Once upon a time, in a universe far far away, someone asked me where I came from. I was on a blog based in Australia and having a laugh joking with other commenters there. Off the cuff, off the top of my head and probably off my tits, I said Wallawoora and began to embroider on that mythical place, to what I hope was the amusement of other contributors there.
Sometimes the spontaneous and unthinking answer is actually very true. Thinking back on it now, we all have that inner private place that is our own version of Wallawoora, and in the end, nobody gets in there except ourselves. It’s invitation only. Wallawoora is our ace in the hole, whatever happens, we’ll each always have our own place like it.
In there, you can be yourself and can’t be touched.
It’s not escapism or some fantasy world; it’s a lot more real than that. Wallawoora is where we think those private thoughts at our leisure; the ones we can’t share with anyone, no matter how close. It’s the elemental you, where our feet of clay can lose the marching hobnail boots and settle into some sort of comfortable slippers and think about things without the usual onerous measure of guilt.
You love and know you’re loved by them but there’s a lot of stuff that’s just yours. Mostly, it’s old history you’ll never let out of the bag, but some of it is about now. It’s more than those frailties you think they can’t possibly have behind the façade, or the secret history of you really cocking up like a complete prat. You know they know you well enough to see that stuff, though it’s a marker of their affection that everyone pretends not to notice. We all do that little kindness for each other. It’s different. That strange distance you’ve never quite been able to close with them. You love them and envy their closeness, their simple world.
You’d do anything for them but there’s always that bit of you who’s the stranger in the room watching, and that is your ultimate betrayal of them.
Being charitable, it’s perhaps a measure of your love of them that there’ll always be that part of you; the cold watchman keeping them safe, but perhaps being more honest, before any of them came along, there was always you and you still need your little time outs in Wallawoora.
It’s a defined space, your space, a shack really, not much more to it than that. There are only two rooms. The back one is where I sleep. It has a single bed, a few thin blankets, one window facing east and no curtains on it. When the sun comes up, it wakes me up and I get up and make the bed. By the time I’m done, you could bounce a nickel off it. The other room is kitchen, study or whatever it needs to be. A few tattered favourite books, an old cantankerous oven, a black skillet, a postcard from a friend in Rio and not much else. I keep it bachelor tidy. It’s a bit Spartan but I like it that way; simple and uncluttered.
It has a porch on the west side. Evenings, I sit out on it with feet on the hitching rail doing nothing more than watching the sun go down as I sip on a whiskey and water and once in a while talk things over with an old and valued friend who’s stopped by for a visit.
That would be you.
You’re the quiet type, a great listener. I’m comfortable in your company and your silence. I get to do the one great thing I never could do outside Wallawoora – speak my heart without the ever-present and tiresome worry of who might possibly be hurt.
Speaking your mind is a simple thing compared to speaking your heart. The former you can fart around with and mostly get away with if you’re anyway clever, but never the latter. Too many people could get hurt and it’s too rich for deception. It’s all in the mix. Colours, ideas, friends, pictures, lovers, ideas, loss, joy, texture, raw and burnt sienna, whirling around, head over heels, all mashing around in that wonderful K-tel blender of the mind as advertised on the shopping channel and all to no evident purpose.
Be in no doubt, this blog is a weapon I carefully shaped many years ago before it ever appeared. I chipped, flinted and knapped away until it was fit to purpose, a Clovis spearhead to do some precise cutting damage to the massed armies of inhumanity arrayed against us. It’s but one sly prong. The majority of articles here are slightly cerebral, pointed and focused on debagging the cult of global warming. It’s blogging for the over twelves and a modest but I think insidious part in the fight against consensus totalitarianism.
There are a few articles here that are off the bomb run, but I occasionally need to write them. They come from my memories, my heart and occasionally from conversations I’ve had with you. You see, I am in many ways a camera, it’s always running, always recording and it’s a son of a bitch thing I have no control over.
I have a very lived in face. Experienced, fucked over, a few scars, more than a bit broke down, seen it all, too banjaxed to be judgemental of anybody. It’s the sorta face people tell their stories to.
The terminally drunk getting to know you conversation on the veranda finally runs down late in the evening and there’s a pause. We’ve been friends for not too long, but already feel an easy connection with each other. You’ve been drinking a bit more heavily than usual. It all goes quiet. You glance at me one more time just to be sure, and then you look away and start to talk squinting into the sunset and I know I can’t stop you. On the best day of my life, I couldn’t stop you. I wouldn’t, I love you, it doesn’t matter.
I listen and know it will be perfect. Perfect and simply bloody terrible. Roll the cameras Mr de Mille.
I’ve sorta sensed it coming the whole damn evening. If I could just somehow shut you up, but I can’t. I’m helpless, pinned because I’ve been there and recognise the desperate need to finally dump on someone, anyone who can take it in and really just find a way, a meaning, some way forward. To understand without offering some bloody useless daytime TV opinion or just shut the fuck up and simply listen and you might finally be done with the whole damn business.
It’s going to be a story, and it’ll be a complete fucker, and I’m the hole you’re going to slam dunk it into. It’ll be true and I know you’re going to hit me with it. First person pluperfect. Once you start, you won’t be stopped talking until it’s done, detailed, rounded, terrible and perfect and I’m paralysed listening to what tore the heart out of you and your wall-papered over scars life as it is now.
All the best violence, intended or unintended, is intimate.
You finish and I look at you and all I’ve got to offer back is a commiserating look in return, a stare. Sometimes there’s no nice words to say, no nice and easy band-aids you can quickly slap over wounds to make it all better, and you both accept that. It is what it is. The past is immutable. What was done to you can’t be undone, and perhaps of more dread are the things you did, which can’t be taken back either.
I’m sure there are writers in the world who can spring off their imagination but I’m not one of them. The heart stuff comes from my life or yours. Real stories, real people, real things and all I do is try to tell those stories with some degree of honesty. I just unspool the film, rerun, show it to you and hope for the best. It’ll not always be me in my best light or perhaps others, but it is the simple creature that it is.
Because it’s real, the best I can do to protect people from the betrayal I do as a recorder of life is change a few details, times, places and names. I move stuff around. It’s a low part of my nature with the only saving grace being that I want to tell their story without losing that essential kernel of honesty. At this stage in my life, I’m nearly bullshit free. I know what I can do and finally what I’m rubbish at.
I know I can write and what that really means is I can move the heart of a reader, but I’m careful. I walk that tightrope of simple honesty and refuse to manipulate emotions. Any article here means something in and of itself. It’s stand alone, extant, and comes straight out of the freedom of Wallawoora and my veranda there.
I wrote a piece last week about love and I must confess was saddened by the onslaught of some comments on it. The only rule about comments here is actually simple; if it’s lucid, polite and if possible amusing, it gets published – everything else goes into the trash bin. So many of them were quite simply vile.
It was an in memorium piece, it touched in passing on a man’s love for another man, and as so often happens with a heart piece I write, seemed to provoke strong emotions. I’m indifferent to a person’s sexuality, we’re either friends or not. I’m a mainline bloke but have no strong feelings about which way a man or woman might swing. It’s sad I have to make that declaration. Anyway, I’m more interested in a person’s heart and mind and whatever consenting adults get up to in the privacy of their lives is no damn business of mine, nor yours either I think.
The whole pro and anti gay mafia attacked under the cover of injured victimhood. How dare I out him? Well, I didn’t. Yes, the funeral described was for his love but the in memorium piece was actually for him. He was the one who was now dead. Pointy, you shouldn’t be writing about gay people was another popular motif, you’re better than that. Another dead diseased gay was near the top of the hit parade theme. From there, it all went rapidly shit downwards.
What you’ll always get from this blog is an honest and considered view from the veranda of my shack in Wallawoora as the sun sinks down. If that might offend your sensibilities or you feel my attitude should be corrected, I can only say it’s an honestly held viewpoint.
I can’t offer you anything better than that.
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