NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

Issue #4/2016 of the UOW’s ‘Tertangala’ came out today, and again, I was lucky enough to have something published in there. For those who don’t have access to the beautiful copy, here it is for ya:

NOSTALGIA: OUR FAVOURITE FRENEMY.

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Nostalgia is a terrifying emotion for a lot of people. We either clutch onto it with all our might, or we have it tightly gift wrapped in a brown paper box, tied up with blue ribbon and sent off to Timbuktu. It’s hidden everywhere. It’s laced in the trees of your backyard. It’s sprinkled on your mother’s apple pie. Your bedroom, no matter how young or old, is completely exploding with nostalgia.

I crave it. Nostalgia is something that grounds me; that makes us human. Experiencing it places us somewhere on the emotional scale and perhaps for some people that can be a bit too much. Once, while having a conversation with my friend’s host-brother from France, he told me “Australians are fixated with the past”. All of our stories, a large source of our humour, are based on things that have already happened. We can’t seem to move out of it, we love to talk about the no longer. For him, it was nice to watch us relish in the days of our youth, but it didn’t seem very constructive.

I suppose he was right. What good is going through your wardrobe and finding a stuffed toy that you’d thought you lost, but really, she sat there waiting patiently for you to find her? Okay, maybe he was crazy. Finding things that remind you of, not a better time, but a different time is what helps us grow. I look at reminders of my past: stuffed animals, a photograph, an old jumper, the scent of a once-used perfume and I think of who I am today. I compare. What once was, what never became, and now what is.

I hold a navy blue dress before me, remembering my 18th birthday when I first wore it. I was thin, I was tanned, my hair was long and my smile was wide. I looked healthy and happy. I look at myself now. I’m still me. The navy blue dress will still hug me in all the right places, but I would never wear it again. I have let go of the essence it held. I am not the 18-year-old version of myself who would wear this and rock it. I am the 21-year-old who looks at the memories the dress holds, happy  they happened, but glad they are over. In a sense, the dress is a small factor, a minor contributor in the shift that makes me an evolving human being. If I wore that dress now, regardless of how it fits me, I would look like an idiot. Maybe not to anyone else, but the mirror tells me it’s not an option. I’m a different version of myself three years later, and it’s time the dress gets posted on UOW Students Buy and Sell. $25. Time to go buy a book.

One would assume that in the modern days of consumerism, when we’re constantly replacing the old with the new, that nostalgia has escaped us. But no, it has found new and innovative ways to creep into our lives. Hugging onto your stuffed walrus Mookie might transport you back to a simpler time, and you thank nostalgia for being a gracious old friend. But you forgot about nostalgia’s backstabbing side. Thankfully, Facebook has reminded us. Each day, nostalgia knocks on your door with a simple notification.  “On this day, seven years ago, you wrote a status that could diminish your entire social life. If you decide you want to do this, please click the ‘share’ button, if you’re happy and you like yourself, please keep scrolling as if 2009 never happened.” Thank you Facebook, but most importantly, thank you nostalgia, for reminding me that if I met my 15 year-old self, I’d flick her gently on the nose and tell her to take a hike.

 

THE FAIRY AND THE LUMBERJACK.

tumblr_no7c7fqo6r1qczwklo1_500Sitting atop the white fluffy mound, she plucked a chunk from the mushroom, indulging in a rich and satisfying meal. Transparent, rose tinted wings glitter from the crisp blades of her shoulders. She applies powder to her cheeks, giggling sweetly. Waving and blowing kisses to a nearby cluster of squirrels—she sighs in their direction. ‘What’s the matter?’ one of them asks, to which her plight hand points north. A human, his back the width of nearby oaks, stands grounded. One hand gripping tightly around the handle of a saw, his other rummaging through a forest of facial hair. The squirrel nods sympathetically and the dear fairy, the size of the lumberjack’s palm, flees through the air, landing gently on his shoulder. Humming a silent lullaby into his ear, he drops to the floor, numbed with sleep; her delicate lips planting seals of love across every inch of his face.

MATILDA

Paw perched pensively on my nose
She’ll be home soon, enriched by a bitter scold
“You better not have touched any of those!”
Eyes will droop in her direction, perplexed by anger
Why must I always do as I am told?

The room misshapen
Through my colour-lacking goggles
Ones that I cannot remove, for this is my vision
Her voice will puncture the quiet,
Anger and irritation
“You better not have touched any of those!”
Her voice a scold
Why must I always do as I am told?
“Get down from there!” she yells
My ears no longer filled with static
She looks unhappy, her eyes well
Why does she always scold?
Why must I always do as I am told?

Her eyes locked with mine, stinging and bold
My body lifts and lowers,
I must do what I am told
I leave my coat behind on the couch,
With no remorse for my mistress the grouch.

A poem I wrote for a class, this is draft number 2.

A Colourless City

Here’s a creative writing piece I wrote a few years back for English Extension 1. It’s supposed to be dark and gloomy and representative of modernism during the period between the two world wars.

 

As they travelled the streets, rows and columns of tall, grey buildings interlocked. Scents of smoke and wet filled his head. The atmosphere endlessly circled through his nose, throat and mouth. The tip of his nose burned from a rushed wind, but the redness did not flatter him in any way. Unlike his daughter, the flushed cheeks made him look older rather than charming. The slush from a previous snowfall seeped into his shoes and turned the next twenty minutes into a misery. He sees the soggy newspapers on the ground, full of articles containing no information, articles that are merely groans of questioning existence. Is this what society has become, a wasteland throughout the city?

Weaving through the endless streams of head-soddened people, a worn down building becomes visible on a corner up ahead. With a closer glance towards the caved in steeple, it is clear that this building was once a church. The man’s eyes shift to three peasants, covered in coffee-stained and moth-holed rags. Their heads placed firmly on the building’s steps and arms splayed out before them. The man shakes his head back and forth with an obvious distaste. Tightly gripping his daughter’s sweaty palm, he pulls her forwards.

It was not long until they reached the theatre, a common place for widowers and children. Single file, they trudged along into the blackened room.

The flickering lights across the screen scolded his corneas and his daughter continuously swung her legs to and fro on the edge of the seat, fiddling with the golden chain around her neck. The constant anticipation in the room was unbearable. The contrast of bright illumination from the screen and the darkness from the walls was nauseating.

Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?

He’d taken his daughter to see this film time and time before. Nothing ever changed. The seats they sat upon were still covered in balled-wool, just as the smell of butter remained burnt. Paint on the walls peeled down, revealing an old, dusty pink. Strings of spider webs lingered in the corners, their inhabitants crawling nearby. Everything else was irrelevant to the human eye. The eye was only drawn to things that were pointless and exasperating.

His vision fizzled out, just like it does every day and the life that exists around him dies. The city turns black and white, as it should be, as it is constantly seen by all of its residents. The only colour that remains inside of his empty mind is that of Little Snow White and her seven dwarfed friends. It is obvious that his daughter lives with the hope that no longer lingers in the city. Hope was an old friend for many of the city’s inhabitant, but she was forced to leave. She used to sit in the crooks of peoples’ elbows or watch them from their windowsills. Asking them to stand up, walk over, and open the window.

But then the fragments of hope got caught up with the wind, and blew out of the dusty window. It’s unknown as to whether she landed elsewhere, but it is pretty certain she won’t ever be allowed back here.

Lips red as the rose. Hair black as ebony. Skin white as snow.

The aspiration that lived inside his daughter, her dream to be as beautiful as snow white, was heart wrenching. He knew that she might possess a pretty face, and her body could possibly be graceful, but no one would look at her with beauty in their eyes. They would always look at her with pure longing, using her for self-pleasure. Peeling her crusty eyes open every morning, looking at her mistake breathing heavily next to her. She would roll off of the wrinkled bed, telling the grungy man to wake up. Not bothering to offer him a cup of stale coffee, but just asking him to leave. It was obvious she would never see this particular man again, but instead she would head to the filthy local bar, guided by the moonlight, to later stumble home with tomorrow’s dreaded awakening.

For a second, he gets a glimpse of the future. His twenty-one year old daughter gazes out of her window. She still fiddles with the golden chain, a habit that will never fade. It lies in the hollow of her neck, the weight of the locket heavy around her throat, strangling and suffocating her. There is a beating heart within the hinges of the locket, one that she has never known but always admired. If you peer into her eyes, close enough, you can see the red, rose lips, the ebony hair and the pale, snow skin. An echo of her mother or what she has always pictured her face to be. But the past must remain in the past even though leftover pieces of Snow White sit inside her. They wish to burst out, although they never will. Not until the city gains its colour once again.