Rat of the library

June 28, 2020 at 5:33 pm (Goth, Schubert, writers, writing)

I don’t know about you, but my quarantine creativity has been elusive. Even writing a monthly blog post has been a struggle. My studio is now my classroom and in all honesty, I can’t wait to leave it each day. Wherever in the world you are, I hope you’ve had more inspiration than me; that you’ve been picking up a pen, or a paintbrush, or a plectrum.

I’m relying on it.

I may not be producing art, but I am devouring it. I’ve never read so much in my life – and this is from a devoted bookworm. I even pulled out my old French and Flemish textbooks from when I lived in Brussels and was inordinately delighted to learn that ‘bookworm’ is listed as ‘rat de bibliothėque.’ ie rat of the library.

I’ve been reading feminist zines, punk lyrics, scientific explanations of phosphorescence, plague ‘cures’, German poetry, bass guitar tutorials and Solstice spells.

Birthday treats

Sylvia and champagne

Afternoon read with soup

Music brings solace too…as it always, always does. Chris Wilson blues and Betty Davis funk. I’ve been translating lyrics from Icelandic goth band Kaelan Mikla into English and howling along with them. I stumbled out of my comfort zone and straight into Schubert’s brilliant and beautiful Winterreise (winter travel) song cycle. Given that today hit only eleven degrees, it seems a perfect time to listen to songs detailing a man ‘falling asleep in snow and waking to the shrieking of ravens.’ I played it for my husband and he sighed with contentment and said ‘Sounds right up our alley.’ And then I drifted back into my comfort zone with Idles, a fierce and fabulous British punk band with excoriating and erudite lyrics tackling misogyny, toxic masculinity, consumer culture and so many more facets of our daily lives.

Melbourne blues legend Chris Wilson by artist Karyn Hughes

Ah, so I may have misled you. I did write a Stereo Story, and it sure felt good to get that pen moving.

Click here for my new Stereo Story (photo by Eric Algra)

And it sure felt good to get in the car when restrictions eased, and drive out of the city. I’ve needed green so much it made my fists clench. Last week saw my birthday, our first wedding anniversary and the Winter Solstice, so to the forest we went. Mist among the mountain ash and a Witch’s feet in soil…absolute bliss.

Kalorama misty morning

No surprises from a woman who had a Winter Solstice wedding/handfasting

There’s so much pressure to be productive. Through this pandemic I haven’t learned how to bake sour dough, or taught myself macramé, or pickling techniques for kim chi. Calmness has often been out of my reach, but kindness hasn’t, and I know which is more important.

I’m not currently producing art, but I’m sure as hell appreciating it. Soaking it in, learning from it, storing it away so that at some point, in some way, I’ll draw it out, dust it off, and write from it.

Wherever in the world you are, I hope you come up for air soon too.

Melbourne hope

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