FRED – A Musical

FRED is my Book Musical. It’s the story of three lonely women living in adjoining apartments in a crowded city. They never open their doors or their hearts to one another until the power in the building fails and an electrician called FRED arrives to fix it.

As Fred fixes the fuses he chats to the women and comes up with a plan that will unite them in friendship and purpose. #heartwarming #redemptive #familyfriendly

https://m.tweeddailynews.com.au/news/fred-is-here-to-lend-an-ear/3434054/

Fred Poster

FRED Poster

 

The musical Premiered on the Gold Coast in July 2018.

Here’s to a long and happy life FRED.

Size Ten is the first song in the show. It is Alison’s I Want song. Alison is a lonely twenty-two year old girl who wishes she could lose weight and get down to a Size 10. If she could only get to that magical size all her problems would be solved, she thinks.

In this song she fantasizes about a gorgeous guy she met at the Mall and subsequently at the cemetery when he was visiting his mother and she was visiting her brother.

SIZE TEN  – ALISON

FRED 2

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN WHEN I SEE DENNIS COOPER AGAIN
AND NEXT TIME HE WON’T SURPRISE ME
AT THE MALL EATING HOT FUDGE WITH CARAMEL TOFFEE
I’LL BE SITTIN’ AT THE BAR IN MY TANK TOP AND JEANS SIPPING VODKA OR COOLING BLACK COFFEE

 

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN    FRED 1
WHEN I SEE DENNIS COOPER AGAIN
WE WERE CRUISING AT THE MALL IT WAS SUNDAY AFTERNOON
WE WERE BORED THERE WAS NOTHING ON TELE
AND HOW COULD HE BE THERE? I MEAN, DOES HE HAVE A LIFE?
THAT’S OF COURSE IF HE BREATHES THE SAME AIR

DENNIS COOPER – HE’S SO PERFECTFRED denis in cafe
NOT LIKE ME – I’M PLAIN FAT
FAT’S A SMALL WORD FOR SUCH A BIG THING
I PREFER SUPERFLUOUS FLESH
OR OBESE

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN – THE SIZE ALL THE MOVIE STARS ARE
NOTHING MOVES WHEN THEY RUN
NOTHING WOBBLES ABOUT
NOTHING BUDGES OR EVER GETS STUCK
NOT LIKE SUNDAY AT THE MALL WITH MY FRIEND CHERYL BLACK
AND THAT MORON IN THE MAKEOVER TRUCK

FRED Cheryl & Alison CHERYL BLACK SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND SINCE GRADE FIVE AND A HALF
SHE’S NOT PERFECT BUT I ASK YOU AN HOUR IN THE MAKEOVER TRUCK
AN HOUR IN THE TRUCK AND WHEN SHE CAME OUT
SHE LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME EXCEPT SHINY
BUT THE LADY IN THE TRUCK SAID SHE LOOKED LIKE A STAR ANGELINA, SHE CRIED
I SAID BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!

THAT’S WHEN I SAW DENNIS COOPERFRED 3A

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
IT’S THE SIZE I MUST BE TO FEEL SAFE
NOTHING EVER GOES WRONG AND NOBODY DIES
IN THE DAYS OF A TEN PERSON’S LIFE
NOT LIKE MY LIFE WHERE PEOPLE GET TOO SICK TO CARE
AND THEY DIE AND THEY DON’T SAY GOODBYE

IT WAS SUNDAY THE LAST DAY I SAW HIMFRED JD
AND HE JOKED AND HE SPARED ME HIS PAIN
WE TALKED ABOUT MEN AND OLD MOVIES
AND THE CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
HOW COULD SOMEONE LOOK SO GOOD WITH CANCER?
HOW CAN SOMEONE LIKE ME NEVER CRY?
HE WAS BRAVE, HE WAS YOUNG, HE WAS FUNNY
I NEVER TOLD HIM GOODBYE

FRED couple I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
AND I WANNA SEE MY BROTHER AGAIN
AND NEXT TIME I’LL SAY THE THINGS I MEANT TO SAY
AND I’LL ASK HIM IF HE HAS REGRETS
OR DREAMS THAT HE NEVER CAME CLOSE TO
OR PEOPLE HE’LL NEVER FORGET
MOBILE PHONES ARE SO HANDY
IF YOU’RE WAITING FOR BOYFRIENDS TO CALL
BUT THEY’RE A PAIN IN THE ARSE WHEN THEY FIND YOU
EATING FUDGE IN A CONE AT THE MALL
YOUR BROTHER JUST DIED – ARE YOU SITTING?
NO, I THINK I’M BEGINNING TO FALL
BUT CHERYL IS HERE AND SHE’LL GET ME HOME
BY THE WAY, THANKS FOR THE CALL

FRED 7IT RAINED LIKE IT DOES IN THE MOVIES
BUT HIS FUNERAL WENT ON JUST THE SAME
IT WAS SUNDAY THE ROSES HAD FALLENFRED 9
IN THE CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
CHERYL BOUGHT ME SOME FUDGE
WE WENT WALKING AND I SIGHED BUT HAD NOTHING TO SAY
CHERYL SAID LIFE GOES ON WE SHOULD LIVE IT
BUT MY BROTHER STILL GETS IN THE WAY
DON’T I KNOW YOU? SAID SOMEONE, HIS BACK TO THE SUN
THE GIRL WITH THE FUDGE I RECALL
YEH THAT’S ME, I SAID SOFTLY, THE FAT GIRL IN THONGS,
THE FUDGE, THE SHOUTING, THE MALL
FRED JAMES DeanDENNIS COOPER, HE SAID WITH A GRIN
DENNIS COOPER – THE PERFECT THE COOL
DENNIS COOPER WITH A FLOWER FOR HIS MOTHER
I COME WEEK DAYS, HE SAID, AS A RULE
CAN I SIT? HE SAID GENTLY ‘WHY NOT?’
AND WE STARED AT MY BROTHER’S RED ROSE
WHO WAS HE? HE ASKED WITHOUT BLINKING
MY BROTHER, I SAID, IN REPOSE

DENNIS COOPER, THE PERFECT, WAS CRYING
AND I CRIED FOR THE FIRST TIME MYSELFFRED 3
THEN HE GAVE ME THE FLOWER FOR HIS MOTHER
AND HE SAID DON’T PUT LOVE ON THE SHELF

FRED 10I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
WHEN I VISIT MY BROTHER AGAIN
AND TELL HIM MY LIFE IS IN PROGRESS
AND TELL HIM HIS WASN’T IN VAIN
AND TELL HIM THE SUN STILL HAS MOMENTS
IN THIS CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
AND TELL HIM THE THINGS I AM PLANNING
AND TELL HIM GOOD LUCK IN THE SKYFRED 2A
AND TELL HIM I’LL SEE HIM IN HEAVEN
BUT FOR NOW I WILL TELL HIM GOODBYEFRED 9

Halloween

Halloween 2Halloween means  “All Hallows’ Eve” Allhallowe’en or All Saints’ Eve celebrated on 31st October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day and for traditionalists it begins a 3-day observance of Allhallowtide or a time of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the loved ones passed over.

It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain which was absorbed into Christianity as Halloween by the early Church.

Interesting because when I was living in America and married to a born-again Christian who worried my soul was doomed if I didn’t get “saved” I had to listen to a Pastor rail against Halloween for almost the entire service. He warned us if we participated we would almost certainly risk hell. This sour nonsense was followed by what I can only describe as an episode of truly bone-chilling “talking in tongues” from some woman in the front pew whose entire body arched backwards as she spewed forth this garbled rhetoric that was later translated as a warning from God, you guessed it, dissing Halloween.

But how dangerous can Halloween be with diabolical activities like door-to-door trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, dressing up in costume and watching the umpteenth repeat of The Addams Family Values (my preferred Halloween viewing)?

In answer to the revved up Christian Pastor at that Church in Seattle in 1997 the word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates back to 1745 and is of Christian origin. It means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening” and comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve. So it’s a pity the Pastor didn’t do his homework instead of ruining some harmless fun planned by the kids and a few of the big kids like me.

To quote from Wikipedia

“History
Gaelic and Welsh influence

An early 20th-century Irish Halloween mask displayed at the Museum of Country Life.
Today’s Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots. Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that “there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and though associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived”. Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for ‘summer’s end’.”

Samhain was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and was celebrated on 31 October – 1 November in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. A kindred festival was held at the same time of year by the Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany; a name meaning “first day of winter”. For the Celts, the day ended and began at sunset; thus the festival began on the evening before 7 November by modern reckoning (the half point between equinox and solstice). Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and Welsh literature. The names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century, and are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween. Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year. Like Beltane/Calan Mai, it was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned. This meant the Aos Sí the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into this world and were particularly active. The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them. The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world. In 19th century Ireland, “candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the dead. After this the eating, drinking, and games would begin”.

Halloween 3

From at least the 16th century, the festival included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales. This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and hobby horses were part of other yearly festivals. However, in the Celtic-speaking regions they were “particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers”.

On All Hallows’ Eve, Christians in some parts of the world visit cemeteries to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of their loved ones.

It has been suggested that the carved jack-o’-lantern, a popular symbol of Halloween, originally represented the souls of the dead. On Halloween, in medieval Europe, fires served a dual purpose, being lit to guide returning souls to the homes of their families, as well as to deflect demons. Households in Austria, England and Ireland often had “candles burning in every room to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes”. These were known as “soul lights”. Many Christians in mainland Europe, especially in France, believed “that once a year, on Hallowe’en, the dead of the churchyards rose for one wild, hideous carnival” known as the danse macabre.

“In Cajun areas, a nocturnal Mass was said in cemeteries on Halloween night. Candles that had been blessed were placed on graves, and families sometimes spent the entire night at the graveside”.

The Church seems to have developed a real fear of this harmless and rather delightful tradition. I think it’s lovely to believe the veil between worlds thins for at least one night of the year and the bonds of love can be acknowledged and forged between the caretakers of the this world and the inevitable next. I will be wearing my usual horns and welcoming all the little ghosts and ghoulies and witches in my neighbourhood with chocolate crackles and mini-flakes.

Happy Halloween All!

Photo1875

Put a spell on you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

7d782d7193f645b9c94d4ccbed6efbb0Everybody’s angry these days, simmering with prickly discontent or snapping impatiently. And at family gatherings  I see people yawning and sighing over stories of unmet aspirations they’ve heard a million times before. The eyeroll and deep breath signalling to empathic others that here he goes again talking about that tired old dream he’s been chasing for forty years. 

Why doesn’t he give up and let us all get some peace?

In fact, how about we all give up on our dreams and just have fun? Would we be more contented, easy-going and patient as a species? Look at sloths. They don’t bother hurrying for anybody and they seem pretty contented.

The problem is that we are conditioned from birth to expect satisfaction in all areas of our lives, miracles even. Romance will lift our station and complete us. The right job will buy us a nice house, car, lifestyle. Good friends will make weekends fun. It’s all possible of course with education. Education is a magic wand, wave it and you will have choices and ANYTHING YOU WANT.

Really?

When I was out of work and once again burdening Centrelink I was offered a set of courses to make me “work ready”. They included Business, Sales and Hospitality. When I was asked which of these three best aligned with my preferred career I was at a loss to answer. “What would you like to be doing if you had the choice?” they asked patiently.

“I’d like to run my own Musical Theatre Production Company and in conjunction with that I’d like to write more novels and lyrics for the best composers on earth.”

“We can help you get a job in a shoe store in Westfield.”

“Or there’s that new Call Centre opening up,” added someone helpfully.

I ended up doing the Sales Course and when that finished I got a job washing dishes at a local café whilst completing my online Creative Writing Course. When I finished my Writing Course I started writing in the morning before work and in the evening after work. That pattern continued for almost a decade and then in 2007 I won the Women’s Weekly/Penguin Short Story Contest which gave me enough prize money to quit my dishwashing job and stay home and write for almost a year.

I was lucky. I knew what I wanted in life and I took the elementary steps required to prepare myself for the responsibility of realising my dream. Not that I’m there yet but it’s getting closer and when I get there I will be competent enough to handle the challenges. In the meantime, there is the ongoing challenge of being patient, which brings me full circle to my opening statement. Why are so many people prickly and angry?

People feel cheated. They bow to convention, take the jobs that pay well and promise to give them everything money can reasonably buy. They marry the “right” person who not only fulfils their romantic fantasies but also halves the bills or gives them a leg up to a higher social rung. But they’re not satisfied. Something’s missing and when they dare to complain they are told they’re ungrateful or in need of a holiday.

A holiday. Now what the hell does that ever do short of emptying the account? A mindless booze-fest where we attempt water-skiing or paragliding only to end up injured. And has anything changed back home? For a week we feel better but then the old ennui sets in.

An affair. There’s a great solution. Get involved with a pretty stranger who doesn’t find you repetitive and dull. It’s so nice to be appreciated again. But that doesn’t last and when the glitter settles you wake up one day, older and sadder and soiled and wasted and wondering why you screwed up a perfectly OK mediocre marriage.

Now you’re living alone and for a while it’s fun learning how to do things for yourself and not worrying about pleasing someone else. But then it gets lonely and the old dissatisfaction takes hold.

Midlife and you wonder what it was all about. Life. What the hell was it supposed to deliver and how come it didn’t deliver to you? And then one day you remember being fourteen and standing on a beach looking out to sea, the horizon glittering with the promise of adventure. You stood there for ages imagining sailing over that horizon and onwards until, looking back, the shore had slipped away and nothing divided you from acres of blue. You wondered about the night sky at sea, how it would look crusted with stars that reflected in a mirror of ocean. Floating on this star-crusted eternity you felt yourself expand and become one with the universe. Not a sound. A silence so profound it seemed to breathe and you felt alive. ALIVE. And then you remembered you had dreamed of being a sailor but your parents thought there was no future in that and persuaded you to study Law. There was more money in Law, more security. If you still wanted  to sail you could buy a yacht later and make it a weekend hobby.

You never did. Somehow it all just slipped away and you forgot the boy and the sea and the dream and even now when there’s no-one to answer to, no-one who would really care or try to stop you still you don’t bother buying that yacht because something inside has died, a spark has gone out and it can’t be rekindled. And even if it could it’s all too much bother now.

So, why are people so prickly and angry? Because this world encourages and applauds compromise at the expense of LIFE.

1407170216361s207_m

October 15th A lioness kills a male lion in an Indianapolis Zoo in an unprovoked attack.

DdICT9KUQAAkvBVOctober 15th A lioness kills a male lion in an Indianapolis Zoo in an unprovoked attack. 

That’s the headline and it seems shocking beyond belief. Other way round not so shocking. My response might have been well what did they expect? Putting a full-grown male lion in with a lioness and her cubs? Stupid. Even if he was the father of the cubs. Aggression is in his nature. Stupid to think something like this wouldn’t happen.

So why is the reverse sending shock waves over the internet? People are posting pictures of Nyack, the murdered lion, and sending their love and locals are saying they used to love to hear his first roar of the day and what a lovely gentle creature he was. The keepers say Zuri dominated Nyack from the get-go. She always pushed him around. But he was kind to their cubs and a decent young fellow so…

What was Zuri thinking?

Indeed. What was Zuri thinking to act so like a man? Or at least to emulate the kind of behaviour we have to endure from some men. The men for instance who sanctioned and perpetrated the violent and obscene murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a decent man who was speaking up, indeed roaring for, humanity.

Why are Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince whitewashing this murder, brushing it off with “rogue killers”… as in “shit happens, get over it?”

Shit happens. Yes, it does, in an atmosphere of tolerance and dismissal. Some men are violent and murderous and we tacitly accept that this type of man will murder decent men like Jamal Khashoggi who are trying to change the status quo and introduce justice and equality where there is injustice and inhumanity fuelled by a gluttonous reductive economy run on  a handshake and a wink it seems.

So, whilst we wearily nod and sigh over Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, shock waves are dislodging reason over the death of Nyack by his spouse of eight years. To quote from the article. “For eight years, Nyack and Zuri coexisted without incident and had “done really well together” during that time, Hagan told WIBC. “We don’t know what the precursor to the fight was,” he said.”

We don’t know what the precursor to the fight was. Do we need to know? It was over-reaction surely on Zuri’s part. But why is this so disturbing?

Zuri

Zuri

Because we expect more from women. We hope for more from women. Indeed certain elements of society are banking on women to save the world. I hear it increasingly as a kind of litany “We need to put women in charge to clean up the mess men have made.” But if women start acting like the worst kinds of men… If women start killing their decent spouses like Zuri did… If women kill decent men in front of their daughters… Yes, this is what Zuri did. She murdered Nyack in front of her daughter. She taught her daughter to hate men and murder them unprovoked.

Maybe Zuri is just a rogue lioness.

Maybe. But what if women start fighting back? What if women start acting like certain men? What if women are fed up with waiting for power and take it by force?

We need someone to hold the light for humanity. Women carry the submissive light-bearers portfolio. We didn’t ask for it but as film-maker James Cameron said, “Women are caretakers.” God knows, someone has to be. When the time comes, if it ever does, and if isn’t just a nursing-until-death role, for the mantle of power to be transferred to women, it is vital we maintain the stance of nurturers and light-bearers rather than adopt the stance of warriors. God knows, we’ve had centuries of pointless sacrifice and forced ideologies at the sword-point of male domination. It hasn’t worked.

When the time comes women must be so certain they are right and so prepared for leadership that the transition to peaceful, nurturing growth-oriented life will be made without incident or bloodshed and hopefully the Zuris of this world will be securely locked into therapy.

Nyack

Nyack

The Last Tale

24710123._SX540_   Recently composer Shanon D. Whitelock got in touch with me after a silence of a couple of years to say he felt ready to complete our musical The Last Tale. Great news!

This musical is a monster project and Shan and I have been round the block a time or two deciding which direction to take with this “tale as old as time”. The last thing either one of wants is to replicate any of the splendid iterations of Alf Layla Wa-Layla/A Thousand and One Tales aka The Arabian Nights. We want it to be fresh and modern whilst retaining the grandeur and magic of ancient Baghdad. Fortunately, there is so much material to choose from in the wealth of literature abounding and the musical instruments with exotic Middle Eastern tones and flavour are like a treasure trove.

It’s not surprising that about three-quarters of the way into the project we both lost the threads that would lead us safely through the labyrinth but here we are back again and seasoned with successes individually both here in Australia and in London. We can approach with energy and enthusiasm the challenge of synthesising the first and second acts without losing momentum.

In a nutshell Scheherazade, the famous storyteller of the Nights’ Tales, has been on a sabbatical for a decade and enjoyed a well-earned rest from the tyrannous demands of her psychotic and insatiable husband, King Shariah, but now the old demons are stirring and he wants a new tale. Brand new. The lady is exhausted and indifferent, not to mention coddled by the adulation of her people and the legions of fans who pour into Baghdad once a year to hear her tell one of her stellar tales and also to catch a glimpse of her because let’s be honest, she’s quite a looker. Shariah not so much. He’s jaded and fat and riddled with gout and of course, murderous as ever. Spoiler alert. You’ll have to wait for the opening to find out what happens next but suffice it to say this show is going to be magnificent.

Exciting times ahead.

free-arabian-nights-vector-illustration

Depression

The state of depression is spiritual flux caused by a variety of things. In no particular order – frustration, fear, resistance to change, grief, exhaustion, atrophy, entropy, excitement, deflation, past experience. All kinds of stimuli can put us in that dark space we loathe and fear. How many times have you felt the encroaching shadows of that old familiar despair and wished you could be someone else or somewhere else for a day?

For those of us who know the triggers, depression is hard to avoid. Mine are seeing yet another rejection in my inbox, cement walls, too much prolonged grey or being stuck emotionally, physically or psychologically in a set of circumstances that play out the same way every day. Most recently I had the misfortune of flatting with a narcissist whose constant demands on my time and attention finally drove me into one of the worst and most prolonged depressions I’ve ever experienced. Years ago an ex-boyfriend’s drug and alcohol dependence had a similar effect but that was a walk in the park compared with the bleak mental cage this woman’s neediness locked me into. All my tricks and safety devices – walking, writing, ferry rides, gardening, cake! – failed. Because her demands were so frequent I had little or no down-time to regroup. Leaving that house was the only way I could deal with it in the end.

Having said all that depression is for me, a loss of hope.

HOPE is that pinpoint of light upon which I can fix my compass and navigate my way out of the well. HOPE goes hand-in-hand with FAITH. Faith in self and faith in whatever higher power makes sense to you. I have come to believe over the years that we all co-create our lives with a higher power. Too many coincidences partnered with too many serendipitous encounters are proof against will power alone being the mapmaker.

DEPRESSION and UNCERTAINTY. There is a way through. First identify your passion and make it your path. Then stick to it and watch the coincidences start to occur. This alone is not a cure for depression but it does build a strong foundation for the kind of faith that breaks the fall. I am a believer in spirit. I also believe we are eternal and this life is just one experiment in BEING. Based on that I think we are at an interesting, if challenging, place in our spiritual journeys. I think we are transitioning out of being herd creatures i.e. believing in the safety of numbers into creatures who think alone and risk autonomy over our paths and experiences. We are learning to fly and in flight there must be room for wingspan and the energy it takes to remain aloft. Thinking for yourself and really embracing the gift/curse of freewill is scary and at times, dangerous, but it’s where we’re at, I think.

Hypothesis I know, but go with me for a minute. If I’m right and we are transitioning into what can only be described as angels then some of us are embodying a whole lot more energy than others. By that I mean we are accepting the energy that comes with autonomy. More energy means faster decision-making, swifter and more certain calls to action and impatience with those who follow old maps and familiar paths rather than trusting their intuition and THEMSELVES and embracing the unknown. These people will hold us back, slow us down and fail to catch the excitement bubbling up within us at the prospect of a brand new experience. These people may well be in positions of power over our creative project’s fruition or failure. I have experienced this so often. Publishers and theatre makers afraid of the unknown and clinging to the familiar because they are scared of making a mistake with Jo Public and losing their well-paid jobs! They don’t “get” ideas that are unfamiliar and paths that are not on their old maps. And so they block us or worse, force us to change direction and follow the old familiar paths that offer no resistance and no surprises. Don’t do it. Trust yourself and wait for a braver mentor or boss.

DEPRESSION = A LACK OF OPPORTUNITY AND SUPPORT

DEPRESSION = BEING STUCK

I’m not saying it’s always someone else’s fault. Obviously we must look for other ways and other partners and that requires even more FAITH. If your depression is the result of being blocked or misunderstood or undervalued then I advise pulling back into your own space and changing partners – in business, life and friendships. Cut and don’t look back. If your depression is fuelled by the loss of someone you loved then you are the bravest person I know and all I can do is listen and hold your hand until you are ready to let go.

A final word. An angel once told me “Goodbye is just an illusion.” CTMM MOVIE

Musings

Brilliant handling of depression by author Kent Wayne

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

One of the ways I deal with depression is I sit in it, acknowledge it, lay out what needs to be done (even if it’s something mundane), and start doing it.  This “de-personalization” of depression seems to reduce the overwhelming immediacy of it, and gives me some room to remember that my problems really aren’t that bad.  Then, eventually, the depression fades, and I find my way back to a state of balance.

I used to rage against it, or flee from it, but those approaches never worked for me and often amplified my problems.  I now think of depression as simply another natural state, one that must be acknowledged and handled.  And so is happiness, I think.  They both come and go, and in the tides of time, I believe they are simply states of being that I must address accordingly.  Sometimes, I…

View original post 9 more words

Saturday Night

Featured Image -- 356On Saturday I went out with some friends to see a matinee of a new Australian musical called Evie May at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point followed by dinner. Show – fabulous. Dinner – outstanding. Company – delightful.

Now Potts Point is the swanky end of Sydney’s red-light district, King’s Cross, and even though the liquidambars have grown to Eastern Suburbs over-arching proportions and clear sunlight scores off the paved sidewalk and the Porcupine Fountain (all Sydneysiders call it that, nobody knows what its real name is) spits joyfully twenty-four-seven there is still a sad, grimy furbelow to the streets of the Cross and the first-floor apartments of the 30s tenements, the ones that have escaped the developers cosmetic wand, still harbour the oldest profession on earth.

My friends and I were walking through the Cross on our way to the matinee when I saw a girl leaning against the wall of a tenement building slowly making up her face. When the matinee finished two and a half hours later, we passed the same girl on our way to dinner and incredibly she was still applying her make-up.

This morning I woke up with this girl clear in my mind even though the rest of the day was starting to fade into a warm, blended impression of laughter, great singing and a lovely meal. But the girl…I started to write about her in the first person, something I used to do when I was a young actress. I put myself in her psyche and wrote this. Read on.

I powder my chin, the biggest part of my face. In my tiny compact it looks like a mountain and I wish I could reduce it to a pimple with layers of foundation and powder. But nothing takes away the peaky witches point of a chin that draws a sinister line under my otherwise pretty face. I curse my father for my chin, my lips moving over words I can’t say out loud. The cops have warned me more than once. I don’t know what time it is. Daytime, that’s all I know and by the look of the crowd – well-dressed women from across the Bridge and gay couples out for a schmooze I’m guessing it’s mid-afternoon. It’s legal now, gays getting married. That’s good, I reckon. Why shouldn’t they get married if they want to? It’s good.

The wall is cold against my back, hard and brittle as Autumn even though it’s Spring. I know the seasons by the tree across the road, the new leaves are pale and minty and uncurling like grubs. Spring leaves. By mid-summer the leaves are getting tired and dusty like me. I feel like I’ve been on this corner forever but it’s only been three years. Three Christmases. Three new dresses. Time has no measure for me really. I can’t afford to look too far ahead in case there’s nothing there. Up the stairs, down the stairs, grab a takeaway, repeat until Christmas when Jimmy lets me buy myself “something nice”. A new dress. He says get whatever you want but I know he means another work outfit, short dress so I don’t have to take it off. Better that way. Faster. Earn more money for Jimmy. Up the stairs, down the stairs. What’s his name? What’s his preference? I usually know. The angry ones want fast and kinky. The lonely ones want skin and warmth. The old ones want a hard-on and the young ones want heaven.

My chin is done at last and now for my mouth – two lines of red like the showgirls who giggle past me at midnight. Gorgeous and tall and dressed like parakeets. I wish I could be one of them but Jimmy says I’ve left it too late. There’s years of training, he says. But I can do my face like them. Red lips same colour as the lines on the wrists of that girl from Europe. She only lasted a week before slashing her wrists. Cops took her away and Herman, our landlord got a warning. Cops never shut him down. Poor old guy lived through the Holocaust. Poor old sod.

Nobody even knew her name, the girl who died. She didn’t speak English. Used to cry in between clients. Couldn’t turn it off like me. Feelings. History. You got to draw a line under your past and push your feelings down. When they took her away they covered her with a white sheet and put her on a stretcher. Herman locked himself in his apartment and played loud Germanic opera music to shut out the pain but I followed her down to the street, said a little prayer for her as they put her in the ambulance. It drove off slowly, didn’t put its siren on cause she was already dead.

Why does God let people suffer like that? Kill herself. She was only young. I mean, where was God when she unpacked those razorblades? I wouldn’t let a dog suffer like God lets His children suffer. We are His children, nuns on the mission said so and He loves us, they said. Well, if that’s love…

When she was gone I was still standing on the street, no make-up, just me the way I would’ve been if Jimmy hadn’t found me and got me into the game. A pretty girl about my age smiled at me, caught me off-guard. I smiled back and suddenly all these feelings I’d been pushing down surfaced and they terrified me so much I pulled the shutters down fast, made my eyes turn to glass again, hiding me and reflecting the street. The girl’s smile faded and was replaced by a hurt, puzzled look and I felt mean. But that’s how it’s got to be. You can’t get involved. You can’t.

I’m up to my nose now, beaky, sharp as a bird’s. Blame my father again, whoever he was. Foundation and powder to soften the sharp edges. Three ladies pass me and one pauses, opens her mouth as if to speak and thinking better of it, hurries on. They’re going to the theatre round the corner, I can tell by their clothes, arty types, confident, not so judgemental as some. The sun is right overhead and the pavement glitters like they crushed up diamonds in the cement. The fountain is hissing and looks like a firecracker, the kind you see on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve, Christmas, birthdays don’t mean anything to me. Just another day. I climb the stairs just the same, crawl up to my tiny room with the curtains drawn and the bed taking up most of the space. There’s a shared bathroom and a shared kitchen down the hall. In my room there’s a wardrobe for my work dresses, the bed for my work and a tiny desk, “In case I want to study something,” said the landlord, Herman. “Reading opens up worlds,” he says.

I can’t read. I tried to learn. The nuns on the mission caned me every day. “You’re not trying,” they said. Whack. Whack. I was trying. The letters danced all over the page and I couldn’t make words out of them let alone sentences.

“You’ll never amount to anything if you can’t read or write,” said mum. “You’ll end up a whore.”

Jimmy doesn’t call us that. He calls us self-employed. Jimmy handles my money for me because I can’t open a bank account and he pays all my bills. I get what I need to buy food and treats – a bit of junk now and then although Jimmy says he won’t tolerate his girls using. But we all do. It helps keep the feelings down.

Now I’m ready to do my eyes. I hate this part. My father’s eyes, mum says, flashes of green that give away the white part of me. I hate looking into my eyes because I see these green goblins peeping out of all the brown like woodland creatures, wild and free. The nuns said I’d be free if I could only learn to read and write. Free to do what? Travel? Open up worlds, like Herman says?

Black eyeliner and silver eyeshadow. Funny, I see those same three ladies coming back again. This time they all look at me and I can see pity in their eyes and for a moment I fucking hate them and I want to scream abuse at them. They can read and write. Fuck ’em. I pull the shutters down and check my face in my compact. Nice old-fashioned word “compact”. Mum give it to me before I left Darwin. “Here,” she said, “you’ll need one of these. All city girls carry compacts. Your Dad give it to me years ago. I never use it. It’s for white skin.” She flicked it open and there was this pat of creamy powder. “Your skin’s pale enough to pass for white. You should pretend to be white. If anybody asks don’t mention me. Just your Dad. He was a shearer. I think.”

It’s getting dark now. Shadows falling. The fountain and the pavement have lost their sparkle and the tree shivers. My eyes are nice and hard now, two brown and green-flecked marbles reflecting only the street. Jimmy says I’ve got at least another two years of this and then I’ll have to think of something else to do cause men won’t want me anymore. I won’t be fresh enough. A man comes round the corner, coat pulled tight, collar turned up, lonely middle-aged, shoulders stooped. He’ll be my first client of the evening. He stops in front of me, nervous. I nod and turn and he follows me up the stairs.

As he groans and sweats I look past his juddering shoulder at the tiny desk in the corner of my room. “In case you want to study something.” I wonder. If I had a patient teacher. Not Jimmy. Someone like Herman. He’d love a bit of company. He just sits alone in his room listening to opera all the time. Maybe if he could teach me how to anchor the letters so they became words, became sentences… Jimmy doesn’t need to know. It would just be between me and Herman. I could give him  a bit of head now and then for payment. Jimmy don’t need to know. And I could learn from his books. He’s got a whole wall of books and they’re not all in Hebrew or German. There’s English, too.

By the time my client has dressed himself and left a handful of bills on my desk I’ve made up my mind. I put on some fresh undies and head downstairs but not back out onto the street. Herman’s playing some German opera and I have to knock really hard to make him hear. The music snaps off and the door creaks open. Herman looks at me surprised.

“Don’t get me involved,” he says, looking around for Jimmy.

“Jimmy ain’t here. He’s at the races. He won’t be back till he’s lost all his money.”

“What is it then?”

“Teach me to read.”

Herman blinks, makes me repeat it. He considers, frowns, nods and then smiles.

“Good. Good girl. I’ll teach you to read and then Liebling, the world’s your oyster.”

I don’t know what that means but I remember the nuns telling us that in some oysters you’ll find a pearl.