I had a meeting with a director last week and when he asked how I was, I said; well, you know...these fires, I'm really disturbed by them. He looked at me strangely and I said, trying to explain, well you know...it's throwing me off kilter, I'm out of whack.
And then he laughed, but kind of to himself. And the thing is, I wasn't making a joke.
The news of those Victorian bushfires has completely whipped my ass.
Thankfully our tv reception is up the shit so I couldn't watch the news but I sure as hell surfed the net every chance I got. I couldn't read anything except about the fires and God knows I couldn't write, except stuff about the fires or emails to friends who were involved in the fires or emails to other friends about what they thought about the fires.
And every night I would lie in bed thinking about my family and I dying in a burning car or house.
And then, mid week, a shark attacked a navy diver in Sydney harbour (last shark attack five billion centuries previously or similar) and he lost a hand, and another shark attacked a surfer on BONDI BEACH for fuck's sake, leapt from the water and tried to knock him off his board I heard, whereas everyone knows you're more likely to be knocked over by some dickhead in a hoon car racing up Campbell parade. Bondi is like two beaches around from where C takes Tricky swimming every morning, so now those half sleep burning dreams were alternating with seeing my husband and baby mauled by sharks, and then there was the plane crash in Buffalo killing everyone including the widow of a guy who died in 9/11 and we're back to the burning again.
I don't know what it is, I emailed one friend, but it's really bad. i can't do anything, I can't write anything, I'm incapable of cleaning or doing anything practical and I'm eating heaps and heaps of sugar.
And then she reminded me how after the Bali Bombings I was afraid to drive through the Sydney Harbour Tunnel (not the bridge for some reason, bridge was ok) but I had a tv writing job at the time which meant I had to drive through that damn tunnel twice a day and the stress it caused me...
And also after 9/11, glued to the tv (we had reception at that house), existing in this sort of suspended horror, permanent hand clasped to face, but even beyond that natural and widespread reaction there was the same post trauma-from-afar paralysis, the same but what is the point in doing anything?
Another writer friend, embroiled in Producer Shit, has friends in Victoria who were among the lucky - who felt the wind change and saw the fire front, their certain death, turn away from their house. My friend shrugged when I asked How The Writing's Going, meaning How's The Shit Fight Going and simply said: It makes all that seem fairly meaningless.
It's the random violence I tried to work it out with my friend who reminded me of the Bali Bombing reaction, I think I'm freaked by how Bad Shit Happens and there's nothing you can do to stop it happening to you.
There's no real ending to this because the way I respond to what happens around me is part of who I am. I remember kids (boys, two) in my English class used to tease me about the overly emotional in my Creative Writing assignments, quoting back to me innumerable ghastly sentences that i had written, inevitably involving a tear making its way down some child's grimy face. Maybe even then the Empathy Glands were secreting overtime. I dunno, thinking back, it didn't seem such a fearful time but I guess I was only about 14 and my mother was still alive.
Is it realising how much you have to lose? Life? Those you love most?
With Tricky, having wanted and wished and hungered for a baby so long, is it fear that he could be taken, as randomly or as seemingly capriciously as he (and any other potential sibling) was withheld?
Is it knowing grief; deep scarring, heart breaking, gut wrenching, for one person and then imagining that multiplied again and again and again, hearing not just the cries of the dying but those of the people they leave behind?
And is it all that, and the fact that last week and then again this morning I had the first of the pre IVF screenings, my forty first birthday on the horizon, my clock ticking again but my mind not made up properly, not sure that this truly is what I want..to be trying again, am i only doing this because i feel time running away from me, and i don't want to be left without a choice?
and am i not properly appreciating what i actually do have?
when so many others have nothing?
when all that Random Violence roams the universe?
me, rubbed raw, stilled by other people's pain
eating way too much sugar.