myself on my decision to leave the mayhem of the big smoke for the
tranquillity of a sweet little town in the Hunter Valley, I was
meandering along uncrowded thoroughfares, at one with myself and the
world, greeted by all the gentle burghers going about their lives with
the calm and repose of those who do not know the terrors of a
wandered into an arcade. On a red door, in bold, black, capital letters,
outlined in gold, was:
DOOR IS ALARMED!
I knew I was no longer safe, the terrors of the big city had followed me
“fear and trembling”, I fled into the street.
was shining, the birds were chirping, the citizenry were all smiling.
God was in His heaven and all was right with the world.
to prove I was in error, audaciously, I strode up to the door. I had
not, alas, misread the notice, the message was still there, for all to
see, in its momentous portent. I knew I must heed the warning: if a door
is alarmed what terror did this presage for human beings, or for the
poor creatures dependent on us?
my heightened sensibilities alerted me before pandemonium swept through
the town. When it did, I knew I couldn’t leave without a show of valour.
Last time was still fresh in my mind.
been living in a sleepy little seaside village, keenly enjoying the sun,
sand and serenity. After my post-prandial nap I’d take a daily walk,
communing with my inner-self. At last I had found a place to rest my
tortured soul and a time for reflection and quiet joy. This was the
perfect environment in which to finish writing my great oeuvre: a post
post-modern novel in three volumes, in heroic couplets.
no longer vigilant, I had become complacent after basking in the sweet
apathy of the locals who, in their endearing innocence, kept on
suggesting that I “take my finger out and get a proper job”.
when I wandered further afield than was my wont I was confronted by a
large notice, on which was printed, in huge red capitals, outlined in
HOUSE IS DEPOSITED!
I tried to work out the logistics. How did they do it? How could they
have deposited a whole house, they must have done it section by section,
from a helicopter. I could only hope the land had been vacant when they
dropped the house on it. Some people have few scruples.
depositing of houses on people’s properties had threatened my spiritual
equilibrium, indeed my very sanity. I fled further into the hinterland
to find sanctuary amongst the gentlefolk of the outer rural reaches.
at peace to pursue my calling.
the confrontation with the door eclipsed all the horrors
that had gone before.
nightmare had started with Sydney trains. They were always running late.
I had suggested to the authorities that we authors rewrite the timetable
in iambic pentameter. Fecklessly, the “powers that be” ignored me.
unbearable climax came when one night the trains started to “run
out of timetable order” and no one would tell us what order they
were supposed to be running in, or why indeed they had decided to run in
such an esoteric way, ignoring both the commands of State Rail and the
expectations of the commuters.
our worry beads in full play, the vast crowd of us stood rigid with
an announcement was made by a man who had swallowed his tongue and was
trying to retrieve it. “The train to (tongue swallowing) is having
was shaken. Bad enough that the train had taken upon itself to ignore
the timetable, but now it was really acting up.
hindsight, that was a footling problem. Even the depositing of a house,
while a bit cavalier, might have some redeeming features. To live in a
town where a door is traumatised with fear, is quite beyond bearing,
even if one is not a sensitive artist writing a seminal work.
called an urgent meeting of the FAW*. It was there I heard about
negotiating tables. While it is not common for tables to
negotiate, I am neither narrow-minded nor politically correct, so I
pleaded with the others, who agreed to a wo(man), to sit down and
consult. We were fortunate to find a published writer of life stories
adept at post-traumatic stress disorder counselling; she interacted with
us in the stream of consciousness mode, where we role played.
relieved by our solidarity, I knew we would overcome. Between us we
persuaded the tables to negotiate with the door.
last, believing that my nightmare was over, I rejoiced that I had left
the whole Kafka-Kierkegaard scenario behind until I was confronted by a
newsstand with the huge bold black headline:
Australian Arts Community is being Showcased!!
still in hiding from the media and praying that they’ll make do with
composers and painters and actors and not put us in showcases!
writers couldn’t stand up to it.
these events have taken their toll. I thought I had plumbed the depths,
that “worse there is none” (sic), but alas, even greater catastrophes
have now overtaken me.
post modernism is “out”, post post post modernism is “in”, and I can’t
find rhymes for my couplets.
* Fellowship of
The following authors have been
quoted in the text
1. Kafka: The Castle, The
2. Kierkegaard: Either-Or, Fear and Trembling etc.
3. Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Terrible Sonnets.