2007 year in review
It has taken me over 12 months to get this online… but finally,
here is whom i was, in 2007.
My year started off with humble beginnings. After a post-christmas high, and after a great (if quiet) new years with my girl, I was feeling good about a lot of things. I guess I had a lot to look forwards to.
I was enjoying the freedom that comes from part-time work - happily working at the tea house where I made a few great friends… like Alexi and Kenneth, Ana and Adam. Uni was about to start (I had finally found out that I was back in), and a few big changes were on the horizon. Syntax got some good support including some kind support from the PAiN diskmag.
I had been vegetarian since the turn of the year; and whilst it didn’t mean a big change physically, there were still a few days where I had to watch myself. I was riding – occasionally – and still playing soccer.
But by and far, it was a month most remembered for being in love. And whilst we were still finding our feet emotionally (insecurities about ex’s, trusting etc), we always managed to talk through things an we always came out on top. Lots of coupley things, lots of lazing about - lots of just being us. Joy found out that she had got into uni; and that was a great thing.
Ups and downs a lot in February.
I was quite buys and a hot month meant not a lot of riding, but soccer and friends were on my mind a lot. I had a few things on Sundays so I couldn’t play soccer so much… I remember buying new gloves one Saturday morning and it cheered me up. I was starting to feel a bit distant from my friends, not to mention family and spirituality. Conversely, playing soccer with Joy was one of my happiest memories in years.
February was a month of weddings. First Jacqui (Joy’s friend), then my roommate Emma. Bother were wonderful days and it was great to see a few friendly faces/old roommates at the latter.
Joy’s work had started with the school year, and it was intensely… no… confusingly busy. I could never explain my first experiences of the place – it was like being hit with a torrent of kids and paper, a jackhammer of nervous parents. Little wonder it was so taxing. I helped out where I could - cleaning tables, packing lunches, and talking a website for them – which in the end proved far more laborious than I assumed. I also enrolled in the Vietnamese classes there, alongside many 5 year olds, whom I would soon teach….
Like I hinted at earlier, I was starting to miss bits of me that made me “me”. Friends were a big one – and my soccer team would soon split up - due to artistic differences of all things – after years. Family was another thing drifting. That said, I did see my brother (and his girl) for a wonderful night of italianness. Joy and I also made a Ballarat trip – just long enough to touch base with the parents and quickly meet mum’s new kitten, Charlotte.
But we had each other, and that counted for a lot. Everything wasn’t butterflies and sunshine; and because of the aforementioned inadequacies, I felt a little bit off balance most of the time. After managing to screw up Valentine’s day (contrived plans and a miscommunication), thankfully our 3 month anniversary was a whole lot more romantic – a perfect day of flowers and a lovely dinner, a big band and even a cute cat that played with us for ½ an hour. I was glad to finally get my custom scrabble board finished (with a little help) for her.
Chinese New Year happened, and I wrote this about it: Chinese New Year was a bigger-than-ben-hur kind of a day. It was also one of the most awesome days I’ve had in absolutely ages. Big temples, little temples, temples in people’s houses, Chinese temples, Viet temples, social temples, reverent temples, quiet temples.
Traveling, doing family-esque stuffs, and observing. It was kind of cool to spend most of it in a separate car, with just her, and her brother. Things with my girl were also especially good; after one of those big, serious talks the night before. We felt especially fresh and lucky to be with each other. So yeah, it all went smoothly. I met "Jack" and "Jill": a cute, very kindly sort of elderly couple..... Cute, hey? The day was great. We took photos, met friends, relaxed, and ate really, really, seriously good banana-leaf-flavoured sticky rice "cake" thing. Add a nice walk over a warm sunset with sprinkley rain.... awesome.
Uni had started again and final year study proved busy, but really good. Rob (my new teacher) and I were starting to get to know each other better. It was this month I read the writings of Attali, and was inspired by the scores of Sabine. Rob and I talked a lot about finding a voice, and I felt like I was really getting the hang of this composer thing… I even had a few things to say.
My social life was still unbalanced, or at least I sensed that I was becoming unbalanced. I booked myself in to see a counselor about it, but by the time the appointment came around, I’d forgotten why I was unhappy. I knew that joy was unhappy (her uni was lots of work, programs and tutoring 4 days a week meant work was frantic and unrelenting) and not knowing what to do about it was killing me.
Good times were spent buying cheese, playing board games, and antipasto. It took an enormous amount of effort to finish a mediocre website for her work. We were living together (mostly out of convenience she moved into the spare room), there were disputes, but talking. I spent a lot of time indoors this month.
In the midst of was Joy’s birthday, which was a good nite out… and the catch up with Chris (spent watching animations at E55) was really good.
I only did two blog posts in April. In short, I was losing me.
Uni was enjoyable but it was also difficult, or at least it was a lot of work. Even though I wasn’t very good at it, I enjoyed Peter Neville’s rhythmic devices classes, where we got to listen to Steve Reich and Vartinaa. Pop Song Writing (with Mark) was hard (I still remember tirelessly trying to belt out #1 jams), but it was also fun – and bringing Wayfinder to class was seriously cool. I had some stellar lectures with David Shea and Kate Neal. Our ensemble class was a bit of a shambles, but at least we got to know some interesting 1st years.
Two posts was a rarity for me: I was so busy I had almost no time to myself. In addition to uni (which was full on, as above), I was spending weekends either helping organize KT in St. Albans on Saturdays, or teaching grade 1 English and Maths on Sundays. I remember my first class of teaching, and how scared I felt, instantly knowing that I didn’t know how. But the tutoring center pleaded me to stay, so for a few weeks, I tried.
One of my oldest and best friends from soccer had also begun working there; it was great to still be catching up with someone from the team after we split up.. but it was also great to receive a quick hug or a quick smile from an understanding and trusted face, for she too was “new at it”. I really appreciated it – and most Sundays I needed it.
In May, everything happened.
We broke up in a huff. I initially didn’t even gather that she was breaking up with me... by the time I had gathered it (two days later) it was too late, she was abrupt and didn’t feel like talking. I wrote:The tell-tale signs were there - less talking, less messaging, less phoning, and more. I guess i wasn’t being appreciative in that way that i had been prior; the element of surprise felt a long way away. So this culminated two weeks ago, when we had a "break" of a few days from each other. I did some soul searching, was glad that it happened. We came back stronger - still not perfect but a lot better. But just 9 days later, and we were back to crisis mode again. A sadder thought is that maybe at current, she’s filling her life with activity..
I was lost and there was no closure, and basically I shut down.
I was wrecked for two weeks. I flat-out refused to do any uni work during this time; I went to uni but I was a shell there. I was a shell at home. Most times, I just sat in my room in silence, if I wasn’t crying. It was like a life-blood had been sucked out of me.
I saw Chick Corea in concert, and it sucked. Another quote:ok so here’s the deal. I’m sad most of the time. And i don’t really know what to do about it.
Not that I think about it too much. Someone said (well sang) something in a class today and I very nearly lost all professionalism and broke out in tears there and then... a feeling I’ve never had before.
I don’t feel angry at all. Further, I don’t feel distraught. Friends, logic, and spirituality have done a good job in teaching me that what we had wasn’t working, and hence there was no point trying to continue it. It’s been a couple of weeks (well, 12 days).
Sometimes i feel defeated. The unresolve is what hurts. Casting myself to what happened in those last couple of big talks... and wallowing if i was more acute/aware of what actually happened on that Saturday; then i would have fought in a very different disposition and things would be different. Our whole 6month anniversary was fucked.. did not exist, and it was all because of a stupid miscommunication.
Sometimes i enjoy the weather. And the leaves and the ducks and the trams. And it affirms to me of me stuff; i still have my health. I see myself one day getting up, selling my stuff, buying a motorcycle, and shipping myself to Alice to be a radio broadcaster, all because of a strange dream. Times like that i most think that I, even we (in the ’best of friends for years’ sense) will be the strongest two. Like the phone calls of three years ago.
And sometimes i don’t wish to speak to her for quite a time. I want to hermit it out, non plus ultra. Curling up in my corner, cat-like, and coming around of my own accord, later.
My friends have been there for me and have been great as usual. But even then i feel disconnected. At least sort of. In a way it sort of helps - but in another it’s far worse - that my friends have their own tribulations, and i feel terrible that i can’t return the full support (with the full me) to them - that they have done for me.
I haven’t done any uni work for practically two weeks. Total disinterest. And I’m gravely worried about it. Yesterday, I had Martin Bresnick (head of composition at Yale) describe my work as "a completely devastating experience.. what human is not going to want to play something that sad". and now, it’s like the pilot light is just out. At least the bad dreams have stopped…
Dani hurt a lot this month also. She went through a similar thing, and in our mutual understanding I found a dear friend. Julie and Sam were breaking up, and I guessed that Paul and Kate were going to. I felt more lost and more sad and more confused than I think I can remember.
Within two weeks, everything else happened.
The total emotional shift. The storming out of my house at 3am in favour of staring at a hospitable Chris’ ceiling. The trembling with anger and pain and bewilderment and tiredness, every time I went near my home.. especially the first time. The well timed counseling session that held me together. The notes of Vale’s piano piece that freed me from my existence. So much for fixing yourself
Two days after the shit, I got the letter to move. Like the relationship, house dynamics had enormously changed - I loved my property a lot, but in a way I loathed it too. At a nerve-settling night at Deb’s place 2x weeks later, we stumbled access some place beautiful. I saw Deb on Friday, had the inspection on Saturday, and moved in on Monday. It was as quick as that.
Uni was orchestral part proofing, and syntax preparations. My work at the tea house was going to close, really I didn’t mind too much – maybe I couldn’t process it. I saw some friends play Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”, and it was epic.
“Beautiful, cozy and secure”, they were my first impressions of the new place. I was ridiculously happy that I had found somewhere so nice – not to mention somewhere geographically close to the land I had become friends with.
It was also pretty stark when I first moved in. Whilst I felt safe, I was still feeling emotional and in particular, a lot of negativity. I was angry at Joy, and we’d tried speaking a few times but it often resulted in an argument. I even called her up angry a few times, just to yell at her. i succeeded in making Sunday a crap day for both of us. I wish i could just shut up for a while.
Uni was better, I got consideration without a problem but I still felt bad for cutting all ties for two weeks, with my orchestral concert coming up. I sort of threw myself into it. I started playing in the RMIT cover band thing… initially as an experiment, but I loved it. When I received my results for the semester - and found I had aced most things – I felt really proud.
I was up and down, it was a very reflective month. “I guess it’s all part of working out who I am, or something”, I wrote.
Of course, another big change happened in June involved the Australian Youth Choir. I didn’t really think I’d get the gig (for I didn’t know Kodaly and I wasn’t a full time music teacher), but I was made one of their conducting staff nonetheless. Confident and hesitant in equal amounts, I started preparing for next month’s Performing Arts Camp.
July was a good amount of being busy; but in the first week, I did sneak away to Ballarat just long enough to see Paul... and cats... and family... and a quite dismal AFC Asian Cup.
No sooner than I got back that I found myself directing the Australian Youth Choir’s Performing Arts Camp. Although I sort of expected it, I quickly found that it was a lot less like conducting and a lot more like primary school teaching. I’m no natural teacher, but for that week I was Mr. Lewis. In a way it was like KT, (I was glad that I’d had that experience), except this time it was music, and I felt like I could just about do it.
We must have done an alright job –I had some great support from awesome staff like Monique and Michelle, and Ian Harrison (it was truly a team effort); the kids learned their stuff and we played games half of the time. It was rewarding enough work.
Dani had a birthday, and whilst it now saddens me to think of how good mates we were, at the time it was great to spend a couple of hours cheering up my ill-stricken friend.
Syntax happened. Granted we almost left a lot of things too late, but in the end we were thrilled and surprised by ‘just how much of a demoparty’ it was. Preparations became really exciting; we scored some great prizes including – in a spark of pure genius – the Syntax commemorative shield. Meeting Adrian was ace. The weekend itself was lots of lugging gear, prizes, sorting amenities, and partying. It was a huge day but well worth it.
Chris and Ado’s high speed crash put a diffused tone on the post-party mood; thankfully everyone was OKish, more or less.
Uni had started up again and it was great. I worked with David Shea a lot, and he changed the way I think. As did lessons with my fantastic mentor, Rob Vincs – and I craved my lessons with him. I also fell into a bizarre loophole with my subjects; I was 1up on uni and had the choice of free time, or free study of any Melbourne Uni subject I wanted. I thought seriously about doing something in the VCA Animation school, sadly the overhead proved too much (in terms of writing my own curriculum), and I dropped it for the free time.
I had a really great/relaxing day where I went to see the ACMI Pixar exhibition (which was better than expected) with Dani. Other things that got me out included DeJahGroove at the Night Cat, and Adrian Pertout’s marimba concerto, “An honourable silence”. It was good to see that old friends were still performing.
A quote that Tasha said once was resounding in my head: “by the time you get to final year uni, you’ll know who your friends are”.
I felt sadness sometimes. After a full kind of holiday period (July, after all, was a holiday), it was back to the usual: money issues, grant application stress, and work en masse. I missed the one David Shea lecture I was hanging out for (it was on depression), because I was composing my bloody New Music Ensemble piece for two and a half days straight. It really got to me, and felt like this:Not working has meant a very harsh reality check: life as a composer. I’ve not had this little income before; and the inconsistency of work and pressures of output have been a very dominating culmination. Because of not having any money most of the time, I’ve been spending nearly all of my time doing extra work: applying for grants, scholarships, bursaries wherever I can.
I’m trying to complete more music than I can even comprehend. Most the time I am overwhelmed and isolated. A work for my New Music Ensemble study; yet another orchestra work for the VYSO, this bloody piano trio, a glass percussion thing, my alphorn piece to supposedly perform at the end of the year... Uni have also decided that I apparently know how to use the BOSS HDD recorder thing of theirs; so now I’m the unofficial recording tech composer guy; meaning I need even extra time to do setups and to work out how to use the bloody unit. I’m not even sure what’s happening with my advanced orchestration class; as I haven’t written the subject document yet; so I’m enrolled in something that doesn’t exist...
That being said, I have a job interview with the choir (an internal position doing more regular work with them. Actually it was supposed to be last week; except I got lost on the way there & instead had a night of walking around eastern suburbs and feeling sad.
Nearly all other times I am here. Making myself concentrate on work but generally not being productive (and occasionally sitting on the floor and looking at the carpet...). I miss my friends so, so fucking much... but most of the time I don’t have time to stop (which is ironic because I often do), and even if I did, I’m embarrassingly poor, too. I’ve been reading a lot about composers and depression... which makes me think "You know, I could be playing on a baseball team some-
Crest, a demoscene compatriot, threw himself off a bridge and he died.
August ’07 will always be remembered as the SoundOut month (more on that later), but for me it was also a month of new feelings – namely, a closeness to my composer colleagues. I go to know Misha really well this month, I remember how he transformed a really shit Monday: I was depressed as hell and walking home looking at the ground; when I bumped into him the next thing I know we were eating shitake mushrooms and talking about spirituality and conducting and housing.
I also started hanging out with Duncan this month: and herein developed the warmest friendship in a long while... certainly the most significant throughout my final semester and beyond. We have a lot in common – as soccer players, as composers, as just us trying to understand the world. I’ll never forget the nights of jamming, composing, drinking and admiring top-shelf jazz. The first of these nights happened this month.
The unfathomable Pinney’s Mighty Boosh Party happened early August – clearly the best party of the year. It wasn’t so much that it was a great party with a great amount of musos at Alex and James’ house... it was the fact we could all get together at the one shindig *at that time*. It was like: we’d all been working so hard at the same things, for so long, and then now we were partying, right in the middle of it. Down with the ship. It was one of the best, most memorable nights of smiles and convincing-colleagues-not-to-have-nervou
Pete, my brother, bought a house.
Jean-Charles Francois was in town, and he taught me that I’d only ever have to overcome four things: the finances, the institution, the resources and the notation system. In truth he wasn’t very well received – and even criticized a lot, but I liked him, and I liked that he was trying to do something new.
And of course, I had my first piece played for Orchestra. It was a massive undertaking. Tatar was fiercely inspirational, but translating his work into a piece for orchestra was a huge task. On one hand, I had disengaged from the work by the time rehearsals came around (this happens with every big work: “a new work for orchestra, an old work for composer”). On the other hand it was great to have support from such an overwhelming force, the entire faculty. I was particularly happy with the choir, the conductor, and the monstrosity of a wind machine that Paul and I spent $400 and two solid weeks building.
After the concert, I was pretty much cruising for a while. At Open Day, I was pretty much staff. August was also the first month where I started having “big thoughts” – research into studying abroad, the great abyss. From Iceland to Korea, South America to Holland. Rob was pushing me to explore as many options as possible, and I knew that I still had some very specific things I wanted to do as a composer.
September was a month of being in real control.
By now, I had been giving all to my course, and I was starting to reap the benefits. I found some free time and some great people to spend it with. I had a great day at Experimentia with Dani, and spent a couple of awesome nights making music with Duncan. I even saw the Socceroos tackle an impressive Argentina.
Again the free time at uni was a big bonus; Uni was mostly conversations with Rob, jamming with the NME, and kicking soccer balls with Gabi. The free time also meant… a new job! I started working casually at the School of Population Health
.. it was super flexible and quickly enjoyable – great people that were creative and environmentally conscious. IT with a difference. Some fascinating technology too, I’ll never forget my tour of central ops with Will – some very serious computers that could beat your computers.
I became a seasoned nightwalker. The weather was lovely and I’d take off for a couple of hours almost every night. There were one or two evenings that were exceptional: full moons and mist, the stuff of Japanese Samurai movies. I’d spend them in the local park, sitting quietly and watching the moon take it’s course.
On a night that smelt like Viburnum (my favourite trees were flowering by now), I followed an SMS invite and found myself at a Dahl night where I met Katie. I remember walking home, feeling younger than I had in a long time. Um... I like her a whole lot. She’s introverted, caring, and very very pleasant. She has a purple wallet and rainbow-coloured shoelaces on her boots. There’s something about the way she turns her neck. She really likes old instruments. And She has a bike with a basket on it called Jessica. And she’s a composer. (A really good one!). Geez...
From a first date (of old buildings and older violins) to theatre shows and bookshelves, we shared a lot of time, and food, and music. It took us a few weeks of getting to know each other before we realized a major speed hump – we just didn’t know how to make each other laugh. We talked some more… and left each other for the smells of Viburnum and Dandelions respectively, and spring continued to roll on.
“When the sun is shining, its time to fix the roof”.
Everything sort of hit the fan in early stages of October. Many factors contributed to a massive amount of stress, accompanied by despair. The qualms of final semester uni (assessments, New Music Ensemble, debarkled recital plans, and a never-ending line of grant rejection letters) only added to feelings of loneliness, lack of spirituality, and very little in terms of family for around 3 years now. I wondered whether this was the “burnt out from VCA syndrome” that claims so many artistic souls, and I worried.
It manifested itself here:
"How many rejection letters does it take until you start thinking
’maybe I am actually really bad at this?’
and how do you deal with that?"
Uni is ridiculous. I’ve never enjoyed the idea of competition to begin with, and the problem with uni classes so small.. is that (for all of their good qualities) they are ultimately fearfully competitive. Ferociously competitive. Elitist. My instincts tell me that nobody likes it (not the staff, certainly not the students), it’s one of life at VCAs more obvious flaws; and it’s only getting worse. I feel so sorry for the younger guys in the course.
Some specifics: I spent most of this week believing that I was bad at writing anything melodic for solo instruments of any sort (which is partly true...), and although trying to work up the confidence to attempt writing... mostly getting depressed and doing nothing.
In truth I should have spent more time being dedicated to them earlier in the semester, but I was busy pouring my soul into the year’s rounds of scholarship and grant applications, also known as paper for recycling. I shouldn’t have been bitter about missing out on the main music scholarships, but initially I was a bit. I guess it saddens me that I know I was down to 1 of 4 people max. that were eligible, and that I spent so long preparing that application for nothing. But that’s OK... I still have my honours audition. And I still have my AMCOZ application for this year (that is, If I can defy history and somehow not get so
burnt out and depressed this October that I don’t apply).
They are scrapping Sound Out for 2008, or rather, revamping it, making it a ’showcase’. Which means one or two student works at best. Another fucking competition.
Anyway, in spite of all this inadequacy I have managed to get 2ish minutes of my supposed-to-be-20min-thing composed. Not that it’s any good, but it sort of works. I didn’t help today that I had a class of my colleague’s presentations. I’m usually all for this (but...) I can’t explain the feeling in words. I was overwhelmed and felt like I had no right to be there, I had to leave. So I went home and cooked, because that’s what I do when I need therapy and I cook fucking well. And now, I’m giving up. At least for a few days... at least on the ’writing music’ side of things. It gives me a chance to get some of the written component done (which I’m also way behind on, but at least it’s an area where I know I can get tangible results).
I had a few positives happening though. Work was still really god, and it meant I could do a few things – like go to The Cat Empire with the Australian Youth Orchestra – which was a very, very special concert indeed. The tides of a changing Australian government (after 12 years) were well overdue. Pauly came down and I walked with him to the Astor and back. And I was starting to get to know Preston; for I frequented the market a lot.
I discovered Danny Elfmann’s first film score – “The Forbidden Zone” this month; a piece of cinema that revolutionized the way I see and hear a film. When the DVD arrived from the US, I watched it at least 15 times, before donating it to the library collection at uni.
And when my birthday happened (and I managed to see all of my immediate family in the space of a week), my sanity was restored. “One of the very best kind”, my birthday had just the right amount of family, time to self, and time with friends. Sun and trees, corellas and galahs and cockatoos.
Chris made an incredible Rob is Jarig cake for my birthday, the day before!! :D
Just when the franticness picked up again, I found out that I had won the Wagner Composition Award at Uni.
Feeling much more satisfied with life after my birthday, things started picking up. At work I found out about the Apollo Music Society, and I even weaned my way into a weekly inter-departmental soccer competition there
Whoa. November was one of the biggest and most prolific months in a very long time. It wasn’t until I did two relatively simple things that I realized the year had been so epic. Firstly, I sat down and updated the hard copy of my phone contacts (which had doubled in the space of 6x months), and I revised my musical resume, it too was growing exponentially into something solid and commendable. I was proud of me.
Work was going great, I’d never worked in a place where the conditions were this good, and consequentially I was loving my job. It was the little things: you could have lunch in a garden, you could bring your dog to work (occasionally, if you had to – and you weren’t too noisy about it).
The VCA Graduate exhibition took of this month. I found it addictive and evocative – I liked it far better than Kiasma and most of the galleries I saw in Europe. “Isn’t it assuring…”, I remember musing “…that there are still some very good thinkers left in society.”
Uni was wrapping up – and with the exception of my recital (which was a great deal of stress), everything else was wrapped up in a neat little package. Even the stress of my recital dissipated, when I had a remarkable dream that put al of my loose, disjointed elements into a logical, well-thought out, performance space work.
Something was working for me note-wise. A freak accident at the desk saw me create op.#13, almost instantly. I did a film score for Tristan, and did a lot of great reading on music education. I still got to hang out with Duncan a lot. The cover band was also taking off, we had our RMIT@movies night, and there were lots of rehearsals leading towards December.
I wrote an article on Daoism for a research journal:I’m not sure why I mention it here, save it was a great reflective exercise to do so. I’m not at a notable “high” point of spirituality at the moment... but it was good in a centering way to stop and think about what I believe
Social times this month were crazy music with Duncan, stress free days in Eltham, and good food with my brother. The election happened, and so did a wonderfully happy night of being drunk with roommates in Preston.
I worked ferociously towards preparing myself for the VCA Honours audition. I always knew it was going to be tough (and whilst it would be easy to brood on “1x spot for 10x applicants” as a reflection of the state of education in this country), lets just say I wasn’t holding out for acceptance. Along the way, I met some great types. My path of academia led its way to geographical science; and before I knew it I was working closely with the Cartographical Society of the UK, working on a project to help understand music as a form of mapping, and map-making as a form of notating music.
Fancy research topics aside, I was quickly becoming less concerned with whatever some English scholars had to say. A bigger career idea got the better of me – one that was well outside anything I had known at Uni, one that was almost out of this world.
They say you only travel professionally for money or for cultural enlightenment, and there would certainly be none of the former in the taciturn city of Caracas, Venezuela. I had been thinking about music of the world a lot; and just like Rob’s comments on “every musical instrument having it’s own language”, I was only starting to understand that every language, in turn, had its own musics. Not only did I want to experience El Sistema
first hand, I wanted to get to know Venezuela – in all of her course, intemperate ways. Few places are more psychologically distant from here.
Work took a bit of a different light. It was still comfortable, but I was open-minded about it becoming a means. I started quietly making myself busy – seeking Spanish classes, listening to Latin American classical music, and studying the tricky yet unique socio-political climate which overshadows the place.
Through a great deal of coincidence, just 3x weeks later, I found myself at the “2nd Annual Australia-Latin American conference” – a day spent with a small group including academics, politicians, and the Ambassadors to Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru, - and of course, Venezuela. I had no experience with diplomacy prior, but I found most of the ambassadors charming, amicable, and wise. I especially liked the sense of humor from the Brazilian leader.
Of all the ambassadors, I found the Venezuelan Charge D’affairs to be the most quiet – and honestly, how much could he have to say? In spite of some rudimentary common ground to do with mining, the psychic gap remains monstrous – again, Caracas being one of the remote places from here on earth. I picked up only a little about the place, including some mixed reports about Caracas being a “beautiful” but “dangerous” place. However, I also met an exciting couple of groups that were passionate about the region; including some PhD students and Spanish language groups.
In the midst of all the business this month, I started talking with Joy again,. “Confusing, as well as good and bad”, I wrote.
With uni pretty much out of the way, I found more time to dedicate to work, and to enjoyable things such as riding and soccer. Work itself was still really good – I was pretty much permanent staff at the School of Physiotherapy; I loved having my own desk and my own departmental network to look after.
A few new people had started there, Louis and Meghan being 2x peers that also colleagues, and became very good friends.
I think I chilled out a lot this month. I remember often feeling a “Hey, I survived uni” sort of pride, which left me feeling strong and positive. I went to a couple of soccer games with Pete and friends, which was wonderful.
In early December, we had our annual composer’s dinner, which was a hell of a memorable night. It started out as a marvelous dinner with friends, and found its way to karaoke and pool, and eventually to dancing and moderate drinks. I kept running into people I knew that night – like Ben and Aimee, later some band people like Matt, and Stewart, and Shona.
Still, I went through a distinct phase of bad dreams this month. “The worst kind”... nights full of twisting and turning, waking up rough and being tired.
The weather was amazing though. I spent a couple of wonderful days helping Dani “Mansion-sit” – hanging out at an incredible property and looking after a very spoilt puppy.
I was talking to Joy again, which was still kind of ‘up and down’, even provocative of certain emotions at some point. But mostly it was good; she helped me do a little Christmas shopping. which was remarkably easy this year for some reason?
I played in my first Carols by Candlelight this year, joining a few band friends on the trek to remote Moe. It was a funny sort of a night with Glenn’s people – the music was sometimes haphazard, sometimes precarious... but the night was undeniably “Christmassy”, and I loved the warm feeling the people down there had.
Christmas itself was celebrated by my family a little earlier. Not much to tell there – as it was all pretty normal in Ballarat (which is a wonderful thing). The actual day I spent at home - mowing grass, cooking and cleaning, and being perfectly happy.
I had a night of considerable drinking with Glenn and Dani, which in hindsight turned sour, when I found out something got horribly miscommunicated that night. I was shocked that something so small could be taken so drastically; and whilst I was partly apologetic, my overwhelming feeling was “you got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out”. That’s the thing – she never seemed to bother trying. It doesn’t sound like much and it certainly didn’t start off as much, but the ramifications of inaction turned into a great eventual loss.
Nevertheless. I found myself having one of the most peaceful NYE’s to date. I was with a crew of 7 band people, whom whisked me away to Rye, beachside for new years. In fact, I had a downright lovely time: really hot weather, good food, great friends and lots of tea. I spent lots of time by myself, outside with pen and paper and sun, where I pulled out this notepad and started writing...
music: jeff buckley - lover, you shoud've come over