Pure Instinct

by Michelle

Last saturday I spent a beautiful day on Cockatoo Island, enjoying the view across to Drummoyne and Birchgrove, where the mouth of a river meets the harbour. The first visitors would have arrived in bark canoes. With its silos, dry docks and convict barracks, even with the Biennale on display attracting crowds, it’s still possible to imagine how the island might have been before white settlers first stepped on its sandy shores and changed its name from Waremah.
Today I’m at home preparing a sleepover for some of Tegan’s friends: chocolate puppy cake and lolly bags, balloons and an open fire. Outside it is overcast and bitterly cold but I’ll have my reprieve from winter in a week’s time when I head for Sumatra with my laptop and my suede-covered notebook. I’ve been thinking alot about the migration of homeless people, and there’s nothing quite like travelling on pure instinct, less in search of a story than a journey.  I’m going to KL, Medan and Belawan to cross cultures, to encounter communities outside of family, academia, medicine or literature. There’s more about this on Southerly‘s blog including a post on Race and White Privilege and a post on the literatures of Asylum.
I think blogging is a unique space, not always easy to enter. I need to be in the right mood. But it’s a place where I can be intimate, informal, a place where I can sketch and erase. But blogging for a journal requires another register altogether as readers are unfamiliar with my writing. They will have different expectations so it has been a delightful, sometimes intense challenge writing for Southerly. It’s forced me to consider the tone of my parole: not too didactic, not too abrasive, nor indulgent. When you blog for a journal you need to be informed and flexible, accessible; I haven’t always succeeded but it’s been enjoyable and I have one post more to write. I have a theme/idea in mind to finish my sequence and I’ll probably start that tonight while the kids are watching a video.
Derrida talks about responsibility as a kind of death; a betrayal, a treachery of other kinds of responsibilities. Each responsibility he says contains  “within itself a nucleus of irresponsibility or absolute unconsciousness”. This comforts me. For I guess he would persuade me that it’s vital to play out our plural lives: the parent, the professional, the poet, the blogger, the taxpayer, the lascivious lover, the Buddhist with a beginner’s mind ~ ~
Photograph by Lorna Murray

Photograph by Lorna Murray