Tag Archives: Writer

Searching in the age of the internet 

Last night I sat opposite my therapist lamenting the days where I used ‘in-between time’, creatively. Where I used space in a way that saw me

…making jewellery my mum still affectionately wears

…painting images from thin air

…composing symphonies I’d try to articulate on the family piano

…reading in a way I’d miss outside sounds, too deeply immersed in the world I was creating between words.

Lately I’ve been desperately searching for ‘next’ meaning. I say next because I have had purpose before; but at 37 I am ready for something new. I am hungry.

Where I have turned to craft for searching in the past I now turn, like so many, to the internet. Sometimes two devices at a time. The internet is, after all, for searching isn’t it?

But for the first time in my life I’m not finding any solutions.

In the age where we have an overwhelming amount of sources to seek ‘answers’, this seems an almost impossibility. But never have I felt more incapable, more unsure and more anxious.

Hearing writer Mark Manson talk a couple of months ago at the Melbourne Town Hall I was reminded about the stress choice puts on our brain. Manson talked about experiments done …with cereal boxes.

Two cereal boxes. No stress. Ten cereal boxes. Anxiety.

Where it is considered ‘lucky’ if you are in the privileged position of having choice, our brains, in contrast, feel great pressure; and so when I turn to google for an answer say to a ‘next job’ question, I suddenly find myself with twenty tabs open that might stretch from ‘next job’ to …next travel opportunity, next retail therapy adrenaline rush, next social exorcism, and finally, next movie on Netflix.

Today I’m wondering…

What did I find without a phone? Without a laptop? Without the internet?

Sometimes, more questions.

Sometimes, deeper ones.

Sometimes

great knowing.

This ‘knowing’ wasn’t necessarily an answer in the way that we regard ‘answers’ in 2017. It wasn’t an immediate fix (in the form of a momentary high), a presumption that everything is black or white or that success would be born of it in a way that would see me known and recognised by many.

It was that ‘elemental’ feeling. The one Sir Ken Robinson talks about. Where I am in something that is intrinsically me. In and being and doing. Creating.

And there was simultaneous peace in that experience and great energy.

And that energy …used to carry me over into the ‘next thing’.

In my mind now I am trying to cultivate that feeling so I can investigate it more. I can sense that it’s about being present, about listening and about commitment. To one thing. Not twenty tabs.

In Krista Tippet’s ‘On Being’ podcast , where she interviews philosopher and poet John O’Donahue, she asks

‘…are we less capable of love and commitment and relationship in a mature sense, in our time than previous generations were? Or is this just a human dilemma that has different details in our time?

MR. O’DONOHUE: That’s a very interesting question. I don’t think we’re less capable at all. I think we’re more unpracticed at it and therefore more desperate for it. And I think it’s a matter of attention really, just attention.

In doing one thing I am attending to it. I am committed to it but not in a way that word seems to strike fear into the souls of many these days (those swiping left and right on Tinder, buying the next phone when there’s nothing wrong with the old one)… but intimately devoting myself to it, so I know it, so I am faithful to it.

I laugh here because I wonder if I too need to explain what I mean by faithful here. I certainly don’t mean to conjure up any notion of religion. I mean to imply –  ‘true’ – in an affectionate way, and in a way that doesn’t require any effort or sense of obligation.

In looking into the etymology of the word attention I find that it stems from the late 14th century meaning ‘ a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic’. It is the ‘giving’ and ‘active’ part I am so deeply excited by. Bubbling thinking to the words I used earlier – ‘energy’ and ‘peace’. For giving, hands over something. An exhalation. A kneeling. Peace.

And ‘active’ implies action. Doing something. Creating. Which of course we need and use energy to do.

So answers can be found in the space between letting go and creativity. Between emptiness and fullness. The space I think here is the important part as our brains can have some time to file here. To see if an answer can be created from all the information we already have at our disposal. Information that is personal to us – information gathered by our own personal histories, our own experience.

Online answers should perhaps only be looked for after one has spent time and space with oneself. When one has found personal knowing in intimacy.

This moment, in intimacy, I found that I need a long walk in nature.

without my phone.

 

By Kate Ellis.

 

Kate Ellis is a Writer, Poet, Drama Coach for television and film actors and a poetry, drama and literacy teacher to primary and secondary school students at a progressive independent Primary and Secondary school in Victoria’s Eastern Suburbs. Residing in Melbourne but working across Australia, Kate has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Sociology (UNSW), a Performance degree (Nepean) and a Masters in Education (University of Melbourne).

www.kateelliscoaching.com

 

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Time to call this behaviour out. 

I’d say this article made me cry. And it did. But it also made me very angry. Particularly as I’d just read Lenny Letter, where a female comedy writer has decided to open up about her experiences in Hollywood also. Non Weinstein related by the way.

She, like Emma Thompson here, is calling out some men in powerful positions in Hollywood who’ve degraded and disrespected some women.

In this interview, Emma Thompson says ‘there’s a crisis in masculinity’. I’ve said this myself in the following words – ‘I’ve always thought we need a push towards the feminine …but maybe you guys need just as much attention’. For what leads some men to this kind of behavior? Fear and feelings of inadequacy to start.

Gotta take power back somewhere right? And what nicer way than getting off right?

NO.

Read Naomi Wolfs ‘Vagina’. There’s a chapter on how sex is used specifically to torture women in war torn countries. Why? Science has proven some things about women’s biology including the relationship between a woman’s sex organs and her mind (her emotions and ability to create).

The other thing I think of here is something Krista Tippett said recently at the Melbourne Town Hall. She was talking about how Obama being elected was one of the most important and wonderful turning points in American history… for some. For others it stirred up (the bottom) of the pot. The things America (and let’s face it, many countries) still hadn’t looked at.

…and it stirred the pot so much it got a man like Donald Trump elected.

…a man who said ‘you can just grab them by the pussy’.

Many women’s response to this comment and those who’ve spoken up about Weinstein has shown there’s a shit load of anger out there from women who’ve been subjected to this behavior in various forms by some men since (as Emma Thompson puts it) the beginning of time. We still have so much to look at it when it comes to the equal treatment of women.

Some days I’ve thought – thank god I know so many great men …to counterbalance all the shit experiences I’ve had with some others.

…being told I didn’t get the role because I didn’t look like an easy f#?! As a young girl, avoiding getting on my bus because a man (yes I said I was a young girl and he was an adult) had made advances on me at the bus stop and wanted to take me home. A cab driver masturbating in front of me. Waking up in the middle of the night to a man at my bedroom window …also masturbating.
…and then there’s examples from people I know. That I trusted.

Just this year I had to call 000 to get help.

And I knew the man who assaulted and threatened me.

And so. Get ready. Because I think there’s going to be an onslaught of women speaking up. Calling out this kind of behavior. And it’s going to feel uncomfortable. But it’s got to be done. By everyone. Not just victims.

If you see or hear it. Call it out.

It’s got to be brought to the surface so we can see it for all it’s ugliness. Then maybe these types of men can get some help. And we can educate our sons better. And this shit can stop.

I for one would love to walk home in the dark and not be afraid.

Better yet

I would like to go to places that are supposed to be safe, that I know and love, and not have to be cautious. Not be subjected to abuse and threats of any form.

A huge thank you to the women who have spoken up about Weinstein. You have paved the way for others in the industry (and hopefully inspired people everywhere).

And to those industry people who protected Weinsten? Shame. It is so hard for victims to speak up (for many reasons. Never mind if the person holds a position of power or not. Do you know how small victims feel after being subjected to such behavior?). Everyone needs to speak up. Again – time to call this behavior out. No matter what position these people hold.

A note here : People – it’s going to seem worse for awhile as more and more women come forward (like all the shit that’s been stirred by Trump being elected… white supremacists as an example). But that’s not our cue to get bogged down by it. Get depressed. I tried that this year and it certainly wasn’t the right approach. Not just because I was so disheartened …my heart aching, wondering where our species would end up;  but because I pushed to fight – partially because I had to in one experience (where adrenaline surged for survival) and partially to prove something I NEVER HAD TO PROVE.

It’s going to appear all doom and gloom but this is just the first part of the journey. The revelation. THEN comes the learning.

Sadly victims have to do some learning ( ie learning its not their shit, only that they have a choice as to how they react to it / how much power they give it) but then, if and when we ALL do the learning, after a long while, because this kind of change takes time… we won’t have to talk to our daughters about how to protect themselves and won’t have to talk to our sons about how to treat women respectfully. Because we just will.

A side note: Please see below for some of the comments I have received on this post. They’re really insightful and worth sharing.

  1. I was glad she said that about masculinity. I’ve thought that about all and my own masculinity since my late teens. Feminism needs to address both genders and help men and sons toward a new defined masculinity. We’re largely lost and have no idea what our strengths are meant to be and where our power is.
  2. Laurie Penny discusses this in her book Unspeakable Things. She points out the prevailing attitides of the Patriarchy hurt EVERYONE, including men. It is a life-changing, wonderfully written read. And, laugh-out-loud funny, at times.Highly recommended.
  3. Thanks, for sharing, Love. Yes, so much needs to change. That fear has been such an innate part of life, since childhood. And, whether it’s overt incidents, such as you’ve described happening to you, or an attitude of constant entitlement, which leads to verbal, mental & emotional abuse, both subtle & brash, it is a.destructive, dangerous & insidious. I am still recovering from PTSD after a relentless spate of abuse, committed by men – both sttaight & gay. Entitlement is all about an egregious belief that one person has a right to something from another, no respect for boundaries.
    I’m so glad the.horrific behaviour of Weinstein has been exposed. I do hope that this has a domino effect.
    I’m sorry for the pain & hurt that you would’ve gone through, due to the experiences you shared. What does it say that we all have our own such stories?
    How much does that innate, ever-present (if not always in our conscious awareness) fear stop women from bold, open, fully-present & empowered enough to be the truest, biggest, strongest versions of ourselves? It’s time to deeply consider & discuss this. It is time
  4. Entitlement. We are not things. And I for one this year have really struggled with the fact that my working towards being ‘bold’ and ‘the biggest strongest version of myself’ as you have said above had been WORK. That I’ve had to push to be that, fight for it because the way some peoples behavior have made me feel about myself. That I have had to rise DESPITE all this shit. Why should I have to fight to be me?
  5. I feel you, my dear friend. I feel your words. You’re absolutely right! It does take work…reprogramming our belief system, supporting ourselves through recovery & having the courage to feel through. I’ve wondered what heights I would’ve reached had I not spent ao much energy placating others, navigating the daily politics of existence as an intelligent, attractive woman who is quirky & doesn’t fit ‘the mould’? I’ve feel as if I’ve wasted SO MUCH TIME. But, that’s due to the environment I was plopped into, at birth.
    Self-realisation is work. And, we do have our times of depression, when it’s been relentless & overwhelming & traumatising & self-esteem has been shattered. It’s a battle sometimes to go within & find a seed of openness to self-love.What a process!??!?! You’re worth it, though. I’m worth it. We’re all worth it.

 

 

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Pearl 

I wish I did not write about love. 

I wish I had not let them brand me. 

If I am on the market 

How will people know if this subject 

is the only way I’m in print?
I wish I did not write about nature

Specifically how it makes my ovaries blossom. 

If I am only fertile these few more years

All ready engraved in pollen 

How will anything other than sticky stamen penetrate? 
I wish I did not write about Venus. 

She gives away my distance, timing and rotation. 

If I am not pulled by internet routers 

Rather

Turned out from churning oceans

Pearl soaked

How will I find connection? 
I wish I did not write about you. 

You 

who have folded language over in the mouth so it

Curses in hisses of spit and sputum. 

If I am to share saliva again

How can I turn my tongue over? 
I wish I had not written.

Pen and paper has given me away. 

Perhaps though in ink 

You could endorse this woman’s indentations. 

I am simply blotched 

Stamped 

Bleeding about the page like the rest of you. 
Press me to your adjoining pages 

I will etch in so you read me well. 

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Girl 

Today she thought 

I miss being a girl. 
How many times these months

chants & championing 

The words 

woman & strong 

impregnated so as she might erupt

An Orphic egg

Spit out a new cosmos amongst the darkness

maybe, 

Create from the wound. 
She was sorry to let the universe down. 
But when she buckled up her own helmet before riding 

when she took her own hand to cross the road against the lights   

She shuffled her feet at the curb & breathed

‘All the women in me are tired. 

I miss being someone’s girl’. 

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Refuge 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

This place

it is

a refuge.

You.

Warrior

…with your armor up

…and your iron eyes

…and your stiffened lips

Unfurl your hair

let it avalanche down your steel shoulders

and flush cheek bone

and breast.

 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

This place

it is

a refuge.

Tell me your stories

Let your tongue tease out the learning

Your muscles ease out the burning

and your heart

so swollen

…let it leech out for awhile.

 

Give. me. your. lungs. warrior.

A baby would know what to do under such circumstances.

I am giving you permission to do the same.

Make your mournful sounds.

You have not forgotten how

only pretended.

 

Give. me. your. salt. warrior.

Your lacrimation will be a final desalination

Through pores

excrete what your body can no longer contain.

I will gather the delicate crystalline in my palms

and with index finger and thumb

we will use it to season

what. comes. next.

 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

Dear warrior

This place

it is

your refuge.

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Decathect 

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Rumble 

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Shadows 

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Song lines 

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At 30,000ft

‘Always blue skies above the clouds’ he says.

‘Toldja’ as he motions out toward the window of the plane.

The skies are indeed blue.

His girlfriend asks

‘Do you reckon it’s scarier going up or when you land?’

He’s flicking through the menu pausing at the page with beer options. 10.59am. Too early?

I’m wondering if I’m scared.

I’m judging him for even considering a beer at this time. 

I’m listening to the softest parts of my insides at 30,000ft. They ask

Where might you be?

What are you doing? 

Last time I saw you you said you think of me everyday. 

The clock in my body ticks slowly over toward my next second

And I wonder again if I should be scared. 

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