Too much excitement

One of my daughters is flying from
Singapore to Melbourne and my
thoughts turn to the idea of her high up in the sky within that metal bird.  
I do not suffer a fear of her flying so much as an uncomfortable awareness that, were
this bird to go wrong, it could all too easily drop from the sky and smash into
a thousand pieces onto the land or water below.  
So perhaps this fear can be linked to a terror of losing control.  I say terror because loss of control can
spell disaster and yet paradoxically it’s the thing we need to
manage more often than only once in our lifetimes.  It’s the thing that can help us scale moments of boredom
I cannot remember real boredom
until I hit adolescence, and then it became so much a part of my life whenever
I was faced with unstructured time, time in which I needed to find something to
do, something that might give me pleasure and make my time seem meaningful, otherwise I might have sunk into a state of inertia from which I could not drag myself. 
Before then, in my early teens
I still had the ability to at least give the illusion of having some purpose.  I wanted to be a poet.  In those days we gendered careers and my
family nickname, at least for a time became, ‘the poetess’.  
On days when my mother was away at work in
the old people’s home nearby I took a pencil and a small notebook in my dress
pocket, scaled the back fence and walked alone to the Farm Road estate. 
It surprises me now to
remember this time when I relished being alone. 
Alone in nature I thought then, alone with the plants and trees.  It took over from any call to the religious
life this call to nature, this call to join the poets.  
Sometimes a rush of feeling comes over me, a
feeling almost impossible to describe but when it comes I know I am in the grip
of the past, a sensation I felt as a child when something was fresh and new and
filled with pleasure. 
Frances Tustin who writes
about autistic states calls it ecstasy, a state of mind that can become a
problem if we cannot learn to deal with it. 
Too much bliss can overwhelm almost as much as too much terror.  Think of it as the sensation of dissolving, of
falling apart, of not having any sense of yourself, anything to which you might keep your
thoughts anchored.
Forgive me these abstractions
but I am trying to find my way though the memory of those long lone walks
through the Farm Road estate when I tried to convince myself that the land
cleared for new housing developments and the old deserted chook shed soon to be
demolished to make way for further housing developments could at the same time
be a source of the beauty of nature.  
I
looked upwards to the tips of the Lombardy poplars that flanked the
once neat market garden in the back streets of Cheltenham and imagined the
grandeur of Italian skies. 
Look to the sky and you can
always find beauty.  We cannot spoil the
sky except perhaps with smoke but even then there is a cloudlike intensity to
the shape of smoke as it billows and furls that can also hold beauty.  
I do not reflect on beauty
these days as I did when a child and I miss it. 
I try to find it in words but words are such tricky beasts.  They will not
be controlled and if they were they would be a bit like dead birds, which
brings me back to the metal bird flying through the sky, hurtling my daughter  home.
May that journey soon be over. 

The unutterable sadness of not finding a publisher.

Sometimes the search for a publisher calls for desperate
measures and most of the time I feel heartily ashamed
of asking my friends, who are already published, to put in a word for me here or
there. 
It seems disgraceful and yet it’s
what people do, especially when we do not have a reputation, when we do not
have a name.  
In desperate circumstances,
pride slips away. 
Most weeknights before I go to bed
or first thing in the morning before 7 am, I check the street for cars, my
family’s cars.  We live on a Clear Way in
the mornings from 7 am to 9 am.  Any cars
parked on our side of the road between those hours, during the week but not on weekends, will be booked by council
inspectors and then towed away.
To retrieve the car you pay $300.00
to the man in charge of the depot in Collingwood to where the car is towed and later
– you have a few weeks grace here – you also pay the council a fine of
$144.00. 
It’s an expensive exercise to park
in front of my house between the hours of 7 am and 9 am on weekdays. Visitors
beware.
On this morning when I had elected
to sleep till fifteen minutes past seven, I went outside first thing to collect
the newspaper.  To my horror my daughter’s
car was parked directly in front of our house. 
I ran back inside to get her car keys and to put on my shoes. 
I do not like to drive cars with
bare feet besides I’d need to park the car in the side street some distance
from home.  I pulled on my boots but did
not zip them up and ran flip flopping out of the house in my salmon pink terry
towelling gown.
 
The man was already dragging the car up onto his tow truck.
‘Please,’ I said. ‘It’s my daughter’s car.  She
needs it for work.’
My daughter, still asleep in bed, was
oblivious to all this. 
‘Sorry, but it’s already been
booked,’ the man said.  ‘Once it’s booked
I have no choice.’
He looked sorry enough, but even
then I figured the business of towing cars is his bread and butter.
It was only later after the drama
had died down that I recognised a mixture of compassion in the tow truck man’s eyes and
also his surprise.  I must have looked
like a wild woman, my undone boots flapping, my pink dressing gown and my
shrill voice.
 
My daughter paid
the price.  Fortunately, my husband could
get her to Collingwood to collect the car before she started work. 
Her excuse for leaving the car on
the street was one of confusion the night before.  She had come home late from friends and was
tired.  For some reason, she had thought
it was already Friday night.  
If I had planned to go out onto the
street and encounter a stranger from whom I would beg for mercy I might have dressed
better.  That is, if I had the time and presence of mind to prepare. 
But in desperate circumstances, we
behave desperately and bugger the consequences.