Summer Holiday Free-Writing Bonanza
Hi friends and enemies, it has been a long time since I logged into this little space of ours. I would give some excuse but whenever I go to think of one, nothing really sounds good so I will default to ‘Never Complain. Never Explain.’ and move on.
At the end of last year, I went to a few contemporary dance classes with Jahra, who (in case you don’t know) is an award winning dancer/writer/poet/artist. At the start of the class we did what she called ‘free-writing’ which turned out to be sitting in silence for a short time (three mins or so) and just writing without thinking, as such. Just writing constantly for that period of time, about anything, with no intention of it going anywhere or having to make sense. This may sound like some hippy shit and I was skeptical at first but wow it is so good! The weirdest shit comes out! Is it one’s subconscious? I don’t know. So I did this free-writing over a few days in the Summer break and I thought I would publish it here. Part way through the holidays I started reading this book called ‘A Ladder to the Sky’ by John Boyne and it’s weird, it influenced my writing.
Anyway, I decided to post it on here because it’s the end of Summer and this seems like a last hurrah, and also because I’ve got nothing else to write about but I want to put SOMETHING up, you know? it’s all below, copied and pasted straight from my phone notes. Warning: it gets weird. If any of you out there are having a bit of a mental block, I suggest you try the whole free-writing thing. It’s very theraputic.
January 1, 2019.
Usually at this time of year I write some reflective blog post which really is the same as the last year’s reflective blog post, and the one prior, etc. Themes often include “what am I doing with my life?” and “I’m old now”, and really nothing changes. Except maybe every passing year I get a little bit more accepting of myself and the fact I don’t know what I’m doing and maybe never will? 2019 sounds so futuristic, and it’s so weird to think I have done over 30 New Year’s celebrations in my life and still never been to R&V.
It’s hard to reflect on a year, so much happens and so little happens at the same time. Yesterday could’ve been me riding my bike through the local Intermediate school and being chased by a dog, but it also could’ve been me at a wedding with my ex, having broken up but still pretending we were together for the sake of the celebration. Yesterday could be me having dinner at moms or just a mundane day at work. It all sort of melds into one, you know? Like all the years and days and events are threads and the threads are knotted together, tangled in a big ball so you don’t know when one started and one ended and the timeline is a giant scribble on a page that eventually flies away on the wind, gone forever.
Now it’s the second of Jan and I’m on a plane. There’s 9 people on this flight, including the pilot. That’s not because it’s empty, but because there are literally only 10 seats. I’ve got those insane headphones on that people wear on construction sites and my jaw hurts, partly because of those and partly because of the clenching that I cannot stop doing.
The last time I was on a plane this small was in Fiji when I was like 12 years old. Can’t think about it too much, being in this little dangly mash up of metal in the sky, too much thinking and my anxiety levels will probably cause me the throw up, and on a tiny plane like this; there’s nowhere TO throw up. I mean, even typing this now kind of makes me feel nauseous. It’s hard to not notice how small you are in the world in a plane like this though, and inconsequential. I keep wondering what will happen if we go into the ocean. I would lose my belongings but it’s lucky I already have togs underneath my outfit. We’ve got turbulence and Ben just hit his head on the roof of the plane, that’s how small we are.
The sun is really beating down. It gets worse and worse every year, cooking everything in its way. I am, of course, lying out there but don’t worry, diligently fully coated in sunscreen. Upstairs there’s a stick insect on the roof, it’s been sat there for over 24 hours now, I suspect it’s been burnt to a crisp, unmoving and body all shrivelled up. I’m off the grid, been at this bach for a few hours past a full day now. There’s very little, intermittent reception. This morning I reached for my phone when I woke up, only to find there was very little reason for the phone in this place, cut off from the world. I’m heavy into my book. I started it yesterday and I’m up to page 276, so there’s only 75 pages to go, it’s called A Ladder To The Sky. This nice lady at the Women’s Bookstore recommended it to me and now I’ve read so far in I know I can now trust her. The book is good.
I looked today and the dried up stick insect has disappeared, blown away in the wind, I suspect. The remainder of his little foot stuck onto the corrugated iron roof.
I’m back on the tiny plane, jaw ache from clenching and this time some mild nausea from the winding 45 min car ride to the airport. The ocean weirdly looks like a mass of flattened out, used gladwrap - crinkled and matt in places where it’s lost it’s stick. It’s the 4th of Jan, what I would call a travel day. We had 17kg total between us, Ben and I, including towels and books and carry on luggage. We are good at packing now. This flight ends at Auckland Airport and the amazing race begins: Oliver needs to be fetched from his mother, Birkenstock’s that were destroyed by a dog, replaced, a non-solar -septic-tank-powered shower needs to be had, the grime of bach life washed away, and most importantly an Auckland city supermarket shop needs to be done before we hit the beach town New World with the beach town New World prices and beach town New World lines. We’ve got 1.5 hours to complete it all before hitting another set of windy roads. This free-writing is a weird thing to do, the more I do it, the more I feel I sound like an pretentious asshole.
The plane mustn’t have been able to land because we circled the sky for what felt like an age. Motion sickness at an all time high. I counted to 212, breathing in and out and in and out, until we landed. The last time I felt like this I was up in the air, being towed behind a speedboat in Fiji, parasailing I think they call it. I felt the most nauseous I’ve ever felt in my life, when they eventually got me down and back to shore I lay white faced and crumpled on a beach lounger, towel over my face, before passing out.
I have Homer Simpson’ed into the hedge about 4 times today. Family dynamics are so weird. I mean, my family is really weird but I’m used to it. When you’re with another persons family in close quarters, all sorts of personal stuff can come out. And then you’re not really in it, you’re this weird other person who can’t really be completely relaxed. It’s especially weird to see other people argue. My family is more on the passive aggressive side, so you don’t hear anything, aside from the slight snide remark under ones breath, you mainly just feel it. So an all out, vocal argument is not something I’m used to seeing. You also can’t take sides in the argument when it’s someone else’s family, you essentially have to remain silent and hope no one draws any attention to you.
What am I doing? Where am I going? Will I ever know? We are well into 2019 and my job never stops, I’m in it emotionally, all in, and it’s hard to escape. You can never turn it off. I don’t want to turn it off but I’ve developed a clench in my jaw and a tightness between my neck and shoulders, the sun is shining and someone is asking me to book them a haircut and I just sometimes think if I close my eyes, the sun will draw me right in and I will float off into the sky, and it will get hotter and hotter and I’ll sizzle away until my body is dust and whatever is left of me is spread out into the universe, and everyone will just go on living, and someone else will sort out the haircuts.