Sunday morning

Home again

Even after my solemn vow to never neglect it again, I have this weekend rediscovered my blog after apparently forgetting it for ten months. Time after time it is this simple format that proves itself to be the most constant companion of my online life. After a facebook thread the other–a rare wave of discussion in a sea of nothing much–I was reminded of this article in Wired by Corey Doctorrow (my god, that man’s brain) on the enshitiffaction of tiktok (and encompassing pretty much every social media platform). At the same time, I’ve been back on the new writing trail. This always leads to me trawling through the scraps of every word I’ve committed to every space over the last year. A desperate search for the spark of something which might lead to something more substantial which might, eventually, add up to a fully-formed piece. With the enshitiffaction of facebook and insta, and the general patchiness of my substack newsletter there is less to trawl through than ever before. (And of course the fact that after five shows, I have already mined many of the seams–but this makes the scraps and sparks even more valuable).

I had thought that getting a bit more regular with my newsletter might help. But newsletters are only superficially like blogs. Newsletters aren’t the place for the meandering whimsy of nothing in particular that blogs have always allowed. As I started on my newsletter on Friday morning, filling it with this and that of nothing much including (but not limited to a visit to the chemist to buy a replacement cleanser), I was forced to ask, ‘Who wants this landing in their inbox really?’

The chemist story was the kind of thing that would once have been okay on facebook. A fleeting laugh for passers-by. But it’s so cluttered in there now, so few opportunities to chat. So it was back here.

Of course, when I got here, I had an idea to move it to a different domain so that it could be linked still to my substack newsletter and so that I could finally use this domain name that I’ve been renewing for years without knowing what I was going to do with it. And of course that led to all sorts of malarkey, including around 24 hours where I could see that everything was still there hiding, I just couldn’t get to it.

So here I am. Writing nothing of consequence with no consequence. Because in a beautiful way the enshitiffation of it all is beautifully freeing. I don’t need to worry about SEO because what’s the point? Google is almost worthless as a search engine now. I don’t need to worry about whether people will unsubscribe because I’m not imposing on anyone’s time (or inbox). And I’ve just got this lovely, old-school blog theme where I don’t have to worry about blocks and formats and all the blah that takes so much brain for so little reason.

Of course, I know myself well enough to know that another ten months might pass without a visit. But for now, I shall enjoy the deeply satisfying feelings of ‘I’m home’ that coming back here always bring.

I had something I wanted to write about …

… and now I’ve forgotten. But I can report that between these blog posts, opening the document where I’ve started writing my Christmas show and working out how to do a bit of storytelling through instagram my brain has started working in a writerly way. That is, it is making observations of things as I do them, narrating my own actions, exaggerating other people’s actions. It feels good. It hasn’t translated into a finished piece of work yet, but it’s coming.

One interesting thing about getting back into blogging is in looking around for blogs. Blogging was always about much more than simply the writing, and it feels physically impossible to login to my own blog without warming up by making a quick round of the other blogs in the neighbourhood.

The good thing about blogland these days is that it’s very chill. All the people who were looking for ways to gain traction, whose blogs were going to get them places, who knew to end every blog post with a question to get engagement…they’ve all moved on of course they have because blogging is no longer where it’s at.

But there are just enough blogs that have maintained their momentum throughout the years that it doesn’t feel like I’m all alone. I love that there are people who have kept their old templates, who don’t care about SEO and influencing, that blogging is still what it’s always been. Then, there are many people like me who have rebooted their blog, left their blog, rebooted it again. The posts coming semi-regularly, then one or two each year, then nothing. There’s a noticeable pandemic bump of course. And then there are those which is like making a journey to a place that’s frozen in time. We were writing about our children as they started school, about John Howard and Kevin Rudd, about our thirties sliding into our forties. And it’s of absolutely no use to lament the loss of blogging, and it seems only slightly less useful to insist that it could make a comeback. But I like the familiarity of this rhythm, I’m finding it soothing and grounding both at the same time. And I like the idea that there are blogs new to me out there waiting for me to find them, and maybe make new blogging friends.

I was at the gym earlier today–I decided that I would reboot my gym visitations along with my blog. The two are somewhat related in that they both used to be habits, both nourishing me in different ways, both bit by bit sliding out of my life. I like the gym on Fridays, though I try not to go too late on a Friday afternoon. By then it’s filled with young people all getting their pre-weekend workouts in. Honestly the place is so filled with pheromones I sometimes feel like even my menopausal being could get pregnant just by walking in. I did weights in a vaguely systematic way, but telling myself while I’m just getting back into it I don’t need to push too hard. And now I have that lovely feeling of knowing my body has been worked, but it’s not exhausted.

Are blog posts supposed to have a beginning, a middle and an end? Or is it all right to simply get to the end of a thought and then hit publish?

Third time is a critical time when …

… you’re setting yourself a new habit. In my world it is anyway. I can easily do two, but then the dopamine hit wears off, I forget I had set myself this new task and off it goes to join the (enormous and still growing) pile of abandoned projects.

So here I am, back on day three. I’ve actually crafted quite a lot of words this week. I have been helping with a number of funerals, I’ve got my new website launched (like literally just an hour ago the designers emailed me to let me know it’s live), I’ve been playing around on instagram with stories, I’ve started work in earnest on my Christmas show, and now I’ve been back here three days.

As part of my Christmas show, I was looking back through some old newsletters and discovered–as I always do when I look back on previous writing–a treasure trove of memories and potential material. And I was reminded–as I always am when I look back on previous writing–that a regular writing habit is one of the most valuable tools a writer has. And then I feel–as I always do when I look back on previous writing–grumpy at myself for all the material lost to laziness or whatever it is that so often stops me from maintaining a regular writing habit.

But I’ll need to write about something more interesting than the subject of writing on here. I mean, it’s been okay up until now, but I feel like that’s about as much as I can say on that topic without it starting to sound like a first-year’s English essay, full of words which have no meaning. I was going to write ‘and have no reason to exist’ but I think for writers, all words have reasons, even if it’s just to clear the way for future words to arrive.

I went to collect the guinea fowl keeps last night. After several intended visits didn’t eventuate for one reason or another it was nice to finally make it happen. They made it home, and they made it through the night, and I feel like that’s all a good sign and they’ll make it to adulthood now. But I’m worried they’ll be grown out of their cage before we’re ready to take them to the block and settle them into their permanent home (as permanent as any guinea fowl’s home ever is–I’m trying to be pragmatic here and acknowledge that they might not stay with us) and I’ll need to buy another cage. Which would make them expensive keets if you add up all the little bits that individually didn’t cost that much, but combined will have cost a lot.

Allright, well, that’s three days which is a solid start. And from tomorrow, I’m going to start writing about something more substantial. I know there’s no one listening, but if you’ve got any requests let me know. (Cracking myself up, like I always say my dad used to say, ‘If you can’t laugh at your own jokes, why would you expect anyone else to?’)

It was astonishing to find …

… that the simple act of writing 500 inconsequential words that I knew no-one except myself would read despite the fact of leaving them in a public (though largely invisible) place left me with such a deep feeling of satisfaction that said feeling of satisfaction followed me out of my house, through my morning meeting, along the aisles of Officeworks, back to my desk, through my afternoon (including a return to C25 ‘running’), around the house while I turned the Christmas lights on, and in then out of my embroidery lesson (online). Even the grumpiness of having to clean the kitchen at the very time I would have liked to go to bed (I mean, honestly, I am not the only cleaning-capable adult in this house) did not erode the sense of satisfaction of those 500 words.

So far did that feeling follow me that it was with me still this morning, and although it did not provide me with momentum enough to get me out of bed the first time the alarm rang (nor the second, nor the third), it has brought me back here to write again.

Perhaps it is less the fact of the 500 words themselves and more that I have finally started on the long-standing item on my to-do list. (Described yesterday in the 500 words I am describing today, I won’t repeat it now because it has (as I am describing) provided me with deep satisfaction, but they weren’t otherwise noteworthy).

As I write today, I am listening to parliament, the censure motion of our former prime minister. I have so moved on from his years as leader that I find myself surprisingly not caring too much about the result. (I assume it will be carried or the ALP wouldn’t have moved the motion in the first place). We all know he was a terrible prime minister who did indeed lead us through some difficult times but did so with such arrogance (including making such little headway on addressing climate change) that I just don’t feel like giving him any more of my time (and yet here I am watching parliament live, sigh).

On other matters, I have had two wins this morning. First, this very act of my second day of writing these slightly anonymous, largely invisible words. Second, the sets of chairs and the piece of machinery I bought many years ago and have failed to use have finally been sent off to the auctioneers. One day I will tell you about my terrible relationship with the auctions (suffice to say the worst of it is the chairs and I’m grateful for that), but I feel like I’ve drawn a line under that period of my life and I will never buy any furniture ever again (‘never’ and ‘any’ being more relative than absolute in this, and most other, instances).

Time for me to turn my attention away from this slightly anonymous, largely invisible place and towards the script for my upcoming show for which tickets go on sale tomorrow. Tomorrow? I only just put that together as I was writing that very sentence. I don’t have time for writing 500 largely incoherent words in a slightly anonymous, largely invisible place! And yet, here I am deriving great satisfaction from that very act.

Talk tomorrow.

There comes a point…

…when you grow so tired of telling yourself to do something that you finally just settle in and do it. I’ve been writing ‘a post a day’ in one form or another on my to-do list for so long, that the blergh of not doing it has started to outweigh the discomfort that I feel about sitting down to write.

I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write, and I’m hoping that writing on here, on this not-quite-anonymous but mostly invisible place will help me to train my brain to think in a writing kind of way. I wish I could write ‘re-train’ instead of ‘train’ but looking back through all my files I am faced with the truth that for someone who feels her life work to be ‘writing’ I ‘have written’ very little. I have almost nothing left in my years of notes that I haven’t already used, so whenever I start something new (like my Christmas show that is only three weeks away, or my new show for fringe which is only three months away) I am starting from absolute scratch. There is no momentum to kick things off. Which of course has its own momentum into reverse. The less I have that I can use to start, the less inclined I am to start. And the less inclined I am to start, the less I have that I can use to start. And so on.

But I remember when I had a blog. And I know I’ve talked about this a lot (too much), but for me blogging was a much deeper experience than any other form of social has ever been. If I didn’t write on my blog every day I at least visited my blog every day (many times every day), and I definitely visited the blogs of all my friends every day (many times every day), and it did make me think about writing a lot. And by ‘think about’ I don’t mean it made me think ‘oh, I must get around to writing’ it made me think about things in a writerly way. By which I mean it made me see things and feel things more deeply and in more detail. I composed lines in my head. Words and rhythms would form without conscious effort it seemed.

Already, I can feel something of that reignited. I did a quick flick through the somewhat reduced but nonetheless treasured blogroll. And there they are, my blogging friends, taking the time to observe, to record. While I’m typing, I feel the momentum of writing growing from within my chest.

Returning my blog to this standard, straightforward template has felt freeing too. No need for the complications of linking this to that, of making sure the SEO is doing its SEO thing. Of course, wordpress has got a little more complicated over the years, but I think I’ve got the editing module as simple as it can be.

So here I am back at the blog where, for months (years?), I’ve been promising myself 500 words a day. I hope as I get warmed up to the task they become slightly more interesting than this, slightly more thoughtful, but I have also promised myself that here are words and thoughts that I don’t need to judge. Their purpose is simply to be the foundations of what is coming next.


I think I’ve hit peak internet. I was looking at the search page of instagram the other day and my god, I truly feel like I am, ‘What has happened?’ I’m sure it’s happened gradually and this is another one of those things I haven’t noticed as it’s gone along, but it one hundred percent embodies the hustle of the influencer and I don’t think I can take it. And whatever reels are I do not know, but they make me dizzy.

What is making the algorithm think that I am interested in all those sculpted bodies doing all those weird ‘yoga’ poses? That I want to look at all those babies? I mean I like babies, I love babies, but what’s with all those manicured photographs of babies I’ve never met and will never know? I do feel a kind of nausea whenever I stray too far away from my own small feed of people I mostly know or whose work I know. As for facebook, except for wanting to be able to watch the COVID updates I wish I could logout and never go back in. It just shows me the same posts over and over again, and hardly anyone is writing much anymore anyway. It’s kind of overcrowded, but it’s all just noise and I can’t find the people I came there to see. Sigh. Do I sound like someone who isn’t making an effort to keep up? Who is dismissing things simply because she doesn’t understand them?

And twitter is doing to me what it has always done to me, and why, back in 2010 I deleted my original account. It’s like I’m at a party and I go into the kitchen, but the party has just moved into the hall. So I go into the hall but the party has just moved out to the back verandah. And when I get to the back verandah I’m too late to join any of the conversations so all I can do is stand on the edge and laugh at the right times, but I know I’m not part of it, not at all.

Why can’t everyone just realise that blogging is better and come back to the blogs? I suspect this is a somewhat Gen-X lament?

Blog and roll

Blogging for me did always involve a fair amount of navigating the whys and wherefores of what blogging is and is not. And one of the things it is, is a connection to other people who are doing the same thing, recording and writing in this shape and form. Truly one of the best parts of the early days of blogging was the following of links back and forth between blogs and finding new people and writing your first comment and feeling the spark when a new person commented on your own or you saw yourself in their blogroll.

For the longest time, the blogging world was more-or-less self-contained. Few of my irl friends had blogs and through blogging I met a lot of new people and made a lot of new friends. Facebook did bring blogging and irl friends together in a new way, but it has never allowed for the discovery of new friendships in the way that blogging does.

What I like especially is the deliberate disconnect from facebook that blogging allows (especially because I’m not linking from facebook to here), the way it’s helping me to create a physical space between me and the zuckerberg juggernaut. There’s all the dreadful politics and manipulations of course, but more importantly, facebook has long since stopped being a place of connection for me. Rather than spark connections, it feels more and more like facebook dampens and dulls them. Compounding this, there’s just too much background chatter. Like a cafe with concrete floors and aluminium chairs where you have to talk louder and louder to be heard and the louder you talk, the louder everyone else must talk, so the louder you must talk and so on.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying I’ve added a blogroll today.

It’s like getting the band back together, only it’s blogging

In which I begin again

I was messing about on my website, and it came to me that a website and a blog are no longer the same thing. They haven’t been for years. But I didn’t want to lose my blog from all those years ago, so I went searching and there it was. My old blog. I left it when I was trying to set up something more of a website, a professional shopfront I suppose. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that’s about the time I more or less stopped blogging. Or blogging more or less stopped. And then of course there was facebook.

But I’ve never been as good at writing as I was when I was keeping a blog. There are things I think that are only suited to this format and without this format to go to, they’ve got nowhere to go.

So there I was sifting through my old blog and knowing it was time to delete everything from my website. But I couldn’t back up the blog … and one thing led to another and here I am. Back in my blog.

I’m just going to use this simple, straightforward template. I’ve got my old blog name, my old blog tagline, and the best photo I ever took of my kids. And this being only the second week of my life where I became the mother of adults, the photo seems even more perfect than it ever did.

It’s like coming home, truly it is.

A full stop, but a comma too

I have moved and am now blogging over here. I took all my old posts with me, because I couldn’t bear to leave them behind. You can still find the old posts here, but the cobwebs are growing and it’s starting to get dusty.

Thank you for visiting, and hope to see you at the new place.

this time with less laziness

That was nothing more than extraordinary laziness that last post. Goodness me, what would my self help books think of me?

Fifi and Pen raise the questions to which I should have posted the answers, so let’s see the question again. When considering whether or not to include someone, or something someone has done, in my blog or memoir, a question I sometimes ask is:

Does the person have right of reply?

Rather than providing me with a yes/no answer, the question acts more as a prompt, giving my thinking some direction. Probably, I could draw you a flowchart of sorts, but I’m too lazy for that.

As an aside, much of this thinking is instinctive, subconscious or unconscious, but when I do need to take the time to sit and think it through (for example, every now and then I think, ‘Oh, I wonder why I have never mentioned such and such’), I find that I have made this a consistent starting point.

So, back to the question. Does the person have a right of reply?

Because the people I write about do not have their own blogs or write for publication, or speak publicly, I often consider that it is enough if that person has the right of private reply.

Consider the mister. He would never start his own blog or publish a piece of memoir or have the funds to plaster his comments on a billboard, but he has every opportunity to say (but rarely does), ‘Erm, do you not think the way you related that story was a little, you know, one-sided’. I guess the mister’s ultimate right of reply lies in my commitment to our relationship and the kind of relationship that we have.

My parents have a different kind of right of reply. For obvious reasons, they couldn’t actually write or say anything, but they’re my parents – I might be forty years old and they might be dead, but nonetheless, I am constantly seeking their advice and their opinions and chatter with them constantly. Of course, there is a danger in imagining the way in which someone exercises their right of reply, but I am confident that I come to those relationships with enough honesty that if I do make a mistake in how they actually would respond, it is an error of judgment and not one of defensiveness or lack of generosity or revenge. Also, my father gave me explicit permission to say whatever I wanted to say.

Anyway, when it comes to my parents I use a different kind of question, based around whether or not I have the right to tell the story, and the parent-child relationship is, I think, a unique one in our ‘rights’ to a story. Perhaps I will talk about this another day.

Some people do have a right of reply, but I still choose not to write about them. For example, an alarm bell rings if I imagine that person exercising that right, and even as I am imagining it, my heart races and my breath shallows. This is a sign to me that I can not write about that person with sufficient objectivity, which is, in turn a sign of other things, for example, that I am unable or unwilling to write with honesty or generosity. In such a case, we all lose. I am limited in expanding on this point by providing examples, because it would immediately mean that I have to write about people and events I have already decided I don’t want to write about. Sorry bout that.

What if the answer is no, no the person does not have a right of reply? Sometimes, I might decide that doesn’t matter and write about them anyway, perhaps because they are completely unidentifiable or sufficiently anonymous. But generally, if they do not have a right of reply, I proceed with caution, because it is so often a sign of a power imbalance (this is where a discussion about the rights to a story would be useful, and I really will come back to that another day).

In this case, I might consider the consequences. For example, in telling this story, is there more gained than lost? As a human rights activist, I have very often made the decision that yes there is more to gain by discussing this situation publicly, but as a blogger or potential memoirist wallowing in middle class privilege, I have to know that ‘giving voice’ is fraught with opportunities to patronise or appropriate. Am I doing either of those things?

In my previous life, this was less of a problem, but at the moment, I am definitely having to weave my way through this. Luckily for you, this is one piece of angst and over-thinking you will be spared.

I do have other things to say, and I know that this is all a bit superficial, but this cough I’ve been fighting for the last few months seems to be developing into one of those pre-sinusitis infections which means my ears are ringing and I’m quite light-headed (not in a good way), so I’m going to lie down and possibly go back to sleep for the afternoon.