Yesterday a friend of ours, Chris Marshall, turned up at the house to talk about the Peel Common and noticed the giant cracks in the wall. He is a soil and geology man, so the discussion about Bathurst’s clay soils, and how they make houses crack as they expand and contract, went deeper than the usual discussions on this topic. The usual discussions go like this, “Oh hell, look at that giant crack in the wall.” And the reply: “Oh yes, Bathurst is built on clay soils that expand and contract in times of rain and drought.” But with Chris Marshall, it goes like this: “Our Pleistocene-aged sands and gravels are topped by Holocene-aged swampy meadows with dark coloured clay loam soils.” Actually I’m paraphrasing here from a paper he has just written as part of the Cox’s Road Dreaming Project.
I was getting ready to scoot out of the house to perform Invisible Body at the Bathurst entertainment centre. But I really wanted to stick around for geological time. I wanted to be in a discussion that had absolutely nothing to do with me. This weekend, I’m a little over talking about me. I’m sure I’ll get interested again shortly, but for now, I’d rather be thinking about the Holocene period and swampy meadows and dark coloured clay loam soils. But there’s one more thing I have to do as part of my contribution to the Bathurst outpost of the Sydney Writers’ Festival: be on a panel titled “The Joy of Blogging”. It’s at 4pm in the Wattle Foyer in the BMEC today, if anyone in the neighbourhood is reading this and wants to come on down (the panel will include fellow local bloggers Marg Hogan and Cherie Quade. I know I’ll rise to the occasion and even enjoy it (as I finally began to enjoy the performance of Invisible Body) but right now, at this minute, I’m longing to get on to the not-me parts of the universe.
Actually, just on the cracks in the wall: When my two little nephews and their friend were visiting, I told them the crack in the hall was a crack in the space-time continuum. They looked slightly alarmed so I said, “Only joking!” But I shouldn’t have been such a wimp. I should have let myself do their heads in. Kids get it too easy these days.
PS: The performance went really well – people loved it. Kudos to director Fiona Green who managed to wrangle two slightly difficult, nervous, non-actors into a piece that really worked on stage.
It’s ten to eleven pm on a Thursday night. Am I really going to start my post at this late hour? I suppose the answer is yes. I’m still limping around, Googling “meniscus”, rubbing my right knee. My moment with the 422 bus continues to haunt me. It’s funny – having survived much worse bodily assaults over the past year or so, it’s this minor injury that’s getting me down. I don’t like to limp. I like to dart. I like to dart across the room when a student calls me over to their computer so we can peer at the thing that won’t work together. I like to dart from one end of the house to go and get the thing I forgot to bring from the other room, and dart again because I got distracted and still didn’t bring it. I like to jump into the car with nine seconds to spare, get there, slam the car door and hurtle into whatever it is with no seconds to spare, breathing hard from the exertion. All of that has been impossible over the past ten days or so. I have to move slowly and limp. This body. This &^%$# body. This temple, this vale of tears, this jewel, this England. Nar, not England. Just knee. Stiff. Sore. Making me limp. Making me feel more like the other slow, stiff, limping people of the world. They come out after morning rush hour to do a bit of slow shopping, a bit of slow post office and bank.
I walk slowly across campus and meet two juvenile magpies who don’t bother to move because such a slow-moving being is unlikely to be dangerous.
A lot of other people have bad knees. They’re all over the Internet, next to pictures of knees with red halos of pain.
Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be rehearsing for Invisible Body, a short performance piece three of us are doing for the Bathurst outpost of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. I’ve been learning my part by sitting on a chair, doing the movements from the waist up. If worst comes to worst, I’ll do it on stage like that, on a stool. But I do want to be up on both legs for this one. And then on the Sunday, I’ll be part of a panel titled The Joy of Blogging. Note that blogging isn’t always a joy. Sometimes it’s oh-hell-it’s-Thursday-and-I-have-to-write-something. But mostly it’s a joy.
Oh yes, and not one but two people in my Thursday morning TAFE class have only one knee. Both have prostheses for their other leg. There’s always someone worse off, as they say. But then, there’s always Arlo Guthrie’s last guy. The one for whom there’s absolutely nobody worse off. Here it is on YouTube. He starts talking about the last guy at about 2.22 minutes in on this clip.
Saw Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia last night, performed by third year theatre students at Charles Sturt University. Not enough boys, so girls got to play some of the key parts, including Septimus Hodge, played by a very tall beautiful girl – and it worked! She was an interesting gender-bender Septimus. I think her name’s Penny. I didn’t know the play at all before I saw it – a lot of it washed over and around me – but I loved it. I loved the mandelbrot sets, mystery, the same table, the same room, layers and layers and who is this hermit? Oh, here he is, right in front of you!
This is just to say goodbye to one of the Three Musketeers, Jan Wawrzynczak, with whom I worked closely for a couple of years in the early 1990s. We had fun! I got out of the community arts field but Jan went on to organise ever more extravagant multicultural extravaganzas. I had lunch with him in Canberra last year, when he was in the middle of organising a giant event. It was so sad to find out that he had died on July 25 after a serious motorbike accident about seven weeks before.