Black October

For many years I have considered October the month of reckoning. This is the 8th month in the early Roman calendar. The 8th house in astrology is the house of sex, death and taxes. There is always a finality. The bat is the spirit animal of October.


The world seems broken and not even walks and gardening and working too many hours a week can quell the rising anxiety. I could write about Trump or the anger I see on Facebook from people who claim we shouldn’t be locked down anymore. I wonder if they recognise how easily they have lined people up for the death chambers because they want to get their nails done or go to a sporting event? Oh how quickly some forget the Jews lining up for the gas chamber as people looked away more concerned with their own comfort than other’s lives.

My father in law is in hospital. A serious injury. We can’t see him. He is alone and I worry he can’t advocate for himself the way he needs. I ring the nurses. The social workers. We put things into place. It is all done slowly. Everything takes longer in a pandemic. I think about the people with Covid-19 who died alone. No one advocating for them. When we stay at home during this pandemic, we are advocating for them in

People in other states make jokes. Wonder why we aren’t going for more walks. I can only walk in a 5km radius. It is boring. Walking while wearing a mask is stressful and hot. We would rather stay at home.

Everything is bearable when we know it will end. Now we aren’t sure if an end will come and people are giving up. I have seen more cries for help in the last week than ever before. This doesn’t mean I think we should open up immediately. It means that this is hard to bear and awful to miss loved ones and friends.

I miss my friends. I miss my daughter. She is an October baby. Of course, she decided to be late and slip into the cusp of Scorpio. She is a true Scorpio which rules the 8th house. She is the reckoning and the storm. I always said if she wasn’t creating then she was creating chaos. I should have named her Dischordia.

Art by Alexey Kondakov. I have named it Circe in the City.Art by Alexey Kondakov. I have named it Circe in the City.

Art by Alexey Kondakov. I have named it Circe in the City.

I spoke to my agent yesterday. Always a great chat. We talked about writing and what next. Plans are afoot and I feel relaxed about it all. Nice to have something to look forward to in this chaos.

So there are good things ahead and I know we will survive this because we have survived worse, and we are more resilient than we remember.

Please stay in the moment and stay soft in this hard time.

A life worth living

I haven’t written here for four months because what else is there to say other than what has already been recorded by Melbourne artists much more adept than me at expressing our pain and worry.

There seems to be an expectation of those in the arts community to step up during times of great loss. They are asked to play for free at fundraisers and write about the collective pain of a community or even a nation.

But we feel it. God, do we feel it. No financial support for the arts from the Government here has meant those who are asked to carry and translate the emotional load are without any safety net.

Those in the arts are trained to understand emotion and feel at a level somewhat deeper than many other professions. How can an actor portray heartbreak if they can’t access the pain easily? How can a writer portray loss without feeling it deeply and call it back from their memory to the page?

I have been exhausted by the pandemic. Working too hard to avoid the reality I can’t leave my house unless I absolutely have to pick something up. Work was an excuse to not feel. I wrote a book, I edited a book. I collapsed. I sleep poorly then sleep well then the cycle repeated. Nothing about that is inspiring or interesting. I am coping the best I can, like anyone else.

There have been a few things that have happened in lockdown that have been remarkable and dreams that have come true for me. Big goals met and yet I can’t truly celebrate them because they exist outside the world I currently live in and really, who cares? I don’t even care right now. I shrug when those who know mention them. They don’t really matter at such a time.

Right now we are surviving. Not living. Trying not to get the virus, trying not to give the virus to others. Trying to fend off illness. Denying the virus the chance to take us out at our knees.

Living is the opposite of surviving. When we truly live we take our mortality as a given one a day but not now and push ourselves to grow, learn, make goals a reality and embracing it with everything we have.

It is hard to live when you’re surviving.

There are small things that I hang onto. My group chats with my friends make me mindful and present. My dogs. Planning a new book without deadlines or pressure and enjoying the research. Doing some work on myself physically and mentally. Being present with my partner. The days are getting lighter in the evening. I walk the dogs and comment on the camellias and the blossoms starting to form on the branches.

Then I remembered this quote from Neruda.

“Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. These are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?”

Perhaps COVID is an in-between. A long one. What I can do is love everyone around me with more passion than ever before. Remind those around me I love them. Love with abandon and love with no expectation. If the world is ending, wouldn’t we want to tell everyone we loved that they were worth being here for? Worth loving?

So whatever happens. I love you. For reading this. For trying to survive with me. For wanting to live again.

Before I speak, I have something important to say.

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