the Government site, and that the information on their site was last updated today (12 Jan, 2011). Continue reading