Yo people -
So short of something drastic happening, I’m moving to Mexico for a long while. Will be back for Christmas next year so book it in.
Since you’re close enough to me to make it onto this list, you’ll know how I get in these sorts of situations. Intimate in private, nonchalant in public. At least that’s the wafter-thin facade I’d like to maintain, and to whatever extent you’re interested I’d appreciate your assistance.
For this reason I’ll not wax lyrical about how this makes me feel; about the constant verge of tears I’m living on. I’ll not discuss the endless questions, the counterbalancing, the thoughts of all the chats I’m missing out. I won’t talk about the light that shines into Maarinke’s apartment each morning, or the way the couch at Mum’s house is the sole place I relax.
Every week she floats fresh flowers in a glass bowl in the kitchen, and she always takes a moment, no matter what, to make sure I enjoy it.
As you know, I’ve been invited to take part in Mexico’s biggest-ever birthday party. Next year on 15 September, it’ll be two hundred years to the day since Hidalgo Morelos, a creole priest on the verge of a meltdown, stood on the balcony of the capital’s palace and screamed Death to the Spaniards. He went on a self-confessed frenzy, slaying every bishop in the nation, and created the first ever country to be proud of its mixed descent. Every mexican, EVERY mexican, is proud of their mixed blood: part european, part mayan, part negro, part everything. They are a whole new, mixed race: the Mestizos. If only we could all be proud like that just imagine.
The last time this party happened, in 1910, it didn’t go too well. A gentleman named Proferio Diaz was on the tail end of a 40 year dictatorship, and the centenary celebrations sparked the Mexican revolution. The revolution killed everybody.
So next year it will be both the bicentenary of Mexican independence, and the centenary of the Mexican revolution, four weeks apart. The festivities are very different but intrinsically linked: they’re reamed with really really complex feelings. Both these anniversaries mark birthdays of broken promises and countless bloody murders, offset only by the outlines of a nation that’s never hit potential. It’s gonna be really, really hard, but if we nail it it just might make them all look all back, take a breath and smile. And yo, that would benefit everyone.
The city’s gonna take some getting used to: imagine King St Newtown with 22 million people. Now take away accountable government, clean air and green lights. It’s a glorious shitfight.
So obviously, I’m torn as to whether these festivities could make a difference: whether they can really change the direction of the country. And when I think about it, I always seem to come back to that glow, that gushing pride I felt during Sydney 2000. The way I ignored exhaustion and sickness day after day just to be a part of it; the militant response with which I’d answer a call to action from any of my loved ones to go out and go crazy. It made me so proud of my home.
But my home and my loved ones are exactly what I’m dissing by taking this post, and you all know how much those two things mean to me. Sydney is who I am. You are who I am. I’m dick all without all of you.
And I guess that’s sorta part of it. As we all become the people we deserve to be, my childish dreams that we’d always be together have gone through some growing pains. Of course we’ll be together - we already are; and yes I’ve got some plans for all of us. But I’ve gotta get my legs alone coz you deserve it too - my company restricts us both. And when I get back, man, there’s some times ahead. You should see them they’re glorious.
So no, I won’t talk about the family that I’ve made in Newtown this last few months. I won’t talk about how wonderful it was to plan Kicka’s wedding with Matthew and Oscar, to feel like we were twelve years’ old again. I won’t tell you about the dreams Brett and I are leaving behind by taking full-time jobs, or how incredibly, incredibly proud I am of my mother. I won’t miss Nat’s balcony, or Elly & Rachel’s ability, Jamie’s brain or Jeremy’s guile. I won’t miss the Rose with Nye or the sunset from Stu & Damo’s scaffold. I’m not sad about missing seeing Adam become the best dad ever. Amy finally coming home? Not even gonna raise it.
And no I won’t talk about Maarinke, how fate toys and tickles our every fear and hope.
There’s an incredible team assembled for this gig. Five superstars of various capacities and we already talk without words. I’m so honoured to be trusted with this load. Let me quote a line from a meeting at Los Pinos yesterday, said from an assistant to the deputy to the Chief of Staff – the Mexican Donna – to Ric (pls read with accent):
“You heard Krauss [a nationally famous historian and author, with whom we were granted a meeting] say that this county has a history of victimisation. That this country needs a shrink. …you are that shrink, my friend.”
I. was. like. whoa.
So yeah, I’ve decided. I’m going and it breaks my heart. I know it’s insane, I know it’s late, I know that last time I left they ditched me in the backarse of Bolivia and didn’t answer my emails. I know I’ll have to work all day every day for almost two years to achieve it. I know the country won’t appreciate it, I know that once its over all I’ll have left is a Zocalo full of dirty streamers and garbage bins and daymakers and not knowing who the fuck I am anymore. I know there’s a drug war, I know that Ross is going places, that Darren’s going places, and I know that it’s taken Stu & Damo & I years to get where we are. I know that there’s nowhere like Sydney on a Saturday morning when all you’ve got is a sunshine and a breeze. I know. But my guts have got me this far and I’m not ditching them now, so don’t make it any harder for me.
So once again, on Sunday 22 Feb, I’m gonna do a quick word out. Seems like hitting the Bank Newtown, 4pm, has a certain ring to it. This is not a drill.
And yo, while writing this I haven’t choked up once.
Pack it up
Why? Why would you bother?
The girth of this tongue – English – this incredible… helix of words, in which one might effortlessly utter the perfect words for whichever emotion might pulse through them, it spoils us. To write without structure, without limits, is not to write – it is to self-endulge. To write without consistently testing oneself puts the burden on the recipient of prose, not its writer. We should write with some rules.
But I should mention this forthright: to write with such ridiculous rules (like to limit myself to using just twenty-five of the keys sitting under my fingers right now), it does prioritise form over content. My prize is just successfully completing the sentence – not cementing some concept into text, blessing the luckiest thoughts to life outside my mind… no. Nothing quite so exotic here - this is just empty writing, seeking just to fulfill some unspecific, inner competitiveness.
Yet writing with purpose might come next. It’s quite possible I’m just finding my form.
More or less, only two sorts of writing truly exist:
1) The words written to give life to the concepts, or memes, or whisps of genius which deserve opportunities beyond those which one single mind could offer. Some writing occurs not by virtue of the writer, but of the words. Some words know very well their future exists beyond the confines of their mere conceiver, who could not possibly grok the volume of the words’ potential. Yet these noteworthy texts, this reason to write, it is not sole owner of the written world.
2) On top of these, there is the second, more sinister style: - the words written solely to expel discomforting visions from the conceiver’s mind. You see, some thoughts will not be wished out of your mind; they refuse. They spit onto your goodwill then they shit on your wisest beliefs. Most people just try to ignore them, but ignoring them just lets them infect every corner of their person til they end up some huge, furious whimper.
It is not uncommon, however, for sufferers to try to expel these wily, self-determined thoughts out into the wider world, the existing world, hoping blindly the evil concepts they invented might find themselves bound to the prison of the written word, without the resources to further inflict their infectious torture from which the writer so long suffered.
Yet these words I’m typing now, they’re neither of these things. Nope - just words, just empty words proving the existence of nothing but the time spent typing them, or less still. But I’ve expelled them now, this challenge over. My burden is over, it’s gone. It’s yours from here.
Fingers crossed the end of these 26 posts will provide some insight – let’s hope over this time my preoccupied mind, busy ignoring letters, will let some of those demons slip. I’d like to think it would benefit everyone, if only one little, teeny bit. :-)4 years ago