March 29, 2010


Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
- The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of the Extraordinary Twins
Television, movies, books and the media bombard us with epic and grand narratives. They tell us how wonderful a person’s life is - they make us want to believe that our lives too can be some kind of grand discourse. A life that people discuss in detail over coffee - or tea and scones. Only for the most part, we never achieve this assumed greatness. We never reach the pinnacle of success that has been set down for us.
It leaves us disappointed and resentful. With a need to blame someone. Ultimately though, we can blame no one else but ourselves. It is us, as individuals who have brought into the lies and the deceit. It is us, as individuals who are seeking out the fame; the immortality. Only a few ever achieve it and I cannot say I believe them to be the lucky ones.

For as much as I might seek out what others tell me I want; what others tell me I need; I am slowly learning, daily and sometimes painfully, that I should be happy with what I have. I think what this concludes to is the acknowledgment that our individual grand narratives are okay however they turn out. You get back what you give so to speak.

We rush around so much with the necessary and pointless tasks of a day we forget to give this consideration.
I know I had forgotten. So here's to the grand narrative I want remembered. To the only story I want remembered?

March 07, 2010

Taking Chances

The road goes ever on an on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can, pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And wither then, I cannot say. – J.R.R. Tolkien

I turn 29 at the end of the month. Of those 29 years, perhaps the biggest risk I have ever taken was moving to Brisbane to re-start my undergraduate career at the University of Queensland. It is not that exciting given what some of my contemporaries from high school are doing. Ultimately, I have enjoyed what I am doing.

Perhaps the question you are asking now is why use the Tolkien quote if I am only talking about a move of less than 200kms. I am using the Tolkien quote because my next move is substantially further.

On 19 August 2010 I board a plane here in Brisbane and after two stopovers, one in Singapore and one in Abu Dhabi, I will touch down in London on 20 August 2010. After a week somewhere in London, my cousin and I fly to Amman in Jordan and start our twenty-eight day tour of Jordan, Syria and Egypt on 29 August 2010.

I cannot express here strongly enough how excited I am to know I will be going to places I have dreamt of since I was a kid. Mt Sinai. Damascus. Lebanon. Petra. Cairo. Luxor. Abu Simbel. The Pyramids. The Sphinx. The Valley of the Kings. The Valley of the Queens. Tutankhamen’s Tomb. The Nile. To know that I am crossing the boundaries of ancient civilisations like Mesopotamia and Babylon is incredible to my mind.

Of course, there is equal excitement for the sites around the UK but for now, I have to deny them to myself or else I will never finish my Masters thesis.

And so, in 165 days I will bid family, friends and Australia a fond farewell and see where the road leads me.

March 05, 2010

Open Highways

We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones - Stephen King

In my teens and early twenties, I adored horror movies and books. I still love both. I remember reading Stephen King’s “Pet Cemetery” when I was 16 and not going near my grandparents cat for weeks. I remember seeing “Scream” and not wanting to sleep under any windows but perhaps the most dominant memory is Freddy Krueger. The paedophile serial killer who I often wished would visit the dreams of people I went to school with. Yes. I was a disturbing adolescent (and adult).

Why am I telling you all this?

I’m sharing this with you because of Stephen King’s “Desperation”. For those of you who haven’t read it, or seen the movie (which I didn’t actually know existed) I won’t spoil it. I can’t, cause I haven’t finished it.

Let me give you the bare basics.

People are driving along highway 50 in Nevada and at random points are pulled over by a cop who, as the book progresses is getting creepier and creepier. This cop randomly kills some of the people he arrests for various “crimes” and locks others up for future murders. At the moment, the people he has locked up have just escaped, but being only half way through, I just know there’s potential for things to end badly.

I digress but all of this comes to a head last Sunday night. I had been in Toowoomba for my Grandad’s 80th birthday. As always, the time comes when you have to go home. And so, I find myself driving the Gatton Bypass – roughly 70kms of sheer, unbroken boredom (44miles for those playing in other countries). It’s 7:15pm, dark and raining and all of a sudden, a cop car goes flying past me. Trust me. It might not sound like much, but this is why you need to have read “Desperation” to understand the panic I felt.