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10/01 Direct Link
On the movement of static things #13:

Everything is static where new information is found that does not add anything new, when it just confirms previous assumptions, or biases, or conclusions you hold. When the status quo is retained, you are unmoved, and life stays the same. If your beliefs and ideas and creative inspiration are drawn from a pool of knowledge and facts, that make up the core evidence you use to make decisions and being creative, and this web of understanding about the world does not keep being refined and growing, then you have stagnated and are static.

10/02 Direct Link
Times usual drags things along to bring me into reality. I watch a young woman walking and see the metronomical pacing, a ticking stride, full of purpose and places to go and intention, as she disappears into the distance. When an old man walks toward you, the rhythm is different. Each step he takes seems necessary for him to balance: he walks not to move but to remain upright and before long he sits on a bench to watch the lake. And time stands still besides the lake, except for the waves, that lap on the shore like a heartbeat.
10/03 Direct Link
Objects #15:

Shoes are important from the point of view of survival and status, but they also hold a mythical quality that is hard to definable: shoes can tell us how risk-averse a person is, how self-assured and confident, how brave they are in stepping forward. I observed recently a table of three women who worked together, all three wearing similar stylish cloths in muted colours suitable for work, but their shoes made each distinctive: one wore flat, black pumps; the second, short-heeled undecorated court shoes; but the third, the bravest, was wearing a pair of kick-ass, high-heeled felt boots.

10/04 Direct Link

I would really like to go home and wrestle with the long weekend, get knuckle deep into some cheese and wine, and lay back and ponder the future, but that won’t happen while she stands there in the doorway, blocking my escape. Doesn’t she realise this is the grand final weekend and there is nothing to do? Even if I fired up the computer, there is no-one about. Women’s brains must work differently: who in their right mind turns up late on a Friday and expect things to happen. In the first place, there’s no second place to get to.

10/05 Direct Link

The evidence of experience #17: 
I have been told that my writing does not use enough concrete images. They qualified the criticism, saying that although interesting and compelling, there were no solid or physical images for readers to catch onto. They wanted images that readers could recognise, that will give them context, and relate back to their lived experiences. And I ask, what I am writing about? By tying ideas, like the string of a helium-filled balloon, to what we already know, does this limit thought? Can an idea not connect to reality, and be about what we don’t know?
10/06 Direct Link
Life as documentary #17:

On holiday one year my father decided to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with me and my sister. Holding our hands, he started out. We were young: she, two years older than me. I remember, we took two or three steps to each stride he took. He looked over the balustrade admiring the harbour and boats and occasionally he would stop and pick us up, first one then the other, to show us features of interest. When walking we saw only were the iron railings, the road ahead, and the bridge’s arc in the sky.

10/07 Direct Link

Listening to a panel discussion, where practitioners in clinical medicine, psychology and philosophy were represented, the problem of mental illness was raised and the question asked about where and in which discipline the solution might sit. Broached was the definitional question, about who could define the essence of the problem and where might the solution be found. Interesting, the philosopher, even though there was much support for philosophy among the panel experts, was aggressively against philosophy having the answer: he stated that philosophy was about the big questions and was not to ferret about in the weeds of a mind.

10/08 Direct Link
Objects #16:

Ranging widely in search of an object to write about, and my landscape is littered with many both banal and extraordinary, I thought about windows and how I trip over myself ignoring the window in my ardent search for a significant or meaningful object. But windows are, for all their invisibility and opaque natures, unique, even essential. They are enabling objects that let light in so we can see objects around us in inside spaced; they also open vistas for objects outside so we don’t have to move to see them. Even when seen through, windows are overlooked.

10/09 Direct Link

What is it about sniffing that is so off-putting? Maybe because we have all sniffed at one time, or maybe because we have as children all been reprimanded and told to stop. I find sniffing deplorable, unmannerly, and anti-social. The woman next to me is an adult, foreign, she talks to herself, and she sniffs. Somehow, I find I cannot turn to her and criticise her behaviour. Of her many flaws I should tell her sniffing is the most intolerable. Saying that, the persistent whispering to herself as she scrolls through her phone pretending to ignore me ranks highly too.

10/10 Direct Link

A watershed day – when my phone credit resurrects itself and I can connect to the world again. An interesting feature of getting older is the reality of budgetary constraints. Now that I am monitoring expenditure, I recognise when service providers upgrade systems and note how the incremental changes to services increases data consumption, and impacts usage, and increases costs without warning. This is gouging: they give me more, but it isn’t what I want or need. I understand the need to release system changes, but don’t give me more apps that I won’t use and then charge me for them.

10/11 Direct Link
Thrilled, just thrilled to be kicked out by large crowds of excited people standing around talking in loud voices, obstructing my passage through and access to power outlets when my computer, which is now in the region of ten years old – it is much older in consecutive or aged time but I am thinking in terms of the sequentially measured quantities of consolidated time used – has a flashing red light warning me that if I don’t find power soon then all the open programs will freeze and I will lose my work. The machine craves new energy, as do I.
10/12 Direct Link

In an idle moment I overheard a conversation between a young couple in the library, probably students studying together. The content was trivial and uninteresting on the whole, but their interaction was a distraction. I know that eavesdropping is deplorable, even socially reprehensible, but how else can I get ideas on short notice to re-purpose? The seating is arranged in close proximity, the offered conversations are hard to resist, in every respect these glimpses into other worlds are like banquets for a grand feast. Besides, talking in the library is the equivalent of putting your thoughts into the public domain.

10/13 Direct Link
On hearing the sentence, ‘I have my list’, two things struck me immediately. The first revelation was the way she spoke, almost as though the list was a magic charm, and this I found strangely naive, disingenuous even. My second thought was about my response. The idea of lists resonated with my own ways of planning and managing eventualities that are due over time, but not for the same reason. Where she put her faith in her list to save her; I know my lists only contain what I already know, not what will catch up and bite me later.
10/14 Direct Link
There is a bacchanalian fuelled rave outside today. Entering during an intermission, the number of seats free surprised me; even free were the prized seats near the windows that are usually held hostage by bags and personal objects when their owners are elsewhere. So, I sat and the noise started, and from my subconscious came the decision that what is needed is: a ban on non-stop four-four soundtracks, and drum beats, and screeching by people over the age of eighteen. Throughout the afternoon – with my assignment due in two days – the noise has escalated while the library continues to empty.
10/15 Direct Link
Some days just get skipped: summer is approaching and my attention span is short. And I think about what happened before we started counting and measuring everything - how then did we keep all the moving parts afloat? It must have been a matter of keeping the balls in the air while there was some imperative or benefit, and letting them fall and roll away when something new came along. We are a species drawn to novelty and away from routine and hard work. This is not novel - getting to the end of the sentence and typing a full-stop.
10/16 Direct Link
Letters #26:
I would like to draw your attention to the staged speeches of politicians and how they use their position to distract rather than convey messages to the audience. As an audience, we are swayed by the performance, the style, and we are trained to listen, to give speakers a platform; we allow voices from the platform to hold the floor, have priority. Our obedience is more observed when the speaker uses the platform engagingly to entertain, less so when the performer fails. Then we see cracks in arguments, bias and obfuscation, the lack of skill, and we turn.
10/17 Direct Link
Pretty soon I’m going to have a list of word I’ve stopped using, like ‘it’ and ‘must’ and ‘you’, and then people won’t be able to understand me because they are waiting for these stepping stone words and not finding them, they realise they haven’t paid enough attention to what I am saying and think that listening to another crazy person is not worth their while, and they’ll shrug their shoulders. turn and walk away. Maybe if I give them the lost words so they can scatter them about, then maybe we can talk about what is not being said.
10/18 Direct Link
Another assignment smashed against the wall like a bottle of champagne flung at a launching ship as it enters water for the first time. Between the ship’s launch and my assignment, the difference may be one of scale, but while I stand here on the shore, the assignment pushed out to sink or swim on its merits, and it is not designed for buoyancy. In the sea, one more floating object is an achievement by many hands and much money, but the architecture is largely proven; the risk low. Success of my assignment has much less certainty: I risk everything.
10/19 Direct Link
Reflecting on the intersection of ambition and lack of confidence is a daunting task and I start with gritted teeth, the bile rising in my craw. Doing the work isn’t enough, there is an expectation that you self-reflect and assess how the final outcome measured against your initial idea. Who cares that by the end you are in free-fall, that idea no longer important, only the completion a necessity due to the initial financial investment? Already my thinking has passed the point of delivery: the next project will be better, the work more advanced, the outcome closer to my vision.
10/20 Direct Link
I am one of those people who look at menus and change everything; yes, a difficult person. Not through malice, or a sense of privilege, or believing I deserve special treatment. I am not forcing my wants and needs onto the world; this is managing symptoms. When I eat some ingredients, nothing happens immediately: I don’t blow up like a balloon, or turn purple and spin on the spot. What happens is that two days later I suffer from digestive torment. Having lived through this pain and discomfort and knowing the cause, I am willing to take social ridicule instead.
10/21 Direct Link
Bills swoop in together and like a flock of carnivorous starlings, they scratch and screech, fighting each other for my attention. Like a plover protecting chicks or eggs, I tremble in the shadows, as they fly overhead, knowing my paltry collected savings won’t satisfy them, will enrage them further, will make them attack me more savagely. And it will all be my fault, for having switched on the electricity, lit the gas and for turning on taps. But, when I check the bills, I see that costs have increased even as my usage shrinks. Using less is costing me more.
10/22 Direct Link
A strengthening certainty in how I use my words, evidenced in writing and logical argument patterns, convinces me I am forming a treatise of style and expression. The standard way to speak is to say: there is method in my madness. Yet, for me, this is not madness, or a path, or a story. I am travelling blind, as if in a landscape devoid of contrast, deaf in a world coded in sonic messages and symbols I cannot interpret. What maps there are, are outside the reach of my ideas. Only the world moving around me, reminds me I exist.
10/23 Direct Link
I am in need of translation to pull meaning from the words I use; words that leave me full of meaning, dense with intensity and thought, but arrive empty and strange. I want a translation that gives my buried ideas fluency, lucidity, and can represent them unburdened by consciousness and doubt. I need a veritable miner of minds who can excavate my thoughts interred in the graves of my words, when each word, carved out and crafted in the material of thought, encapsulates all that I know, all I can say. Where I have built a sarcophagus, I want truth.
10/24 Direct Link
Yesterday I considered moving on from this writing exercise. Just considering this decision caused change - it felt like a watershed moment, a time to weigh the reasons, the benefits and the risks, yet with no deadline or critical event waiting offstage. What is important is what I have learned from doing this exercise, and what I will lose if the rigour of continuing is removed. And here is the rub: I have and value the habits of writing and editing my work, of crafting text. Searching for new ideas is challenging, but I don’t want this activity to lapse.
10/25 Direct Link
Rotten computers that, when they age, take on the worst aspects of historic relics and strangely mimic the worst-case projected futures that failing and decrepit humans will endure. Irritating slowness, the tendency to be two or three, even four or five steps behind instructions without a hope of catching up, or moving faster. Maybe this can be signs of a weakening memory, but it may also be due to reduced performance and flexibility. Whatever the cause, the solution is to re-boot often, and to let them rest and reset organically. Anger won’t work; expecting intuitive leaps or learning is unrealistic.
10/26 Direct Link
‘Outrageous.’
Most would agree this was out of control, but responding by calling it outrageous seemed uncalled-for. Moral outrage usually comes from someone who won’t make a move to help; in taking affront they usually step back from any problem and choose instead to elevate themselves to a high moral platform, ratchetted up there on their own raised blood pressure. And, then we have two problems: we could try and fix what is happening in front of us, or we could look after the soon-to-be apoplectic companion we brought with us.
‘Steve, get a grip and give us a hand.’
10/27 Direct Link
You just have to love people who step in straight away. These are usually people who can fix things, who know the danger of inaction, who want things to get back in order. They may not always get it right, but there is benefit in charging up the momentum and getting others around them moving.
‘Hello, Tim.’ Steven was now climbing on his pride. ‘Do you even know what you’re doing?’
‘Don’t know, mate,’ Tim said. ‘Grab hold of that end. If we shift this beam, we can see how much damage is ahead and if we can get though.’
10/28 Direct Link
Tim looked back at the group and it was clear he didn’t like what he saw. Except for Steven, we had all shifted back up the stairwell.
I felt myself behaving oddly. The instinct to flee is hard to stop. I thought about what I was doing and found the strangest logic: I was telling myself that if I could get far enough away to get a physical perspective on the scene in front, that this whole crisis would seem manageable.
‘Come on, you blokes,’ Tim said. ‘Help us move this cement block. Steve can’t lift it on his own.’
10/29 Direct Link
No-one expected to be trapped: fire exits are to save us from danger. Above us, we heard explosions as the building roof and framework burned and collapsed. Fire moves faster upwards, but it would soon get here and that meant, getting away from the fire was the escape route. We had to get past this rubble, but there was no evidence this passage led to an escape, or even to daylight. Maybe this started with below ground opening up and the building collapsing into it. We could be heading in the wrong direction, but we had to move or burn.
10/30 Direct Link
Where has everything run to? Surrounded by change, I am alone, hidden away, adrift in a floating reality. Here the weather is infecting us all – you see weather everywhere – you go, it goes, and it's different where you end up, yet when you look you can’t find the point where the change happens, where it stopped, started running in reverse. Maybe time is the trigger: you go into a building and the day is sunny and hot; when you leave a few hours later the weather has become cold and rainy. Around I turn, more weather, yet everything has changed.
10/31 Direct Link
‘If …’ He paused, throwing down his pen. Picking up his glasses with his other hand and, holding one arm started swinging them around, faster and faster, until he slammed his free hand down hard on the table and stopped. We both stared down as water slopped from the two drinking glasses. ‘There’s that bloody word again – if.’ He sighed. ‘If it has to be done today, then it must. Can’t we plan things better next time? I’m sick of all these compromises. They always manage to put us at a disadvantage and now there’s no time to fix it.’