Experience


Bill Clinton talking at TED conference 2007. H...

Bill Clinton talking at TED conference 2007. He won TED Prize 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?”

The heart of today’s question is what is the one life change I’d like at the moment. I have a whole list of them but the chances of this blog triggering most of them is slim at best.

Falling in love would probably be at the top of my list, I’m a romantic and always enjoy being in love, not to mention that when you’re suffering depression one of the nicest things to get is a good cuddle – makes you feel much better.

A full time job would be nice. At the moment I’m making do with short jobs for old colleagues and past customers but something more stable and lucrative would be nice.

I don’t think either is a likely result of my writing here.

I write here because I enjoy it, I find writing a relaxing pursuit. I also find it helps with my depression to let some of the thoughts inside my head out and onto the screen. So I don’t do it to change anything or gain a life experience.

That said if someone from TED was to read my posts about depression and invite me to talk I wouldn’t say no. That would be an amazing life experience, giving a TED talk.

Of course everyone who writes would love a book contract so I would be over the moon if some publisher reading this blog was to decide to offer me one.

But let’s inject some more reality. Neither of those is likely to happen. How about a more likely outcome?

The life experience that I’d like from writing this blog is to strike up a conversation with my readers. I really enjoy every comment I get here and would love to hear more from you. If you are prompted by one of my posts to write a few sentences I’d enjoy reading them. If you don’t want to make a public comment then feel free to drop me a note at tonyw at honestpuck dot com.

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Love Story In 140 characters


Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I recently saw an activity on Soul Pancake: Write a love story in 140 characters. So here it is:

 

Eyes across a restaurant table. Hearts interconnecting. Souls together. Life together, shared moments. Bodies intertwined. Forever Yours.

 

137 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

 

My Little Secret


anxiety

anxiety (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

Today’s Daily Prompt : Tell us something most people probably don’t know about you.

That’s a hard one. Most of me and my life is an open book, I don’t have much hidden away.

The only thing really hidden is my internal life and even most of that has been told. I feel the only thing most people would find surprising, that most don’t know, is how much of the time I’m scared and frightened.

I try hard to project an air of calm and confidence but when I’m talking to you I’m scared of saying the wrong thing. If I don’t know you when we start talking I’m frightened that you’ll find me weird or strange, too different to like.

With almost every task I undertake I’m scared of failure, anxious that I’m going to do something wrong. Professionally I’m OK, when I’m working on a systems task or fixing a computer problem I start out believing I can do it. It only takes a minor setback and that anxiety is there, though it is in the back of my mind and usually well controlled.

I have the same problem in my relationships, I’m full of fear. I don’t think my partners ever knew how anxious I was.

I’m anxious that as my lover you don’t know how I feel, I’m scared that I’m not open enough. I’m frightened that I’ll get left, get hurt. I’m frightened of hurting you, I’m nervous I’m asking too much, I’m scared about not doing enough, I’m fearful of controlling and I’m concerned I don’t leave room for you. A litany of anxious thoughts.

Of course there are times when I don’t feel anxious, frightened or scared. They are the moments I can relax and I treasure them all.

For the sake of the nation, the media should do its job


I would find it hard to put it any better. When will the Australian media stop talking about Labor leadership and start talking about the real issues facing Australia.

The Conscience Vote

If you’re a reader of Fairfax newspapers, this is what you woke up to today:

‘It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, as Prime Minister of Australia, so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Ms Gillard should do so in the interests of the Labor Party, in the interests of the nation and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy.’

No, really.

You’d expect to read something this pompous from the likes of Andrew Bolt or Gerard Henderson, both of whom are known for their grandiose language and outrageous sentiment. But from The Age? Offered not as one journalist’s opinion, but as the endorsed view of the entire newspaper?

It gets worse.

Assuring us that the paper ‘does not advocate this lightly,’ the editorial went on to say:

‘The Age’s overriding concern is that, under…

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Just Another Bloke


Me

Me

Today’s Daily Prompt: “Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be?”

The tag for my blog is “Just another blog” and that goes with the self-deprecating humour typical in Australia. Of course I don’t really think this is just another blog, I hope that the writing you find here is better than average and that the content pleases and often makes you think.

So what would my personal tagline be? How about “Just Another Bloke”? No, I think not.

On my business card I have the title “The Macintosh Guy”. Over the years I’ve worked at large organisations where most of the computers run Windows and I’ve been supporting or administering a smaller Mac fleet so I’ve often been known as the Macintosh guy, the Mac expert. Seven or eight years ago when I was working support at Sydney University it was a compliment by my fellow workers and I grew to love it. When I was at Newcastle University most of the people I shared an office with tried to make it an insult (yes, they were those sort of people) but by then I owned it so strongly that it never worked.

So that might be a possible tagline. It doesn’t feel right for the Tony Williams that writes here on this blog though. As well as my passion for computers I also have a passion for reading and writing and that’s what this place is for.

Since I learnt to read while on a beach holiday when I was almost four I’ve loved books. My parents and older brother spent a lot of time on that holiday reading and my Mum bought my brother a great magazine called “Look & Learn” and me one called “Treasure” that was mostly pictures with captions. She insists that a the beginning of the fortnight I couldn’t read and at the end I was reading the magazine without help and the hard part was getting me to stop.

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Jump Right In


Today’s Daily Prompt: “What’s the biggest risk you’d like to take — but haven’t been able to? What would have to happen to make you comfortable taking it?”

Risk. Strange thing risk. One person’s risky is another’s safe and secure.

I don’t often think of my actions in terms of risk. I’m more likely to give in to anxiety than to feel that something is too risky. I know that sounds the same but it isn’t. Considering risk is a rational decision, anxiety is an emotional one.

There is one place where my anxiety is tied to risk. When it comes to my relationships with women I’m always too anxious, to aware of the risk of pushing for what I want. I’m never prepared to risk losing a friend to push for romance, I don’t want to risk losing romance to push for a sexual relationship.

Just ask the women I’ve dated. I move so slow there are sloths laughing at my lack of speed. I wrote the short story ‘The Kiss’ as a semi-autobiographical exploration of how one woman I was dating decided to take matters into her own hands.

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April Is Not The Cruelest Month


Colourful Spring flowers

Colourful Spring flowers

Today’s Daily Prompt is “For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?”

I’m a Spring person, particularly here in Sydney.

T.S. Eliot starts his famous poem “The Wasteland”:

April is the cruelest month, breeding 
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain.

Even Eliot’s epigraph, before these lines, is one of desolation, the ancient Sibyl only wishing to die. In Eliot’s England April can be cruel, teasing with a false Spring before Winter’s final burst of cold, just enough warmth to take Winter’s protecting blanket of snow.

Sydney, on the other hand, has a more temperate climate and the first day of Spring (in our case October 1) is usually a herald of several months of superb weather before the boiling heat of Summer.

Chaucer had it more right for me in the opening of his “Canterbury Tales”:

When April with his showers so sweet
Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
And bathed every vein in that liquor
Whose blessed power engenders the flower...

Here we have a Spring that is providing the life of rain and warmth and that is Spring for me.

Autumn and Winter in Sydney are strange, sure there are colder parts of the world but in a way the colder months are more comfortable there as society and the spaces it occupies are built for the cold. In London or Boston everyone readies for the cold and snow. In Sydney it seems that the cold weather catches us unprepared every year.

That’s why Spring. In a town with a moderate climate a moderately warm season is the best for me.

Wandering No More


Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo

I

Acheron’s waters wash me
Till Lethe slakes my thirst.
Eris breaks my mind
And the Maniae have moved in.

I am old with wandering
And cannot keep you safe.
I go to dance in a place apart
where even the old are fair.

I am not even an attendant lord, 
no Rosencrantz or Guildenstern,
but just a rude mechanical 
to dig a grave or play a wall.

This golden apple is not mine,
It passed to you awhile.
Keep it safe and close to you
Till time and times are done.

II

Now it lies in your hands and here we are,
At this moment where the dancer is and the dance.
The falcon in his gyre makes his turn 
through the past, the passing and the still to come.

Mind not mind, but that which is not mind,
Desiccation of the world of order,
Evacuation of the world of truth,
Inoperancy of the world of mind.

Hamlet’s question holds my mind while 
At my back cold blasts I feel.
I wish to strive, to seek, to find and 
Not to yield. The centre will hold,
For there you are, my golden light.

Published with (huge) apologies to W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. I have torn and mangled and misquoted but they both inspire.

Like all my attempts at anything but non-fiction prose I am still not entirely happy with this but I post it nonetheless. It’s been three weeks ruminating and writing so I feel it’s now or never.

Iconic


A photo of an iconic picture. Arnold "Jack" Williams on the Bridge.

A photo of an iconic picture. Arnold “Jack” Williams on the Bridge.

I live in Sydney and in this town there are two things that can be described as “iconic” – when I was very young living a hundred miles north it was only one but then they built the Opera House. The first iconic landmark was the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Since 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge has joined the city of Sydney to the suburbs of the North Shore. It’s easily recognised not just for the central role it plays in transport — every New Year’s Eve it provides the focus for the first big fireworks display in the world with fireworks shooting up from it’s pylons and arch while more cascade from the deck.

A bridge across the harbour had long been dreamed of before it was finally built. Francis Greenway, a notable architect in the young colony of NSW, first proposed it in 1820. A century had to pass before construction started in 1922.

It was in 1928 that construction of the steel arch of the bridge started but by then Arnold “Jack” Williams had been a foreman rigger on the construction for just over a year. Jack wanted the high wages of the Bridge crew to support his wife and then his baby sons, in 1930 he was taking home twenty nine pounds a week when a carpenter, painter or plumber was getting four and a half.

By the time the bridge was opened on Saturday March 19, 1932 a lot had changed for Jack. He now had two small sons and his wife had left him, taking off to Perth with a sailor. He’d done well though, he was now a foreman rigger.

That Saturday was a big day, the culmination of years of work for many and Jack was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment at what he had helped achieve. Jack wanted to share that pride with his sons but Roy was still too young, Eric at three and a half might appreciate the celebrations so Jack made a decision. Eric would come along with Jack to the opening including the march by the workers across the Bridge before it opened.

Years later Eric didn’t remember anything about that day but he did remember his father telling him that Jack had carried him on his shoulders for the march. It was one of those family stories, the ones you’re never sure are real but you sure do want them to be true.

Eric did well for himself too. Jack had made sure that all three of his sons got a good education and Eric had risen high in the steel company that had given him a traineeship to put him through University and lived in a unit right on Sydney Harbour where you could see the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Then in 1982 there were celebrations for the Bridge’s 50th Anniversary including a documentary. In the documentary there was some film of the opening celebrations including that worker’s march. There, about half way along the marching workers, was a lean man in his early thirties carrying on his shoulders a small boy.

So I live in Sydney where the Sydney Harbour Bridge is more than iconic, it’s probably the most recognised landmark in the country. To me though it has a special place in my heart, after all my Grandad carried my Dad across it to celebrate the construction all those years ago.

This post was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge entitled “Iconic”.