So I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while – and I want it to be frickin awesome. (At least, not total shit.) I’ve always loved to write but never thought of myself as a ‘writer’… then I watched Sister Act 2 again. (*reader groans and says what the?* …Stay with me for a sec.) There’s a bit where Sister Mary Clarence encourages Lauryn Hill to follow her dream of becoming a Fugee;
“I know you want to sing. See, I love to sing. Nothing makes me happier. I either wanted to be a singer or the head of the Ice Capades. Hey. Do you know who the Ice Capades are? Don’t roll your eyes. They were very cool. I went to my mother who gave me this book called Letters To A Young Poet. Rainer Maria Rilke. He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: “I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff.” And Rilke says to this guy: “Don’t ask me about being a writer. lf when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing…then you’re a writer.”
I just love that! It applies to everyone and all the different things they love to do and it really rang true for me and my writing. Plus, my annoyingly supportive sister kept bugging me to do something with it. I mostly write for my own enjoyment but this blog is my ‘what the hell, do it’ move to get out there and see if anyone else likes it.
Next step; decide what to write about. I like lots of different things but nothing I’d want to write a dedicated blog about… at least, one with more than two posts in it. Some blogging guidelines suggest focusing on one thing so people who share your interest can find you and read you…NUP. Sometimes I’ll write about everyday shit (probably kid-centric as the boys are 4 and 2 and still REALLY clingy and won’t even go see a movie by themselves ), if we’ve gone on a trip I’ll write a travel related post, if I’ve got nice photos I’ll show them off, etc. It’s a grab bag.
And just because I feel like it, I’ll also be trolling through my old diaries. I thought a tribute of sorts / nod to nostalgia / piss take would be fun and different and since I am the sole creator of this unique piece of crap work and this is my blog I’ve made an executive decision to do it. It’s been more than a memoir over the years – it’s been a travelogue, art book, scrapbook, therapist and good cheap entertainment. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary together, but while I’ve often browsed past pages and had a bit of a laugh or OMG, I’ve never read it chronologically (28 books and counting!) So I’ll have a look and enjoy the highlights, figuring out what I’m doing as I go, and you can come too. Please note; if you’re a reader who likes high drama and earth shattering revelations you might want to see what the Kardashians are doing on Twitter instead.
I started writing it back in Year 7 – inside the front cover of the first exercise book my 11 year old self wrote “These books are for scribbling in when Sister Delores is getting boring or just when I’m bored or just for when I put something in my diary.”
I started one along with most of my class; having a journal was a fad that everyone did for a while, like marbles, friendship pins and bracelets, or those little folded paper thingies with numbers which totally tell you your future (remember those? Now they’re a money-costing phone app. That’s progress.) Anyway, most of the journals I saw were less a record of daily life/ dreams & aspirations / etc… than somewhere to hold clippings of Johnny Depp and hair metal bands with comments like “he’s EX! “ and “They R SOLID!” and pages for slagging off about the people you hated.
The added attraction was of course that they were declared illegal by the nuns and if discovered, confiscated. I called mine a diary, NOT a journal, in an attempt to circumvent this rule. It apparently worked. Either that or the nuns figured there’d be nothing worth confiscating from the class nerd. Reading mine you can tell I was not one of the cool kids; instead of Bon Jovi et al I had cartoons of Margaret Thatcher as Superman and pics of such studs as Robin Williams and Paul Hogan. It seems I was also quite fickle in my affections and on subsequent re-reads would self-edit quite a bit – I found a photo of Michael J. Fox with the caption “I love him!” scribbled out and “Dickface” written instead. What did Michael J ever do to me? Nothing! Back to the Future was SOLID!
SO! …WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: First diary entry, verbatim. nb I tried to find a font that resembled my own handwriting but wordpress doesn’t do Wingdings. Also nb I’m not planning on transcribing every diary entry into this blog, what are you mad?
10 May 1987
Carnarvon – My Place.
Last night Mum, Dad and I went to the Bettini’s station for the woolshed dance. Justine was already there. She’d come over after school on Friday with Miriam, Juliette and Sarah for Sarah’s b’day party.
Until about 9.30 we danced to the bush band’s music. The barn dance was one that Sister Delores taught us at school. There was also the ‘Drongo’. I went into the middle and was the drongo and Simone went as Drongo in another group. I was replaced as the drongo by someone else, but Simone was Drongo 5 times.
Then at around 10.00 David, Paul, Chris, Simone, Sarah, Juliette and me went for a walk. We visited the hangar and the cow enclosure where Sarah and David ventured in for a short show-off before being scared off. We also explored indoor the house and mucked around there. There wasn’t much to do after that except play baseball with a broom and chasy in the sheep pens behind the dance. I wasn’t too good at jumping the fences because my cords were a bit too tight. We did this until we had to go to bed and Dusty, Doolley, Wersa & Mim were going to sleep in a tent in the backyard. But as we settled in it started to rain, really heavily! When it started pouring I raced out to the verandah and yelled ‘Hey! Youse getting wet?’ And I could hear them yelling and pulling sleeping bags away from the tent flaps and the window. First Mim and Doolley came out loaded with their sleeping gear. Since it was raining so hard they camped in the lounge room. They settled in then we went outside to encourage Dusty and Wersa to come out, but they stayed put. But, as it turned out, it rained HARDER and they were forced out. So they all slept on the lounge room floor for the night.
Well in the morning we went to Church and went home and nothing else happened.
A few explanatory notes for the non- ‘country bogans’ out there…
Carnarvon = small coastal town on the north west coast of Western Australia, 1987 population around 7,000 I think. Famous for bananas, prawns, sheep and an upside down river.
Station = a very, very large (120,000 hectares) sheep station, specifically Boolathana Station. NOT to be confused with a farm, hobby or otherwise.
Woolshed Dance = a dance held in Boolathana’s wool shed. I remember climbing over sorting piles of scratchy raw wool, some of which might’ve still had dags attached.
Justine = my little sister. She’s a dag.
Dag = wool around a sheep’s bum which has shit stuck to it.
‘The Barn Dance’ = a traditional partnered dance we learned at school from an Irish nun named Sister Delores. Like most nuns, she was sweet unless messed with; the boys dreaded being called upon to walk over to the wall to choose one of us girls for a partner. How embarrassment!
‘The Drongo’ = A bush dance.From memory it involved the males in the group at the end of the dance bolting for the hills, and the girls had to go find one and drag him back. Whoever couldn’t find a man had to stand as the drongo in the middle of the circle, singled out as a loser with the whole woolshed pointing, laughing, and throwing dags. Good wholesome old- fashioned fun!
Youse = you chaps/fellows. Yes, I actually used that word. (Heheh. Yoused.)
And as to why the girls had to abandon a camping tent because of rain…I can only suppose it was because it was only rated for the Carnarvon climate – desert – and thus was constructed of sponge and actually absorbed water. Tough luck, that was probably the only rain we got that year too.
So that’s it for my first proper post. Here’s to having a second!