I’m continually pumped full of story ideas after dipping into the wild spots of Tasmania. Here is a short “Aussie day” excerpt from my new short story “Ritual Camp”, dreamed up at Sandy Cape. A very Tasmanian tale, for Australia Day.
“My people; there is verification of us, our time here at the camp site. Dull aluminium rings that rip a mouth hole into a beer can; they’re everywhere. Shells and fish bones, coal fire places and chequered wheel ruts. A sign we’ve been continuing to visit our summer camp on the coast.
It is mid- afternoon and my sister hands me the first beer of the day. We’ve hydrated with tea and the kids have nailed a quarter of a watermelon and are back in the dust building roads with their plastic machinery and a man-size shovel. The crack, then hollow hiss and spewing tide of beer bubbles is reminiscent of where the tannin- stained creek meets the ocean foam at Sandy Cape. All feels right in the world but we wouldn’t know otherwise…”
Not what you would expect in the hamlet of Sisters Beach, NW Tasmania the day after Christmas, but then this is the work of the hula lass and a bunch of fitness fanatics. Oh, this looks like fun! It’s been done before; it will be done again. The Boxing Day Sports, attracting a stellar line up of our regions greatest athletes uncovers hidden strength, agility and pizazz. Cheer on the playful peeps from our patch.
Ranger Arthur of Freycinet National Park discovered a tiger snake skin shed locally a few days ago. This summer he will encourage young and old”animal detectives” to look for signs of wildlife here. We follow his lead, see a small pocket of eastern Tasmania coastal bush; the Sheoak softened track has secrets up close. Evidence of many of the local creatures at once becomes visible in the mottled natural scene. A possum tail perhaps nipped off by a feral cat lies at the base of a gum, square pressed knobs of wombat poose trail a waddling bulk; there’s a skull from a cone headed marsupial and tiny feathers with fluff the colour of the rainbow, hinting to many species just out of sight. In the background the roaring wind and ocean swell thrashes on Richardson Beach and skinks bake on orange granite stone. With mozzie bumped limbs and a plaster cast of a wombat animal track, craftily made at the interpretation centre, our family takes home some new ideas about the animal friends we stay with when we are in these parts a few times a year.
Across the sea the Great White Sharks have become threatened with bait lines off beaches in WA and as meaty smoke wafts in from the sun deck, my mind inevitably wonders about potentially mistreated animals going to slaughter all around the world and into our fat greedy bodies! Where did your dinner come from? My animal consciousness is at an all time high.
2. Real time
We live in a world of different dimensions. Most contemporary folk are embedded in a digital domain; uploading photos instantly to facebook or instagram checking work emails at home on phone or iPad. Living online has become the norm for increasingly greater moments of the day. It has become a challenge to resist uploading a moment, in fact this kind of practice, ‘a digital pause’ now potentially makes up ‘living in the moment’. Do you capture commentary from a performance or important presentation on a device while simultaneously watching it? Then there is the all too familiar lull in conversation while one texts another elsewhere, or checks emails, just because.
In another time, mere years back, people might have shared a smile with one another at the admirable photogenic moment, a few extra words or quiet reverie?
Memories are like digital stores, only more fluid and sometimes tinted with a rosy glow, just as your iPhone might allow you to alter the colour of an image before you click “share”.
Information is so readily available online and anyone can become light fingered in crochet or the sharp business person, savvy in net analytics. We all want to be top of our game. Chances are you can find the right information to help yourself and your business more easily than ever before. Do you have time to consume it all… Does all this consumption of the latest and greatest information lead to a better life when you switch off, or do you constantly feel driven to check in online and upgrade your brain (or keep up with the Jones).
How balanced is your ‘online’ versus ‘real time’ life? How switched on are you to what is going on around you; like ‘really’ going on?