Imagine a two-storey mudbrick-style house sitting on the edge of a verdant rainforest. There is no television (there is a projection system), and the cicadas and frogs are loud and persistent. The power is completely solar, so the lights are dim and warm, and the toilet is a comfortable compost construction complete with friendly spiders to eat the mosquitoes.
Got it? You can open your eyes now. It's lovely.
Thanks to the wonders of satellite broadband, here I sit, listening to the frogs, typing to you on a laptop. I love modern life! I am typing while the others make curry and play carrom. We are visiting BB's brother and his wife, S&E, in their home turf, Kyogle, NSW. They have gone from the stall at Woodford to a stall at the Byron Bay markets, and now they are officially buggered. They have done well, and deserve a good break.
Yesterday we went into the city to the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and saw a marvellous show called Optimism, full of contemporary works that spoke of hope, wonder and joyousness. IMHO, all they needed was a Charlie Sofo piece to make it perfect. [update: my favorite piece was the house floor, featured here.] We also checked out the State Library and a bit of the Museum.
Today, before leaving for Kyogle, we dropped in on the Studio West End, the artistic home of book and print artists Adele Outteridge and Wim de Vos. What an amazing space! Upstairs in a heritage industrial complex, full of light and air and amazing collections of interesting stuff mixed up with lots of handmade books and maquettes. I came away completely inspired about my upcoming studio set-up, although I'm pretty incapable of keeping spaces clean and uncluttered.
This afternoon we had a lovely lazy afternoon with our nephew while we waited for S&E to return from the markets. The boys and BB practiced their circus skills and watched some weird Youtube clips that BB has been dying to show them, and I cruised the bookshelves and plucked out Alex Miller's Landscape of Farewell. And lost the next three hours, completely absorbed from the first to the last page. Such a wonderful read, and leaves you with many things to think about.
I was taken by this, which is about the process of writing, but can apply equally well to reading:
The story was finished. The bird had flown. My little journey into fiction was over. The surprise, more impressive in its way than my disappointment, was that what I had done was no longer mine. By finishing I had not gained something but had lost something, and I did not know how I might remedy the loss, or fill the gap it left in me, unless I were to write another story and to make my escape again by this means. But what story?
What story indeed?