Proximity

December 2, 2017

A short while ago, through the convenient though sly medium of Facebook, I reconnected with a friend I haven’t seen or spoken to for over 20 years.

Much has changed for him in that time. I hardly recognise the new man. But is that because I’m seeing only his created images and written words? They are clues, sure, but we are not our art. When I see him, hear him or hug him, I might begin to know him again.

Humming-bird_2

So I’ve been thinking about Friends with whom I’ve had consistent contact but haven’t seen or heard in a long time. The longer it is between meetings, the more fractured their reality becomes. I realised I’m always making assumptions about them, constructed from memories that I think still fit. A story of them.

It has unsettled me. My senses are what I have to perceive the world. Skewed as my perception might be, they’re a good start. I still want proximity.

It’s a conjuring trick, being a cyber friend. We post what we want the world to know, not what could be read in a glance or a touch or a tone of voice.

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Time and distance

April 13, 2010

I’m off to visit Mum tomorrow. When I stay for a few days we settle into an easy companionship, having slipped through the time and distance that hardens like wax between us.

Copy of wax vases 1I’ll draw some more objects from her life. And maybe some quiet moments from her face, hands, movements – as I’ve done before. And record stories as she tells them.

mumwatchinginsprex1(Is there a recording somewhere out there of Dad singing?) It’s good to have these stories from Mum – the sound of her contralto voice and girlish laugh while she remembers.

Sensory input

April 4, 2010

My father was a musician. My earliest memory is of lying against his chest feeling comforted by the vibration of his voice – warm baritone hum. I also remember his voice when it filled the house and either thrilled or scared me. And the long hours I spent immersed in the smells and sounds of his wood-work shed.

My mother worked long each day to run the household. I remember the fabric of her coats, her apron, the doilies we crocheted together, the vegemite toast she brought me when I was home from school with my annual cold, and the smell of pea and ham soup. And I can see her reading and writing, pulled between the English of her second life and the Dutch of her first.

And many many other things come back as I write.

coats in diary