Monday, 21 August 2017

treasure: Stuart Lind Taylor, 30 year old person

Stu,

I forgot your birthday card, but I hadn't written it yet, so it's ok. This way I get an extended word limit.

Stuart Lind Taylor. It’s your 30th birthday today, and I have known you since before I remember. You (I imagine) were the first person to help me to realise there were other people in the world as important as I was. You burst that only child bubble I lived in, in (most likely) the best possible way, and forced me to grow up and be better, to lead you and boss you into shape, to defend and protect someone else.

I like to imagine once I got over the shock of you, I boasted about you constantly; an extension of me after all, and between the two of us a force to be reckoned with. There’s actual video footage of me not sharing my toys with your curious hands - now, I choose to spin that into a valuable life lesson about pushing hard for what you want, because in the end you did have that one wooden block in your determined grasp. While it’s strange to imagine a world without our third part, Hugh Lind Taylor, that time did exist, and you (probably) taught me some of the most important things about loving someone without wanting anything from them. About good company that comes guaranteed, free of charge.

We’re so glad for Hugh - I'm sure that his arrival taught you the same things you taught me. This short love story I’m telling is almost as much about Hugh and me as is it about you, Stu, because we’re all different bits of the same thing.

We grew up and learned ways to stretch each other’s arms, legs and imaginations - where I bossed you into reading, your bravery forced me onto bikes down hills with no hands, and up trees without thinking about what girls were meant to do. We produced short films and dramatic recreations of Titanic, and you willingly obeyed my direction on countless weekends. You and Hugh were my favourite people to boss.

When I try to remember you as a teenager I honestly mostly draw a blank - that was the time I was facing inwards, and taking for granted you’d appear at the dinner table every night. I’m sure we were both cause for the other’s eye-rolls on more than one occasion, but I’m also sure we co-existed (mostly) pleasantly. With my fiery self, I’m sure this peace was down to you, because it’s the peace we all still find in your company; the peace that holds power, and acceptance, and patience.

Stu Taylor, you sort of amaze me. You’re always there, even when you’re 12 hours deep in night shift, or on the other side of the world on adventures. You’re there with us, talking shit and building the base from which your two (slightly less peaceful) siblings can launch into whichever rant we choose. You let us be exactly who we are, and you love us for exactly that. You allow us to celebrate all the victories you’ve arrived at. We get to hear your stories, to know more and more about you, and it’s treasured knowledge.

I’m biased, but you’re golden, and I won’t be challenged on that point. I keep learning things from you, and when I’m not quite sure about anything, there you are. Setting the earth straight.

Stu Lind Taylor. All three of us share that middle name, the one that used to embarrass me to explain or say out loud. I love that we all have it now - you and Hugh are my best friends and the ones most likely to be held up in the shape of an example by which the rest of the human race are measured.

I really can’t hope for more than for you to know how well loved and admired you are - by me, forever, and by everyone who’s lucky enough to know you. I hope you know, Stu, and feel that love as the world turns to wish you a happy 30th birthday.

If this is what you can do with 30 years, I can’t wait to be there with you for the next 30.

Lots of love for all the days

Helen Lind Taylor

Saturday, 15 July 2017

treasure: writing from when I was learning to write

A collection of notebooks left carefully in storage was recently returned to me, including a workbook from a creative writing subject I took in Semester 1, 2006. I thought it would be cringy and pretentious but I actually don't hate Past Helen's work. Thought I'd share.

A self portrait, 7 March 2006

a cactus and prickles
body full of smooth pebbles
head's got two bricks in it keep grating together
in cotton wool (and snot and nausea)
just a little bit like a hidden corner
eyes rolling over each other not working together
marbles make a heavy forehead greasy lips
clunk clunk 2 year old playing piano
the slow drip of glue without a lid on
limbs held together by rubber bands and prayers
edges of the smile flattened down by the weight of tired cheeks
lips full of lies
unpolished eyes

a body and a self almost less than the next self
achy doughy weighted
head out from and observing body
see the way my thighs cling together
for emotional support.

Monday, 15 May 2017

secret: the feelings we feel when we're not feeling feelings

do not for one second think I am not
collecting, categorising and filing away
each word you say to me.
each second of eye contact sits
in a file
in my heart
for me to feast upon
during extended periods of absence.

do not for one small moment
believe your jokes and slips of the tongue
(see: there; another one)
are not painstakingly checked over
and inspected for tone
do not fool yourself that I do not know
what you're doing, or
what I'm doing
that it goes nowhere
that our truths are different.

do not for one brief instant
allow yourself to entertain the notion
that I am yours. Not any more than
   you are mine, but
somehow you are - your words and looks
and breaths are my private collection
forgotten in 12 months, or never.


secret: a poem for this week, and this heavy weight

suddenly, the world is so small
& it's quiet
   like living alone is quiet
   like being nobody at all
      can get very quiet

when somebody made you
almost with bare hands
when you were clay
& you're shaped in their image
despite absences & gaps?
I cannot imagine. The words
   slow me down,
because I love you & somehow, still
leave absences & gaps of my own
when I wish that this whole time
since we started
I'd been more.
suddenly, now is the time to be more.