bathroom art, carwash meditations & the end of things


As I write this, our household contends with finishing off a bird murder. Sort of like animal kingdom Cluedo, only the assailant wasn’t doing much about concealing his crime, proud as he was of it. 

My bung-eyed crying jag started long before Bax tried to deposit a half-dead bird amongst the presents under the Christmas tree just now. And now I seem to be crying all about the bird. I’ve forgotten what else there was. Good to have a focus for my aimless weeping, though.

Really, of course, I haven’t forgotten at all, but it’s just easier and more straightforward to cry for the bird. (Actually there was a second bird too, right after, but it was dead upon entry, and I only have mourning capacity for one bird at a time.)

Alice and I were engrossed in discussing girl/family stuff in the doorway and quickly scarpered to the other end of the house, leaving Simon weilding the plastic dustpan, promising not to ruin the Persian rug on which the bird had finally been set down to flutter. (I may mourn small creatures but I am also houseproud enough to think the practicalities all the way through, even in a heightened emotional state.)

I haven’t been here for a while. I wondered if I might summarise key points from the past fortnight so as to regain some ground. Trouble is: I remember nothing. Or very little, anyway. But here’s a start, and not in any order of appearance or importance.

my register of missed opportunities

On Saturday night I spent a glorious evening alone in an empty house, cleaning. Or more like tidying with a little bit of surface fussing, but the tidying itself was significant. No husband or house guests for the evening — I bade them all adieu — and all I wanted to do was restore a sense of order. I got around to unpacking my bag from the previous weekend away and found all the pesky little things (like deodorant) that I couldn’t find during the week.

And as we had a houseguest staying in our extra spare bedroom, aka the office, it seemed like a good time for me to do something about the masses of paper that had somehow spewed all over the entire floor and the tower of old journals I’m now well bored of ransacking. It started out simple but then I had to give myself motivation to go on, especially once I found myself under my desk.

So I resolved to make a register of unpursued ideas as I sifted through plastic files and outsized envelopes full of paper whilst trying not to hit my head on the underside of my desk. I did find some interesting stuff, but it didn’t have much to do with writing. (Some things did make me curious though, like some kind of unstarted exposition called Madonna in Socks (um?). And also a true-life snippet I had obviously felt compelled to capture which went: He just told me that every day is the best day of his life. I wanted to punch him in the mouth.)

The best things I found were the things slipped in between the pages. Like old business cards (I can’t believe that, even by association, I was ever connected with something called Business Development, since I can quite safely say that I haven’t developed one iota of business in my whole life) and a full book of stamps (probably the best score of the evening). Anyway, the cataloguing system under my desk is now a thing of beauty. The register, on the other hand, is not.

bathroom art

See above. Friday night, women’s bathroom, Happy, Wellington. I’m gathering quite a collection of bathroom art now. Like this.

no ideas but in things

This is not really for now (point 2 at least has got WORK written all over it). But, for now, I have been thinking two sort of related things:

1. How I like pictures and making stuff. There’s nothing abstract about them. They’re so there.

2. How the composition of good [instructional] web writing (blogs, articles and so on not included) is not unlike the making of the leanest poem, with a touch of science applied. Part formula, part instinct. A process of stripping back. Of simplifying and then simplifying again. No abstractions or tangents.

I kept thinking of William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow:

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white



crying jags

When it starts and just keeps on going and then abating and starting all over again for the course of a day (not good when it starts up again on day two — that’s sort of like waking up with the headache you went to bed with). Until it feels like someone’s slugged you in the eye sockets (maybe because you said every day is the best day of your life) and all the centre of your chest has been carved out. Not helped by G&Ts or chopping onions, both of which I took to simultaneously earlier this evening (although the stereo was made off-limits — I think Simon thought Perfume Genius or Morrissey were going to get a woeful hammering).

It’s good to cry. I should do this more often. If you do it properly and for long enough it’s a good sleep aid, and cheaper than ongoing psychiatry.

carwash meditations

See below. Meditations is probably a bit grand. But what I mean to say is that Sunday afternoon carwashing (not DIY carwashing, I mean — fuck no) is a treat. It’s so peaceful and cavern-like. And a bit American. I always feel a bit American sitting in the carwash. Plus you can make everything go away for ten whole minutes, until the green arrow comes up and you’re ejected back out into the world.

the end of things

I.e. the prospect of losing loved ones and the indignity of old age. And then putting the bird out of its misery, to cap it all off. All I could hear was the thumping.


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