Like bodies and apples and jeans and egos, diseases of the brain come in all kinds of shape and size. Some are honest, candid. They come out swinging and squawking like a peacock recently feathered; a first-year college student shotting a tequila dry at a city bar while their new friends slap them encouragingly on the back. They are not who they were yesterday, this is known. Not necessarily by them but those around them; it is almost a relief in the grand scheme of changed things. Others are sinister and more discreet, like a boyfriend who spends just enough time cheating on you to make you feel just lonely enough to leave him. All illnesses are cruel but this type is perhaps the cruellest. To have to face that deceitful partner each morning, to watch them slowly break you down like compost, rotting and spoiling, unable to walk away. Continue reading
I went to the supermarket for the first time in four days on Tuesday. When I walked into the kitchen on my return home, having not seen my housemates since we made a group trip to the local bottle shop (I think this was illegal) the night before and then worked through our chosen booze while watching a film, I was immediately met with questions. Not because they are keeping tabs on me (they are) but because the likelihood of one of our chosen shops becoming a Tier 1 site is becoming more apparent every day and no one wants to deal with quarantine.
We will all go through the motions of checking venues of exposure over the next few days. We will message the group chat referencing one housemate’s huge night before lockdown, whether someone was on that particular train line, were you at that bar, did you go to that specific Coles on that specific day? This is our fifth time around. Lockdown has just been extended. We are all so tired but keeping our spirits up for the benefit of each other, so thankful for each other. Continue reading
’So, I’m the queen of reading too much into things!’ I text him at 12.30am, a bit drunk, giddy and full of love after seeing our mutual friends at the pub, ‘but I’m also the queen of walking around the north when things are grim. Please let me know if they are.’ He had messaged me the day before, wondering what I was up to as he was strolling around my suburb. This would be utterly unremarkable to most, but it is funny how attuned you stay to someone if you spent a part of your life loving them.
When something happens that hurts or I find difficult to process, from the trivial and seemingly innocuous to gut-wrenching ouches, I walk. When something happens that doesn’t make sense to me, when I am trying to understand something or make a decision or decipher how I feel, I use my two legs to take my body 10 or 15 kilometres away from my front door. Earphones, ciggies (although I am vaping now–this blog might need a rebrand), house keys, two full water bottles (just in case) and a book (you never know), shoved into a messenger bag. Off to retrieve a brain much more orderly than mine, which usually takes five or six hours. Continue reading
I recently found a note on my phone that I wrote while reading Luster by Raven Leilani. It’s dated 30 December 2020 and contains more than fifteen quotes that made my heart absolutely ache at the time. Reading them back, the ache is still very much there, so of course my instinct is to write about it and get disgustingly personal on the internet.
The novel follows Edie, a Black woman in her early twenties who gets involved with a married white man and, later, his wife. Leilani is unflinching in her examination of race and class and the realities of this intersection for an American woman today. The general chaos of Edie’s life, however, is universally relatable; her future is unknown, her choices are messy and, ultimately, she is flawed. Continue reading
It’s been a long minute between updates on here and that is largely due to the fact that I am just a walking husk of a person and three tiny brain cells at the moment. It is also for other reasons—exciting and exhausting and happy and heavy ones—but mostly the husk thing.
I also haven’t been reading much and have felt enormous pressure to pump out reviews just to keep Manic Ciggie moving (which I also haven’t done). But! Then I remembered I made this dumb blog and can just waffle on about shit if I want to, so here we are. Continue reading
When I’m really sad – the kind of sad that makes it hard to get out of bed or speak in full sentences – I will exclusively listen to sad music. I know how counterintuitive this is, but do I stop? No. Because I love being miserable and making things worse. The ultimate crybaby.
I do the same thing with books. I don’t want to read something soft and uplifting if I’m having a shit time and the absolute last thing I need is to be bombarded with the happiness of other people (even if those people are literally not real). So, in no particular order, here’s a weeny list of some of the saddest books I’ve read. They will definitely make bad days worse but, from personal experience, there’s some healing power in being captivated by wounds that are not your own.* Continue reading
I expected to find mandatory isolation difficult for many reasons. The one thing I did not anticipate was frogs. My hometown has experienced so much torrential rain in the last few months that my mum’s backyard has become a haven for those little green bastards. I’m sure they’re lurking during the day but their ribbits and croaking at 120 decibels starts right on sunset. You could say it has been very… Unquiet. That was an awful joke but the rest of this is pretty gloomy, so sit tight. Continue reading
Would you like to know something seriously ironic about suddenly being stuck indoors for 14 days, unable to leave the four walls of your mum’s house in case you accidentally super-spread coronavirus all over the NSW coast? I have not been able to do anything with this abundance of time. Read one book, just one single book? Physically incapable. Write a blog post that isn’t just manic drivel? Absolutely not. I had no idea how much my concentration span was tied to stimuli from the outside world. I also had no idea how much I’d miss things like buying dumb stuff from the supermarket and putting pants on in the morning. Continue reading
I was sitting on a plane when I began writing this post. The pilot had just made an announcement to welcome ‘all passengers on flight JQ474 through to Newy’. Moments later I returned to Memorial and read the line “It’s hard to head home without succumbing to nostalgia, standing where so many versions of yourself once stood.” I hadn’t been back to NSW in twelve months because of coronavirus and Australia’s inability to keep our state borders open. I was finally heading home and this was exactly how I felt, so naturally I pulled out my laptop and started frantically writing about how incredible this book is. Continue reading
When I first started working in books, I felt like a fraud. Mostly because I was one.
I have a lot of dear mates who share my deep, unconditional, total infatuation with reading. And these mates love to talk about how much they read when they were children. It’s very sweet. They always had their silly little noses in silly little books and it’s simply no wonder their bookshelves are collapsing under the weight of their literary prowess now that they’re grown. Yes, I am a surly bitch about this. I was not one of those kids and wish desperately that I was. I wasn’t even one of those adults until relatively recently, but I’ll explain that in a sec. Continue reading