Sunday, April 11, 2010
I love it when a couple, so clearly in love with each other and the world, celebrate this love with the world.
I love it that I was invited to see it, and be reminded of how awesome my husband is, and how lucky I am to have had this opportunity.
I love that I was able to see a family so full of love and support for each other, and that I was able to celebrate and chat with friends.
Thanks Robyn and Danny, I wish you all the love in the world.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
To be honest, I struggle to read novels that are 'autobiographical' (I'll explain the inverted commas, I promise), because they seem to have a little bit of the 'and then' about them. And then this happened, and then I said ... and then, and then, and then. To quote a great literary source, 'There is no and then.' Autobiographies should be factual, but their very nature, that is being written about and by the same person, more often than not, makes them a 'filtered' version of events. Getting the audience on the side of the protagonist is often achieved with too many details about the selfless nature of the protagonist; a 'look at me wasn't/ isn't my life *%#@' attitude, that assumes we want to hear about it.
I much prefer something that makes you think. Something that asks you to question your own values and morals, something that doesn't try to force you into having feelings or emotional reactions about a particular person and how grand they are.
That is why my writing has cryptic elements to it. Yes it explores ideas and events, but the aim is not to feel sorry for the protagonist, the aim is to ask, 'What would I have done in this situation?' or 'How can we, as a society, ensure that these things never happen again?'
Do I do that?
While you ponder that question I will explain the last two pieces of writing.
Patient X is a short story that I wrote in January for a competition. I didn't submit it, because I felt the ending seemed to lose momentum. However, I would love to submit it, so welcome any feedback on improving the ending. Does anyone else think the final stages of the piece aren't as strong as the beginning?
The narrator is Patient X's conscience, but a few people have seen the narrator as Patient X's daughter and a couple have seen the narrator as Patient X's wife. At the end of the day it doesn't matter, because the voice is trying to get Patient X to acknowledge the damage he has done in his life. The story reflects on the fact that so often terrible things happen to others, yet we, as a society, ignore it as the situation has had no impact on our life. When this happens the victim is left to pick up the pieces, and we all know the baggage they have the carry from then on. One of the biggest hurdles to get over is the lack of remorse, and/ or apology from the perpetrator of the crime (whatever the crime may be), so the story gives hope to victims, suggesting that even though an apology was never gained, justice will be served.
Via Crucis is a personal exploration to the religious upbringing I had, prompted by some comments made by the Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell. Now I know we should avoid discussing the big three (sex, politics and religion). But it was Easter, a time of great reflection, and to be honest I am a bit fed up on people's religious beliefs being used against them to explain the ills of society. It's a bit hard to see religious beliefs as the only way to lead a life without sin, when I was raised in a family where my parents 'taste tested' a multitude of Christian varieties. Via Crucis is my 'Way of the Cross', a poetic exploration of the religious upbringing I had, and how it impacted my life. It also reflects what I have seen as the impact of didactic beliefs on others. One of the most interesting (*a totally hammed up euphemism*) times in my life was when my parents because involved with an evangelistic faith healer from the United States. Won't go into too much detail, but this you tube link certainly puts the experience into perspective. It is certainly easier to laugh about things 20 odd years later, and, well, Australians are known for an 'interesting' sense of humour. No offense intended by the clip, and my family had a great laugh.
Faith Healing Clip
You might be interested to know that the first paragraph covers the first month or so of my life. I was so sick when I was born that I was Baptised (Catholic) pretty promptly, and then issued with the last rites. It certainly is an interesting piece of trivia to tell!
Until next time, adieu.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
She was born in the Garden of Gethsemane and introduced to the pilgrimage that is the 'via Dolorosa'; and so the agony began. Pontius was called, and together he and the others preyed over her.
Father we present to you this child, praying that you will receive her into the fellowship of Christ's Church.
Her soul saved from the clutches of the damned they now recited the seventh and final sacrament; the Anointing of the sick.
Through this holy unction and His own most tender mercy may the Lord pardon thee whatever sins or faults thou hast committed.
I am sin itself, for I live despite your prayers.
Now aware of her sin she was burdened with the Passion of the Christ and bore it like no babe should. The cross was dragged through the muddied shame of Jerusalem, a constant symbol of the taint she inflicted upon them all.
Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been many years since I last confessed.
Adorned in the seven colours of the sacred sacraments, she was given the Holy Eucharist so that her body may liken itself to Christ's.
Do you believe that you are a sinner?
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
But she wasn't.
She was afflicted with a vengeful scourge time and time again. The bleeding wounds continued to weep throughout her journey causing the wood to slip from her grasp.
Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
She fell. She wanted to die, but did not. Instead she was thrice denied.
I am not her friend.
She is not my family.
I will not heal you.
She trod forth and they invited her to be re-born – without sin, without fault, without deformity. One only had to believe.
Do you receive Jesus, the Son of God, in your heart for the salvation of your soul? Let us now repent your sins.
She fell backwards under the water, but came out dirty. Verily she came upon her mother who was flanked by the Pharisees of the church. The woman had been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and the men now placed their hands on the ailing Mary.
I lay my hands upon you and cast out the devil. I cast out the demons and abominations that dwell within your heart and command that you be healed in the name of the Lord.
The healing hands also threw the child to the ground, but nought could remove the crown of shame entangled in her hair; her sins too great to cast out.
A sibling was thrust forward and made to share the burden of blame.
Lord we have sinned against you. Merciful Lord, hear our prayer.
The Lord did not afford mercy and smote their mother.
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
The Lord did not speak.
The new sin clung to the cross like a gnarled barnacle from the sea. The girl now struggled under the weight of her lost salvation.
Let us pray. Father in Heaven, please forgive their lack of strength and deliver the soul of their mother into Your divine light.
An aunt stepped forth and with her veil removed the sweat and blood from the child's brow. A semblance of comfort washed over her; but the cross of shame cut into her shoulders and pressed her spine to the earth.
Have mercy on me God, in your kindness and your compassion, blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
But the aunt was the only on to show compassion. All others, even God, had forsaken the child.
The evangelist reminded her of the Glory of the Jehovah. He piped a merry tune, but forgot the rats. Instead he took all the mums and dads. All the while the crippled, diseased and maimed children trailed behind, their heels nipped and taunted by the Devil.
Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves.
A waning faith, cultivated by children's services began to take hold. Their Earthly father reminded them of their duty to God.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Still the weight of the cross bore down on the child. It made her tired and sleepy. She looked towards the promised hands of healing, and prayed for purification. He placed his open palm upon her brow.
Devil, I command thee, in the name of the God Almighty, rise up and leave this child. Raise your hands in prayer. Hallelujah, glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I command you to be healed.
She fell for the second time, but was not healed.
The women of Jerusalem watched without compassion, their weeping and wailing was not for her.
Raise your hands to the glory of God. We pray to you, the God Almighty. Praise be your name.
She tried to speak, but they were deaf to her voice. They thought one so young did not have knowledge, and chose to ignore the cross strapped to her back.
We speak in tongues dear Lord, that you may hear our prayer. We wash in the blood of the Lamb, and sing your praises.
She did not understand their voices and knew this as a sin.
Therefore tongues are a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.
The ground became rocky and treacherous to trek. The mountains loomed ahead. It was a scene that beguiled all except the child who bore the cross.
I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.
She knew that she did not want to go to the same place as them, and this knowledge was a sin.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
The rocks slipped under her feet, and she fell for the third time.
She was stripped of her clothes, poked and prodded until all her faults were proclaimed.
Let us pray.
She knew this was not the way to heal, but had no voice. She spoke in a different tongue, one that could not be heard. She did not understand why God did not bless her.
They would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.
The cross of shame tore the skin from her back as she climbed the worn path to Golgotha. The crowd continued to jeer and spit. Verily she heard a new voice.
He who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
And they took her hands and feet and nailed them to the cross. Their prayers shamed her more; the non-believer.
I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
The skies trembled in fear and grew dark, blinding the child. She had thirst, and they proffered her the bitter gall and mocked as she would not drink.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And they said,
'No unclean thing can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.'
The child looked at her flesh and saw that it was putrid and stained with woe, and she became afraid.
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
And while she hung there on the cross, she did hear them sing out praises to the Lord. She did repent again, to no avail, instead she cried out,
'It is finished.'
Verily, the Passion she had carried died there nailed to the cross, and she recalled the words of Pilate.
'Why what evil hath she done?'
It came to pass that in death, the Passion became separate from the child. The sinewed limbs of the cross were no longer a suffering that had to be endured. She ripped her hands and feet from the wood and climbed down under the veil of dark.
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion?
A new voice. Yet this question could not be answered because all she had learnt told her that she was not deserving of these promises.
Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
And so he did answer her, to show that the sins were not hers, but those of the faithful, who had misread his words and used them to blame.
In all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the scriptures.
Still it was hard to not feel the blush of shame knowing that her body had not yet become whole.
She journeyed forth to a cave of stone and lay to rest her soul. The lore closed off the entrance and none could pass.
'I am not sin,' sayeth the child.
And so she began to heal.
(Via Dolorosa – Way of Sorrows/ Way of Pain)
NB: You may have noticed that the italicised parts are quite religious. They are a mixture of actual elements of a Catholic Mass or ritual, Prayers or questions often recited in the myriad religious groups I have been involved in, or direct references from the Bible. I will take the time to footnote each direct quote in due course, but please note that I am not trying to pass of parts of the Bible (etc) as my own writing. My writing is, of course, the placing together of ideas, and the use of the references to make a critical comment and prompt social thought on the nature of religion.