Writing

Balancing

Isn't that all any of us are trying to do?
Stay afloat amid the ebb and flow
of things we can and can't control
Our lives change
Thoughts drift and turn
People die

There is dark and light
Soft and loud
Bits of gray in between
And we are here
In the middle
Inhabiting the expansive mess of ourselves
Just trying not to fall

We do what we can

Only Just Spring

Watching the possums
Eat a banana in the rain
The 10pm sky flickers
At its fringes

It's only just spring  
And change  
Is in full swing  
Both inside and out

I am dry here  
Standing on the deck  
With my big coat on
Holding my physio ball  
Enjoying the wafting ozone
And the gentle drops 
On the tin roof

Satisfied 
Unsatisfied  
Stable  

I am reminded of things  
And things are reminded of me
The cogs of mind and time
Turning together

Everything is different now
And everything is the same

The sky ignites 
And rumbles knowingly  
As we all head off  
For the night  

Two great albums

It is so nice to stumble upon music which genuinely excites and stimulates you. These two albums which I found on the Home Normal bandcamp page do just that.

Procrastination by Fabio Orsi and Pimmon is a true gem. An interesting collaboration in which (according to the liner notes) Orsi created a handful of pieces then handed them over to Pimmon who was to rearrange and transform them. Apparently this was a challenging request for Pim-dawg as he believed the pieces were already fully realized, so he procrastinated on the project for an extended period of time before returning to it with a clear direction. The result is 4 beautiful tracks which glitter with imagination and clarity. I thoroughly enjoyed this release for its humanity, simplicity and emotional intensity. A breath of fresh air in a saturated internet.    

And this one! Music for Guitar and Patience by Le Berger which I found clicking through the Home Normal catalogue after Procrastination. I don't have much to say about this album other than it felt like a warm hug to the brain. After listening to the first half-hour track I felt calm and centered like I haven't in a long time. Progressing though the album, I felt as though my mind was being cleared out and refreshed; anxiety levels dropped and a gentle breeze flowed through me. It is such a beautiful feeling to have a truly positive emotional response to an album and be able to see the effect music has on the human mind so visibly. I loved this album for its lack of pretense - it just is what it is. Also, it may have the best album cover of all time as far as I'm concerned.  

Hello World

As we walked
Last night
Along Margate beach
Amorina and I
Saw the flicker
Of electric blue waves
Bioluminescent as they crashed.
It filled us with wonder
And made us forget ourselves.
We felt like children again
As we ran back to the car. 

Last Year Was So Last Year: 2015, A Summation

Well, here we are again: a new year, a new orbit. Our subjective time machines have propelled us forward another twelve months and things are made shiny once more. 2015 is long gone, but still feels quite present in my thoughts. January, 2016 felt like a continuation of the work and development I was doing last year which is a nice feeling. It just seems logical that we are where we are for a change. So, yes, the year that was.

All in all, 2015 was really a year in which I started to lay a foundation for my life and started looking at and addressing some of the issues which have been holding me back as a person. So much of the actual work which I was doing lay behind my eyes, so I feel that the year is best summed up by the metaphor of a duck paddling through water. So much of the activity was going on under the surface. It was also a very creative year in which I experimented with new mediums and started thinking about different applications for my work which was very exciting.

I really have to start by talking about a book which my partner suggested I read early in the year. The book of which I speak is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. The book is the product of 10 years research by Cain into the still quite neglected topic of temperament. Now I'm not really one for ejaculating grandiose statements willy nilly, but I am not ashamed to say that this book changed my life. Sounds good eh? Well it's true. Reading this book felt like I was reading about myself which was incredibly powerful.

 
My results from the  quietrev.com   temperament test. 

My results from the quietrev.com temperament test. 

 

Quiet has taught me that many of the aspects of my personality which I had previously considered faults or deficiencies are actually strengths to be celebrated. Hyper-sensitivity, need for space, attention to detail, struggling with larger groups of people, obsessive (passionate) focus, fear of the unknown, not being able to YOLO at will, overthinking, my creative inclinations, and so many more are all characteristics of an introverted temperament. It is OK to feel or possess these things and some are even beneficial to my survival (my inability to take unnecessary risks for example). For so long I thought I was broken or maladjusted in many areas, but such a big reason for this (as the book outlines) is because society is unfortunately geared towards a classically extroverted way of thinking. Go faster, be bigger, get better, just go for it champ what's wrong with ya?! is an attitude which has, over the years, pushed me even deeper into my shell. I am who I am. I am not gregarious and loud. I am considered and cautious, sensitive and creative. Quiet has given me a gentle tap on the shoulder and let me know that this is alright. I am my strength, my unique outlook and perspective is all that matters.

So, yes, this tome (haha tome) was an important one and opened up so much for me. It gave me a vocabulary to express myself and reassured me that I am by no means alone in my eccentricities.

 
 

This shift really gave me a surge in confidence and self awareness which allowed me to start dealing with some family/personal traumas. The dynamic had not been working in my family home for some time, so I decided to do something about it. Mum, Dad and I sat down and actually discussed our issues (which I won't outline here). Finding the right approach to allow me to tell my parents exactly how I feel (and knowing I am being listened to) is an incredibly liberating and empowering experience and really did feel like one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments. This lead to us having weekly meetings to check in and just generally support each other. We have been doing this for nearly a year now and it has made the biggest difference to all of us. I have learned that communication and connection are two of the most important things in life and also two of the trickiest to get a handle on.

What else? Well, I started swimming! At the beginning of the year I could only swim laps with flippers and regular breaks, but by the end of the year I was swimming 1500 meters in 40 minutes! This was a great achievement for me as swimming laps has always appeared less than desirable. But with some focus and a positive attitude I have really embraced it and my body seems to respond incredibly well to the low impact training. My aches and pains reduce (in some cases disappear completely) when I am swimming at least two times a week and my physique feels much more solid as a result of the exercise. The feeling of enjoying a form of exercise which you used to hate is incredibly encouraging and reminds me that we are not fixed in stone. Reading Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running later in the year was a beautiful stroll though the author's mind and really encouraged me to push myself. I think Murakami's quote, 'pain is inevitable, suffering is optional' is probably the secret to life and this advice was actually the direct motivation for me to push myself to swim 1500m. We are capable of so much more than we think we are. So much more! I was shocked when I reached this personal best (I have since increased my PB to 35min) and the experience has since trickled through to other aspects of my life.

Amorina and I went for short holiday to Melbourne (my first time) for our one year anniversary in July which was a wonderful experience. We ate all of the food, got depressed in the city, felt the chill of the south, loved the trams, lolled at the hipsters, got slobbered on by a friendly cat, truly realised that Melbourne is not the promised land and most importantly enjoyed each other's company (home is who you are with). I also took some lovely photos (it is such a beautiful place!) a few of which are below:

And I drew. I drew a lot last year, but no bows were involved. Only pencils. And RSI. At our second family meeting, Mum informed me of the ridiculous craze which is colouring in. I was unaware of this world-wide phenomenon and Mum suggested that I work towards making a colouring book as my drawings would suite the style. I took her advice and started working on some designs and yes, Colour My World was born. During this time I also started to explore the medium of the zine (handmade book). This was an incredibly liberating process for me and one which has tempered my perfectionism towards art (and life) significantly. First came Ubiquitous; a collection of photos taken and edited on my iPhone. This one was the breakthrough which allowed me to shed some of the doubt and creative constipation I had been feeling by giving me a shareable, easy to produce consolidation of an idea. Unfortunately I was unable to produce many of the photo books because colour printing is hideously expensive. This is a process of learning. Then came Thought-forms And Other Characters which is an exploration/release of the strange creatures which incubate in my brain. This one came together quite quickly and naturally which was a nice feeling. Then I finalised CMW and put that together then moved on.

You can purchase these things in my new SHOP which is also something I did last year.

Add To Cart
Add To Cart
Add To Cart

I also began working on a new skerreks album last year inspired by my friend Adrian asking me to contribute a new track to a compilation he was putting together (I was very grateful for the deadline). The album will be called Balancing and I will aim to finishing it before the middle of this year.

 
 

Oh and I shot a really lovely wedding at the beginning of the year and hope to do more like it. I also captured a couple of bridal shoots with my good friend Lyndal as well.

After this period of intense creativity (at times bordering on mania), I fell in to a bit of an emotional hole (peaks and troughs eh). Once I had nothing to occupy me intellectually, I really had to look at what the underlying issue was and I discovered that purpose was a big topic. What do I really want to do to earn money? This question has plagued me for a long time. I know what I naturally want to do (make music, draw and take photographs), but where to put my time to produce an income? I just keep coming back to film/video. It is the confluence of all my interests and is a technical challenge which I want to rise to and be pushed by. Documentary film making is what I want to do and be involved with (be it as a camera operator or editor). I want to reveal things, help people and try and make a positive change in the world and I think that using my skills in this field is how best to do it. So yeah, once I had figured some of this stuff out, it made my path a lot clearer and gave me a direction to head in. This is my career. It is a long term thing. Small steps.

I saw some great art and read some wonderful books as well. The David Lynch exhibition was a highlight – so amazing to see the breadth of his work across so many mediums! Such an artist with an incredibly strong voice. It was a rare opportunity to step inside Lynch's mind. The exhibition really encouraged me to just keep creating in whatever form feels right. Most inspiring. Oh also saw the man himself in conversation with D Stratton at QPAC.

The Jean Le Flambeur trilogy by Hannu Rajaniemi was an incredibly journey into a post-human solar system. Intriguing characters and truly incredible, colourful and complex hard-scifi world-building made for an amazingly stimulating and pleasantly challenging ride. These books really set a new standard of scifi for me. Can't wait to see what he does next.

So yeahhh I reckon I've said enough. Had some amazing realizations about life which have bolstered my Self, made some great art, spent time with the people I love, reconnected with some old friends, started finding my way/facing my fears, swam and ran. Pretty good really.

Keep going! You're doing great, Mr. Wheeler!

Thanks! See you next time.