Keeping it real

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It’s true, cities are not places for wild goats. It’s difficult to reflect amongst the chaos of a human built landscape, unless it’s on our generation of narcissists. This is not personal. Who hasn’t taken a gratuitous selfie once in a while? I’m right in there, fudging the edges with art in my heart. You know me, I adore a good self-portrait, usually without clothes.

Now that I have a backpack instead of a room and a bank account that dives gracefully toward the abyss, I’ve crossed borders and fallen in love with a number of foreign places. All on the cheap. Hitch-hiking. Sleeping in my tent. Washing under greek waterfalls or in post-soviet sauna houses. Wherever I find myself, there are people with smartphones. We Insta and Facebook, Gab, Google+, MySpace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Viber, VK, WeChat, Weibo, WhatsApp, Wikia, Snapchat and YouTube. Sometimes we even email friends who are detoxing from social media overload. Then we write blogs.

Yesterday I went to The Winter Place of Peter the Great. Yes, I’m in St Petersburg where people rarely smile, unless they are really happy. That can be infuriating but somehow, in a world of manufactured happiness and political turmoil, perhaps it is a good thing.

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The Squeeze

 

I’m about to squeeze this hulk between solid stone buildings that have withstood two world wars and four hundred years of seasonal change, love and laughter in the Aveyron. I’m not the first. This is the through road between wheat fields on high and the ancient moulins along the river that ground the grain to fine flour for the communal bread ovens. Tractors, horses, wagons, and more recently cars and the occasional truck have traversed this route. Today I’m driving the old Mercedes.

I’ve been in Europe for six months now. Hitching my way around France and Greece, meeting the strange, the interesting and the humorous along my way. Striding with backpack or pedalling the tiny trails that connect villages. I don’t drive cars. I’m on the wrong side of the road, the wrong side of the car, and I’m trying to brake with my right foot on the pedal. Sure I have been granted a temporary French permit to drive, but do I really want to exchange a life of adventurous travel for the easy option? I will decide after I have safely parked the car on the wild and wintery hill-top back at my friend’s house.

 

 

Delirious Sky

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It is a delicious moment,

Delirious sky.

The sun burning deeply,

Her skin starts to fry.

She gathers her senses,

Surrounded by life.

When death beckons shyly,

She submits to his knife.

It’s only a metaphor,

We grow and we die,

And laugh at the Present,

The Goddess on High.

The Art of Nothing

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There is nothing to say, she laughs. The door swung on it’s hinges, uncertain whether to open or close. The window, wide-eyed, allowed the light to enter, but only with a certain discretion. Cicadas screamed. Over-ripe figs fell to the ground. The walls bared their souls. And the day passed away.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rush

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I have no idea if the French Consulate will approve my long-stay visa, apart from an inkling that the rendezvous was positive. In a reckless sort of way, I’ve been preparing to leave anyway. At least for three months. If my application pleases the administration I’m off for a year, with the option to renew. Holy shit! there’s a mountain of ends to tie off.

Being a visual artist is heart-poundingly beautiful. I spend my days soaking up images then pouring my passion onto canvas, computers and sketchbooks. I get to run around in the forest, chase clouds down the coast and occasionally throw my clothes to the wind. But there are some drawbacks. Stuff. The walls are disappearing behind mountains of artwork. Fortunately my housemates are tolerant.

I was dreaming up possibilities for art shows when there was a loud knock at the door. I assumed it was another parcel for New Housemate but the floppy plastic envelope looked oddly familiar. It was only a week since my interview in Sydney and I expected to wait two months. Was this a quick refusal or the long-awaited ticket to Europe? I opened it up… and I haven’t stopped smiling!

PS I really do need to move my paintings. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

I’d rather climb a Tree

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Looking for an apparently non-existant office supplies outlet in the lunchtime rush-hour is a surreal moment when there’s a visa application to complete. It was already ten past noon and I still needed more documents downloaded and copied. The shop was no-where in sight so I needed to find my bank. It was blocks away but at least certain to deliver what I needed. The visa officer had kindly frozen my paperwork until 12.20 when the office would close. I couldn’t freeze now, this was my last chance to complete the task or wait for another month until the next available appointment. Adrenalin kicked in.

It was 12.18 when I slid the documents under the plate glass window. The officer smiled at my dishevelled appearance and added the papers to the pile. I’m still not sure how I managed to run those city blocks, get my statements printed, stamped and signed before reaching the office two minutes before closing time. Note to self: climbing the bureaucracy tree was a high but really, I’d rather be in a forest.

One drip at a time

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My resolve didn’t waver. I want to get back to Europe, in spite of the ocean paradise I’ll leave behind in Australia.

 It was now 11.55am and the consulat general’s office closed at 12.20. I wasn’t about to wait another month for a new appointment so I firmly grasped the paperwork and rushed out the door with directions to find a Justice of the Peace and an office supply outlet. The elevator plummeted 26 floors to ground zero.

By the time I reached the pharmacy, it was was close to 12 noon. This lead turned out to be futile but the woman kindly suggested that I might find a JP in the tall building with the revolving doors. So I retraced my steps. I found a chartered accountant on the fifteenth floor. He was busy but I wasn’t deterred. Pleading has it’s place. By 12.05 I was out of there and hit the pavement running. I still needed updated bank statements. I had fifteen minutes left.

One drip at a time. Will it all fall into place?