Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Difference a Day Makes

Aristotle Says - Geoofrey Datson 2010

Well, I'm back - finally, after being under ten tons of reality for the past howeverthefucklong its been since I've posted here.

So, hello everyone. Glad to see you're all still there. Yes, I've been lurking, but until now, I haven't really had anything auspicious enough to talk about till today. Today was amazing, in a weird criss-cross-connection kind of a way.

Today I finally got on top of the last of the outcome reports for the festival this year and grant application deadlines for the festival next year. It's been like living under the overhang of a cliff; you know it's eventually going to fall on you, but hey, why move till you can hear it cracking? This is the way of the deadline junkie - our body clock is set to the 11th hour, working on the premise that you might go under a bus at any moment. so live it up and only approach that deadline when it is totally due. Only ever do unpleasant things as a last resort - life is for living, not being a beastly swot. I sometimes wonder what I could have achieved if I didn't have this appalling work ethic.

Today, I can push all that to the back of my hard drive, and move garage band and itunes to the dock and you tube and myspace to my bookmarks bar and get my head into music production - one of the main reasons I moved bush. It wasn't for the chooks, it was for the art life, and music sits right in the centre of that. The festival is kind of close, but there's way too much stupid paperwork attached to it for it to be as complete a pleasure as making one's own art. As well as writing long, I write short. Songs, lyrics. I don;t presume to poetry, I don't have the practice to be any good at those complex forms, but song? I reckon I have a pretty good ear for that folk form. I know thousands of them, and find whole swathes of memory hanging off just the first bar of most.

Today, I'm back into the music. My music - the sound I make as I spin through time. I'm able to immerse myself in it now, now that I can give it full attention. I've been working on Geoff's songs with him recently - him on a host of his hand made instruments - banjos, dulcimers, guitars - and me predominantly on dulcimer, at which I am only a beginner, but it's so beautifully simple to play, I'm starting to get confident with its modal intervals and have relaxed into it. Funny, Geoff wrote all the songs with a full compliment of electronic orchestration at his disposal, but to play them together in real time beats the slickest of production values for sheer pleasure. Our rehearsals are starting to sound really good, so good that I'm now ready to pull my own songs out of the shoebox under the bed and have a fair idea of how I want them to sound. That's when It hit me...

Today I really felt it - I'm a month ago turned fifty. Maybe that's the real reason I haven't been so cyber-social lately; shock and awe. In the first instance I went all fighto-menopausal and sooky about everything; the full wicked witch of the north/ Granny Clampet effect. Then I went all quiet and just got on with the workload, but not before I'd completely fucked up a fifteen year friendship with a female friend, solely on the grounds that she's still only 40! But then suddenly the fog lifted, and I realised that for the first time in my life, I didn't actually give a flying fuck- about anything. Especially not what anyone might think of me, and the pall of self-consciousness that smothered me in adolescence just evaporated!

Today, with the exception of when I gave birth to my son, I truly feel like I fill my skin, living up-against-the-windscreen-no-rear-vision-full-speed-ahead life. Trouble is, at that moment, coming at you from all directions is the event horizon of your mortality. It always seemed so far off in the distant future - until now. That's when the desperation sets in, when you shed that bullet proof bravado you donned all those years ago. I always dreaded finding a self all pink and vulnerable, but in fact, it's the opposite! The more layers of self I shed, the more crystalline I become ( or hard faced bitch if you happen to be in the vicinity). It's spooky, but that's what the long-term research is showing. I guess it's the same thing as trees on their way to being diamonds - the human soul/consciousness/being makes its way down to its hardest, most purified material manifestation - the soul personality that we all aspire to. Swedenborg calls it the angel we are - the vibrational energy we resonate at. Astrology says there are twelve houses, the chromatic scale has twelve notes. And Aristotle says the Bees have no ears "and they cannot learn the song of Spring". Geoffrey disagrees and takes the bee's POV in his song (see above); "bee thinks you'll never teach a human things/as the air is thin, they got no wings."

Today I heard the bees sing that song. I was finishing the last of my deadline and Geoffrey was painting the front room - the house is a shambles commensurate with the hormone hay-wire of menopause. He's got Bob Dylan on and halfway through "Isis" he stops the music saying, come and listen to this! I down headphones and go out to join him on the lawn to watch a million bees swarming in front of the house. A wild beehive! In my front yard! It's up there with the spawning of the Barrier reef, only MUCH louder. A swarm of bees is the sound they imagined when they crafted the cello. It is the sound of them all pressed close, pushing, rubbing, humming together to produce the sound of distilled sunshine - the sound of honey. Their muddling bodies all huddled and intent on the queen took on the consistency of dripping nectar. Amazing! And it reminds me of a scene in a David Malouf novel in which a pubescent girl experiences her first period while being swarmed by a hive of bees. The image was so unexpected, so unlike any image I'd ever imagined, even in my dreams, that it has stayed with me all this time - until now.

Today, imagination bled into reality. One informed and enriched the other and I remember that I'm having the first period I've had for months, and that it might well be my last, and that event horizon just gets closer. So, between now and when I hit the compost heap, I am going to be looking out for days like today. If only i could figure out how to bookmark the link so I can find Today's frequency again. Sadly, humans don't come with a tuner. Or do we?

Today, for the first time in my life, I heard the song of spring. But humans 'got no wings', we can only hear a soft echo of it and call it music.


  1. *whoa*

    You must have sent me some of that mojo because that's exactly the kind of day I had two days ago...minus the bees.

  2. Welcome back. I've had the swarming bees a couple of times when I lived in Brisbane - about 20,000 bees (but I wasn't counting) arrived one day and left the next - what a noise and sight. Music is the answer to most things, I believe.

  3. Always good to hear from you Hughesy

  4. I have a friend who has to write grant applications and it exhausts her. It sounds like one of the hardest things to do. I told her she should hire a minion for it but she reckons Council funds don't stretch so she stays up til midnight during those times, slogging away.

    As for your hormones, well, at even the best of times mine can pretty much screw things up, alternatively provoke great waves of soppiness and loveydoveyness. Only last Wednesday I mortally offended a friend of ten years by criticising her for riding her bike thru traffic at 6 months pregnant. The combination of her hormones and mine may be the end of us...bloody chemicals...more proof that I'm just an animal.

    But what an incredible moment with the bees (and I'm trying not to think about that David Malouf scene).

  5. Sorry, that anecdote was a little unclear- I mean one minute I'm sensitive and kind, and the next straight talking cruel. Perhaps it's not just hormones either, but as you say, getting older and caring less about the niceties? And losing friends along the way...and gaining new ones too, hopefully.

  6. My biorhythms are set to 11th_hour_adrenalin fueled as well. I giggled at the fighto-menopausal-weepy word images and found myself nodding in agreement. I too have had a respite from catching up with everyone while I weathered a monumental life-architecture shift, but here I am out the other end - even vaguely sane ( thats my story and I am sticking to it!!) Always a delight to find a missive from you. Maggs