Tonight, I am taking the time to fill in my blog.
You can’t imagine what a pleasure this is. I’ll hate myself for it tomorrow when i realise that I have two assignments and an essay to do, and submarines to research, and twenty hours’ work to get through to earn a crust, and people to see and places to be and food to make and buses to catch, but…piffle to the lot of ‘em! I have had (another!) stunningly fun weekend, and I feel great, and I’m at home drinking coffee, and I’m going to do what I want. Which is listen to Down II: A Bustle in your Hedgerow, and update my blog.
And look at it! What a blog! WHAT a BLOG! I’ve been tweaking the settings and updating the pages and generally making this feel like a relevant part of my life again instead of a chore which I have to churn out every Sunday. See the colours! SEE ALL THE WORDS.
That new header image? It’s a section of a close-up of a magnificently misted pool near Crow’s Nest Falls in Toowoomba, where I was last weekend. Waterfalls, rock wallabies, sheer cliffs and beautifully cold water. Ach, but this life is good living. Little breezes bearing down on me.
That background image? If you peer off to the right you might make out my name. It’s a picture of my dad’s annotated copy of my novel, By His own Hands, which I’m going to keep on editing as friends’ advice trickles in, and then start tarting up in the hopes of prospective publication. Ambition, you vest in me a chord of joy.
This is good. This is what it is, where it is, how a mind is meant to feel when it’s got a direct neural link to the fingertips. I have been finding it hard of late, just to find the time to create, but…I can’t complain. I don’t! My job may be time-intensive and less than completely fulfilling, but those 20 hours pour money into my account every week, and for the first time since landing in Australia I’m not having my psyche scratched by the fell claws of money-stress. My other workloads may be large and pressing, but what workloads to have! I’ve got a novel to edit, another to write (being put on ice as part of my much-needed time reorganisation), a novella to research (an ensemble drama set on a submarine, which I’ll be submitting to both my university writing course and Unearthed), and a bunch of university stuff – lit essay, linguistic transcription – which is allowing me to do all this exchange-year stuff in the first place. Ooh-RAH!
You’re in a good mood, Aran, you think (in a friendly but slightly condescending fashion). Yeah, I am. Do you know what I did last night? I celebrated my upcoming 21st birthday on the Gold Coast. Thomas’ 21st birthday was last week, so we doubled up on celebrating, and took a group of friends to crash a motel room and party like what young folk are meant to. It was brilliant. Refreshing! We even got presents; apple and blueberry pies from Scarlett, a tie (for me) and a stuffed monkey (for Thomas) from long-distant comrade Morgan, and a MASSIVE BARREL OF PLASTIC ARMY MEN from Andi. PLASTIC ARMY MEN. Next time you have a party, bring plastic army men. They’re fantastic.
And then there was just some time to chill. To sit by a fire on the beach made out of palm fronds and fence-posts with Rachael, and feel the coruscating heat of orange flames in a saline night. To sit at an all-you-can-cram buffet the next morning with everyone, laughing at jokes both inane and intelligent while having seconds of jelly and ice-cream. To blow up thirty balloons, then pop them all the next morning with a corkscrew. To play, and lose at, flip-cup! To dash into the ocean!
Now, that other ocean, the one that validates the dashing into the real one. Work work write chew think wonder. Watch days fly by like crazed jackdaws chasing half-berserk weasels. But that ocean has to flow into this one. 21, for all the significance it’s meant to have, is just another number. Key of the door? Had one years ago, dahhling. 20 hours work per week is just a number too.
But if numbers make up this life, then let ‘em. If the means wants to justify the ends, then cut it loose and let it. Life is holistic. Maybe the id matters as much as the ego. Maybe those flames on the beach are fueled by the stress and obligations that they’re an escape from. Maybe the smoke is the mirror.
Not making much sense? Maybe not. I think what I’m saying, really, is…that when I’m engaged with the world, in whatever way, then there’s no such thing as a wasted second. And what I’m saying by that is that…I’m okay. I really, really, am…okay.
Key of the door!