Saturday, September 17, 2011

A sock in the Vegemite jar

I woke this morning to an ear worm in my head, an ear worm from the German ohrwurm, a song that keeps on repeating itself however much I might try to stop the soundtrack.

It’s faded now but I dare not repeat the words of this song here for fear it will return like a recurring night mare. It’s relentless.

I had fully intended to go to an Al-Anon meeting this week, a meeting devised for the children, friends and partners of alcoholics, not to deal with any present concerns of mine but to deal with the past.

It might seem a strange thing to do but I have started to write about my childhood memories of going to an Alateen meeting with several of my sisters and brothers but the memories are so vague and disjointed that to write about them would essentially be to make them up.

Wouldn’t it be better, I thought, to see what such a meeting is like today?

When I mentioned this idea to my daughters they were horrified. How would the other people at the meeting feel? My daughters’ misgivings sowed seeds of doubt into my own head. I might be seen as an intruder.

‘What are you going to say to them,' one of my daughters asked, 'when it comes to telling your story? Are you going to say my father, who's been dead now for almost thirty years, was an alcoholic?’

I had thought I might say just that but I could not say I’ve come here today because I want to write about this experience, embedded in the experience of my past. So for the moment I have shelved the idea.

I have another idea for a piece of writing percolating in the back of my mind, but this one I shall keep to myself for a while, in part because I will only know about it more fully when I write it, and partly because, as with the Al-Anon plan I described above, I fear too early exposure will ruin it.

Does this happen to you? You have an idea in your mind. It feels full, rich and ready to be explored. You feel excited and effervescent with the energy of it but as soon as you start putting it into place it collapses like a house of cards.

I am riddled with the disappointment of such failed ideas, like dreams that are with me first thing in the morning still pulsing with energy only to be gone completely by mid morning.

I wish I could say the same for my ear worm. It’s still echoing there in the back of my head and I refuse to invite it into the forefront because it will once again persecute me and not let me be.

I had thought I could write the words of my earworm here and sort of evacuate them onto the page, but that might then send the ear worm off into your head, such things can be contagious, though only the words written on the page might not have enough of an effect to send them over to you. No, you’d need the music as well. So be grateful you’re spared.

I visited a blog for the first time yesterday that I think is worth a mention here. I don’t usually mention other people’s blogs - there are so many wonderful blogs out - there but this one caught my attention because of the visual element, and also because, as I said in one of my comments to Richard at Eyelight about his post Do I know you?, he has done something similar to what I believe Tracy Emin tried to do in her exhibit all those years ago with her My Bed.

The exhibit caused quite a stir at the time as I recall. How could anyone call an unmade bed art? Only when I read a more detailed account of Tracy Emin’s exhibit in a paper that likened autobiography to the ‘rumpled bed’ did I realise the extent of this work as a piece of self-portraiture and something many of us bloggers today attempt to do with our descriptions of the bric-a-brac of our lives, our small snap shots and vivid details both of the past and present that in themselves are like rumpled beds - if I dare to use the bed you sleep in as an analogy for a life. The entire bedroom is perhaps better.

The other day I found a photograph of my mother in her bedroom some fifty years ago. In it my mother poses in front of her Queen Anne mirror which has long fascinated me. Sometimes when my parents were away, I stood in front of this dresser and folded the mirrored arms around me. When I looked either to my right or to my left, I could see my image repeated again and again, ever decreasing in size, on and on into infinity. I could see my back and my front multiplied, and when I turned to the side, I could see my many profiles.

My mother in the photograph is one thing and I will write about that in the fullness of time but it was the rest of the room that soon caught my eye: the unmade bed, the clothes piled high on the chairs on either side, the cluttered bench below the mirror.

Not to confuse you, here's a picture of my mother in our lounge room. Note the amazing wall paper. My mother in her bedroom is not yet ready for publication.


I tend to divide houses into three types: those which could feature in a copy of Vogue Living, those which are cluttered and lived in to the full, and finally those that are squalid. I imagine there are multiple variations in between.

My house today is of the cluttered variety and I see and remember from this photo that so too was my mother’s house, the house of my childhood, which I thought then bordered on the squalid. It was probably not so.

My brother tells a story of visiting a friend when he was still in primacy school. My brother did not want to take off his shoes for fear they might stick to the floor, and later, at breakfast he found a sock in the vegemite jar.

The sock in the Vegemite jar has come to represent in my family the epitome of squalor. We joke about it when things are grim in terms of the untidiness of our household.

When we can find a sock in the vegemite jar, we will know that we have sunk to a new low.

There’s a cat in the back ground clamouring to be let inside my daughter's bedroom where she is now trying to sleep and therefore refuses to get out of bed to let the cat in. My daughter is happy for the cat to join her, but not to have to get out of bed to let her in, so I must do so.

Otherwise, the echo of the cat’s caterwauling might hit off another echo, the ever present earworm, and my head will be so full that I won’t be able to proof read the reformatted draft of my thesis, which is my next task for today.

50 comments:

Birdie said...

I have not gone to Al Anon for a long while but I know I need to go back again. Even though alcoholics are no longer in our lives we carry our behaviors we learned to deal with them forever.

I really want to know the song that is in your head! :-)

The Elephant's Child said...

I know that my alcoholic mama still haunts me and I assume that this is something that Al-Anon is also well aware of. I cannot see any problems with going to a meeting. Good luck with your projects.

I refer to the process within my head as cement mixing as ideas are churned around until they are in a state fit to be seen. Thank you for another thought provoking post.

Rob-bear said...

You've taken us an a fascinating journey, as always, Elisabeth.
I get those ear worm songs, too, quite regularly. I stay with them for a while (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), then move on to something else — which then occupies my head.
Sock in a Vegemite jar. Most peculiar phrase. Most peculiar image. As a northerner, I've never seen a Vegemite jar, let alone a sock in one. (It's an Aussie thing, surely.) But the image is haunting, and sad.

rraine said...

it's funny, isn't it, what catches us in a blog? i find the photo of your mom just stunning. the shadows, the implied forward movement, the wallpaper, and all the questions the photo poses.
the image of a sock in a vegemite jar-i was looking at vegemite in the grocery just today, wondering how anyone could eat it. the sock seems, well, right. kinda tastes like sock, doesn't it? :-)

Elizabeth said...

What a winding trip you've taken us on here, Elisabeth -- memories and stories and that photo of your mother and her imposing shadow -- well -- it lends itself to more story. Please.

Windsmoke. said...

My dad worked on the westgate bridge when it collapsed and from that day on he became an alcoholic and a very heavy smoker after seeing all his dead workmates bodies in the tangle of concrete and steel :-(.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I don't think it would be intrusive to go to an Al-Anon meeting. My mother was a psychologist who used to attend such meetings out professional interest some times and she said her presence was generally welcomed as long as she seemed to bring good will.

Anonymous said...

Elisabeth, I am visiting your blog for the first time and feel a pleasant sense of doppelganger about you.
Your history and your interests all seem quite familiar to me.
And FWIW, my experience of an Al-ateen meeting was very non-threatening and non judgemental. Everyone has there own reasons for being there and for some reason I only went once.
I was probably a self absorbed teenager at the time with a Scarlet O'Hara attitude.
Look forward to visiting you again.
Karen C

River said...

I've had my own ear worm for three days now. Connie Francis singing Sad Movies Always Make Me Cry.

Socks do not belong in vegemite jars, no matter how squalid the house.

Jim Murdoch said...

I am very protective of my ideas. I keep wondering what I’m going to do for my next novel and there are times I wish I was a genre writer and could just sit down and write a story and be done with it. I feel like a literary novelist but as always the shadow of doubt hangs over my head. It’s taken me long enough to even think that that bloke looking back at me from the bathroom mirror is a writer of any sort. But I have this idea and it isn’t going away. And I would love to talk about it, I really would, but, as you say there isn’t really much to talk about until I start writing and see what direction it takes. I’ve written about the idea that a piece of writing can get jinxed and so I do understand why you’re not ready to talk about your new project. I get it. To my mind though any piece of writing that I put my name to should be all my own work and where other have helped, e.g. Ken Armstrong checking the Irishisms in Milligan and Murphy, their contribution needs to be, and will be, acknowledged. But the simply fact is that Ken only got to see a finished product and that’s how I prefer to work. I don’t get all the sharing that goes on online. I have no problems passing comment on a piece of draft writing if it piques my interest and I think I have something worthwhile to contribute but you’ll note I never ask for advice and that’s most definitely an ego thing but not in a bad way; I take full responsibility for what I write. It irks me no end when I learn that artists have a team of helpers who build artworks to the designs provided by the artist and never get a mention in the history books. That’s not right.

Do some of my ideas never get off the ground? Of course. I have notebooks full of ideas and scraps of poems that I could never do anything with and maybe if I had chewed over the idea with a friend they might have offered me a perspective or a direction I had not considered but I can’t work that way. I sit and let the ideas stew and see what rises to the top. I’ve just about finished a two-part blog on intuition and it’s been illuminating. I don’t believe in inspiration in any Romantic sense of the word but the more I read about how the mind works the more I’m coming round to the opinion that my unconscious is far more involved in the creative process that I might have ever been willing to concede in the past; a lot of higher brain thinking is going on that we aren’t aware of. But our unconscious mind can only take ideas so far and that’s when it chucks them over to our conscious minds to work on. The important thing is to give our minds the time and space to properly gestate. I have another two-parter on boredom that comes to a similar conclusion.

Why do so many of your ideas collapse before they get started? My feeling is that they haven’t been properly thought through and that we’re in too much of a rush to get on with the next thing. I’m a writer therefore I should be writing. The thing is I am writing, constantly. There is more to being a writer than the physical act of writing. Look at Murnane. He admits that some of the ideas for his works of fiction have been floating around in his head for a good ten years. Well, that’s obviously how long it took his to do the necessary preparation before beginning to transcribe what’s in his head if we want to break the writing experience into its various components.

On ear worms: try asking someone what the theme tune to Little House on the Prairie is and the odds are they’ll come up with the theme tune to The Waltons and not be able to shake it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

If I work at a piece on the piano, trying to get it better, then I find it goes round and round in my head afterwards until it nearly drives me mad. I spoke to a neurologise about this and he says some professional musicians have this all the time, particularly after they retire.

As for having brilliant ideas that evaporate once written down - that happens to me all the time.

Ms. Moon said...

I can relate to every bit of this, dear Elisabeth. Especially the "house of cards," part. Oh my. I hate it when that energy falls apart, the ideas come tumbling down.
A sock in the vegemite jar? Okay, it would have to translate here to a sock in the peanut butter jar but I GET IT! And the line between cluttered and squalid does grow a bit thin sometimes.

Kirk said...

The worst kind of wormhole is when a tune you didn't even think you. liked keeps recurring in your head.

I know what it's like to have a seemingly fleshed-out idea in your mind only to put it down on paper (or computer screen) and see that you only really have the bare bones. Shows you much time and concentration writing really takes, even if you're quite gung ho about it.

JeannetteLS said...

Well, first I gotta thank Jim M. for putting both Little House's AND the Walton's themes in my head. Yeah. THANKS.

But you? I just love the meandering f your brain through this entry, each topic setting off pockets of my brain. I'm not sure any of the thoughts made sense, but I don't think it matters.

I'll go out on a limb and say for sure you could go to an AlAnon meeting and say your alcoholic parent had been gone for years. Sometimes it TAKES people years to get to a meeting because the issues haunt them.

But I'm hurting from the earworms and the sock. Somehow they've crossed in my brain and there's an earworm in my sock. There is an EARWORM in my sock. Yes it's a worm, it's not a rock. Sung to the tune of "There is a daisy on my toe, it is not real; it does not grow."

I am so sorry. This response is not profound. It makes no sense. But sometimes, isn't that from whence some of our best ideas spring? From seemingly disjointed thoughts?

Seriously, I have learned not to talk about ideas I have for poetry or fiction, until I have worked them out and written at least a draft. I have listened too much to criticism and "friendly suggestions" before I had fully conceived of my own idea. And the ideas died.

Thank you for this wonderful entry, for making me think AND making me laugh aloud.

Towanda said...

Thanks Elizabeth for the link to "Do I Know You", which I found to be unique, enthralling, and rather poignant. However, once I got to the comments between you and Richard I felt I was in a bit over my head in that for awhile I followed you but then it got to where I felt lost within your conversation.

This photo of your mother is interesting with the flash creating a rather imposing shadow and the mother and child work up there in the corner. There is definitely a story there.

John Myste said...

Does this happen to you? You have an idea in your mind. It feels full, rich and ready to be explored. You feel excited and effervescent with the energy of it but as soon as you start putting it into place it collapses like a house of cards.

Houses of cards don't automatically collapse, you pessimist!

Enchanted Oak said...

Being an alcoholic in recovery with some acquaintance with Al-Anon, I say: Go with your instinct. It exists to help people whose lives have been ravaged by alcoholism, and there is no time limit. And don't just go to one. Meetings are as individual as people; one doesn't always click with another person, but that doesn't mean all people are going to be foreign bodies.
My two-cents' worth.

Elisabeth said...

Given the respnses here, Birdie, it seems an okay thing to visit Al Anon no mater how many yeas have passed. So maybe you too might get back there.

The song in my head is from a radio program about Gavin Bryar's rendition of the 1971 clip of an old homeless man singing, 'Jesus blood never failed me yet'. It's not simply a religious song. It seems to have richer connotations, and the back story is fascinating. You can hear a version of the words and music on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMZVZ5NBkpw&feature=related

But be warned, it might give you an ear worm.

Elisabeth said...

When I was young, Elephant's Child, and first went to Al ateen I was stunned to hear stories from children whose mothers were alcoholics. Stunned I say because it seemed to me far worse than having an alcoholic father. To me to have a mother like this must have been devastating, and still be devastating.

Cement mixing is an interesting way of thinking about the percolating of ideas, only I imagine cement is a pretty tough substance once hardened, once set.

Though I suppose once a story is finally published it might be seen to be set in concrete too. The only things that might vary are the interpretations of readers.

Thanks, Elephant's Child.

Elisabeth said...

The Vegemite jar is quintessentially an Australian image, Rob-bear but I'm glad that you to could feel and sense the poignancy in the image. To me it speaks of the disorder and chaos of deep poverty.

The ear worm is now back with me, Rob-bear ever since I Googled the words of the song a few minutes ago to let Birdie know the name of the song. I thought I'd managed to shake it. What a pity.

Thanks Rob-bear.

Elisabeth said...

You know, rraine, I had not registered the shadow of my mother against the wall in the photograph and here you are noticing it first off. I suspect my father may have put up strong lights for the performance. In those days he was trying his hand at serious photography including the use of strong lighting. Maybe this also accounts for some of that forward movement. My mother may have been performing.

As for Vegemite, it's an acquired taste, one I generally enjoy, but not when mixed with sock.

Thanks, rraine.

Elisabeth said...

There is more story behind this photo as you suggest, Elizabeth, some written but much that I have not yet tackled.

In the fullness of time, Elizabeth, in the fullness of time.

Thanks.

Elisabeth said...

What a terrible trauma for your father to have endured Windsmoke, and no doubt it impacted on you as well.
I have vague memories of the Westgate bridge collapse. I was still a school girl. It was such a tragedy. You must think of it every time you drive over the bridge.

Thanks, Windsmoke.

Elisabeth said...

I think you're right Laoch. As long as there's good will people are unlikely to resent my visit to their meetings.

What was it like for you, I wonder, to have a mother who is/was a psychologist?

Thanks, Laoch.

Elisabeth said...

It's lovely to see you here, Karen, and the idea of we too as doppelgangers appeals.

Do you have a blog yourself? If so I would be inclined to visit you there and check out these similarities.

Thanks, Karen.

Elisabeth said...

Has your earworm gone yet, River?

As I said earlier to Rob-bear, mine's returned. Just when I think I'm free of it, in order to check out that it's really gone, I scan the contents of my mind and even to entertain one single word of it brings it all back again.

I can think of worse ear worms than Connie Francis's voice, but even a beautiful song can be destroyed if it's repeated too often.

Thanks, River.

Elisabeth said...

I have this saying that I repeat to myself and to others, Jim: 'Writers write.'

To me that's the essence of it. Writers write. They don't just talk about writing, or critique other people's writing. They don't just plan writing. They don't just tell you about all the stories they could write. They write them.

So for anyone who writes as much as you and I write everyday on line, in the private of our writing rooms and elsewhere, to me there's no doubt about it, we're both writers.

Whether we're good writers, published writers, prolific writers, well read writers etc is another matter.

In any one day I'd write at least one thousand words, many of which are pragmatic, or prosaic words, words that do not bear repeating, but still they constitute writing.

I see it like this, that all writing, my writing is practice. What happens to that writing in the long run determines whether it attracts an audience but that is something else again.

So now Jim, you can look into the mirror and know for sure you are a writer.

I say my ideas collapse before I get to them because they are the conscious ones, but there is a notion that most creativity is like this. I blogged about it once, before you ever read my blog I think. If you're interested see: http://sixthinline.blogspot.com/2006/06/michael-leunig-and-creativity.html

I'm all for the unconscious mind and the notion that we cannot force things to the surface but they will come to us if we give them time and room.

I might seem frantic to get things going and it interferes with my capacity to fictionalise I suspect, but there's something percolating below and it will emerge in the fullness of time.

Thanks, Jim.

Elisabeth said...

I did not learn the piano for long enough to develop this particular affliction, Pat, if you can call it that.

I suspect it has to do with the echo effect of travelling along those same neuronal pathways time and again, repeatedly in a short time span.

As for losing our brilliant ideas, as they say we need to get a record of them to hold onto them, and even then we can lose the energy.

You know those cartoons where the light bulb lights up on top of the head of the thinker, these brilliant ideas can just as easily be switched off.

Thanks, Pat.

Elisabeth said...

It's the drop in energy that hurts most of all, Ms Moon, as you say, and then we are left diminished at least for a little while until the next idea shuffles along and then suddenly all but trips us up with its ferocity only to fall over again in the fullness of time.

Somehow a sock in the Vegemite jar and one in the peanut butter jar do not quite connect for me. Maybe its the colour thing. A dark sock in the Vegemite could hide itself but the same sock in peanut butter would be visible.

Perhaps I am too pedantic here. The point remains the sock is misplaced and, as you say, the line between clutter and squalor can be thin.

Thanks, Ms Moon.

Elisabeth said...

Oh yes indeed, Kirk, worse than your average ear worm is the song you do not even like repeating itself endlessly in your head.

And as for the blank page swallowing up your most brilliant ideas as soon as they begin to take shape on the page there's not much worse.

Thanks, Kirk.

Elisabeth said...

You'll have to take it up with Jim, Jeanette, that awful ear worm he introduced into your brain. Not being one to view the Waltons or Little House on the
Prairie, it has no impact on me.

As for your wonderful comment here, to me it meanders in such a zany way, it's a treat to read.

Socks and worms are both colourful images as far as I can see and you can use them in any way you like.

I have often heard people talk about the idea of not sharing their ideas prematurely and I know what they mean. A premature sharing can lead to a type of still birth of the idea. Ideas generally need a certain time for gestation to be able to come to life.

Thanks, Jeanette.

Elisabeth said...

I got a bit lost in my conversation with Richard, too Towanda. I think essentially he was wanting to highlight to us all the rich associations he has made to the images he has created in this blog post, and the links are amazing.

I'm glad you managed to get there and that you could appreciate Richard's work as it stands without analysis.

Sometimes we can almost say too much about our work, at least there are times when too much explanation is unnecessary. Still, I find Richard's enthusiasm contagious.

I'm also glad the photo of my mother resonated for you. I may find more stories there than I'd bargained on.

Thanks Towanda.

Elisabeth said...

Hi John, I intended the house of cards as a metaphor and yes, I agree such houses do not simply collapse. They need some provocation a gust of wind or a push.

Thanks, John.

Elisabeth said...

Thanks for your generous two cents worth, Enchanted Oak.

I'm all for following my instincts. And, as you suggest, there might be those with whom I will connect and others whom I'd rather keep some distance from, as in life in general.

Thanks, Enchanted Oak.

Ruth said...

What I have at the moment is the thought that these are things that are in a place where they don't belong. The ear worm or the sock, and even a house in squalor, all these things that surround us that we think shouldn't be here, or at least in the spot where they are, here. I guess the trick is to whittle down our life to the point where what we see and hear in our heads is something we don't resist. We can't help the thoughts that come, and until they let us go, we are at their mercy. I try to control the clutter in my house, but I just don't seem to win. Maybe I need to start looking, truly looking at it, and let it be the material of my life, accept it as such. This is me. I am not my neatnik sisters and sisters-in-law. Nor am I my over-cluttered MIL.

Love where I've gone off thinking, the way I always do when I come see you. It's been WAY too long.

Best wishes as you finalize your thesis, and congratulations that it's so close.

Kath Lockett said...

This entry has left me feeling rather intrigued - lots of things to think about (yes, I often have what I think are great writing ideas that either disappear cruelly or unravel with the practicalities of research or the possibility of offending someone), and also what your plans are regarding the photo of your mother, the Al-Anon meeting and the earworm.....

Christine said...

Seems to me that if an idea ( going to an alanon meeting) has meaning it should be pursued. Is it that you let yourself be persuaded by the young-who-know-so- much? Your father may have died but he clearly lives on for you.

Elisabeth said...

Submitting my thesis Ruth, is one thing, passing it is another. I get scared often that my thesis won't make the grade though my supervisors and husband reassure me otherwise.

As for dealing with the unwanted thoughts that can from time to time commandeer our minds, I agree, maybe we should take a good look at them. Those things that feel so out of place might actually have a place in the scheme of things if only we attend to them.

I'm glad you can get past the idea that your house should be the same as your 'neatnik sisters and sisters-in-law'. I too have the odd 'neatnik' sister, but no 'neatnik' mother-in-law. At least not anymore.

Thanks, Ruth.

Elisabeth said...

I've yet to workout the links between these three things, Kath, the ear worm, Al-anon and my mother's photo. But I'm sure in time the links might become more obvious, if only through the writing about them.

Thanks, Kath.

Elisabeth said...

I'm sure my father lives on in me, Christine as you say, but I have a suspicion that my impulse to go to Al-anon has more to do with my mother. Not that she ever drank but more to do with her bid for 'serenity' a word she found at Al anon and a word I have since had enormous trouble with.

You're right, too, I must be wary of the pressure from those who would deter me from my mission.

I may get to Al-anon yet. Thanks, Christine.

Phoenix said...

I would like to point out that I've had Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in my head for about a full year now, and at least once a week it's the only thing running through my head. On the plus side, there are worse songs to have running through your brain, and at least the song that's rooted itself into mine is optimistic, right?

I think you have every right to go to Al Anon, Elisabeth. Your experiences with an alcoholic are valid and still obviously affect you. You don't have to apologize for that or think that some people have the right to still be dealing with issues left over from alcoholism while others (such as yourself) should be expected to move on and not have a support group. I'm sure they'd be happy to have you contribute your wonderful ideas and thoughts to the group.

Regarding messy homes - it's funny, I grew up in a house run by an ex-military man, so even though abuse and neglect was rife, the house was expected to be spotless. My father's almost frenetic urgency to clean and wipe down everything just seemed to reflect even more clearly the dirt that was growing inside him. To this day I am a very tidy person, but I've had to learn how to relax, to fully LIVE in my space, and not be compulsive about cleaning. I think if I found a sock in someone's Vegemite (my roommate was British and always had Vegemite on hand in the cupboard) I might be more amused and charmed than sickened because hey, at least there's a good story there. :)

Isabel Doyle said...

Interesting reading, as ever Elisabeth

Why is it that 'earworms' are never of pieces we want to sing to ourselves endlessly? A few days ago I was infiltrated by Cliff Richard's (I think?)Living Doll, and I kept telling myself I have never been, nor never could be imagined as one. Perhaps some torture from the subconscious?

About family phrases, especially vegemite ones - when we lived in Port Dickson, where all vegemite was brought in by hand from Australia, we used to breakfast on a back verandah, accessed through a heavy sliding glass door. Our son, at the time about 13 or so, was carrying a huge (new) jar to the breakfast table, along with a jar of marmalade, honey and peanut butter. This was against advice, naturally. He dropped the lot while trying to negotiate the heavy door - but only the vegemite smashed to smithereens. Now, whenever one of us appears to be attempting an impossible feat, we chorus "remember the vegemite".

Perhaps one of the unremarked but saddest things about losing your family would be the loss of your secret language.

And why don't you 'make up' the memories of Al-Anon - they would probably be true and authentic at any important level - and what is truth anyway? Or are you concerned about self-censorship and manipulation? It seems to me you have nothng to lose in trying...

Isabel xx

Elisabeth said...

You're right, Tracy, the sock in the Vegemite does offer the entrails of a good story.

The idea/image doesn't sicken me in the least, as long as I don't refelect on the number of days the sock had been worn before it hit the Vegemite jar.

As for messy houses, I think I'd prefer the mess to the obsessively clean. I remember when I was young, before children, when I went through a phase of obsessive cleanliness.

It got so bad I'd almost prefer we had no visitors than the thought of having to clean up after the,=m. There's something not quite right about that.

And finally, you're the first person as I recall to comment here who has reported on a good ear worm. Lucky you.

Thanks, Tracy.

Elisabeth said...

And so, Isabel, you're another of us poor unfortunate sou;d afflicted with a less than desirable ear worm.

I really enjoy your Vegemite story and I agree, there's a certain quality to those family stories, those shared intimacies and plays with words and ideas within close families that can be so wonderful.

Of course, that's as distinct from some of the dangerous myths that can also develop and can tie family members in knots for all time. But let's not speak of those.

I have tried to write about Alateen from my imagination. I need to write more.

I'm inclined to agree with you that imagining things rather than collecting facts about them can sometimes be more emotionally truthful or at least meaningful in the long run.

Thanks, Isabel.

christine said...

Yes.. there is the music, or an idea that has to be written or realised in some way before the 'worm' leaves. ( I have moved my blog to another site BTW, same blog but hopefully free of spammers). Let me know if you can't find it.

aguja said...

I think that the right time for an idea to come to fruition suddenly presents itself. I have often preempted an idea and, as you say, it sort of dwindles away.

I so enjoyed your post today. It spoke of you and of your home life and your need to visit the past in order to face the future. Gradually, all will come together and you will feel whole and complete .. and your writing will flow in whichever direction you choose. It may take time, but you are persistent so it will come to be. You are also wise in that you listen - many do not and forage ahead only to make matters worse.

I am off to England and will be back mid October, but I am leaving some 'Ireland' posts in place for whilst I am away ... if you decide to take a look.
P.S. My home would come under 'organised chaos' - definitely!!

Elisabeth said...

Needless to say, Christine, I've seen your new blog site and its terrific, well worth the visit.

The worm of a idea is so much better than that horrible thing called 'spam'. I hope you manage to escape it in your new blog home.

Elisabeth said...

Bon Voyage, Aguja. Have a good time in England. In the meantime I look forward to visiting your Irish posts.

I wonder what germs of ideas might erupt for you during your time away. Time away is such a fertile space for new ideas I find, however much I might avoid the travelling .

Thanks Aguja.

Maggie May said...

I need an Alanon meeting. Truly. I am toying with trying to find time, but that feels like a joke- finding time.

Elisabeth said...

Finding time, Maggie, the endless search for room in our frantic lives and more so when, as for you, there's a baby in tow.

It's still hard even when those babies reach adolescence and then into early adulthood but at least the pressures change, as you would also know, and in time subside.

And when do any of us get time to go to Al-anon meetings in the evenings. I suppose we do if we really need it, hopefully and if not it's a good idea that plays around in the back of our minds waiting for the next opportunity, which may of course take years.

Thanks, Maggie.