September 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

It took me a while to find them. I had to kneel on a handful of polka dot heels and rummage past boxes of mixed tapes. I grabbed hold of one lace and tugged, my head pressed against the wardrobe door. It took a few pulls, but then out they tumbled.

My beloved army boots.

I’d worn them for most of my twenties and well into my thirties. I wore them with tattered lace dresses and a septum ring, to riot grrl gigs and zine workshops, feminist punk festivals and tattoo parlours. If asked, I’d scowl and swear that they would never leave my feet – I would never relinquish them, no sir! But in the end all it took was one fire engine red pair of stilettos, beckoning to me from a shop window, to make me bend down, and untie the laces.

I never looked back.

I’m turning my bedroom upside down at the moment. I have a drawer spilling thermal underwear striped in bright colours like a liquorice allsort. There’s an i-pod filled with dirty blues, a red notebook filled with addresses for postcards, and a fat black cat staring accusingly at my suitcase as if to say ‘Oh, I see. This again.’

I’m afraid so, Malgorzata.

The last time I wore my army boots was in Iceland, six years ago. When I pulled them from the depths of my wardrobe today, I almost reached out to brush the snow off. I remembered sitting on the edge of the harbour in Reykjavik at dawn, watching the sun rise and throw its rosy glow onto the ice. I remembered the cold – the sheer, breathtaking brutality of it, fingers so numb I couldn’t work a pen. I recalled standing in the snow and seeing the faintest shimmer of the aurora borealis snake across the midnight sky.

And I remembered just how much I love that incredible, magical land.

I leave for Iceland in two weeks today. I’ve been awarded a writing residency in a remote fishing village up near the Arctic Circle. I’ll have a studio to write in, and a whole month to see what I can shake from my pen. And I’m more than ready, let me tell you.

When people learn where I’m going, I almost always get the same reaction. I’ve been told, countless times now, ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland!’ But when I ask why they haven’t, the answer is always the same. It’s too far, too cold, too expensive. It’s too hard. And I understand that reluctance to grab your passport, lace up your boots, and just jump.

But I no longer share it.

My latest ABC story was broadcast on Australia’s Radio National recently, inspired by those conversations. You can listen by clicking the link below. It’s about longing, and leaping, and what you can learn about yourself in the process. And it’s about Iceland.

Safe to say it’s on my mind a lot these days.





  1. gretchen said,

    i just got the best shivers reading this darling. being alone in a magical land with wonders of words and limitless ink… yes. x

    • inkymouth said,

      My lovely woman, I’ve been sitting on the windowsill, watching the snow flakes tumble down…this is just gorgeous, this place, and I am ever grateful x

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