What’s your blog about?

“So what’s your blog about?” a friend asked me yesterday, over a cold beer in the garden. I’m embarrassed to say I was at a loss with how to (succinctly) respond to her question. I burbled something like, “Oh you know…someone suggested I give it a go…um… it’ll help me with my writing…um…I’ve just started it.” I’m sure my friend was none the wiser, but I do wonder if she looked it up afterwards out of curiosity! 

In the shower this morning I thought (as you do) – Do I need to define my writing in terms of a genre? “AAHHH”, I cried loudly – surely not!! Thankfully the neighbours are away, otherwise they might have thought I was being attacked by the mutant child from the attic (see previous posts for further information) and called the police. The manhole, to said attic, is in the bathroom, so by way of simple deduction they may have assumed this was the case. Apologies, I digress.

My blog (is it really mine?) is intended to highlight laughter in everyday things, by way of a stream of consciousness. Sounds a wee bit flash that stream of consciousness bit eh? Or maybe not? Anyhow…on we go.

Most of my life has been filled with serious events. As a Capricorn I’ve adjusted to this like a fish to water (or perhaps I’ve had a foot in the sea and the other on land, being a Cappy). However, I’ve recently discovered that I’m able to laugh quite outrageously (sometimes attracting scathing stares from onlookers). I can (almost) hear them saying (to themselves or their companions) one/some/all of the following:

  • What the hell is wrong with that woman?
  • Why does she need to laugh so loudly?
  • There must be something wrong with her (as they circle their index fingers in clockwise motions around their temples).
  • Shut her up for gods sake, shut her up!
  • Perhaps she forgot her meds this morning (said with a sad expression/frown).

I mean, who on earth laughs outrageously these days? What is there to laugh about? Life is a VERY serious business indeed.

Conversely, why do we (and I use the term ‘we’ loosely) feel the need to condense things, people and situations into little boxes? Why have we become so judgemental of each other? Why can’t we laugh outrageously whenever we want to? 

You my dear readers don’t need to answer these ponderings for me…relax…I have filing cabinets worth of answers. BUT I still question them BECAUSE it just doesn’t make sense to limit ourselves (and others) in such a controlling and narrow way. 

I share a home with an exceptionally talented musician (of course I’m biased, being his mother). Over the past 6 years or so we’ve had endless discussions about musical genre….trust me on this, there are thousands! Who would’ve thought something like ‘Sea Punk’ could exist – how can it even be described? We had a laugh about this (or rather he did at my expense) when we were at the beach yesterday swimming…Sea Punk indeed…(just quietly, I don’t mind a bit of Sea Punk).

With regard to genre and conformity, I must say defining myself into a pigeon-hole sized box is something I’ve always cringed at. Some (who know me well) might say I’ve been rebellious in my rejection of this. Why would I want to reduce myself to something less than the sum of my parts?  Society’s deep seated need to pigeon-hole (in a reductionist fashion) creates a deep unease in me. 

Once someone said to me, “You’re ahead of your time.”  I considered this bold statement afterwards. Being ahead of time sounds as though I’m some sort of time traveller, inhabiting a portal into and from the future. Maybe I am. Who knows these things? Some people might say that we are illusions to ourselves (and others). That we are merely particles inhabiting some field on a time/space continuum (quantum physics style). I do apologise again for my digression…where was I?

In a nutshell I won’t be conforming to any kind of box, genre-wise. Do I need to warm you up, my burgeoning group of followers, in terms of my ‘serious’ writing aka “The Novel” and how do I do that? Until I have the answers, I guess this blog will be a collection of eclectic, diverse and vast expanses of mood, sounds, shapes, voices and thoughts. I might even share some snippets of “The Novel” with you…watch this space.


Ubiquitous Christmas

Ubiquitous, the word blazed in my frontal lobe upon waking this Christmas morn. Unfortunately, at such an early hour I had no idea what it meant.  Not being one for assuming pompous airs or pretending to be smarter than I am, I reached for my tome of a dictionary by the bed – every writer has one of those, I’m sure. It said, “Existing or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; frequently encountered.” I wondered what on earth I had been dreaming about beforehand!

Over a leisurely breakfast of pancakes and summer berries, I reflected upon how relaxed I felt NOT doing a traditional Christmas (for the first time in 40+ years). It was so easy, BUT I felt a niggle of guilt. Was I letting my family down?  We (me and boyo) decided this year that we wouldn’t celebrate Christmas, and chose to do Solstice instead. The later of which seemed much more important – to celebrate our survival post-potential end of the world zombie apocalypse!

Over the past week, where possible, I’ve avoided the festively decorated malls with their carols playing on infinite repeat. Furthermore avoiding people and traffic…I have only ventured out when absolutely necessary (for chocolate and beer). Does that sound Grinch-like? I didn’t get caught up in the pre-Christmas ubiquitous madness which descends over the city like a dense mist. Somehow I remained untouched by people’s pushing and shoving when I did venture out.  I felt oddly disconnected, like being wrapped in an invisibility cloak Harry Potter style, and wondered why I hadn’t thought of NOT buying (pardon the pun) into the consumerism which grips the general populous before.

I also looked up Christmas in my tome and it said: “festival of the Christian Church commemorating the birth of Christ” – I knew that bit. My tome went on to say ” the festival season from Christmas Eve til the Epiphany on 6 January.” I didn’t know that bit, about the time frames.

OK I’ll be honest, I have thought of NOT doing Christmas before (MANY TIMES) but felt too guilty to pull off a coup. For years I’ve hinted (in increasingly louder tones) that I’d rather spend the holiday season relaxing (since it’s usually the only time I get off work that lasts a couple of weeks)…maybe on a tropical island (if I had money) or somewhere near a beach – far away from the city – in a tent.

This year I was brave, I verbalised my desire to NOT do Christmas and promoted the idea of celebrating Solstice together instead. I had a comprehensive list of justifications up my sleeve, ready to be pulled out with a flourish at the slightest sign of cracks appearing in my fortitude:

  • A realistic angle: The kids are all grown up….zero possibility of experiencing the joy derived from cherubic little faces lighting up as presents are unwrapped.
  • An honest angle: We aren’t practising Catholics or Presbyterians….not in my lifetime anyhow.
  • A Green angle: We don’t need to buy each other presents…haven’t we all got enough stuff?
  • A retrospective angle: There are often arguments on Christmas Day and I’ve recently come out as “Conflict Avoidant”.
  • A personalised angle: There is always stress around Christmastime and I’m trying to de-stress my lifestyle these days.
  • A practical angle: Solstice is a better day, the weather forecast is perfect…we can have a BBQ.
  • An ancestral angle: Our ancestors (both Celtic and Maori) would’ve celebrated Solstice rather than Christmas. Things are different in our hemisphere…for a start it’s not the middle of winter.

In the end I used ALL the justifications anyway, for added effect. I braced myself for harsh, guilt inducing replies. The expected derision didn’t come, my suggestion was accepted with grace…surprisingly I thought I heard a collective sigh of relief. Why hadn’t I been brave enough before?

The 95% humidity in Auckland today is ubiquitous, as are the flies…but I am relaxed, with a good book, a nice cold drink and am dreaming of my tropical island. Perhaps next year I will volunteer at the City Mission on Christmas Day. The idea of making the day special, for someone who needs it to be so, feels much more important. My epiphany (with a small e) came early this year…I won’t be waiting for Jan 6th!!

Zombie Apocalypse

I’d had a wee joke with our neighbours before they left to go on holiday. We might ALL need to gain access to the attic, in case of a Zombie Apocalypse post 21-12-12.  You know…we’d need to see where they (the zombies) were coming from, so we could pop them off with our (imaginary) machine guns. The attic would be the best place to do that. BUT (being serious now) in terms of weaponry, I really didn’t think my ancient kung fu staff would do much damage…it would probably break it was that old. Maybe I could sharpen the knives.

My neighbour further suggested (while laughing) that perhaps there was a mutant child up in the attic already – just WAITING for us to be exposed to a virus that would turn him (or her) into a zombie. Oh how we laughed….retrospectively I think there might have been an edge of seriousness beneath the joke. I didn’t sleep so well that night. Visions of mutant children crept into my dreams.

For about a month I quietly (aka not mentioning it to a soul for fear of public shaming) had been semi-serious about preparing for such an event.  I was ready AND I had a Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit:

  • Water purification tablets (to cleanse the virus contaminated water, so as to keep hydrated while fighting off zombies).
  • Gas cooker (self explanatory)
  • Plasters, disinfectant and aloe vera gel (for zombie bites)
  • Paracetamol (to manage fever associated with zombie bites)
  • Candles (so we didn’t get too creeped out in the dark, as the power would be off)
  • Most importantly chocolate (do you really need to ask why?)

Unfortunately I was unable to afford to build a concrete bunker in the backyard – as I heard a celebrity had done. I doubted the landlady would appreciate it either. Plus I reckoned we’d be pretty safe in the attic – once we’d gotten rid of the mutant child of course!

Upon waking on the morning of 22-12-12, I listened to the noises outside. Nothing seemed to indicate that the world had ended (I breathed out at this point, unaware I’d been holding my breath). The birds were still chirping – probably a good sign. Laughing quietly to myself (there were other people in the house and I’d already copped enough flak from the ONE I had mentioned my “Survival Kit” to) I got up to open the curtains.

BUT before doing so I braced myself. Outside I imagined a scene from Shaun of the Dead.  A plethora of Zombies wandering aimlessly in the garden, crushing my tomato plants accompanied by grey ash falling from the sky – God knows why!

I must admit I was a little disappointed to find nothing but sunshine blinding me as the curtains were whipped back (all while again holding my breath). SIGH. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for being alive and well in a world without zombies BUT I had secretly been wishing for some excitement and a new topic to write about.

Maybe I could write a story about there being NO Zombie Apocalypse. Nah. It would have the same ring to it as winning fourth division on Lotto. Nothing overly exciting…a let down… BORING.

Although if I was to write about it, you could all have a bloody good laugh at my preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse! NOOOOO……I think I’ll make another cup of tea instead.