Saturday, June 21, 2014

Other people's words

At the moment I am sitting in Eleanor Dark’s studio with a rug over my knees and a heater close by, two heaters in fact.  It’s cold in the Blue Mountains, colder than I had imagined, but at least today the sun is shining and the world outside - despite the dew on the grass and the bare tress in the garden dripping with left over rain - looks almost spring like and therefore warmer, warmer at least than yesterday when the day was over cast from morning right through to night and there was a steady misting rain. 

I went out for only one walk into town yesterday and did not enjoy it, not as I have enjoyed my walks through Katoomba in the past.  But it goes in cycles.  Exhilaration to misery in as little as five minutes.  The pressure to do nothing but write and read and think about writing is a luxury but it’s also a burden and for some reason I feel it more acutely this time.

I’m stuck in a well of the familiar and I cannot get out of it.
In this studio, once the writing place of Eleanor Dark, there is a series of drawers in which other writers who have used this room have left snippets of their writing drafts, a page or two, no more. And perched on top are two tall chests with flower embossed fronts in which someone has placed a slip of paper with the words:
 ‘Courage is the first essential.’ 

In the next cupboard alongside but separated by mouldy dictionaries and grammar books, this same person, I presume, has penned the words:
‘And coffee second.’

In another of the drawers below where there are countless screeds from countless writers I found one piece that has taken my fancy.  It’s from an Australian poet named Jude Aquilina and it reads like this:

First Penis Transplant
A cutting from The Herald, 2107

Today, the first penis
transplant was successfully
performed on a woman in her
twenties.  I’ve always wanted
one, stated the Sydney
housewife, to prove that
women can wear penises too. I
don’t intend to flash it nor
thrash it, just use it for its
natural purposes and I hope it
comes in handy around the
house.  I want to invent
practical attachments such as
dusters and dish mops.  How
many mothers have wished
for an extra hand? – crossing
the street with a child each
side, I’ll hang my handbag on
nature’s hook.  And when I
 go dancing on summer nights,
I’ll wear bangles that jangle
 from side to side. I really
think they’re going to catch
on, Women have been without
them far too long.  Surgeons
say their lists are full of
women waiting to fulfil their
masculinity; the problem at
the moment, unfortunately,
lies in the lack of donors.

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