Friday Poem: Question Everything

The poem came first. Then somehow I had some Time Alone this week, with pen and paper, and thinking of the poem and all that has been going on in the world of late (what’s new?), I wrote a little rant…question everything

Nothing is certain,
Not even this:
I don’t want to be certain-
I want to wonder
And to exercise curiosity.

I don’t want to be
Like a man who is sure what is true;
Such men are dangerous
For sure.
There have been a few.

Let me instead
Always question everything,
And keep ‘if’ and ‘maybe’
Firmly in my vocabulary.question everything 2

I don’t like Dominator Culture, however it is expressed. But, because we are immersed in it, it can be difficult to see – but once one is aware, it’s everywhere. Misogyny, abuse of children, spousal violence, unequal pay scales for men and women, cheap, illegal Mexican labour used for dirty, dangerous and underpaid work, 1% of the world’s population “owning” as much as the other 99% put together, violent struggles for control, whether for families, neighbourhoods or whole countries or religions. Keeping up with the Joneses and other extringent goals, playground bullies trying to assuage their own miserable self-worth by destroying someone else’s….Dominator Culture surrounds us every day, in ways both large and small, with the seemingly insignificant feeding on and into the blindingly obvious.

No one can beat Dominator Culture, because beating is joining it…So how to counter it?

Mohondas Gandhi taught non-violent non-cooperation, and one form of non-violent non-cooperation that anybody can participate in is to ask questions, maintain curiosity and to live an actively creative life. To be widely read, and go into the wild without wanting to tame it, to regard all persons as the equal of oneself (am I sounding like Walt Whitman? Don’t mind if I do…). To draw in the margins, and colour outside the lines. To love one another, and cultivate compassion, even towards those who seem to be the very worst…All this is deeply radical behavior,
and utterly contrary to Dominator Culture.question everything 3

Creativity: Escape X

A couple more pages form my altered book, “Escape”, which is built around the theme of creativity and the glorious escape that brings…Escape 30

My favourite quote from Kurt Cobain, written in felt tip onto a background of yellow house paint. There’s a bit of the pink from the opposite page mixed in in places (and the reverse on the other page), because you can be as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good…There’s a doodle of green ink in the margin, and a sticker from a pack intended for scrapbooking…I’ve no idea what that thing is, but I love the colour!

The fiercesome chaps – not sure if they are demons, or demon-destroyers – are cut from an art catalogue. Whatever they are, they definitely have passion! I have painted out the background, blending it into the page. This is a great treatment for photos where the background isn’t wanted in your image, whether they are personal photos or borrowed ones like this. The text on that page is from me – a play on a quote used in publicity for a movie called “Love Story” many, many years ago. It was “Love means never having to say your sorry”, which can be taken in the entirely wrong sense of never apologising, rather than having no regrets.

Freedom is accepting everything you like, making your choices without regret, accepting responsibility for yourself, letting go of all that you cannot control (which is a lot!).

Friday Poem: For Sandra

It’s not Friday anymore…my Friday this week was super-busy and my internet was too sloooow for a quick post, but I wanted to share this old poem. A few days ago, because of a series of coincidences, I spent maybe twenty minutes catching up with a man I hadn’t seen for almost forty years – back when he, his wife Sandra and my husband Bryan were very young teachers in Terang, Victoria. I wrote this when Sandra and Iain’s first child, a daughter, was born. I didn’t think to ask him if he’s a Grandpa!fonz

I thought of you.
I thought of you in your bed of pain,
Brought to bed of a child;
Brought to bed of a daughter.
A daughter to suffer as we have suffered:
In travail to bring forth,
To bring forth a child again.


DSCF6756 (Small)I don’t have any photos of Sandra from back then (or later), so here is my daughter and her daughter, a few days after juniper was born last year. The Fonz does date back to the 70’s in Terang, though (actually, that’s Simon, aged about 15 months). We were young folks, and we made our own social lives in a small country town. One of our themed parties was a “Fifties” night, party inspired by a current TV show called “Happy Days”- maybe you’ve heard of it!

While I was working on/prevaricating over this post, I came across this series of mixed media pieces I made a few years ago, called “Pattern Making”. It was inspired in part by an extract from a Victorian book which advised that little girls should be encouraged to play with dolls in order to learn to look after babies, do the laundry and generally make themselves useful. Which annoyed me. I have five children, and I absolutely understand the human drive to ‘bring forth’ children, however, I am not at all taken with the idea that girls should be given dolls in order to be made “gentle and useful”, nor with the notion that doing laundry will give her “the most intense delight”, as if that were the be-all and end-all of life for a female.

Friday Poem: Discourse

I had a bit of fun with this poem (a lot of fun, actually). I once heard someone on the radio say that “Just because it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it isn’t true”, which I found quite profound. I’m fairly sure it was on The Coodabeen Champions, a lighthearted and lightweight show about AFL “footy”, not known for being deep and meaningful.IMG_2066 (Small) However, that jokey insight helped form this poem.

Are symbols real?
Although a symbol
Is not really
What it symbolises
It may be
A real symbol-
A symbol of a real thing
Or real concept-
So although the symbol
Is not really what is symbolised
By the symbol
It is in fact real
Insofar as that
It really symbolises
The idea, concept or thing
Which is real.
In this way
A myth is a true story
Because although the story
May not be literally true
In the sense of historical events,
What is symbolised in the story
Is true and real and actual
In another sense.
Anything at all can function
As a symbol,
And stand for something else
Which is true;
And that’s a fact!laneway 5 (Small)

I’ve picked out some recent photos that include symbols, or objects that are symbolic representations of something real…IMG_2181 (Small)I bought this symbolic snowflake last year at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore Cafe in North Perth, during my three month stay there after my grand daughter was born. I enjoyed a lot of coffee, and chai, and the occasional Portuguese custard tart. And some books. So all of that is symbolised for me by this pretty white tissue paper frippery!

Creativity: Escape VII

Escape 21


The first page of my “Escape” altered book this week is wildly multi-coloured, breaking away from the pink and yellow colour scheme of most of the book. Because variety is the spice of life. The text is a piece of opinion by me – I could go on (and on), but I won’t, for now.The  original text was obliterated with white acrylic paint, which I then went over with Inktense pencils, drawing out the colour with a wet brush. The thicker the Inktense goes on, the more colour you get from wetting it, which can get messy fast – best to practice on something like a journal page!

Escape 22


On these pages,I’ve pasted appealing images from advertising, and added colour (and an extra clock). Like nine out of ten interiors in decorating magazines, the room was white – how dull. I painted it orange – much better! I’ve been drawing that heart design for years – a symbol for me of peace love empathy.

Escape 23


Lastly for today, a detail of the Julia Cameron quote. For fun, I stamped the ‘A’ in an out-size capital. For journaling, altering books and mixed media in general, it is not possible to have too many alphabet stamps! There are so many – different sizes, different fonts, different price points, and you can find a use for them all. You just have to know where they are…

Friday Poem: Query (and Query II)

I wrote the first of this pair just on fifteen years ago, and the second years after. I could probably add number three, and address it to politicists*….glass ring

Do you ever wonder
You scientists
How much there is
That you do not know?
Do you ever think
What tiny, teeny, little,
Very little fragments
Your theories are built from?
Does it ever occur to you
Once in a while
That maybe you are wrong?blue


Do you ever wonder
You  theologists*
how much there is
That you don’t know ?
Do you ever think
What tiny, teeny, little,
Very little fragments
Your dogmas are built  on?
Does it ever occur to you
Once in a while
That maybe you are wrong?IMG_2042 (Medium)

*No, these are not ‘real’ words. However, my Poetic License, which I have held for approximately forty seven years, permits me to make up words in the service of the Muse.

I chose three recent arty photos to go with the poems today. They are my favourite kind, I think, both to take and to look at. The top image is of a gogeous dichroic glass ring I bought from The Glass Menagerie at White Rabbit Collective (coolective) in Brunswick. A blue marble in the neck of an antique bottle needs no explanation, but the rose is one of  the flowers from my mother-in-law’s funeral service – we were invited to take home some of the beautiful flowers as a memento of her – they would be thrown away otherwise.

Creativity: Escape V

Here’s a page of my altered book “Escape” that has been painted with house paint, rubbed over with pink pencil and embellished with little rings meant for reinforcing holes in paper. While they were on their original backing they were used for printing dots on fabric, leaving the rings nicely coloured and perfect for decoration.



The text isn’t exactly about creativity, not directly anyway…The bookmark is the packaging from chopsticks, and too nice to toss away.Escape 17

Between two ‘normal’ pages is a leaf of translucent parchment paper, with a little stamping on it. It is held in place with common-or-workshop duct tape, and excellent and versatile material popular with artists and home-handypersons!

Escape 18


More yellowish paint, and coloured pencil. You may notice that the two pages stuck together while the paint was wet (ooops) and tore off a layer – that’s where the rainbow pencil came in. Always go along with your mistakes – in art – maybe not so much in life….The stamp I used at the bottom is long and narrow, with an image of rough stitches – at least, I think that’s what is intended. However, the ends look a bit like stylised trees, and that is how I often use it. It also works well in the context of textiles, of course.

Rubber stamps are great for altered books and other mixed media creativity, so it’s good to have a broad collection (and to keep them fairly orderly). Look  for them in bargain shops! It is probably impossible to have too many…