Pumped Up Kicks. December 3rd, 2017.
2018 already looks like it’s going to be a challenging year for me.
Still no news from Kris (it’s been 3 months and a bit since I last heard from him). He’s a few weeks behind schedule.
The local art scene has been rocked by a few blows…we lost one contemporary art space, another has been moved to less accessible premises, yet another finds itself at the centre of scandal and uproar (again! LOL) It’s hard to tell what will be left to all the artists in Darwin who aren’t the right skin colour (i.e. indigenous, Aboriginal) Well, I’m sure something will rise from the ashes—where there’s demand someone will step up to supply, and we have some capable, go-getting, clear-headed artists in this town—but right now Darwin isn’t looking like a great place to be an artist or maker.
Also, I could be looking for another livelihood next year…my hours at the art shop are getting chopped down to less than half what they were.
Beggars, they say, can’t be choosy, and when I was younger I might have timidly accepted this manhandling of my time as a necessary evil, but squandering that sort of time seems sacrilegious to me now that I’m in my forties. On the other hand, I don’t want to go looking for another casual 8-hour job as a cleaner or kitchen hand…I probably wouldn’t get accepted, anyway.
I’m determined to come up with something that is entirely my own. 2018 could be a blessing in disguise…the ‘push’ out of my comfort zone that might be what I need to finally do my own thing and stop working for any firm or boss. I’m going to choose to look at it that way, anyhow. Still, it’s scary.
This last handful of days in 2017, however, are going to be lovely and I am going to enjoy them.
I’m house-sitting a friend’s place while she visits family in the South. There’s a little bubbling spa in the palm-shaded garden, an etching press in the corner, art on the walls and books on the shelves (and no television); a well-equipped kitchen, an ice cube maker, air-conditioning (effing marvelous in the humidity and heat of Darwin’s summer), and it’s a few minutes to wide sandy beaches (there are no beaches on my side of Darwin…we have mud and mangroves). Asian groceries, farmer’s markets, parks and cafés are all short bike rides away.
It’s going to be a welcome break from sweating in the baking-hot steel walls of the boat, from agonising over Kris’s whereabouts and feeling so unspeakably alone, from being under house arrest because of the tides, from the sandflies (that are the official tormentors of my personal hell), from the solar electricity that conks out after a succession of grey days, from rumours of a 4-metre (13-foot) crocodile in the creek, from the low spirits that I have been carrying around for a year—the plodding through, the putting up with, and the slowly drowning under.
My friend left yesterday afternoon. At midnight I walked blindly through the garden, toward the sound of the spa bubbling away in the dark, shedding clothes as I went. I slipped into the cold water and watched the stars peek through the gaps in the palm fronds for half an hour. Shivered at first, and then cried a little. It did me a world of good.
May you find a little parcel of time this New Year’s to dream, to recharge, to examine, to reflect. Best wishes for 2018. It may not be much, but it is something.