“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
There is nothing more inspiring for me than working in a beautiful space. So, today was dedicated to creating a writing space complete with some of my favourite books, fresh flowers, and a keen desire to get moving. I worked my way through Lesson1 of the Story is a State of Mind course and then I settled in for the writing assignment. Here’s some of what transpired…
I don’t remember much about Windsor Street. What rises in my mind is my brother and I walking down the street to the corner store. We had gone to buy chewing gum for my mother. I couldn’t have been more than three at the time. A dim memory peppered with random detail – the crammed terrace houses, the tiny front lawns, the jangling of change in my brother’s hand, and the bright orange wrapper of the P.K gum we had gone to buy.
I don’t remember if we were living with my Nana or not. The house had a grey fabric retro style couch – now back in fashion. I was small enough to roll right under it. My brother’s room had train wallpaper and a shelf that held his AirFix models that he and my father assembled. A bond they both seemed to outgrow as they aged. I try to recall my own room but it is buried amid other memories that vie for pole position in this game of what I don’t remember. Instead, I see my Grandpa slipping me secret bars of chocolate in the kitchen downstairs. He is my father’s father. The house we are in belongs to my mother’s mother. I don’t remember if either grandparent spoke to each other. The years that have passed misconstrue any accurate detail.
My Nan died when I was around four, her illness never registering, and hence no real memory of it ever existing. One day she was there and the next day she wasn’t and everyone cried. But I have always felt her presence. Of all my dead relatives, she is the one who lingers.
As a young adult, I moved from Sydney to Perth and lived close to a Spiritualist Church. I was curious and so went along one weekend. As instructed, I turned up with a flower I had picked that morning and worn all day. I dropped it in the No. 11 peg hole. After the service, a lady got up. Someone had carried the pegboard to the front of the hall. It was a tiny Garden of Chelsea, resting upon the table. After a few readings, she called out the Number 11. I kept my eyes downturned – to give nothing away. She told the congregation that the person who had brought this flower would travel and live overseas. I cast the thought out right away. Overseas travel was never on my radar. She started speaking about a spirit called ‘Mary’, and that this spirit was with me, watching over me. I didn’t remember anyone of significance whose name was Mary. I shrugged the reading off and left the service with a tinge of disappointment welled inside me.
I mulled over ‘Mary’ all the next day. I knew no Marys. In the quiet of the second day, just before sleep, the memory waltzed into my consciousness and smacked me on the forehead. Mary was my Nana’s christian name. She’d been called by a nickname all my life.
So there it was, three pages of repressed memory that rose from the prompt, “I dont’ remember…” Reconnecting with writing, and free-writing feels like I’ve stumbled across canisters of old movie reels. Within the cans are memories and recognition of things forgotten. It’s like tipping the cup over. Magical.
Now on to Lesson 2…