Happiness as Anarchy #350: Inspiring conversation

I love being able to bat ideas around like tennis balls. Most of the time they go over the net, other times under, and there are a few that go over the fence never to be seen again. Playing the conversation game cannot be done alone – it must be a collaboration. It is one of my favourite games and is responsible for so many of the tiny ideas that make up the big projects in my life. I’m very lucky to have a lots of friends to play intellectual tennis with and I am particularly grateful for my regular Monday match with fellow creative, Jim.
This brilliant graphic is from his theatre show Heart of a Dog.

Happiness as Anarchy #308: Surprise Delivery

I’m in the middle of peeing this afternoon when the doorbell rings. By the time I’ve pulled my pants up and opened the door, there’s nobody there, but a lovely box on the doorstep. It’s a delicious box of cheese and nibbles from Vegas & Rose, a birthday present from my lovely friend Karen. The kids and I sat under the back veranda chatting and nibbling on it for ages. Just the nicest thing ever!

Happiness as Anarchy #301: Quarantine care package

My gorgeous friend Libby dropped around this afternoon with a care package for me, as I’ve got the flu and been stuck at home for a week. It’s always lovely to see her, but particularly so since I haven’t seen anyone since Monday. We chatted for a while with the window open, me inside the house and Libby on the veranda. It really is the little things that keep the heart happy.

Happiness as Anarchy #287: Collaborating with friends

My lovely friend Cecily came to stay last night to nut out the details of a project we’re working on. Drawing the Versailles Woman is a workshop we are running in the Shepparton Festival on the 19th and 22nd March, and in April in Ballarat. It’s an absolute joy to work with Cec because she’s such a great person, but also because we have complementary skills – she’s a costumier, milliner and visual art teacher, and I’m a performer, musician and researcher. We’re inherently curious creatures, and also like to be organised and well-planned (no doubt because we are both growing small people and time is precious).

Happiness as Anarchy #269: Glow in the dark ceiling stars

I’m staying with some gorgeous friends and my ceiling has glow-in-the-dark planets, stars and other celestial features. They were quite popular in the 90s to brighten up bed time. I always like a dark room and never quite understood why people liked them, but now as a big grown-up, I find them quite enchanting, in a kitsch kind of way.
(They don’t photograph well, so here’s a Middle Ages diagram of the solar system.)

Happiness as Anarchy #220: New poetry

Here’s a little poem from Eleanor Lerman, a new discovery sent my way by a gorgeous friend. It made me smile and I hope it does the same for you.


This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

From Our Post Soviet History Unfolds by Eleanor Lerman, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2005 by Eleanor Lerman. 

Happiness as Anarchy #31: Old Friends

I got a message from an old friend this morning. We’ve known each other for nearly twenty years, but only manage to catch up every few years. We met in his home town of Dinan, a little village in Brittany in the west of France. I was there teaching English and met three fabulous young pilots – Christophe, Maël and Bertrand – in a bar one night. We spent many an evening together drinking beers at Le Saut de la Puce, helped along by the fact that none of us were really working. We flipped in and out of French and English as the mood struck, and I still have a remarkably well-developed vocabulary of aviation terms in French. Despite only crossing paths a couple of times a decade, these boys are some of my favourite people in the world. Christophe’s message this morning prompted me to fish out my photo album – it was pre-digital so there aren’t many photos – but each one opens the door to hundreds of tiny stories. These ones were taken late one night at a my spartan apartment, and I seem to recall there was some whisky involved.