Roots – Day 154 – New Farm Park

Today I am coming to you from a tree in New Farm park as suggested by a lovely producer at ABC radio earlier this month.

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I can tell you now writing on a laptop a good 6m up a tree is conducive to funny looks. The place I’ve settled to write has all these nails in it, and I can’t really imagine why, or can I?

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I was commissioned to work on the latest development which ventured into the forest in the centre of the town. No one had even tried to build in the forest for 100 years, though we weren’t sure why, it was prime real estate. We were asked to keep it as quiet as possible or the greenies would be out enmass. I got up before the sun did and we began marking the trees. There were only a few of us, but it only took a few spray painted crosses before I felt that we were being watched. My colleagues made fun of me.

“It’s a squirrel conspiracy!”

“Watch out they’re deadly!”

But I couldn’t shake the feeling, the trees were huge imposing figures with giant claws that dug down into the earth. I looked into one of the tangled mass of roots that propped up one of their huge arms, a pair of sunken eyes looked back at me. I stumbled back as Bob started up his chainsaw. We were sprayed with dirt. The trees were ripping up their claws from the forest floor. Roots came down on top of Bob imprisoning him. Their great arms thrashed and their roots grasped around blindly for human limbs.

I started running, I could see light up ahead, but just as I reached it I felt a yank on my ankle and was dragged back. I grabbed a nail gun from my tool belt and fired. The root recoiled giving me just enough time to scramble free.

I should think there won’t be another attempt at development in the forest, at least until people forget once more.

Waiting – Day 152 – Doctors

Okay, time to face the germ pit.

“Hi how are you?”

“Good!”

Why did I say that? I feel crap, that’s why I’m here.

“5pm with Dr. Maalouf? Take a seat.”

But where? Not next to coughing man. That girl looks harmless but then again… the empty row seems safest. Oh pamphlets. Funny tummy… yes… blah blah blah… bowel cancer!? 

“Hello love.”

Is nowhere safe, she’s holding a jar of pee right next to me. Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!

“Jamie? Jamie Hann?”

Phew. Finally someone to look after me. 

 

Written in the Doctor’s waiting room.

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Dara – Day 151 – Museum

I’m sitting in the dinosaur section of the museum trying to drown out the sounds of overly excited children, so I can transport myself back a few million years.

Dara the dinosaur dwelled on distressing memories. He’d deceived the other dinosaurs too long, discreetly dancing in the dark. So he declared his desire to dazzle. Despite a delightful performance, demeaning derision of his dreams had been hurled like daggers, drawing tears like blood.

Disowned by the pack because of his differences he despaired. He kept his distance so he could defend himself, and his devotion to dance dissipated. But his dreams never depleted. Detached in his small domain he drew divine depictions of dozens of dazzled fans in the damp earth until his dying days.

Dormant for millions of years, he decomposed but his bones were durable and Dara and his destiny were not destroyed. Now Dara is displayed in all his dazzling glory, demanding the adoring gaze of hundreds day in day out.

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Troll Wrestling – Day 150 – Goodwill bridge

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This morning I am coming to you from the goodwill bridge over the river. I was walking along it looking for inspiration- graffiti or a funny interaction with strangers- but I didn’t see anything. So I sat down, and immediately noticed a tiny bird. Then another and another, they seemed to be living just under the platform I was sitting on. 

I’d been sent to deliver a hamper to the other side of the river. I’d never taken a job on that side of town, people rarely did, but I needed the money. I squinted at the stone bridge, it looked clear. I set off quickly, looking over my shoulder. As I suspected, a hulking troll appeared from underneath and began to climb up the side. I sped up, I’d been told trolls can be avoided if you are agile. But then, another appeared in front of me and began to charge.

There was nowhere to run to on the narrow bridge so I flattened myself against the barrier. As it charged, a flock of tiny birds swarmed it’s head. The troll shot straight past me and there was a crack that sounded like rock on rock. It had collided with the one behind me, and they were gripping each other tightly, I assumed this was troll wrestling. The birds had saved me, and turned the trolls against each other. But then they turned, like tiny missiles honing in on their prey. Their tiny beaks pierced my skin making thousands of nicks like paper cuts. 

Then they were gone, as was the hamper. I could see their fat nests lining the river. Full of loot from other unsuspecting folk. I shivered. I needed to get off the bridge. As I went to take a step, I felt my body being pulled backwards. One of the trolls had grabbed me. I looked up at his pockmarked face, he was covered in thousands of cuts just like me. Then, he pulled me closer, crushing my bones into his stony chest. I now know this is not troll wrestling, but troll hugging. He carried me to the end of the bridge and set me down gently. 

That was the first of many successful bridge crossings for me. We ambushed the birds one night, and now I am the town’s most sought after delivery boy. I pretend to fight the trolls (Boris and Grunt) in front of the townsfolk every few days. We make a killing from every crossing, and feast together every night under the bridge. 

Fairy – Day 149 – Garden Party

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I’m at a party and there’s a lot of candles and fairy lights- I wondered why they are called that.

“I’m tired.”

“Shh, I’m trying to break the glass.”

“What do they need us for? They’ve already caught the fire spirits and put them in wax.”

“Thats it! Swing toward the candles!”

“Okay…why?”

“The heat!”

Smash!

“Come on, we’re busting out of the slave lighting industry.”

Swing – Day 148 – Play ground

Wrote this on a swing. Quite a challenge actually.

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The wind runs its fingers through her hair as she swings, weaving it into a tangled mess. It pushes on the chains and rattles the frame. Higher and higher she goes. She watches her feet, they look as if they could kick the big round clouds like soccer balls.

So the wind takes a mighty breath and lifts her off the black rubber seat. Propelled through the sky, she scatters clouds like fluffy white pigeons. Then she falls, like a leaf, lightly back down to the play ground.

When she gets home, her parents don’t believe in her. But it takes hours to untangle her hair that afternoon, and the clouds look like grains of sand spread randomly across the sky as the sun sets.

Dough! – Day 147 – Bakery

Sitting outside the bakery on my way to work.

Boris the baker wasn’t practiced at romance. He’d tried to woo the shop front girl several times, but always chickened out. This morning he decided to leave her a message in dough on the back counter that read “You are perfect.” Unfortunately, by the time she got to it, it had expanded and now read “You are defect.”

Code of Practice – Day 146 – Dentist

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From the dentist. Just had my teeth cleaned and I’m always confused by the secret code the dentist and hygienist use to speak to each other. It sounds like another language, so I started imagining this:

Hygienist: Is P 15 upper looking good? (He’s a looker)

Dentist: L 21 lower may have some troubles (garlic breath)

Patient: Sorry I was so late, just came from work. Had to deliver some puppies.

Dentist: No worries at all Mr. Bruns. Actually L 21’s not so bad (never mind about the breath)

Patient: I always think the code dentists use sounds like your playing battleships.

Dentist: Nothing on M 12 upper (not another battleships joke)

Patient: Sometimes I use vet code to talk about owners at work to my colleagues. But you guys probably have more sophisticated ways to get through the day.

Dentist: Haha ingenious, we’d never think of something like that.

Grundtal – Day 145 – Forestdale

Coming to you from forestdale in Logan. I did a quick google before I started writing and apparently the suburb is prone to bushfires and “dale” means a man who lives in the valley. That plus the awesome forest tunnel road I drove through inspired this:

Smoke pools in the valley. Grundtal sprints through the trees, trying to escape the roars and screams of the burning trees. He is a mere blur of scruffy hair and muddy feet as he jumps over logs and hops through gaps in the thick undergrowth. But he’s no match for the fire. It spills around him. Trapped, he assumes defeat, but then he sees a clearing. Grundtal streaks toward it.

As he reaches the entrance he realises its a tunnel of trees with a smooth earthy floor. Grundtal stops in his tracks, he’s lived alone with only the valley for company since he was 10 and never seen anything like this before. A loud crack reminds him of his pursuer and he speeds off into the dark tunnel.

Minutes later and with the fire still hot on his tale, Grundtal sees a glittering mass up ahead. As he approaches he realises it is a lake. With one final leap, he shatters the glassy surface. Moments later he sees animals appear from every side of the lake, each emerges from a similar tree tunnel. More splashes and the lake fills with small fury valley residents. They float along side him, watching their home burn. But Grundtal can’t help but smile, he never knew the valley was so smart, and so strong. He is convinced now, the trees can rebuild.

PS. I tried to take a picture of forest tunnel road, but my camera phone and night time roads don’t mix well.

Sculpture – Day 144 – Rock Climbing

From rocksports where I went climbing today.

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My hands are dust, grated by the cliff. My arms shake like an earthquake, and my feet slip like loose gravel. I cling to its face like a long lost lover. I look down through the clouds. My ears pop, the pressure unbalancing me. But curiosity pulls me on. Precariously, I haul myself up, barely making every stretch. My body is cold as stone. My jaw is set like concrete. I’m determined to be the first to climb the tower of rock and discover its secrets. Questions settle on my brain, weighing me down like sedimentary rock.

I see the top, it juts out, forcing me upside-down. Luckily there are plenty of good holds. I grab one which looks almost like a hand. As I pull myself up I realise the hand is attached to a body. I don’t think I’m the first person to do this climb anymore. Looking around I can see the entire rim of the cliff is made of stone people, all clambering over each other. Its a sculpture of panic, a graveyard of curious souls like mine. I scream, loosing my grip. But I don’t fall. My hands feel tight and my body hardens. Then I am gone. 

Sea Side – Day 143 – Wellington Point

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Coming to you from the sea side. I’m really quite scared of waves and tide, so I decided to mix things up.

The sea side

The sea sighed

The sea guides

 

So I confide

In the swelling tide

I ride astride waves so wide

And high I could have died

Until my body and the shore collide

 

The water never replied

I’m exposed with nowhere to hide

But there’s something only sea can provide

My worries subside

And now I’m ready to decide

I wear salt on my skin with pride

Ready to try the untried

Snippet – Day 141 – Hair Dressers

I spent most of today doing a huge assignment but I did manage to think of this in the hairdresser just then. Unfortunately I was feeling shy today so there is no photo.

Snippets Barber has never had to sweep up hair, instead they let it compound until it became sentient. Now the hair is cleaned up by small furry beings.

Tender – Day 140 – Sushi Train

Written at the sushi train during lunch. Then sent on its own train journey as I quickly left the restaurant. Maybe someone will pick it up?

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Little pieces of tender meat are carried by the train. Round and round they go, judged on looks alone. Thousands of nervous thoughts try to spill from their bodies like grains of sand. Their skin is delicate like thin sheets of seaweed. Looking out from its transparent cage, one waits for its chance. It does not want to go the way its friends will. As the plastic cloche is lifted and hungry eyes peer in, it rolls out onto the tracks. Feeling the wind ruffle its pickled ginger, it is free at last. It knows the feeling won’t endure, but this moment is all it needs.

Museum – Day 139 – Room

A carpet of clothes tell the story of her indecisive nature, the walls are an evolution of her artistic taste and old letters from loved ones jump out of open drawers. The room is a museum she does not wish to exhibit. Like a dragon showing its underbelly, she opens the door. The intruder sits down, immediately at home. Feeling no wounds to her vulnerable tum, she collects precious artifacts, suddenly compelled to give them the a guided tour of her life.

Of all the places I have written over the past 137 days; India, Woodford, Ikea and even from the top of a waterfall, I have never written a story in my room. I decided this was odd and decided to rectify this with the story above. Below is a picture- mess included.

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Checkmate – Day 138 – Woolies

Another day of full on study. The only ‘place’ I’ve gone to today is the grocery store.

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You check out my groceries

I check out your assets

But eyes burn into me

I check behind me

The check out boy is staring

His gaze on my behind

Then a wink

“Are you checking out another girl?” he asks

“What?”

“Shame, I thought we could go on a date”

“Ah, think I’ll have to raincheck on that”

I look back sheepish

“Check or Savings?” you ask, snickering

 

 

Grow – Day 137 – The Bearded Lady

Caught up with some friends at the Bearded Lady today- I wrote my story there and Chloe suggested I write my story on their hands. It’s a little hard to read so I have a translation underneath.

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She was a freak

She shut herself in a tower

And let her beard grow long

One day a fair maiden climbed it

Now they run a fine weavery

River – Day 136 – River

From the river.

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The tide breathes

In and out

In and out

In

And

Out

Far out

This time it exhales every last toxin

Its breath carries across the city

Seeping into the suburbs

But in the end it can’t hold on

It takes a deep rattling breath

And the cycle continues

In and out

In and out

Real – Day 135 – Bonaluga House

Tonight I come to you from the house with the cool fence that I wrote about all those months ago. It turns out the fence is just the start- the entire house is amazing! It is now an art gallery for the amazing Bonnie – check out her work- just do it: https://www.facebook.com/Bonaluga

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Bonaluga House nestles in plain sight. It draws only the people it wants and is invisible to those who wouldn’t appreciate it. The rooms are lush forests. Outside, the garden is cozy and dry. Music floats through the floorboards and undiscovered creatures stare, eyes glinting, from the corners. Most imagine such a place is only fantasy, but those who’ve been there aren’t stupid, they know fantasy is real.

@Horsinaround – Day 134 – Paddock

On my way to work there is a field with horses in it. I’ve stopped to write this morning. 

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@Longface Lol just saw owner stack it in mud.

@Horsinaround Poor thing, he only has 2 legs.

@Longface He thought laughter was shivers and put that ugly jumper on me.

@Horsinaround That’s Karma #paddockbuddhism #horsetaohorse should change my name to #horsezenaround

Antics on the Hill – Day 133 – Grass

Elizabeth gave me a place challenge for this month ‘somewhere you can get a birds eye view.’ I was thinking about high places in Brisbane as I sat on the grass today, when I realised I had a birds eye view of something right where I was. An entire world of ants were crawling around right underneath my nose and I could see everything right from where I was. 

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NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR HILL RESIDENTS

A much needed chocolate wrapper landed yesterday. The colossal site has provided hundreds of jobs for local sugar miners and economants are saying it will give a much needed boost to the hill economy. Investor and Queen Ant, Candice Newsome, commented this morning claiming, “Packet Mining is the future for Hill, if we continue to fund these projects and take advantage of wrappers we might become as strong our neighbouring Bin Colony.” 

But not everyone is happy with this explanation.The colony’s Envirantmentalist Group have slammed her, releasing a statement that called the wrapper site “a quick fix” for an ongoing problem. “Our Larva are starving because we have forgotten how to live off the land, depending on wrappers is unsustainable and unhealthy,” the statement concluded. 

Whilst wrapper mining law remains controversial, one thing is for sure, many hungry Larva will be fed tonight.

Absurd Flight – Day 132 – Flappy Bird

Last year I wrote a computer game with some game design students. One of whom was the charming Callum Grier, who contacted me the other day and suggested a place -a virtual place- the land of ‘flappy bird’. 

So I began playing… what wonders did the land of flappy bird have in store for me? Well monotony and frustration it turns out. I couldn’t get past 7 points. 

 

Relentlessly flapping underdeveloped wings for eternity

It dies over and over, always to be reborn into the same absurdity

Unable to give up the flight

Despite there being no end in sight

Just because a simple phrase caused it’s designer frustration

“the journey is more important than the destination”

Birth of a Song – Day 131 – Downstairs Conspiracy

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It’s 9pm and I’m listening to jazz/rap by the wonderful ‘Rivermouth’ under a house at ‘Downstairs Conspiracy’ in West End where I met Bonnie. She is a wonderful artist and the stranger who received my random story in the post a few months ago. It turns out she makes amazing patchwork dolls such as these:

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I thought it looked a little like a mermaid, it was very intricate. I asked her how long this one took her and she said she started it when she was pregnant ad it grew with her. I thought that was beautiful, so I sat down and listened to some Rivermouth whilst I wrote this:

Mermaids aren’t known for their music, but this mermaid learnt from the experts, the whales. She started with a beat, like the tiny heart forming inside her. Every day she added something new. A melody grew like the small limbs. A trill kicked like the petite feet.  A baseline swelled like the bond of blood. And when her daughter was born the song was complete, written with the newest lyrics that only a cry can articulate. 

I Remember Seven – Day 130 – Seventh

I’m at the powerhouse exhibition called “Seventh with Another” and there is an artwork here by Hailey Bartholomew (director / photographer) + Erin Lightfoot (textile designer) where they invite you to tell them a memory from when you were seven. So here is mine (with pictures)!

My brother and I did everything together at that time. We ate pancakes hot off the stove, ripping them up as they were cooked; half for me, half for him.

In summer we’d have water fights and when we got tired, we’d go inside and play tug of war. I remember he was so strong I’d be dragged across the polished wood floors on my belly

It wasn’t till I was older that I realised he wasn’t like other brothers. He aged much faster than me and now he is gone. But he will always remain my brother, protective, loyal and playful.

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Fall – Day 129 – Forest/Waterfall

I just got back from a mountain where I did a bush walk. The aim of the walk is to end up at a waterfall, but when you finally arrive, there is a huge wooden barrier. We climbed the barrier and stumbled over the rocks looking for perfect sitting spots to admire the falls. I found a spot right on the edge of the drop and wrote this. 

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We live atop a waterfall. No one knows what’s at the bottom. Folk have got lost down there and never come back. We’re told not to venture down.

But I’ve always wondered. So I send notes down there. Scratched in bark, I watch them teeter on the edge before plunging into froth. After a few years I stopped sending them. I had to assume it was just as people said. I vowed never to venture.

Until I looked up one morning and saw a note just like mine, dangling from a pulley system made of vines. It was the folk who ventured. They were not lost or dead. They’d found friends, caves and new animals.

I couldn’t convince the others. I am lost to my people now, but I have a new family and I can wonder as far as I like. 

Fractures – Day 128 – UN Day

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Today I wrote my story at “UN Day” (my old high school’s cultural fete). I saw my old history teacher, Kristen Bell (the kindest, most passionate teacher you could hope to have), and asked her for a prompt.

She said the renowned journalist, Peter Greste, used to be a student at Indooroopilly and they’d had his mother in that morning to talk about his imprisonment in Egypt. It had made a big impact on her and she suggested he be a character and the story be about tolerance. I looked at a few news stories and saw in an interview he said he decorates his cell by pushing little bits of packets into the cracks in the walls. Looking at the colourful fete, I wrote this:

He’d always been complimented on his hunger to observe and learn. So he traveled the world recording the stories he found. Now he was imprisoned because of it. Deprived of books and pens, the days blurred into endless streams of meaningless consciousness.

But stories can’t be stopped, they seep out the cracks. He would roll up empty food packets and push them into the fractures in the walls. The light would catch the colours and spray them across the otherwise stark cell. This time, telling his own story, of vibrant characters and far off lands.

Sparkly Creature – Day 127 – Circus

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I am currently sitting in on a circus class as my location for today. It’s been hard to concentrate on writing because the class itself is so entertaining to watch, but I’ve managed to get down this story:

As far as Nina was concerned she had lost her daughter the day Gen joined the circus. Gen had gotten perfect grades all through school and was headed to University, but had thrown it all away just to hang upside-down like a bat.

To add insult to injury, every few months she would receive posters of Gen hanging from hoops in skimpy outfits. Nina would hide them away in drawers and try to forget them, but they would permeate her dreams.

One night she fell asleep to the sound of the pounding rain. When Nina next opened her eyes she was convinced she was having one of her nightmares. She could hear what sounded like a waterfall outside and she was being carried by a small sparkly creature.

“Alright mum?”

The creature was Gen. This must be a dream, Nina thought, as she was carried out onto the back deck and passed to a man in drag.

“We had a show nearby, we came as soon as we heard,” Gen was saying.

“Ready Nina?” the man asked as he dropped her onto a soft mat.

She hit the mat with a loud wet thud, this was no dream. She could see water gushing round the front of the house and neighbours rushing to load their cars.

The clean up that followed was incredibly fast. They erected a big top in the street and cooked meals for everyone. Nina redecorated that summer and Gen’s posters now paper the walls. 

Hovags – Day 126 – IKEA

For April I am writing my story in a different place everyday. Today I went to IKEA.

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I decided to write my piece on some IKEA art which amused me. (Hovag was the name of one of the bits of furniture that I liked)

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The Hovag (commonly called the hipster antelope) is a rare species. Unlike the traditional antelope, Hovags are much smaller and more antisocial, usually living alone or in small groups called ‘subcultures’. They can be found amongst Swedish furniture, usually making their burrows from cardboard, alan keys and small pencils. Hovags are incredibly vulnerable animals and always choose flight over fight, which is why many are often spotted riding small bikes so as to escape their predators. Although populations are on the rise as their habitats are conserved and expanded by consumers, it is still illegal to hunt or catch a Hovag. However, it is said that the Hovag milk is exquisite and organic farmers who have permits to collect the milk report it has a “coffee like quality”.

 *Bonus pic!*

Found a story in the toy puppy display. It’s like a comic strip. Top panel: puppies tell secrets. Bottom panel: puppies are suddenly frightened. I’m wondering what they’ve just discovered?

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Double Decker – Day 125 – Tim Cox/Bus station

Went into 612 ABC radio station today to celebrate being over a third of the way through the challenge (listen here).

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I asked the lovely Tim Cox for an idea and he gave me “The shinny red double decker bus.” This month I’m going to write in different places and use them as my inspiration, so after the interview I went straight to the bus stop and wrote this:

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Looking longingly at the new slimline buses, the double decker chugs through the streets roaring and spluttering fumes. Its towering frame chaotically navigates the city streets, squeezing under overpasses and round tight corners.

Convinced it will soon be forgotten, it shudders to a stop in the underground fume box that is the city station. Its reflection stares back from the glass barrier. Drawn on the steamy window is a smiley face.

The double decker looks out at the sea of people getting off at the station wondering who had drawn the face. Perhaps they wouldn’t forget.

Also today I got my first hater. They think I’m “dead boring” and I need to “get a real job.” I can’t pretend it didn’t hurt but on the whole I’m quite excited to have one- It’s like I’ve been christened by the internet – I feel like a real blogger/artist now!