Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Thing About Things

The other day, a friend and I were talking about the word thing.  Actually, we were talking about relationships, when she turned to me and said, "Oh so did you have a thing?" To which I replied; "What even is that?"
I mean seriously, what does that even mean?  If you think about it, the word 'thing' is probably one of the most used words in the English language, with an extremely broad definition.

For example, I could turn to you and say; "Hey can you pass me that red thing?" or I could be like, "He's really good at guitar, that's his thing."
Next time I want to skip out on some plans that I didn't really want to make, I don’t even have to give a proper explanation because "Sorry I couldn't come, I had a thing," is apparently sufficient.  It could also be used when a girlfriend comes out of the bathroom at a club going, “Oh my god I just saw his thing.”
Or if you want to admit that you like someone just be like, "I guess you could say I have a bit of a thing for him/her."
There’s also, "Do you guys have a thing?", "They had a thing, but they broke up", "Yeah there's just lots of things everywhere”, "Things just got super weird" and
"Where is the thing?"

Do you see what I mean!?  The word is flimsy.  You can pretty much chuck it anywhere and it still makes sense.  It can basically be used as a substitute when you don't know what real name of something is. (See, I just used it again…)  Because the word has so many different meanings, it can get super confusing when you’re trying to talk about something specific.  This takes me to the part about relationships.  

Alright, so imagine one day a girl sees a guy she likes from across a crowded room (cliché I know, but just bear with me).  They strike up a conversation, perhaps they kiss.  After that they begin to see each other a few more times, but it’s only casual.  Neither of them really knows what is going on because they haven’t defined anything, but people begin to notice that they are close.  As the girl’s friends notice, they begin to ponder, so they ask, "Hey, so are you guys going out or what?"  The girl, let’s call her Keira (I just like the name) doesn't know how to respond so she says, "Oh, I don't know what we are… I mean we just…we have like.... we just have a.... a thing!?"

In this case, the word has been used as a substitute.  She didn't know what to call her relationship, so she just said ‘thing’.  Now, if I haven’t lost you yet, here’s where it gets really confusing.  The main issue now is; the definition is corrupt.  People began to say “thing” as a means of defining a relationship so often that an entirely new definition evolved. There is no longer a way to know exactly what they are talking about!  Do you mean that you are going out as a "pair" who are in a relationship?   Or do you mean that you don't know what is going on between you? How is there a way to know!?  I could try and explain it to a friend, but I would say the word ‘thing’ so many times that it wouldn't even sound like a word anymore.  

If I, personally, ever say “yeah I guess we have a thing,” I mean that I have no idea what to call it.  My friend, however, might think that I mean ‘we are getting together but we aren't exclusive we don’t really know where it is going or what we want to get out of it but for the moment we are both happy and we both understand that we are allowed to get with other people but we probably shouldn't because it would make the other person upset’. Ah. Deep breath.

In my opinion, ‘thing’ has too many definitions.  It can be an object, personal belongings, an adjective, matter, a subject, an area of interest or knowledge, an event, a substitute for a noun, a romantic relationship, a way to describe falling for someone, a place, a happening, a group, groups of groups, a group of belongings, a group of places, a group of names, or even a 'thing' itself.  Dear lord, now even I’m getting confused… 

Which is why I propose to you: the addition of a new word, one that could be used instead of the word “thing”.  One that only describes an unknown relationship, so that Keira could tell her friends that she wasn't sure what she had with the guy she liked - using only one simple word.

This means that we need a word to go with the definition:
 “A word used to describe a relationship when you don’t really know what is going on between the parties involved.”

Any ideas? I’ll chuck you some of mine; let me know what you think!  (Hint: Try to imagine using the word in a sentence).

1. Flimby (derived from the TV show ‘Friends’, Flimby is a word Phoebe uses when she can’t remember the real thing)
2. Stuff
3. Tie
4. Gadget
5. Phenomenon
6. Fixation
7. Feature
8. Stunt
9. Quirk
10. Knack

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

True Inspiration Is Impossible To Fake

For those of you who don't know me, creative writing is one of my greatest passions.  I was sifting through some old stuff the other day and stumbled across a story that I wrote under timed circumstances for one of my year 12 examinations last year.  If you're in the mood to delve into a story, whether it be to escape something going on in your own life, or simply because you are bored out of your brains, I encourage you to read on.  The exam question that I was given was;

"In a form of your choice, use the following sentence as a stimulus for a response:
True inspiration is impossible to fake"

I had only one hour allocated towards this question, including time for planning and an explanation of what it was that I wanted to achieve.  Below is what I wrote, which is the exposition of a story.  Examiners understand that this is our first time writing the piece, and therefore take into account the fact that it is only a first draft when they are marking.  I received 100% for this story; something I was extremely proud of.  I hope you enjoy! And hey, if you have any suggestions as to what I can change - or even where you would like the story to go, leave a comment below and I may write another installment soon! Stay tuned.  

Off With the Wind
She’s wearing her paisley dress.  The black one with the printed flowers carefully placed on the fabric.  Her moon shaped earrings dance down from her lobes and her blonde braids shimmer in the dusty sunset.  They’ve just passed through Geraldton, licking the last crumbly bits of pie pastry from their fingers as they leave behind a chapter of their lives.  Pearl is carefully poised in the backseat, her cheeks a chubby strawberry pink as she giggles.  She’s two days away from her fourth birthday and you would barely believe it.  Leon’s behind the wheel of their faded blue ford mustang and they travel on, listening to Savage Garden and alternative jazz, heading to absolutely nowhere at all.
                They don’t have two dimes to rub together, but they have a box of fruit in the trunk and smiles on their lips.  As the glow of the fire provides light, Leon sets up the tent.  His arms are muscly but he feels tired and weak.  He stops briefly, staring into the fire and remembering a life he left behind long ago.  He doesn’t miss it.  The mother’s name is Tori, and she lives like the wind.  Once she was Jessica, but not anymore.  She sits on a log and strums a small red guitar with her turquoise nails.  The sound of the chords flows through her and tells a story of the past.  She plays solemnly from memory, a skill she’d learned from her father at a very young age.  Leon sits next to her, mesmerised at how she is inspired by the smallest of memories.  He inspects her golden breasts, her beautiful aura and her glistening eyes.  He cannot sing, but he sings with his heart and the gentle whisper of their love.  Pearl is asleep in the tent, dreaming of starfish and coral in a faraway place, and it’s then that Leon realises, true inspiration is impossible to fake.  
The morning comes, laying a blanket of dew over the Australian bush.  They slink out into the sun and boil water on the billy.  Tori changes into tie-dye pants and a white lace top, her green glass nose stud shimmering in the light.  They’re after them; she knows.  Ever since they left they’ve been after them.  But she doesn’t care.  Life is simple and happy.  They peel juicy oranges and crunch on granny’s apples, toss sand on the fire and they’re off.  To the beach, they decide.  To play with seashells, and frolic with sand and salt and bliss.  Pearl runs and stumbles, her toes tripping her wobbly body by digging into the cool sand.  Tori lets the waves wash over her ankles; bits of salty froth sticking to her seahorse tattoo.  She closes her eyes and breathes in the air.  She’s a good mother, she tells herself.  Letting Pearl be a part of this strange Earth and all of its wonders.  Still, her fourth birthday screams school, and Tori can’t help but wonder if they should try and settle down.  But as she glances back at Pearl, sitting covered in sand and building a castle of blobs, Leon scoops her up into an embrace so strong she forgets all her worries and laughs them into the breeze.

That’s what life is like for them now.  Once there was sadness, once there was pain.  Once they used to be prisoned by the problems and mistakes of those around them.  But they learned how to escape.  They learned how to smile and to kiss and to dance.  They learned how to forget, how to light a fire without a match and how to butter bread without a knife.  They learned how to run, how to play, how to be parents and how to simply just be.  They learned how to be inspired by the land upon which they live, and how to follow the wind.          
             They pile into the mustang, brushing sand off their feet and salt from their hair.  It’s about 2o’clock when they look at the sun, for they don’t have a clock or a watch.  They’re in desperate need of some money for petrol and food, so they roll in to the next dusty town they come across, which doesn’t appear to have a name.  The breeze has dropped, leaving a muggy lingering heat that radiates around them.  Tori shades her eyes from the sun to soak in the surroundings before gently lifting her daughter from the back seat and into her arms.  Something doesn’t feel right about this place.  They stroll up to an old wooden diner and the bell tingles when they open the door.  Rows of freshly baked cupcakes are lined on the counter and a slushie machine with only one side working churns at the end.  Tori’s eyes scan the room for a place to sit, but instead they find something else.  Her jaw drops open and the eye contact is menacing.  She’d recognise that face anywhere, for it’s her mothers.       

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Dilemma Of The Day

Ever been in a situation where you just don’t know how to deal with what’s happening? A moment where, in theory, you should be pinching yourself ‘right-about-now’ and waking up from a bad dream?  If not, you should consider yourself lucky because I experienced something like it today, and I can tell you now, it was not pretty.
I stood in front of the mirror at about ten o’clock this morning and looked at my hair, which was fluffy and stubborn since I'd washed it the night before.  Big bulky bits gathered around my scalp and no matter how many times I smoothed them over, they just bounced right back up.  Thank god for hair straighteners, right?  I wanted to look nice because my Grandpa – Mum’s dad who turns 80 next week –is visiting us from Queensland, and we were heading up to Kings Park for coffee at the Botanic Gardens.  My extremely fashionable and gorgeous Nanna – Dad’s mother who is recently widowed – was also going to be joining us, which meant that I had to choose a respectable outfit. 

Something you should know about my wardrobe is that it is pretty limited.  Somehow my money deteriorates as I continue to spend it on clothes, yet the contents of my cupboard doesn’t seem to get any bigger.  Go figure.  After much speculation and seeked advice from my thirteen-year-old sister, I chose my black blouse, Levi’s denim jacket and groovy white scarf.  We ummed and ahhed about my pants, but eventually I chose the velvet maroon cord ones over the slightly see-through black and white striped leggings.  (I mean, leggings as pants – what was I thinking!?)  Convinced I’d made the right decision, we left to pick up my Nanna from her home in Mt Claremont.  

I volunteered to walk in and collect Nanna –she lives at Lisle Lodge –and I often enjoy walking through the gardens there, as they’re colourful and full of life.  She greeted me with a big happy hello and proceeded to show me how she had rearranged her furniture – all by herself, I might add – and began explaining where picture frames were from and why particular colour choices had been made.  I smiled and nodded, always interested and polite when she has something to say.  I nonchalantly brushed my hands over the back of my pants, attempting to pull my shirt down, when suddenly I felt something that wasn’t quite right.  My eyes went wide and I tuned out as I tried to figure out if what I feared was indeed true.  It couldn’t be; I had to be wrong.  I froze in pure horror.  The blood rushed to my face and I found myself nodding, switching in to auto-pilot and pretending that everything was a-okay. 

“After you,” I said to Nanna, gesturing for her to walk before me on the pathway.  “Oh no my darling, you go ahead because I’m slow.”  I didn’t argue, but I was shy as I walked in front, afraid that my dilemma might become all the more real.  I tugged my shirt down as I squished myself into the car next to my sister.  “I have a problem,” I whispered to her.  She asked me what, but in the confinement of a vehicle, I couldn’t say.  “It’s really bad.”  And then I began to laugh; a wild hysterical chuckle.  She awkwardly laughed with me, but she had no idea.  Only I knew what was wrong, only I knew just how bad it was.  The only thing I didn’t know was what the hell I was going to do about it.  It was one of those situations that you just have to laugh about, because if you don’t laugh, you will most likely cry. 

My family were probably wondering what the hell was wrong with me.  I had got the giggles and I couldn’t stop.   I felt sick in the stomach, wondering how I was going to get out of the car without anybody noticing.  I prayed that maybe Kings Park wouldn’t be too busy and I could slip out without anyone seeing me – but of course I was in no such luck, and it was packed.  I turned to my sister, “Tell me if you see anything,” I said, climbing out of the car.  She shook her head and I felt a giant wave of relief wash over me.  We had to walk to the café though, and I squished my legs together in an attempt to hide my problem, when in reality I was probably making it all the more obvious that there was something wrong.  The whole time thinking ‘Dear lord, why me?’   

Once we got to the café, I grabbed my sister’s arm and yanked her in to the toilet with me.  She was giggling then, but she had no idea what the problem was.  I knew she wouldn’t be able to contain herself when she knew the truth.  We crammed into a cubicle and I turned around.  “Are you ready?” I asked her and she said that she was.  With the green light, I lifted up the back of my shirt to reveal a hole in the back of my pants.  Not a tiny, unnoticeable rip – no, of course not.  I’m talking a giant gaping hole that reveals black underwear, skin and all.  “Oh. My. God,” I do believe her words were, followed by hysterical laughter, which I couldn’t help but reciprocate. 

So there I was, up at Kings Park with not one but two grandparents, however many children and families there are there during school holidays, my mother, my sister and a huge hole in the back of my favourite pair of pants.  But you know what, I’m going to choose to look at the positive side of this.  Thank God that I was wearing a long black top, thank God that I didn’t tuck the top in, thank God that I was also wearing a denim jacket that could be tied around my waist if needed.  What if I had been wearing a t-shirt, a midriff or a singlet top?  Let’s just take a moment to think about that…

Next time that you’re in a situation where you find yourself thinking ‘things couldn’t be any worse’, try to think about the positive aspects of the scenario that life has thrown at you.  Maybe you'll even be able to laugh about it.  I guess I should have chosen the striped leggings after all.  Either that, or I should stop eating so much chocolate, stop sitting around watching ‘Friends’ all day on my laptop, stop trying to wear pants that are clearly too small for me, get my lazy ass up, and go for a run!

These are my pants just to prove I'm not kidding.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Long Lost Letter

Today I found a letter that I once wrote to a close friend.  It seemed relevant because today I am also getting my hair dyed, although this time it will be a mixture of blonde and red, and I also have a cold.  I can't even remember what was going on in my life when I wrote this letter, but I will leave it up to your imagination to decide what it means for you. So let's take a trip to the past; a time when things were different.  

Today I am getting my hair dyed.  Today I’m going to start fresh.  I’m sick of worrying – I’m sick of a lot of things actually.  Like my sickness, for example.  I want to do well in exams, but feeling both physically and mentally sick doesn’t help all that much.  Today I feel sick and tired.  But tomorrow I will feel happy and new and awake.  Today I don’t have to make any decisions about anything, however I will say this.  Last night I did cry, after you left.  But not for very long.  It didn’t help.  I didn’t expect it too, but holding it in wasn’t doing much good.  You of all people know what it’s like to have someone taken away from you – out of your control.  I thought you’d understand why I want to fight – even though yes, I will most likely lose.  Today I am a naïve high school student, someday I want to be a writer.  To not worry about boring shit or annotating pictures, but to write about what I want or how I feel with intellect and passion, like I am now.  I would also buy pens that last longer than ones found under classroom desks, but you can’t always get what you want.  Someday I want to fall in love for real, not just teenage lust/love.  And I want to be loved.  Today I’m just wanted by horny 16 year old boys who claim to love me, though I know they won’t last.  Today my best friends talk more to my previous loves than they talk to me, and I don’t have many places to turn other than a sheet of paper.  Tomorrow I will wake up with blonde hair and a smile.  I will look in the mirror and say I’m happy.  And I’ll believe it. 

Monday, 1 July 2013


Sitting in usually uncomfortable fluorescent light which is now strangely romantic. 
Ice in a cup of yellowy tea glistens; making the liquid cool.  A small teacup of beautifully salty pistachio nuts that are half cracked open sits daintily on the edge of the coffee table as I write. 
Soft music, clean hair, and a small slab of lemon cheesecake fudge. 
A flashing phone with an incoming call from a close friend.  Bliss.