Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Today. Today I swallowed gum for the first time in like, ever - well, the first time this century anyway. The reason? I was waiting to go into a big interview/meeting for this little secret that might take me to IndiaMyIndia next year and I was chewing gum because of a poorly planned salad a la onionie. So ... I swallowed the gum. Down it went. I could feel that hard little lump travelling down my oesophagus and now, 6 hours later, I can still feel it's presence like a pebble floating in my chest. Weird. But even more weirdly not wholly unpleasant.

What has been Unholy and completely Wholly SHIT has been the days since I last blogged you.

Some serious shit hit the fan in the personal life of ricebag and one of her oldest and most treasured relationships has ... let's face it ricebag ... it's over. Over. Over. Over. Finished. As much as these things can be. Not just a Best Friend but a Blood First Cousin - FJ. The kind that said We were Forever and then turned around and said she didn't believe what she'd said. Ever. And that I wasn't worth loving.

And it spun me OUT.

Driving home on Friday I was sobbing so hard I couldn't breathe and so I just pulled over under a sunken dusk and heaved and heaved and then bawled for every Sunday and the days and the hours, minutes and seconds in between. I have not cried like that since I got to PNG and I have to say it was pretty alright to get some of that shit off my chest but I didn't feel all that much lighter afterwards anyway. I just felt ... drained. I felt like I'd had my stomach pumped so now all the poison has been sucked out but my body was feeling wretched, physically drained and pummelled because of the experience.

And ricebag thanks God once again that MyMama was here to stem some of the flow. Even though we both are lost to FJ, she was Mad when I was Sad. MyMama was Cross and so she should be, she's been persecuted by FJ, and now she was standing up. Me? Must have been in shock. I just couldn't feel anything but sheer utter sadness.

That was then.


Now I've let go.

I had to. I was a sucker. SUCKER. Because FJ shut us out completely for the last 5 years and still somehow ricebag was sitting in the corner hoping that all of our shared experiences and shared hopes and borrowed dreams of a quarter of a century would have meant more than even the greatest of misunderstandings. But I was wrong. And She put me straight. She put in my in place ... which, according to her is nowhere but a BEGGAR'S.

I just needed her to Say It To Me. And she did. The first contact in five years and ricebag gets one e-mail that's meant to end Us. So I get it, FJ. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get that you want out.

And the worst saddest most awful thing is I still Do Not Know Why. I don't know why. Not really and not truly. Do I want specifics? Yes please. I don't understand vague and general accusations - they take too much liberty. General accusations assume too much. They cover a deeper truth. I asked for an explanation, something, anything, anything defensible or anything I could admit to, something, anything. And what I got was a bunch of non-specific accusations heaped upon reeking bullshit and stupid lies.

And that it was a load of bull was so apparent that I can only come to one conclusion - that my cousin isn't really interested in the truth or she wouldn't have clung to the lies so hard. And I can only assume that she clings to the hate and the lies that feeds off because she doesn't really care about the truth because she, at the bottom of it, doesn't really care about us.

How did we get to this? How does this happen? Have I led a sheltered life? If I take you and you and you for granted please do NOT let me - EVER.

One day I'll let you know what happened.

What I can say is that, throughout all of this, my conscience is clear. Thankyou MyMama for at least drumming it into my head that if I carry myself with some semblence of integrity then no matter what people throw at you, you can at least hold up your head and walk straight through the crossfire. And I am. And it's the only thing keeping me from crumbling.

When your Family fractures ... it is devastating.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

pink ribbon

I have two email addresses I still can't delete. I just can't. For the two hearts who are not here to read those emails anymore.

In 2004 two young women I knew passed away, both taken by cancer. Rach, the stunning, unique, girl-next-door full of future from Australia and Fiona B, the beautiful, loving mother of 3 and wife onf 1 and sister of many from PNG. I don't have any words. Only a handful of memories. The people, the women, the girls, who pass through our lives, such fires and such power and such sweet dreams.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

When I think of them I think on Khalil Gibran (Islam/Eastern poet d.1913) and find some solace in his words on love, life and loss.

And the elders of the city stood forth and said:
Go not yet away from us.
A noontide have you been in our twilight, and your youth has given us dreams to dream.
No stranger are you among us, nor a guest, but our son and our dearly beloved.
Suffer not yet our eyes to hunger for your face.

And the priests and the priestesses said unto him:
Let not the waves of the sea separate us now, and the years you have spent in our midst become a memory.
You have walked among us a spirit, and your shadow has been a light upon our faces.
Much we have loved you. But speechless was our love, and with veils has it been veiled.
Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and would stand revealed before you.
And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

Khalil Gibran 'The Prophet'

Monday, October 23, 2006

butterflies weren't made for nets : healing ricebag

I don't want to BE happy.

I mean, I would like to experience periods of happiness along with periods of sadness and the varying intensity and extremes of these and other emotions and I want for all of them to fall across the grey line blurring the margins separating Ricebag's conflicting Twin Loyalties of Fear and Hope. I just don't want to feel Happy any more or less than I want or need to feel any other emotion. What I mean is that while it would be a privilege to experience happiness on a frequent basis I don't want to BE happy. I like and enjoy and desire feeling happy, I do, but I have strange suspicion that happiness isn't so sweet unless it is experienced by some one that also experiences living, loving and loathing and the whole kaleidescope of fucked up and free and rampant and controlled emotions. So please please, for Ricebag, throw in the blood and tears and sweat and snot with the trophies and butterflies and stars as well ... let Happiness live in the chaos and find its place amongst the unexpected human alliance of passion and anger and frustration and fear and joy and heartache and regret and bitterness and jealousy and compassion and of course, always always Love, love in all its red haze and white hot intensity and the exquisite sadness of love palling from purple to bruising. I think that's my reality. And I want it to be full and messy and mine. Because then I can know it and taste it and more importantly, recognise it. And more spectacularly, be surprised by it. Some of the happiest moments of ricebag's life have been the surprising ones ... when happiness stuck her down in the most unexpected way, in the most unusual context, in the most undeserving moment.

Any attempt to sterilise this messy clutter Ricebag's emotional pallate will murder the tiny bitty part of me that lets me know I am unique. And that's the tiny bitty part that also tells me that Ricebag's emotional journies need to be internal before they can be anything else. Suffering and Pride and Gladness and Self-Loathing and Self-Loving. Even Happiness. All of it and the Terror too, inside me, please. Self-contained. Ricebag was never good at and still can't really share her internal intense struggle aginst her Self with others like show-and-tell or even show-and-share ... can't show you while or why I'm suffering and cutting myself up. But with recovery I can and I will give away the spoils in gladness. Although there have been times Ricebag can share the pain and I want others to see it and recognise it and acknowledge it and maybe take ownership of their part of it, those times are bittersweet and rare ... and even rarer are the other times when I can't help but that awesome fears tumble out of my mouth and out of my eyes like cracked marbles, well before awesome my pride can keep them in.

Is that why I'm splitting at the seams? Maybe. Probably. Ok, Yes.

What I do know is that I don't want to BE "happy" - as in a perpetual state of "happiness" where I am generally a "happy" person. I don't want that - even if in some alternate universe it could ever be true for me. While there are some people who are genuinly "happy", I don't believe they are the ones that proclaim it - in truth I don't understand people who say they "just" want to be "happy". Maybe they mean something else. But I'm pretty sure I don't want that either. And I'm not being critical or judgemental of what people desire - I'm trying to accept who I am and the limits which mark that space.

What I DO hope for is contentment. It would be satisfying, I think, for me, to live a life that reached a point where I was content. And just the idea of "satisfaction" feels HUUUUGE in my universe where the air is full of choking-promise, of unfillment and 'less than'.

To ricebag, "contentment" would be a place where all the bullshit and the tears and the sheer hard work and the partying and the playing and the sad sad waste and the slim but wondrous product and all the moving and all the static - where it all meant that I had reached a playing field somewhere in me, in my gut or in my head, a place where all that detritus and all the physical marvel of me could sit at the same table as my Ego and I would just know that I had done something with what God gave me. And it might not have been Glorious but it was truly some thing that God through Nature had sworn was the best possibility or the fullest promise of someone as feeble as me.

And maybe then all the cutting hungry drying yearning of wanting to be MORE will be silenced. And it's THAT silence that I crave. And that is why I seek contentment.

But while living a as a content being would be a utopia for someone with my restlessness, in truth, it might also equal death - for the satisfaction of the need to be free of desire. What I really want is to be healthy. To be healthy mentally and physically. To have Mental & Physical Health - as far as I am mentally and physically capable ... and then some. A little, tiny, Some.

"When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied." --Herophilus

Because maybe the resolution to ricebag's discontent doesn't lie in ticking off the boxes of things DONE and DEFEATED and ENDURED that mark my worth and my contribution. That sounds a bit like one hand clapping. A lot of air. Instead, maybe resolution might come with Healing Ricebag.

Because I don't want to live without Hunger. Hunger for something rich in this life, like the need for experience almost above all else and second to that, cognizance. An innate desire, an innate hunger. And I am praying I can learn to live in a world where I can be both hungry and healthy (rather than just seek an ending place where I had succeeded in Accomplishment and could laud in it). So Lord, that's my prayer to you. Let me be Healthy and keep that Health so that I can use my Hunger to Do More and Be More in all of the ways that Matter to You.


And that sounds like I want to be Spiritually Healthy too. And God knows that's my greatest desire. Let me masticate on the idea of spiritual hunger and healing internally and maybe later vomit it up on these pages when I know what I feel and when I know what I understand to be true. Until then my laziness and weakness prevent me for being the Warrior He needs me to be.


i feel like i am un.rav.el.l.ing.

something is un.pic.kin.g me at the seams.

and the stuffing is falling out in clumps and it's grey and clotted and it cloys because its rotting.

i feel like shit. and like a shitty person. and that every day, a hundred times a day i am choking on my own garbage and making others eat it too.

please everyone don't tell me how fantastic i am. this is not a plea for positive reinforcement.

it's just fucking time. for a long hard look in the mirror. not for the blurry self-reflection and pseudo self-analysis that ricebag bounces off the verberant walls of this blog.

but for some real adding and subtracting and ... and honesty.

i just want to stop waking up feeling sadder and badder every day than i did on the day before.

so rather than the seams falling apart themselves, i am going to take out the thin and bleeding stitches myself. i feel a little ok about this in knowing that the thought of that doesn't make me feel sick. just numb. i just want to put my guts up on the table and to work out how drain away the pus and stitch myself up back together without too much hoop-la. and without any anaesthesia.

and p.s. please let me do this on my own.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

2nd solution

The lovely lovely Karlos-a-la-Dublin offered up a response to my somewhat somber and bleak me-me-me outpourings this week - he suggested I follow his suit and as a First Solution create a my own tribe, my own mini-me's. That the First Solution towards making life "more" than what it seems, might literally be making "more life", isn't a thought that has escaped my attention.

I want babies. I want babies. I want babies. Now. Later. Tomorrow. 7 years. Whenever. I don't care if they came from my belly or another mother's. I just want them. I know that to be true. And I also know I am ready for them - more in the sense of I'll probably NEVER be truly, really, financially, emotionally "ready", so may as well dive in and leave the maths to someone with more spiritual economy than love.

But Karlos you forget. Its you PLUS ONE who have made a family, now, of 4 - with a banana and a mango ... you guys have made a family man, there is something perfect and real, a sort of base, a foundation and something more like a circle completing itself, maybe getting bigger, but always circle, always complete in the sense it's been articulated.

Some of us still need their 'plus one'.

I want babies - yes. But I want their father first. And foremost. I do.

In the absence of a father for my future-mangoes & future-bananas .... I will settle for chocolate. Please. The Second Solution.

another morning

This week, just another week in Port Moresby, a week full of mornings and mornings full of:

  • earthquake murmurs
  • paper clips
  • overturned books
  • grainy toast and bitter mango
  • push pins
  • postcards
  • ideas
  • bottle caps
  • paper cranes
  • rusty things
  • sleeping a la cot on the verandah
  • blooming hibiscii
  • mirrors
  • humid mornings
  • solitary laps at sir donald cleland pool
  • weak tea
  • notes wildly scribbled
  • proust
  • pieces of string
  • phone calls, and human pains
  • while waiting for the rain.

the iron lady

What do you do if you're over 65 years old, a mother of four and a grandmother of six, the first woman ever to be elected President in all of Africa, and the first black woman ever to be elected President anywhere? Why, you roll up your sleeves and get down to governing, of course. At least that's what Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia's new President (aka the "iron lady") has been doing.

And if your country has just come out of a destructive civil war, then you celebrate something as basic as turning on the electricity again.

This year Forbes magazine named her 51st in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

And I just wanted to say that because it's an incredible, a massive milestone for black women especially (and all women) EVERYWHERE and I also wanted to say because a quarter of a century ago MyDad was flying on a tinny jet plane out of Brussels on his way to Monrovia when he got called to the cockpit by a bemused pilot who told him he had an important call from one crazy lady - MyDad's wife (aka MyMama) who demanded to know what he wanted his brand newborn baby daughter to be called ... needless to say MyDad was ecstatic and now BabySister's middle name is ... Monrovia (aka the capital of Liberia).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

licking the dirt

ironically, on the days when i most feel like my work is shit, or that everyone else is doing it better, or that writing is a waste of time, or that i feel unsucessful, i will receive the most thoughtful sincere, heartfelt and moving emails about how something I wrote has affected they way someone looks at their life. and all at once i am humbled and grateful and rejuvenated. coincidence?

i don't believe in coincidences. i think it is the universe showing me it knows more than i do.

how often have i wished that all my money worries, life worries, relationship worries, health worries, (insert random worry here _______) would disappear in a flash so i could live and work happily doing only the stuff that i love.

and yet i also know that there is something about learning to survive that is helping me grow. and that contrast makes life interesting. living in that tension.

often i worry that something will happen and i will not be able to make my art again. and then i think about that really hard for a moment and start to laugh. that is not who i am. my whole life is a creative process. every piece of it. i know that deep down.

there is a quote from picasso that says something to the affect of if he were imprisoned and had nothing to create with he would make a painting by licking the dust (or is it dirt?) off the floor of his cell. (I am paraphrasing quite a bit but you get the idea.)

yes it is the ego that makes us fear failure and causes us to want to compete, but it is the soul that actually drives us to create.

and we never have to worry about that going away.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Poor MyMama. She has been very very sick - some kind of fever and has been pretty much bedridden for the past week but today is a good day and up she gets and I am very very thankful coz no matter how much older I get I still am scared shitless that something, anything, but something might happen to the person who drives me insane in the way only a mummy can and loves me better than I will ever know.

And as we well know, MyMama is stubborn stubborn STUBBORN and refuses medical attention but luckily in the haze of her delirium I slipped her antibiotics and and now see - all gettin' better my love.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Hello there, world.

And so another working 8-6er week ends ... in the high high building overlooking the too-blue bay of this harbour city, container ships peppering the vista and a nagging sensation that I am practicing bad bad time-management by sitting here and playing blog-this instead of perusing documents, twiddling my cocoa-buttered fingers and billing accordingly.

Instead I am thinking ... what am I doing here or, more to the point, what I am doing here. I am committed to this start of a career, I am. I am. But I also know I cannot do a job that can be done by anyone else ... I need to create a career, a product, a work, that could only be done by me ... that could not be born without me ... that could not otherwise have even been imagined. This is my old song and I have been fine-tuning the melody all my life ... I just need a new instrument.

All I know right now and for sure is that I cannot be cut out by the cookie-cutter ... I will not be made the same as the next and the next and the next, where small concerns consume all days and great passions are reduced to ideas that belong only in great romantic tragedies ... I will not be cut out unless all men are cut out into little stars and pasted across the sky.

For a long time, I thought that I could write in a non-productive environment. I didn't see, didn't feel, I didn't understand or acknowledge how I was stifled, censored by my own hand and ultimately, how uninspired I could become. Being a proper on-paper worker-bee.

I thought, I thought that I could do it anyway - DESPITE having to be walking-talking-smiling UNIT in matching heels and hangbags and deflated hopes. But somewhere along the way my own desires became less worthy and less worth fighting for under the weight of the sum of the expectations of my own and those that are the mainstay of my life in this suffocative place (and yes - I did just make up that wanky word - bite me.)

And so I was finished.

But now I want to begin again. I want to be hungry and desperate and I want to feel that very real physical pain in the cave in my chest and reminds me every waking minute that something OTHER than this is where I am heading.

I need something again. I need to CREATE and to create something that could ONLY have come from me - that could only have spawned from my heart and my mind.

The. End.

pity the fool

Mr T (courtesy SMH website)

Absent Ricebag apologies muchly for turning exactly into the awful person she hoped never to be - work-work-sleep-work-sleep-work-work-sleep kind of person.

How incredibly sad.

I'm so sorry Mr T ... Ricebag/Islandbaby/I let Me down.

It's Newton's law. I am feeling more than a little bit overwhelmed currently. Over the past six months it has felt like my life has spun completely off its axis and simultaneously come to a complete and total stop. There are so many things that I want and think and believe and they all involve action but for some reason I have basically allowed myself to stop moving. I have felt as if I have been drifting through life aimlessly without really seeing any of it.

And this is kind of what I want, I mean, it's the best 'place' I can be in THIS place - ie gainfully employed and supporting others also ... but I think that I am just feeling completely drowned and that worries me because I need to make my way to the surface again and begin to participate in things again instead of continuing my life as a shadow. It's so Newtonian (ahh physics how I ... love ... thee) - a body at rest tends to stay there. Isn't that what he told us? I have come to a rest and have allowed myself to stay there for far too long, and now I need to get my shit together and start moving again, and I am desperately afraid that I have forgotten how to do it. Which sounds silly, but is nevertheless the truth.

As somebody once said ... "Move your ass and the mind will follow"

How utterly poetic.

Newton didn’t, however, take into account chaotic inertia. Although your body or mind comes to a halt, there is always the unseen that will cause it to move.

So. Thank God Above for Friends.

Dawso, you gave me a breather and it feels good to know you know. That you KNOW. You're very very important to me boy, so please look after yourself.

I wrote to my dear old boy, Dawso below:

yeah - in the dream i had we went for a really looooooooooong drive somewhere - dont know where - and all of it was at night although i got the feeling we'd been driving for weeks - i think even stu was in it for a bit!

as for your broken back - what can i say but i feel just awful youve been crippled like this. i have to say all my moaning and groaning puffs away when i think about you and your back. just BE STRONG - and i dont mean that in a poofy way - i REALLY REALLY mean it.

as for me? been getting sucked into the vortex AKA sleep-work-sleep-work-work-sleep - am seriously wondering if this is the point in my life where i decide to make like a squirrel and burrow and save or throw off all of that and FREAK OUT and do what i really really want to do when i grow up .........

dawso, there must be some kind of secret enjoyment out of knowing you shook off 9-to-5 years ago and have accepted come-what-may/master-of-your-own-fate future now.

am desperate for so many things. for certainty and security. and then the exact OPPOSITE of certainty and security. its such a selfish life all this self-obsession and me-me-ing is seriously depressing. thats why i reckon kids are the healthiest option - everything stops being just-about-1 doesnt it -

whatever fareva as we say around here.

take care and be good

as ever ricebag

And Dawso wrote back:

Hopefully we were driving down Rodeo Drive on the way home from a premiere after party and you were so drunk it seemed like the trip took a long time.

Re me quitting the corporate world and doing other stuff there, the most important thing you have to realise is that there was a passion burning deep down in my gut I could not ignore. The only thing I can compare it to is like a calling to god and becoming a minister. There are thousands of people who get jack of the corporate world just because it is a grind and they do big hours and slowly become burnt out and depressed. However for me it was never like that. I actually liked working in the office - being around people all day, going out for a coffee, gossiping, catching up with mates for lunch and then having a few beers after work. But I just had this calling in my body to do something with film - still don't know whether its as an actor, writer, director, producer. Not sure, but I just can't ignore it.

I love living the gypsy lifestyle at the moment. Today was weird though - I spent the day at the Downing Centre watching the sentencing of this 20 year old guy whose case I have been following for a while. I sat in the public gallery and by lunch time I had met all his family. I told them I was a film producer and that I thought what had happened to their son would make an amazing film. They've given me their number and invited me out to their house next week to start telling me about the story - going to have to put it off for a while until the back gets better and I can drive out there though. It was really weird sitting in the court room and thinking 'god, I've got a law degree and that could be me in there sitting along the bench. Warry was one of the instructing solicitors so it was funny sitting their watching him while I was at the back of the room.

Anyway, what I'm saying is just appreciate the good things around you. You're educated, your healthy and you are loved by a lot of people. Be grateful you have the opportunity to work as a professional and earn a really respectable wage - think what some of the people you saw around the world on your travels would do with just one day of your pay? But if there is something else you long for don't stress and be patient. It will come along when you're ready to discover that. I spent many years before I finally realised what I wanted to do. I'm probably not making sense, but you know what I mean I suppose.


Yeah yeah I know what you mean. Ricebag KNOWS. And the tiger in her is ripping at her gut - the REASON you LEFT that life behind, Dawso, I understand that. But it just seems like this awful luxury I can't afford in this place where someone like me has a 'responsibility' to BE someone. It's called Grooming, love.

That's why I know I gotsa go. Maybe PNG-la = not so much the place? Please don't say.