Tag Archives: life

sunday stalker – the turtle (part one)

She reminded me of a turtle. Slow, purposeful, reclusive. Like she carried an invisible load on her back which made her move very slowly to bear its weight.

A turtle is somewhat of an enigma – who knows what it does once tucked inside its shell for the night? What does it think, with such surplus time for contemplation in a world of perennial slow motion? I couldn’t help but wonder the same of her.

I first noticed her in the city, the world about her frenetically charged and moving at speed; like a tribal beat urging my heart to speed up, to match its pace, to become part of the rhythm. To contribute. But she was set apart from this scene by her very stillness.

Like a breath caught in lung, suspended.

But she wasn’t inert, far from it. Her eyes noted everything. They didn’t dart about, exactly. But were so large, her peripheral vision must have stretched beyond her forward gait to include her left and right, and what now lay in her wake – as if her conciousness could magically pirouette and tally this town in a split second. She was drinking it all in, as I was drinking her in.

She had smile lines at her eyes, which felt strange to me. I wondered if ageing had any effect if the person existed in a vacuum of anti-motion. She had long, artistic fingers. Longer than a turtle ought to have, if she were to shrink sudden inside her shell at the sign of first strife.

She crossed the street. I held my breath, waiting for the lights to change  and the cars to punctuate her progress. Somewhat disappointingly, she made it across with seemingly endless nanoseconds to spare … as if the world marched to her beat after all.

It was in that moment I decided to follow her, though I’m not sure the choice was mine. It was as if she pulled me after her, as she slid around a corner and out of my sight. Her sudden absence was like being woken from the quiet of hypnosis.

Unwelcome and overly bright.

stay tuned for part two …

The Polaroids are, uh … in my other coat.

I still exist.

Poetically. Philosophically. Physically.

Yes, faithful Wuckers. I’m alive and advancing. Dwelling in ye Old Blighty. Enjoying a rather tepid summer and yet another Phoenix rebirth!

You see, following the attempted annihilation of my character ‘n’ career by the most recent in a long line of Vaders, I boarded a plane bound for London, set for a month-long holiday …

Soon, I was in Paris.

Sitting at a sunset rooftop bar with a pina colada in one hand, bread ‘n’ olives in t’other, and a view which stretched clear across Paris to the Sacré-Coeur. Around me sat tourists holding American, Australian and French conversations over wine, beer and cocktails (respectively); opposite: a dude with a bright red mohawk reminiscent of Frenke Potente in Run Lola, Run.

It’s the little things.

As I waited for a friend to arrive so we could begin our time in Paris … a time filled with flea markets, a tower de Eiffel, and giggle-filled train rides … I pondered that it may be this visit where I finally fell for Paris. Perhaps ’twas my frame of mind, my frame of past, or the fact I was without ties … but the sun on my skin made promise of possibilities. Much like the sun of Italy and Greece had made promise (and delivered on) before.

Bien sur, the first thing apparent of Paris (aka apparisent) was how succinctly it shone back at me mes inadequacies.

Behind the bar was a beautiful, tanned, lyrical French man. Tousled hair. Golden beard. Wearing a throwaway t-shirt likely plucked from the floor of a sparse, sunlit loft which spoke (in French, no less) of youth and freedom. A worn guitar no doubt sat expectantly propped against a wall, open shutters nearby, a winding Blonde tangled in sleep nearby. This was the kind of man every woman imagines falling in love with; the projected trajectory of said relationship easily fitting into every romantic comedy ever promised.

Across from me: an ordinary looking geek avec acne and polo shirt, bent over laptop.

My story held neither, of course.

But travel is akin to physically walking onto the 5km-square blank page of a giant sketchbook, where characters and roads are drawn before your eyes, unexpected and inspiring. Infinitesimal. Suddenly you remember what life can hold, if you have the courage to stand up and demand joy. It suddenly stretches out before you, not as a threat, but as a playground.

And so. Mon ami et moi traversed Paris, climbed the Eiffel Tower at midnight, made videos of us bouncing along the boulevards, swept along on good times and endless laughs. Indeed it was the trip where Paris and I became friends; or, as the French say, “tell me whom you frequent, and I will tell you who you are”.

Then we set fly for Malta. Backward in modern amenities, yet forward in beauty and scope – it proved equal parts stunning and maddening. We jet skied on the Mediterranean, zooming out to sea at 40km per hour, jumping self-made waves and getting seasprayed, as the whitewashed square houses of the shoreline whizzed by. We laughed til tears ran down our faces, and drew the eyes of sane folk who knew not of the wonderful secret of whimsy.

Then back to London to visit my cousin for two weeks before (supposedly) returning home …

Cue: Flashback.

Three days before I departed, I made the sudden decision to give notice on my flat. This way: I wouldn’t have to pay rent while away and could extend my holiday if a wayward whim did sidle up (as they are want to do). Consequently, my last two days were spent in a hive of hustle – cutting off bills, organising movers, madly packing and cleaning. I put the entirety of my life into two large storage lockers which drove off to an undisclosed location (presumably my subconscious) the day afore I flew. Headlong towards oxygen and a large question mark made of puffy white clouds. My decision half drawn and left unfinished as I boarded my flight to London, I had effectively released my last tether like Bullock of Gravity lore.

Who says you can’t make and execute a major life decision in two days?

And so, flashback over … when it came time to return to the life I left, there was nothing tangible to return to; and instead, I stood in England – possibility and curiosity before me.

That was a year ago.

So! Now I live in London. With office work officially, squarely in my past. Because, dear Wuckers. I did it! I landed a contract on a long-running television show. Not at entry level, oh no. But as an assistant director – on the floor – where the ACTION! happens.

Can ya fucken believe it?

 

I can’t fucken believe it.

I’ve been in the job eight months and it has indeed been a baptism the likes of which Joan of Arc has never seen. The majority of staff have been there from the start and navigating the resulting factions has been akin to attending a high school designed by Tim Burton on a particularly virulent acid trip. My average day is 13 hours, which is physically fairly nuclear. But I’m in it, Barry. Oh so innit. And I have credits! An actual motherfucking profile on IMDB, which makes me finally, formerly, established in the industry.

I know this all sounds annoyingly Disney but in truth, it’s been much like stepping into a tornado with farcical faith it’ll drop me off in Oz miraculously in one piece, like a kindly windswept taxi driver … my ruby slippers placed nearby. Indeed I am in Oz, but my ruby slippers are up the arse of an unlucky munchkin and the yellow brick road is closed for repair.

But, in my high stakes game of Tic Tac Survival, I am indubitably surviving. Nay, expanding. And no, not like Mr Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. 

But in outlook, dear friends. In trajectory.

Once more into the breech, dear friends!

Ah, Wuccans! How to build a bridge across the vast butt-crack of time; to create a proverbial g-string so that we may traverse what has passed and is past with words, wucs and euphemisms? To appropriately update you on what the fuck I’ve been up to while my blog grew hair and mould in the most shady of places? I know not where to begin.

When last ye loyal folk virtually saw me I had jesuit jettisoned my cynical self from a life I loathed and was set to embark upon a new journey. Not unlike that of plucky Bullock in Gravity – ‘twas a journey of unknowns, rabid fear, hallucinations and eventually … hope.

Translation: I decided to pursue THE DREAM.

Well, dear friends. I did. And I do. Pursue.

In the time I’ve been away – I wrote and directed my first short film and entered it into competition where, much like James Franco’s dulcet dignity, it sunk quickly from view and was never seen again. I worked on a plethora of short films as an assistant director. I moved from my beloved flat into a hovel de freedom and decorated said sows ear with craftiness and cheer. I started my new job on the goatee’s chin of the film industry and proceeded to meet all manner of fantastical humans who have worked with the likes of Jackie Chan, Billy Zane and Brad Pitt. (Sure. It would’ve been better to have actually met Jackie Chan, Billy Zane and Brad Pitt but THIS IS REALITY, PEOPLE!) Said humans would systematically lose their shit and visit vomited emotions upon my head in a tangy technicolor rainbow where the only gold to be found at fairytale’s end was metaphorical chunks of upchuck corn. But, hey!

Progress.

To be said with some irony.

Imperative to note while sketching said vomit for you to technicolor in is this: the first year in pursuit of contentment was the most confronting, blunt, traumatic and rewarding I can ever remember. Each growth spurt and subsequent proverbial stretch mark ran deep in discomfort, and yet. I became the happiest version of myself I’ve ever known.

I was a misanthrope no more and instead found a well of peace within while my exterior life continued to swirl around me in shades of ambition, growth and disquiet (for each inspires the next when living in actuality over the fantastical). I became a sunshine Sally who annoyingly argues for heroes and humanity with staggering sincerity. I made friends at the rate of an affluent and effluent Bieber and spotted nary a gunslinger among them.

Life was good.

If that all sounds a little too Disney to be true, I recently discovered t’indeed it was. Or. That is to say: the peace I found was not a resting place so much as a transient barge regularly encumbered by unwanted callers … one of which recently tossed me overboard.

So! If we could map my traverse through said universe via gift of movie metaphor (of course): what remains is a mix of Private Benjamin mired in boot camp, broken to the core but set to rebuild into a stronger, sinewy self; followed by a Dead Poets Society drama of tears and triumph; and ending with the Karate Kid where I’m surrounded by loveable characters who lift me high as the music swells, heralding of hope and happiness ever after.

But, no.

Happiness ever after requires constant maintenance, dear Wuccans. Villains who refuse to be written out. Sad days. Dead days. Wucked days. In truth, as we circle back to this chump two years on, I am but a phucken phoenix one more.

Yep! This pretty much sums up my life right about now:

A wrecking ball… is something else entirely.

It’s come to this: I sit with a glass of red, my emotions in a rage.

Love. Crippled hope. Fear. Futility. Exhaustion. Defeat.

A daisy chain of disquiet. Tumultuous seas confined to the teacup that is my chest cavity. A kaleidoscopic sideshow only I am privy to. Yep, that about covers it. It’s the first emotion which inspires all others, ironically. It breeds like a Freudian rabbit, springing from one to another. Singular pain is multiplied. Worry becomes fact. Fear becomes a fait accompli. Or is it the fear that it isn’t fear, but knowledge of what is to follow?

Riddle me that, ubiquitous joker.

Either way. It feels just shy of impossible to live within my own skin today.

Ad and in nauseum, I have marched behind each minute, magic marker in hand, attempting to erase the wake each thought awakened. There were too many. They piled upon each other and now, I can only wait for the day to end and bring with the next a differing doctrine. Til then, they have my heart in a death grip. And, among all other fears is this: the grip prevails because of the truth it holds.

Decryption: I think I might love him. Having only ever been enamoured and not en love, I aint sure. But I feel sure. Which inspires panic in turn. For with that uncertain knowledge is this certain one: he’s unattainable. And, following that fucken rabbit down the warren hole, comes this conclusion: I think I’m in a tragedy.

As per the dustily droll definition of Dustin’s Hoffman in Stranger Than Fiction:

The last thing to determine conclusively is whether you are in a comedy or a tragedy. To quote Italo Calvino, ‘the ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.’

Tragedy, you die. Comedy, you get hitched.

Ipso fuckto: tragedy. Or tradge, as my brother would say.

Which is not to say that I will die, my friends. Moreso, it’s the destination of an exhaustive journey which dies and leaves me perennially trekking. In vain. Towards what? Perversity? Exhaustion? Fucked if I know. So. At an impasse. I share my tumult with you.

And a new thought. When grappling with such a mood, I feel fresh sympathy for those who struggle with drug or alcohol addictions. What must it be like to have the option to escape such thoughts for a time; or years, should the addiction strike you? Irresistible, I imagine.

I’ve never had that option open to me, though I can’t say why. Luck, at a guess. Where all emotions are absorbed into my bloodstream with a readiness which breeds failure and fortitude in equal measure, drugs have nil effect. So, I’ve been left with philosophy and film to quiet my hurting heart; and here is where you find me.

With a storm that seas and besieges me, larger than my little boat of axioms, philosophy or rebuttals is ready for; but with a silver lining of sobriety in which to greet it.

Give my best to your wishful thinking.

I feel a wealth of sadness today. I’m not sure why. If I had to guess, I’d say there is desire and futility battling it out in my chest, with defeat as the veracious victor.

It’s maddening that the only kindred men I meet are unavailable. I suppose in the musical chairs of life, where everyone is madly scrambling to find a partner and secure their place before the music stops (and loneliness becomes a spectator sport), it makes sense there aren’t any spare chairs lying around for me to saunter up to at a time most salubrious. But, as my boss so eloquently said today: holy flying c*nt fuck. It should be easier than this.

It’s hard enough to find a Bert to my Ernie – they must also be available and have the same ding for me as I zing for them? Once such odds are computed by Willy Wonka’s Machine of Maddening ‘Mpediments, what’s spat out the other end are a couple of bereft baristas with a penchant for caffeine and Wuc. (Not surprising, I suppose, since one is inextricably linked with the other.) And while these baristas may light up at affirmations of how hot their coffee is (not a euphemism) – they don’t really froth my milk, if you know what I mean.

Hell. Even Benny Hill would know what I mean.

He is beautiful, you see. Normal. And sane, and gentle, and funny. Flutely flawed yet soulfully intelligent. He leaves me wanting on no level (except affirmation) and I find myself painfully envious of his relationships with others, especially those who also fight for his light to shine on them. As fireflies, they exist only millimetres closer to the flame, but. On days like today, those millimetres feel mammoth in injustice.

I’m living in a silent film it seems – where conversation is almost telepathic in its layered communications and foibles. And the space and silence between bodies almost lyrical.

Love shouldn’t be futile, as a rule; but it so often is. So the challenge becomes not to find or fight for love, but to keep finding and fighting for love each time it springs back on its kangaroo conclusion and binary boots you flat in the face.

To keep the faith in face of such cruelty seems the real dance.

So. In upbeat yet soggy sidebar, irrelevant to the one I hunger for: I met a lovely cerebral fellow at the networking event last night. He works in advertising but looks like a designer hobo. Beanie, geek chic glasses, beard. The quiet, observant type in the corner whose laugh you have to earn. Intellectually muppet-like. (I discover I have a penchant for men who remind me of muppets) (I’m unabashed in this) (one could even say, proud).

We talked at length about his projects, though nary a whisper about mine. His are heavy, emotionally laden ideas where dogs and children die. His brother fought in Afghan (the country, not the rug) and he recently had a medical scare which inspired him to pursue his love of film. We connected. I liked him, as an adult loves mental health. He liked me, as a non-committal man loves cheese. I gained his business card, but not enough interest for him to ask for mine. I expect he’ll fade into obscurity of muppet might’ve beens … only to pop up at Cannes as an up and comer who never was (in my personal story, that is) (or was).

Side note to my sidebar: I also met a French woman who was strangely lacking in confidence. (No French woman should lack in confidence.) She avidly engaged me in a philosophical confabulation about writing, but swears she’ll never be a writer. She cut every sentence in two: “I think …” insert start of opinion here, “but maybe, I don’t know …” insert self-defeat here. Then spoke of people perennially misinterpreting her. And in conclusion, recommended a Russian film featuring the dance of Dracula. I liked her immensely.

In other news, my life is progressing with risk and rhythm. How kind of you to ask. There is so much to impart, not least of which how I did depart from the slovenly survival of gunslingers past. In short and with much ado about something: I have moved house, moved jobs and moved closer to a career which feeds and seeds my other love: film. A felicitous fable for another day per’aps, when my forecast is not so flighty.

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