Monday, 27 August 2012

Dream a little dream

This morning I woke up out of a dream about the wedding. It was very strong and got me thinking about other dreams of similar intensity and obvious subject matter. By the time I had gone through this thought process I had forgotten the dream, it had slipped back into my subconscious - the elusive little critter! No doubt it will pop back into my mind later this afternoon and confound me.

Late last week I had a great wedding dream: I was in a game show in which contestants had to dive underwater in an eight metre pool and retrieve items from a series of post-box-like compartments. I watched the contestant before me win the key to the Special Box through a luck-of-the-draw process and then he dived down, found the box that fitted the key he had been given and discovered a huge wad of cash. The Special Box was supposed to be for things that would be most prized by the contestant.

When it was my turn, first round I won the key to a box that contained some things I intuitively knew were relevant, but that I now don't remember. Second round I, too, won the key to the Special Box. Down I went, down, down, right to the bottom. I found the box and opened it with the key. The first thing I saw was a huge manuscript, like a modern publishing manuscript, not a monk's parchment. I pulled that out and put it on the tray I had for carrying my stash, thinking, "Maybe the thing of value is in the words of the manuscript..." Then looking back in all I could see were everyday items - little tubes of hair products, jars of gourmet foods and spice pastes. I was pulling them out, going through them all trying to find the thing in the box that was of the most value since I obviously couldn't get all this crap back up to the surface in the one trip I was allowed. I was also becoming conscious of having been underwater for a while and that my breath was beginning to run out. I burrowed deeper under the valueless products, which were by now tumbling everywhere, and on the bottom of the box I found an engagement ring and a wedding ring in simple white gold with a small solitaire stone. I was momentarily confused because they weren't my wedding ring and engagement ring and my first thought was just for their monetary value, but, der Freddy, it was a dream, of course they were symbolic. So, by now out of breath and beginning to panic a little in the dream, I loaded the rings onto the tray with the manuscript (and maybe a cheeky jar or two of truffle paste, you can take the girl out of the kitchen, but... ) and headed to the surface, taking great care not to drop the rings back down into the depths of the pool. I woke up just before I broke the surface. Nice lesson, non?

My Nana died three years ago. She was such a fun and beautiful lady and  huge source of inspiration for me. One night I dreamt I visited my grandparents' former family home, the site of many happy childhood memories. My Popa had died a few years previously, but he had been a fanatical gardener like so many of the rest of the family, and always had a beautiful garden. I got to the gate in the dream and saw that all the garden was brown, withered and dead and I was confused and a little upset. I woke up, it was very early morning, and ten minutes later my Mum rang me to tell me that Nana had died in her sleep overnight.

So, dreams, eh!? Sometimes prophetic, sometimes hugely symbolic and sometimes just a clearing house for the day's activities (I am hardly about to write romantically about the stressed out dreams I had about the Resale Royalty Scheme for Artists and ensuring equitable payments for artists under an agency sales method last week. They were just pure processing). Whatever. They are never boring and a really good one will stay with you all day and make the world feel a little different as you move through it.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


There's a thought process that's been preoccupying my few precious moments of navel gazing lately, and it's been gatecrashing my brain when I've been busy with other things: I am going to be a wife, I am going to have a husband.

That's even about as complex as it gets, no more words than that, but it's not a freak out or Oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing, it comes through with a sense of wonderment. As I've written before, even as a child I declared I would never get married. That attitude softened as I got older, but only now, at 42, am I really going to do it. The sense of being about to cross a threshold into another state is very strong right now. In the past I have been guilty of spouting the line, maybe even believing, "It's only a piece of paper, it doesn't mean anything." Hey Former-self, wise up! It does mean something. It means a very great deal.

I remember that on my first date with Charles, almost two and a half years ago, while he was talking and I was listening and watching, the thought popped into my head, "This is a man I could marry." As conscious as that. How cheeky! But I mostly noted it because I had never had that thought before about anyone else, ever. 

It has been quite a surreal process planning a wedding with a groom who is on the other side of the planet. Charles found out his divorce had finally come through when he returned to Montreal from his last trip here to look after me post-surgery. We haven't had a minute together in the last three and a half months to discuss it in person or squeeze hands with excitement. But tonight he and his children arrive, after 48 hours of travelling. At least with me being in a post-CIAF daze we'll all be similarly zombiefied and I am grateful for how busy it is at work right now, my impatience to be at the airport to pick them up is rewarded with the rapid passing of time.

Last night as I was making up my bed with fresh sheets, I was amusing myself with the thought that one more sleep and I would be sharing the bed with my husband-to-be. It was good to be conscious of doing something for 'us', as opposed to 'me', with 'him' 'over there'. For me this is actually going to be one of my biggest challenges in my new marriage: the Us-ness. This won't be helped by still being long-distance until my Canadian residency is approved, but as a long-time Little Miss Independent, even in my last long-term relationship (I purchased a house on my own in that one and it was a seven and a half year relationship), being more mindful of Us is a habit I'm going to have to get into. My selfish single-girl ways just won't cut it. There are also two fantastic children involved in this relationship, so you may begin to get the picture of why I have made Change the overarching theme of this blog.

Charles has definitely already proven his sticking power in our relationship: two years long-distance and travelling halfway across the globe to nurse me back to health twice have already fulfilled most of the out-of-the-box marriage vows I can think of. I'm hoping I can be just as good at Wifing for him.

All in a day's work

Entrance to Mossman Gorge Centre

Wow! Crazy times! I am in the middle of the biggest three weeks of my annual work calendar and tomorrow it is only two weeks until I get married. I have so much I want to write about and absolutely zero time to write about it (except for these precious few moments tonight before I pass out cold on my bed).

This weekend is the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF). My organisation historically does three months' regular trade in a week during this time. The amount of work to prepare for and clean up from such intensity is immense, but it is very rewarding and it's great to catch up with so many people in the industry and see what artists have been working on since last year.

The two artists we are presenting in our galleries have absolutely knocked it out of the park: both have developed the work in their exhibitions as a result of residencies and both have reached a new level of technical mastery and clarity of self-expression. I'm really happy for both of them and proud to be able to sell their work, although, really, it's selling itself, I'm just holding on to my hat trying to keep up with demand! We were also beyond privileged today when Seaman Dan offered to sing a song as part of the opening ceremonies for the exhibitions. He's just released a new CD at age 83, so much for his plan to retire from singing at 80! He was amazing, of course.

In the lead up to CIAF I went on two great road trips. One to the Girringun Art Centre in Cardwell, and another to the recently opened Mossman Gorge Centre, which is an initiative of the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community and employs 80% of the community.

Sugar mill, Tully
The trip to Girringun is three hours' drive each way, into the coastal country south of Cairns that was so devastated by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. The Girringun artists were in the pre-CIAF production frenzy and two workmates and I went there to bring screenprint editions to the artists to sign. I won't post photos from the Art Centre because every which way you turned a photo opportunity would be a breach of artists' copyright since they weren't all there to ask permission of; however, the mood in the Art Centre was uplifting—everyone was excited about their work and there was a lot of playful teasing going on between the artists, making for a fun and funny working environment. It was also a perfect Far North Queensland mid-winter's day and it was sugar cane harvest, so the air was thick with sweet smoke and dust, and the steam plumes coming out of the sugar mills along the way were beautiful in the afternoon sunlight. It was one of those days in life that is just perfection in every way, right down to working on the tan during a late lunch of barra burger on the beachfront with a view over to Hinchinbrook Island.

Cardwell looking to Hinchinbrook Island
Mossman is another sugar town, but an hour and a bit to the north of Cairns. It is one of my favourite towns in the region. The Visitor Centre is the culmination of 20 years of work from the local Indigenous community to make their vision of a sustainable way to have tourists come to view their Country a reality and provide jobs for the community. As a $20M development, it is a massive achievement for the community and their funding partners and has consistently hosted 800–1,000 visitors a day during the two months it has been open—that's equivalent to a CIAF a fortnight! The Centre is environmentally and culturally sensitive and stunning and will disappear into the rainforest in a few years as the forest regrows from the reclaimed sugar cane field the Centre is built upon. It was a very happy day. 

I may complain about a lot of things in this life, but a boring job is never one of them.

Mossman Gorge Centre
Sugar cane field near Mossman