Being too satisfied seems to be a creative restraint.

Monday, 7 March 1994

Dear S,

Hi, it’s a Monday and I have the feeling it’s going to be a long one.  I’m flying solo today, as Simon has apparently taken ill over the weekend and won’t be joining me for today’s festivities.  Exactly what those festivities entail, I’m not too sure.  In this zany, nutty, el whacko funhouse, who can tell?

Yes, today, I am feeling a little more than fatigued with my humdrum existence here at the offices of “Who The Fuck Cares”.  I was fantasizing again this morning on my way to work through Fitzroy Gardens about being a stonemason.  It has become the object of my occupational desires.  A quite romantic notion, I’m aware, but it still appeals to me which is odd because I don’t consider myself a very romantic person. (That’s romance as an ideal, not the “flowers and chocolate” romance.)  The stonemason idea is particularly alluring on days like today, when Simon is away (which means no conversation) and the Despatch Boy is away (for the birth of his child) which means I am on my own, looking after all calls and despatch inquiries (as well as my own job).  So seeing as I am wearing three hats, I believe I am entitled to three lunch breaks today.  Makes sense to me.

Anyway, as I was strolling through the gardens this morning I was trying to dissect this hankering of mine for stone masonry, because it’s been with me for quite some time.  I think it has something to do with the permanence of the work.  You can see what you have done, it’s there in front of you, and it will be there for perhaps hundreds of year.  It’s going to last.  It seems like an honest occupation, like there are no short-cuts.  I am aware that I am idealising this, probably as an outlet for my current dissatisfaction in this job, but as I said, it has been an ongoing thing for the past two years or so.  Reading back over what I have just written, I am seeing the vanity in all of this.  This desire for marks of permanence is vanity, wanting the world to know that I was here.   More than a little like carving your initials in a tree.  I don’t know if this is a necessarily bad thing, everybody wants to leave a mark – just go and look at your average cemetery, the audaciously gaudy memorials people have erected to themselves there saying “I was here.”  Do you think it is insecurity, because if others do not know of their existence, then in effect they have never existed, and I suppose that negates just about everything, doesn’t it, for the great human desire is to make a difference, which I think is, in the most part vain.  In essence, however, it is not much different to what I am doing here.  My book “Who the Fuck Cares” is a 1400 page testament to vanity, except it is a testament to the vanity of others, whereas stone masonry would be a testament to mine.  I’m not sure which is less or more worthy, and I suppose it doesn’t really matter, because neither are inherently evil, all that is at stake is my job satisfaction.  I have to address this penchant of mine for over-analysis.

I went and saw “Remains of the Day” last night with Leah because we were locked out of the house all day yesterday while Penny had a meeting at our house with her Coven, or whatever they are.  I don’t believe they are strictly witches, I think they are just general students of the occult (in the true sense of the word, being “hidden”).  It seems that whatever they get up to in their fortnightly meetings is so secret that we couldn’t even be in the house.  It was a one-off, so it wasn’t that big a deal, but it was a pain in the ass trying to find something to do for eight hours.  We ended up driving to Mount Macedon with Brett, we had lunch up there and “saw the sights”.  It was nice just to breathe the air up there, though I’ll try to avoid the urban idealisation of rural life.  We spent four years of our “family” life doing that on the bloody farm, didn’t we?  So after our “Mountain Adventure” we slunk back to the Big Smoke and saw this film, “Remains of the Day” I’m having some trouble coming to an opinion on it.  It was another Merchant Ivory Production so it was achingly English and so lavish that it was easy to watch even though it stretched to two and a half hours.  I guess it’s a bit hard to pin down because it had no complete resolution, the ends were not neatly tied up for you, the way most films are.  I guess I liked it, but I don’t think I could sit through it again for a while.

We went clubbing on Saturday night.  We did it in style too, Leah and I got absolutely shit-faced and had a marvellous time.  Leah really let go, it’s the first drink she’s had since she began her diet about eight weeks ago, so it went straight to her head.  I’m told we made lots of new friends, buggered if I can remember them.  We saw Josh there and he was a bit sycophantic, it was startling after last week’s performance.  Maybe he got a fright after we left without him.

I think I have come to the conclusion that if I want to have a creatively satisfying life, whether it be in writing, carving, drawing or whatever, I shall have to be living alone.  Being too satisfied seems to be a creative restraint.  I’m not saying I have to live a wrist-slashingly isolated existence, but I should spend more time with myself, to plumb the depths of my personality and draw out something worthwhile.  Sacrifice rears its unpleasant head again.

I just spoke to Mum and she told me you’re doing a course, that’s great.  I think it’s really commendable that people working full-time jobs can get off their ass and sacrifice their spare time and use their minds instead of vegging out in front of the box.  I’m really impressed Sis.  Mum told me her visit from Gloria has thankfully drawn to a close too.  It’s a bit like community service, having Gloria stay, isn’t it?  No-one wants to do it, but they feel obligated because they’re too decent to hurt her feelings.  Mum said  they went out and painted the town grey.  I hope you’re well prepared, better start faking those abdominal cramps – “Oh my God, Jack!  I’m having another Extended Visitational Abdominal Haemorrhage Implosion of the Lower Left Distended Bowell!!!  Sorry Gloria, but I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

The ABC broadcast the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras last night, it was a scream.  You should have heard all the opposition to it, you’d think we lived in Mid-West America.  Of course the Right Honorable Rev. Fred Niles had his say.  Nothing I can say can ridicule that man more than his own words, so I’ll just be content to say that I believe it is a sad indictment on the voting population of our nation that a vile piece of hateful humanity like him can get a seat in the federal lower house.  That’s correct, that right-wing fool has somehow managed to have a position of some power handed to him, though thinking about it further, it is probably good, because he probably thinks that an independent  can make a difference in federal politics.  I have nothing but contempt for him, I sincerely hope that he goes down in history (if he has to be remembered at all) as the conservative reactionary imbecile that he is.  Organised religion is a cancer that has spread throughout the globe and wrought more death and decimation of indigenous peoples and culture than any bomb that all the defense industries in the world could hope to manufacture.  Here endeth the lesson.

And so J’s editorial message draws to a close, as does this letter, for it is now 12:15 and I have to be off to attend to my three-fold duties.  I’ll write again soon.

Love, J

SCAN PS 1994 Mar 7


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