my stories

    TAGS: adventures, my stories, traversing, wandering, wondering

Over the next little while, I'll be telling a few tall tales from our recent trip to Tasmania.

When I came home from the trip, I had a small list of ideas for the virtual bonfire that is Scrine.  We were only away a week or so, so the list is not long.

I can't help but wonder why I haven't done the same for our big trip last year.  After a month away, there was so much food for thought it was a feast.  I certainly intended to share some of that time away, but each time I came to write my head was too full of strong images and intense emotions.  In the end, the wintery and intense feeling of belonging and then the feeling of no longer being there was all I wrote about. 

I know, in part, this is because some of the places we visited are far too devastating a tale for me to do the story justice.  I think it is also because they are not my story to tell.

It might also be that my home, unbearably hot as I often find it to be, is inherently my home.  It's where I find it easiest to think.

Still, if I attempt to be honest with myself, it's probably just about the mechanics.  When I travel through places like France, Poland and Russia much of my available brain activity is spent panicking over whether I can correctly order a coffee, read a street sign or ask for help.  

Yet, I haven't given up.  I'm hoping that the next few tales of traverses in Tasmania will help untangle the tales from Europe.

It will be fun trying.  A road paved with tales.  Are you packed and ready to go?

Let's see if I am.

posted January 2, 2010   ·   no comments yet...

a quick shot of joy

    TAGS: busy, joy, quick boot, useful

For those that love to feel useful, being kept busy is a joyous thing.

It's a close run thing to being so busy that you can no longer think straight, but right up to that moment it's a wonderful feeling.

You might feel almost raggedly tired - because you have no time to even think two steps ahead - but that's okay, because you also have no time to feel tired.

It is not, thank heavens, the same as the slow, woeful, sands stuck in the hour-glass fatigue as not having enough to do.  It's a weary, healthy <em>useful</em> tiredness.

It's accompanied by a quiet sense of relief that someone finds you useful. 

Drug me up, baby.   Feed me with things to do.  See me smile.

posted December 4, 2009     4 comments

stirring, fluttering, scuttling

    TAGS: eep, fear, irrational, quick boot, spiders

Life has been, to say the least, rather busy.

Action packed enough for me to momentarily forget my little corner of Scrine. So, time for a quick stop, to blow the dust off the table and stir up the spiders with the broom.

It's funny, but I've never been afraid of spiders.  Cautious, to be sure, but not irrational or fearful.  I save my screaming heebie-jeebies for the loathsome cockroaches and others that I daren't mention here for fear of crushing them with the force of my breath over my lips.

Even after a rather awful incident earlier this year with a spider that has left me with a small physical scar, I still don't have that gibbering, breathless fear of spiders.  I'll not nestle in with them, of course.  Who knows which will be poisonous or necrotising?  

How do the throat-constricting fears form to such dizzy heights?  It isn't just an event or two.  After this year, I really should be feeling completely irrational about it.  It would only be sensible.  No, it's something else.

The fear in the story-teller's eyes as she retells the frightful night that the spider was found under the bedcovers is a very personal thing.  That look goes straight into the hindbrain and has nothing to do with logical thinking.  

For some it's the obvious, such as spiders, snakes and things with claws.  For others that fear is exposed with the silliest of things, like the clown, the bunny rabbit or the... no, it's true name I shall not speak.  Fragile is it's byword.

It isn't the big fears, the life rending, grief-filled fears.  Not the real and crippling fears of living life.  Not the hunted running, not the starving, not the murderous and torturous.  

It's that squirmy fear.  The one that drips away in your mind as you try to sleep.

I think that whatever 'spooky thing' it is that we fear, it is a thing of fancy.  
These 'little' fears are the reflections of our very human imaginations.

Although, I could be imagining it all.

Wait.  Can you hear that fluttering sound?

posted November 24, 2009   ·   no comments yet...

Little Cities of Lost Books

    TAGS: adventures, books, libraries, places, word-challenge, words

Recently, thanks to roundabout news of library closures in the US, I was reminded of the thin and dull day when I found out that my childhood library was gone.

I had thought it would have just been shut and immediately emptied of its books. Converted into a laughably well stocked bottle shop.

Of course, I did not think it through. The fate could have been far worse.

The library may just have been closed, its shelves still full of books.

No money for staff? Cut backs! they cry as they fly overseas to courses on costs rationalisation.

No demand for the printed word? No one reads anymore! they tell us from out between the lines of the newspaper.

No one goes outside anymore? No one visits libraries anymore! they tell us as they jaunt from one newly opened football stadium to another.

Of course, this whimsical view I have of libraries is no doubt coloured by the effect that my library had on me as a youngster. Yet, isn't that the point?

Decades later can it not be one of the building bricks of my character, the feeling that I had, standing in that room full of books with nothing more clever to say than "gosh". I was young and I'm sure my vocabulary wasn't big, but it was even smaller that day for the sight of all those books.

The memory is vague, but I at least know it to be mine. It is not one rubbed shinily from a printed photo.

That games room (ah, Battleship!). Those grey metal shelves. The skirt-wrapped legs of the friendly librarian. These are all my memories and it was my place.

I can't tell you the first book I read there, nor the last. I can't tell you the best one ever read. I can tell you the love that I felt. That it felt like my place. My place of books.

I'm sure it had Toad of Toad Hall. Right next to Piglet and Pooh. George! And his Dragon. Who knows what else? Books of eggplants and aubergines. Books of bridges and buildings. Books of eclipses and novas. Whatever there was, it was my adventure. It was my sanctuary. Mine and all the other kids.

The thought of it shutting, leaving the books behind, leaves me sadder than I can say. Without reason, I am sure.

Whole shelves of ghostly characters. Gardens covered in dust. Night skies collapsing in. Lost adventurers.

The empty room, once full of books - so sad. But not so sad as the room full of books, bereft of readers.

I hope that their adventure lives on. No, I know it does.

It's still here with me, inside this frighteningly overpacked head.

Take up your walking stick, come adventuring with me.

Turn the page.


posted September 16, 2009     4 comments

the unfinished book

    TAGS: astronomy, books, moon dust, unfinished, words

About a year ago, I nearly finished a book.  There were only about twenty pages left.  

The book is Moondust by Andrew Smith.

If you intend to read this book, you may consider what follows a spoiler.  I would say no, not technically, but, if you're worried, please do go away and read it and come back some other day.

I stopped reading at that point for good reason and not because I wasn't enamoured with the story telling.  It's beautifully written and enchanted me the whole way.  

The author had set out to interview all the remaining astronauts that have ever walked on the surface of the moon.  I will let him tell you why when you read the book, as he does a much better job of it.  Far more eloquent than I.

Regardless, I was cheering for him all the way through.  I wanted so much to hear from all of these men.  For as long as I can remember knowing that men once walked on the moon, I have wanted to know more.  Anything about them at all.  I will never understand what is like, but they <em>went</em> there.  It has always made me smile to think about it, just as it does now.  

At the last 20 pages, there was still one to go.  I couldn't bear to read any more.  I didn't want to know that he might have failed.  I put the book down for a time when I was more ready to hear the news.

Recently it was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.  Time to pick it up again, lady.  Deep breath and in you go.

How often books do this to me.  Leave me staggered and permanently altered.  Change my life.  Touch me in an almost or actual physical way. 

Here's to those men that walked on the moon.  The men and women who have been to space, to travel among the stars.  And, this time, to those that take me there with their words, whether for real, for history or for make believe.

Take me away.  Turn the page, and set me free.

posted August 16, 2009     8 comments

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boot on my bum
Snailrind on my bum
boot on opening the door cautiously
'mouse on my bum
boot on my bum
'mouse on my bum
boot on my country
Keith on my country
boot on my country
'mouse on my country

boot on the big screen