Once upon a time there was a young woman named Molly. Molly would drive to work every morning through the grey and sinister suburban streets and despair. She was several months pregnant with her first child and every day grew in girth and grimness over the sketchy state of the area her little love would grow up in.
One particularly gloomy morning she was stuck in traffic – adjacent the school her unborn academic would one day attend. It was a fairly unassuming school and was in the process of an upgrade. Molly had driven past a hundred times paying no notice – until this day.
As she wound up her window to silence the decoratively coloured banter coming from commuters, workers and randoms – she noticed something shimmering brightly from afar. The day was sunless and not much shined in this place. Molly was intrigued. She honed in on the object being dragged along the asphalt.
Glimmery and new and rolled atop the cyclone fence, wrapping around the entirety of the school like twinkling Christmas decorations – for a prison.
Molly reached for the flip phone and called her husband.
“I think we need to move.”
“As soon as possible. I’m not bringing a child into… this.”
“Is ‘this’ one of those crazy hormone things, or just a you thing?”
“Not sure. By the way – rude. Regardless, I’m over it. I think we should move to the hills.”
“I see. Do I dare ask why?”
“They don’t have barbed wire in the hills?”
“Not on their schools, at least I hope not!”
“They’re rolling it out on the school our children will eventually go to. It’s serious.”
A long pause. Molly could hear her husband dissecting the information and coming to his own level headed conclusions minus the irrational madness she often brought to his table.
“Alright, that seems fairly alarming, not sure it warrants a total upheaval of our lives…”
“…and with global warming being ignored, we need to get to higher ground… you know, tsunamis and stuff.”
“Aaaand there it is. Can we discuss this tonight when I’ve got a beer in my hand?”
“Sure. But I am serious.”
“I know, that’s why beer.”
Nearly a decade later the pair managed to pull it off. Sort of. Molly and her little family set out on their barbed wired, tsunami free path to the hills.
While they may have escaped the fear mongering life Molly had imagined – the cost of hills living would stunt things for a bit. Living on the flats had its advantages – the main one being – a wayyyyyy smaller mortgage.
So they kissed goodbye – holidays involving planes, buying things they wanted over needed and other extravagances like liquid soap, trips to the hairdressers and real fancy stuff – new underwear, shoes, linen, occasionally petrol… And said hello to much canned food, a shell for a home and a bra that really did its brand proud.
The sacrifices were worth it. The kids would awaken to the sounds of kangaroos booming past their window down the same path they’d taken for twenty thousand years. Molly refused to put fences up just in case it confused them – the roos, not the kids. Hubs shook his head. He’d be shaking his head far more frequently over the following years.
The majestic forest and the valley seemed like a painting. None of it felt real and Molly kept waiting for a letter in the mailbox explaining there’d been a mistake – you don’t belong here – time to leave. But as wild, unruly and echo-y the family were, thankfully the letter never came.
As Molly stood high on the deck of her half finished home in a polyester knitted coat from Millers that her Nan gave her seven years prior – she pulled the collar over her shoulders that kept slipping because there was a hole that she fiddled with, making an even bigger hole and then she had to pull the entire edging off and even then she would not throw this raggy looking thing away – and inhaled the never-ending sweet, earthy air in and smiled.
This crazy life in the forest would be all her children knew. This would be their childhood. Greens and golds and clean air would be the hazy memories locked somewhere in their make-up. That alone would be worth whatever struggles came. That alone was fCking mint.
Molly is a pen name.
Molly is a character.
Molly is sometimes real.
Molly is a writer.
Love letters to her favourites.
About her nutso life.
About her mental state.
Of being out of her tree house – constantly.
And trying to remember how to write…
About the struggles she faces dipping back into the writing world…
About the writing path she abandoned twenty years before.
These are her mad musings.
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Quarantine Poetry by my boy x
A Cinquain is a 5 lined poem with the following syllable sequence:
2, 4, 6, 8, 2
With my bone works
Not crumb(a)ling good thing
Of course my body knows whats right
God of thunder
Son of mighty Odin
Strengths well he has the mighty ones
First writers Skype group tonight since corona crazy laid its ugly rotten egg over us all. Little glitchy here and there – but all in all – an awesome night. Didn’t realise how much I would relish seeing familiar faces. It’s all very weird and surreal and I’m grateful for the lot of it.
We swapped our individual covid experiences and got stuck into the writing. Hopefully going to put some of our efforts toward the Perth Museum who are looking for a collection of insights into this weird ass sci fi movie we all suddenly find ourselves a part of.
Everyone was a little flat, and I found it pretty hard to get into the swing of things, so nothing too groundbreaking or remotely deep tonight. My last 2 offerings are from the perspective of my dog. Actually the animal POV’s were the best. Karen has a bitch of a cat with a really shocking attitude. Twas gold.
Don’t drink anymore.
Reconsidering this decision. Rapidly.
“What’s in there Mum?”
“Ooh. What’s clay?”
“Ay? Well… it’s just clay.”
“Yeah, but what is it?”
“It’s what your yoga teacher told us you needed for the online session today.”
“Oh. So I’m not doing yoga?”
“Yes, you’re still doing yoga.”
“With clay? That’s weird.”
“No, silly. You’re gonna make something with the clay after you’ve done yoga… or before… or whenever.”
“Ah. Like the breathing jar.”
“Yes, like the breathing jar.”
“Right. So what’s the clay for?”
“Did we not just go through this?”
“I think it’s for making a mandala thingy.”
“Yeah. Mindful, creative stuff to help calm you down… during… all this…”
“Not just that.”
“I’ve seen it. 2000 died… somewhere.”
“What? Where’d you see that?”
“Please stop watching that show.”
“It’s for kids! It’s on 23.”
“Back to 22 for now. What happened to Bluey?”
“I keep missing it.”
“Well watch it on playback, or watch something else. No more news.”
“You sound funny, Mum. Want me to get the breathing jar.”
“No thanks, love. I’m alright.”
“I know what’s going on you know. I am 8.”
“It’s because you’re 8 that I don’t want you to know everything that’s going on, lovey.”
“If we stay inside we’ll be fine. Step out – boom. Dead.”
“What the fu…”
“Can I look at the clay?”
“Um, yeah, sure. I got you terracotta. The white looked naff.”
“I like white. Shoulda got white. This just looks like clay.”
“Thought you didn’t know what clay was.”
“Well, I see it’s just a brown orange lump of mud.”
“Yep. Fifteen dollars worth of brown orange mud-lump. Maybe you should go get the breathing jar.”
“Really? Yay. I’ll show you how to use it.”
“I’m sure I can figure it out.”
“So, Mum – first you shake it, then you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth until all the sparkles reach the bottom.”
“Oh and say ‘Ommmm…” Cranberry Candy says Ommm a lot.”
“Cranberry Candy says omm into her bong a lot, I reckon.”
“Nothing. Alright, hand it over. I’m gonna be shaking that thing for a while.”
“What’s a bong?”
“Give me the jar. Now.”
Two hours later – one hand printed chunk of clay with split pea spiral mandala pattern done. Child more stressed out after supposed mindfulness experience fails to transcend peace loving vibes via the modern miracle that is Skype – aka – glitchy cluster fuck of the multiple screen sessioned variety. Om indeed.
Twelve hours later – on attempting to drown ones morning gullet with a bucket of coffee – said clay mandala reduced to rubble. Violated by vandals. Pesky possums pulled all nighter – clearly off their heads on clay and split peas. Cheeky little shits left their grafitti tag scratchings all over mandala middle finger. Child more distressed than after back to back BTN binge.
Today’s crisis schooling – cancelled.
Kids – Ipads, YouTube, whatever the hell. Screen it up.
Mum – Pottery, Ghost, Chocolate.
Eff you corona. And eff you crayola for the price hike on a clump of earth I could have got at the local creek if we were aloud to go to the local creek without being handmaided back into our homes for going near supposed non-social-distancing creek. But they roll the red carpet out for overpriced dry clay purchasing in an aisle the width of a beetles dick. #coronaconfusion
Smells good. She always smell good in the morning. Warm and sweet. Like muffins. Not him. He smells like socks and bum. Dags all the way. Don’t get me started on the man child. His scent wafts like stale pizza box farts. In the he-humans defence I do nuzzle deep into the more pong prone crevices. Where they are most warm. Sacrifice I’m prepared to make. Not her though. I know not to delve where I’m not wanted. The small of her back is a happy compromise and I count my blessings she’s even letting me sleep on the bed. They’re all a bit needy lately. It’s nice. I like having them constantly around. Can’t get enough, especially the drama. Humans really are useless. They can cope with shit-all. But I love it. Meltdowns are the best! Every bastard looking for a support animal then. Nobody loves a best friend more than when in the grips of a freaked out apocalyptic frenzy with eff-all idea when it will end. Who’s your puggy now, bitch. Ha. I jest. I dig their crazy crap. I dig it all. Actually, I haven’t dug for days. Reminds me I have some work to do on an intrusive bush. What are the odds – I snack on one pissy little tomato that may or may not have been ripped from its stem and it fricken re-seeds itself. Now I’ve got a full bloody tree in my shitter! What a joke! So that’s on me to do list today. Dig. Up. Bastard. Tomato. Out. Of. Shitter. First I’m gonna get this lot up with a bit of soprano. Everyone’s been sleeping in lately which is balls because nobody is getting my breakfast at the time I’m accustomed to. This doggy brunch wank is nothing but some A grade tardy bullshit. I can’t be expected to live off shit-matos forever! Nuff said. I’m over it. Time to warm up the vocals. Me me meeeee…. wolf.
You let me sleep beside you.
I’m getting extra hugs
You pick me up and hold me close
When you need extra puggy loves
Don’t know what’s caused the change in you
Don’t understand or really care
All I know is you’re here with me
Instead of leaving to go out there
I sense lots of crazy feelings
From every one of you
Not sure what’s been happening
to make you all so blue
Just know that I am here now
Turn off the panic station
I’m your loyal loving fur baby friend
For as long as there is bacon
Covid19. What an arsehole.
Here is today’s thoroughly uplifting efforts.
Not your view
As in a tomb
room to room
warm family meals
grey business deals
Through my tomb
Of every room
Chalk walled mantras linger
to monetary figure
What got us here,
display tomb preservation
All done with now
Irrelevant, irritating blips
Of a time
Of a quartet
Of long sailed ships
Always these Juliet dreams
From my balcony
She told me
Touched my palm
Crystal ball scolding
You’ll get your tower
decking amongst the trees
But… she paused
…won’t be what it seems
sighed the unseeing me
I have lived.
I have seen.
Sad mourning mountains
Heard sorrows and fears
Patient forest trees
caught podium tears
High amidst the blue
always had you
No longer my view
No longer my hills
the tartest of pills
Long, relentless battle – surrendered to conceive
I can’t fucking leave?
Can’t walk away
In this tomb
This is a quick little poem I was compelled to write. I’ve just been for a checkup and as I walked to an impromptu blood test – the woes and worries of the world had a field day in my head. But the second I saw the Blood lady tapping away on her ipad, playing a quick round of candy crush whilst waiting for her next patient – all that ridiculous anxiety disappeared.
Ironically, Blood lady has the same name I called every one of my dolls as a child and one of my all time favourite Brady Bunch characters. However, she is far from that groovy little lisping pigtailed cutie or any of my seventies Barbies.
This woman is a quietly spoken warrior with an awesome backlog of stories and a devilish twinkle in her eye when she relays them. I’ve visited her tucked-away-corner in every state imaginable. No matter the circumstances from sorrowful, to standard, to a sick looking plague monster – she has been a comforting presence every time.
It’s not until I’m having blood drained that these memories between we two return. So I thought I’d immortalise her before her lovely vibes are replaced with dog shit, kids complaints and all the sweet vibe overrides of realty.
bold white hair
kind warm smile
jab so gentle
tells me all
i need to hear
of her bolder life
void of fear
once a plumber
in era of scorn
addicted to porn
she quietly giggles
as i beam at her tale
doc martin phlebotomist
“women should only wear heals“
kind of male
candy crushes in breaks
no fuss nor ceremony
crushes in real life
only 39 – hysterectomy
while i frizzle frazzle
a panicky frenzy
she soothingly shares
a life worthy of envy
through checkups and tragedy
I am in awe every time
of this walk-her-talk majesty.
To FINALLY FINISH EDITING THIS BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
To launch So You Are… Pregnant!
To sell actual copies of So You Are… Pregnant!
To break into Kmart & Big W etc (the market not the actual premises)
To bring lots of women joy via So You Are… Pregnant!
To tour So You Are… Pregnant!
To get a magical grant so I can tour So You Are… Pregnant! at least around Oz (global domination can come later)
To begin and finish and launch So You Are… An Anxious Avocado!
To finish and submit to Fremantle Press – The Warder’s Cottage
To not be the frazzled fricken pancake of 2019.
To balance the lot with life.
You were my friend, ever so briefly. A defo soul-spirity connection, a woo-woo being who the second I laid eyes on, felt like I had always known you. Admired you.
One of those gentle gems that draws all to your light. It’s impossible not to be drawn in. You radiate – from within to without. Gorgeous, kind, stunning, intriguing.
A mentor for the ages.
A lovely twist that my Mum visited one day to buy a gift for her dear friend, but there was a postponement of sorts and the gift-giving opportunity missed.
So she gave her offering to me.
A ritual I had once done every day, lost – had again made its way back into my life via dance. I adored it.
With my new writing habit I wanted to create a space that was unique to me and re-introduced this as my own ritual to clear, create and not just mask a smelly room.
I lit one of your sticks and fell in love. My clove burning immediately felt so harsh and overpowering compared to the subtle air yours created. It was light, lovely… clean.
So I burned with abandon, never reading the box or the name of this gift – until today.
HAND ROLLED INCENSE CREATES AN ENCHANTING SOURCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS. BURN TO PROMOTE SOFT, GENTLE, CALMING BREEZES FOR YOUR SCARED SPACES.
Even with the typo I was impressed. To finally read the actual meaning behind the product when I have literally been hiding, scared in my very un-sacred, isolated, fear-fueled space – was fitting.
I burnt all 19 sticks save one and today I rediscovered it. I save it for the day I finally hit the dreaded button I put off for nearly 2 years –
Your angelic energy was here with me throughout this journey and now, will be here at the end when courage, strength and belief is what I need most.
As I look out on our deck at the fairy garden you created with my daughter (now a re-purposed bird bath) and recall your brief involvement in my life, I thank you for entering and being someone I admire, respect and revere. Just writing this post makes me feel the joy and light of you.
Today – I light my old clove sticks and all the thoughts, power, self-love and belief I had when I begun my journey last year – came flooding back. This book sent me down a few dark turns and with one flick of the lighter I am starting to remember what it was all about and more importantly – who I am all about.
If a shitty $2 stick from our local grocer can drag out that level of good stuff – imagine the powerful manifesting goodness yours will create!
I cannot wait to light the final stick and step through the next doorway.
Such a light.
“Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
So You Are… Pregnant! needs to get out there and be read, though this is easier said than done when on the cusp of airing the personal undergarments of your world to the world.
Soon I will shut down my personal accounts temporarily and eventually – permanently – and shift my social media needs solely to servicing my writing world. I’ll then FINALLY click the privacy settings off on my hidden accounts and release what I’ve been chipping away at for two years – into the universe.
I’m more than aware this is the worse way of launching a career – to ghosts who don’t know I exist let alone like what I’ve got to offer. This was not the way I’d planned for any of this to go – but this is what I’ve got to work with now. So be it.
I have definitely been – struggling to launch on multiple levels. Had I been launching the historical fiction instead of a semi-memoirish tell-all – my approach to all of this would have been a far less over-thought one.
I’ve had to reassess the ways I use my platforms without the heavy borrow from my family. This is proving to be both crap and creative. Even though most of my posts on my author insta are fairly blah compared to my personal one, they’re getting there.
JUST a trip to the local library could have me writing and posting for days. Actually, I could write a whole book on it. Possible titles –
From under rocks – into imagination…
Books, Freaks & Switchblades – the struggling artist’s account…
I’m also not so naive that eventually I will need to be present in the flesh and not hide behind my keyboard – even if it is for a minimal fuss book signing consisting mostly of family members, a surly security guard and a lady who thought she was coming to see Natasha Lester and begrudgingly stays for a sympathy cuppa. I sign her copy of The Paris Seamstress. She’s unimpressed.
Back to the point… Even then – does the identity of my family need to be open season to the public? These are the overthinking niggling questions that keep me up at night – all the what if’s that may and probably won’t even happen!
The reason for my overly concerned obsession for privacy is the comment that crops up when I reluctantly share I am writing a book (after the odd looks of ew – like I have a contagious rash, or the oh really… but why? comments):
“Do you want to be famous or something?”
I won’t go into my inner reaction – suffice to say – it’s never really a pine scented, misty mountain one.
Short answer – fck no thank you.
Second short answer I wish I had the balls to say –
Why? Because I want to write for a living therefore I can only want to be famous? Or because I want my books to be successful? Why does success have to equate to fame? I’m a grungy nineties girl at heart who for the better part of that decade spent it blissfully stoned and desiring nothing more than to hide away writing woeful poetry and watching the world from the view of my doona. That girl still stakes a large claim on the middle-aged woman I am today. She is creative, but very, very anti-attention.
Long winded, over wordy answer –
The book at this stage is still unfinished and I’m very much steeped in my borderline disorder inducing world of What-if-Land and most of those what if’s have shit-all to do with succeeding, let alone what attention it may bring, if any.
What if everyone hates it?
What if no one buys it?
What if I have to drag this out another year?
What if self-publishing is the worse idea ever?
What if I get hated on and never want to write again?
What if it IS successful and I have to do some type of media?
What if no one shows up?
What if only haters show up?
What if that bloody lady comes back looking for Natasha Lester again?
and seriously – it goes onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
If there are two things I am not pretending to be – is brave or a fame-chaser.
Plus, I am verrrrrrry simple. I’m more concerned about the local level. The communities I’m a part of. The parent peers who will read this stuff and question my sanity around their kids. I”m safeguarding my children’s privacy by not commenting on school forums or divulging literary plans under my real name. It’s borderline paranoid how much I do not want attention focused on my link to my own book.
“Fame” leases no space in my brain. It’s a word for untouchables. People I’ll never know, or meet, or be, or want to be. It’s irrelevant to what I’m doing in my corner.
And not to be bitter – but from my personal and private little world – eff fame. I love privacy too much. I love being unknown. I love slipping through life unnoticed, which for those who know me would think the statement ridiculous because from the outside – I’ve always appeared a larger than life extrovert. I mean – I’m a bloody Bollywood dancer – it doesn’t get much louder, showier and bling bling look at me than that.
That’s never been what it’s about.
Like my writing – I know I hold a power of reaching my audience and affecting them in a beautiful way. I see the reactions when I dance. It affects people positively. It makes them smile. It creates a flash of wow – this random whatever the fck she is – is actually making me happy – and in that second there’s a chance they’ll run with that feeling, submit to the joy and be joyful. Even if it’s just for a millisecond and the moment is never remembered again – I’ve done my job (albeit with minimal skills, qualifications and much unco-jumbo). I’ve created a yellow core memory for someone, perhaps even a few someone’s and that is mint.
That’s the main driver – other than I would like to write (and dance) for the rest of my life and set up my own universe where my children, family and friends will have an opportunity to work within my sphere and carve their own careers off of my springy boards if they choose to.
I HEART PIPE DREAMS
They’re fun – even if they are made of fairy floss.
Back to the fame-shame –
In my dream world I would put ANON on every piece of work and for the better half of last year that was exactly what I was going to do. But Anon is not the smartest move for an unknown, emerging artist, especially one who wants, or in my case, needs to make a living.
Which brings me to the other side of doing what is necessary in order to follow path and passion.
At the very dawn of social media Green Man set up my accounts on Twitter and Facebook. I studied it all briefly and looked at him confused.
“Why would I want the world to know what I’m doing? Why would I give the world access into my life when I screen my relatives phone calls?
The plain boring facts are – even published writers are expected to put in the effort with platforms and if you want to sell – you have to sell yourself and your brand. That sentence alone makes me want to vom.
But, after initially fighting it I’ve hopefully created my own way of getting around putting myself, my family, our images and our lives out there – just to sell a book. Ironically – I think that could be my niche – being a semi-anon in a system that wants your all.
The evolution of influencers has lead to an evolution of normal random citizens leading lives that appear to be fame-driven, but within the entrepreneurial sphere – it’s the driver and necessity of running a business in the modern world. A means of survival and many are doing so with celebrated success. Even celebrities are mirroring them!
There has to be a happy medium.
The thought of vlogging, tik-toking, or constantly shoving my face onto peoples screens and talking about god knows what to who knows who – makes me shudder. To be another guru head waffling on, or the first thing people see when they wake up? Ugh. I don’t want people to watch my content, get to the end and think – why did I just watch that? What a waste of my time (like I do every fricking day with the flood every platform trend).
I honestly don’t want to add to the noise or open myself up too much. I have, however, accepted in this new world – you can’t have one without the other – but hopefully – will maintain control over what is mine without losing anything with my wins.
What perhaps looks like a bid for attention grabby, fame-hungry behaviour – is at times a necessity to be successful as an author.
Do you want to be famous?
I just want to write books people enjoy and do my own thing, without expectations or explanations. Connect with the people who got some takeaways from my mad little tale and hopefully write some more to deepen the connection.
If that means documenting what my dog had for breakfast then this probably isn’t the gig for me. These writing efforts should be enough… right? Who the hell knows, clearly not me.
So I’ll dance this dance to get my work in front of the eyeballs who need it. Then hopefully I will last the journey long enough – to see anonymity come into trend again.
What has praise and fame to do with poetry? Was not writing poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice? So that all this chatter and praise, and blame and meeting people who admired one and meeting people who did not admire one was as ill suited as could be to the thing itself- a voice answering a voice.
Virginia Woolf (2012). “Orlando: A Biography”, p.306, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Absolutely no offence intended to anyone who shares their life online. You’re all cool as.