Gertrude was the best warrior in her village and had been challenged to slay a great beast. After a week, she gave up. She she didn’t even know what one looked like. After setting up camp on a green mossy mass, she vowed never to go home. She learnt moss topiary, weaving and even painted many of the rocky spikes in her garden. A year later, the mossy mass woke. It was a great beast. Gertrude was sure she could still slay it, but she’d built such a lovely home for herself. It would be sad to leave, she thought, she held her spear poised over it’s head. At first the beast threatened to crush her. But when it saw the way it’s spiky spine had been painted and it’s mossy fur tidied, they made a deal. They wouldn’t kill each other after all. Gertrude would get to stay on the beast and it would continue to be painted manicured fabulously.
Last day of June, so I thought I’d do one last art challenge. Thanks again Terry Whidborne the artist, and also to Chris White, whose blog post reminded me of the Sunday Sketches again.
Yesterday I helped paint a friend’s bike and was reminded of just how differently I see bikes and how much difficulty I have riding them.
The wheels spun sucking her gaze in further and further till it tangled. Her vision was hazy and her thoughts were twisted in the spokes as she tried to mount the machine. It carried her down the hill precariously, threatening to throw her off if she slowed down. She felt she was being kidnapped. When she arrived at her destination, she squeezed the brakes. To her surprise she managed to get off fairly smoothly. As her thoughts untangled and her vision stopped spinning she could see the little metal machine waiting for her patiently as she went inside. Perhaps they could be friends.
I’m a pretty quiet person. Yesterday as I filmed with all the psychologists I noticed for the first time what it’s like to be in a room filled with other quiet slow talking people. Sometimes its difficult for quiet people- but yesterday it was so easy.
The flowers were loud, they grew fast toward the sun constantly spreading their seeds and letting their petals fly on the wind. Rock tried to keep up with them, but it was hard. By the time he’d finished introducing himself, the flowers had wilted or turned away. Rock always thought there was something wrong with him. Why was he so slow? Why was he so quiet?
One day it rained. Hard and fast, Rock was pelted with fat bullets of water. He could feel the earth softening beneath him, and then he was sliding. Rock wasn’t used to moving, it was fast and scary. But when he finally came to a stop, there were no loud chattering flowers. Just a bunch of grey lumps. He wondered what they were. But then they began to speak, a slow deep rumble. Rock recognised it immediately. There was nothing wrong with Rock, he was just being Rock.
Today I filmed for the psychology faculty at university- shooting various symptoms to be diagnosed by students in exams. It was so interesting! One of the psychologists said I should write a story called the psychologist and the empty chair.
I wondered why all my psychologists took such long pauses. I’ve been through a fair few and they all do it, and now I’m sure I know why. They’re getting advice from someone. They hear voices. I’m always asked if I hear voices, but I don’t. I’m sure it’s them. My current therapist even has a spare chair in the room, facing us like a third person.
Big news! I am doing a TEDx talk for TEDxQUT on the 2nd of August about my project. I’m really excited but I find public speaking very difficult, as I’m sure many people do. On day 78 I did a story on my fear of speeches and my propensity for violent blushing. This is going to be a big ordeal for me- I’ll be filmed, there will be an audience and I dare say there will be blushing. So I’ve written today’s story inspired by public speaking difficulties.
Words stick in her throat and dribble from her lips in a muddy indistinguishable syrup. People watch horrified as the newborn words flop about on the floor unable to find their feet. Some words begin to climb back into her throat, quivering with nerves. Her voice shakes from the quivering and then the words clog it all together. She scoops up the remaining words from the floor and carries them home. They’re not bad words, she thinks as she bathes them. If only she could give them a proper send off, let them loose in the wild. If only she could throw them into the wind and let them float effortlessly around the audience touching those nearby. Next time she’d be stronger, next time they’d be alright.
“What’s olive oil?”
“I think if you crush olives and it makes oil. You can do it with coconuts, vegetables, peanuts…”
“How do they make baby oil, do they crush babies?”
The two children sit in terror. The first turns to their baby sister, June.
“June, there’s no such thing as Bananas in pajamas, they’re just men in suits.”
“What are you doing!?”
“I’m crushing her dreams, I want to see if you get baby dream oil.”
June begins to cry.
“Quickly, collect the tears. We’re going to be rich!”
Yesterday at work, Ian was having philosophical difficulties with this question: “If olive oil is made from crushing olives… how do they make baby oil?”
Chloe told me she found making friends difficult. I totally agree- it can be intimidating and awkward. This morning I decided to challenge myself to make proper friends with the guys in the warehouse. I like talking to them during work, but at lunch I usually sit back with the office people because they’re too loud and intimidating. Today I sat on the outskirts of their big circle. I felt like the quiet kid at school again. The following story is my experience:
On the edge of conversation. I step out briefly on to the centre of its loud shifting surface. But I can’t see my next step, it’s already moved so fast that I can’t find a foothold. So jump back to the edge, clinging to the still quiet comfort of the edge. I’ve got a better view from here. I can really take it all in. The edge isn’t always a bad place to be.