A Writer's Life

Some days are just born bad! Who’d be a writer?

Today I got up and stepped onto a foot that greeted me with a case of plantar fasciitis, which, if you haven’t heard of it, is a condition in the ligament of the heel. Hence, that first morning step out of bed, feels like someone has driven a nine inch nail through the bottom of one’s foot. It sets the tone for the day.

The Dukan Diet. I cook a big fry up but no-one is hungry so I eat the sausages and eggs myself and kick the kids out to school with just a smudge of cornflakes around the edges.
I work from home, cough. This means that somewhere between the vacuuming, laundry, washing up, ironing, shopping, budgeting and bed-making, I write.

I write therefore I am poor. Six weeks ago I won some stupid competition in a woman’s magazine that will remain nameless, though it is one of the bigger, well-known ones. Two hundred and fifty dollars for twenty-five words or less. Best pay rate I’ve ever had as a writer (all up, I think I made about eight cents a word for my first book) Needless to say I have lately been contemplating becoming a professional twenty-five-words-or-less author.

Now, the “cheques-in-the-mail” line from the bubbly magazine woman had not translated to an actual cheque in my mail box so I email them to ask politely where it might be. The response is that they can’t send me my prize money until I have filled in the Statement by Supplier (form now attached). This was a little bit of information that might have been more useful during the first phone call informing me that “the cheque was in the mail.”

By this time, mid-morning, my skin has broken out in an angry rash of hives all over my chest and upper legs. I am itching to the point of gouging chunks out of my skin, having forgotten the little fact that thanks to a rather nasty tick bite many months ago, I am now allergic to all red meat and that includes sausages. Doh! I gobble down a handful of strong antihistamines, run a tongue over my slightly swelling lips and hope I don’t die before that damned cheque arrives.

I send four business related emails...sorry, I mean resend because I sent them yesterday and still have no response. I suspect the subject line of Invoice puts people off opening them.
I check Face-book and get sucked into that sticky portal and spend almost an hour finding out how I died in my last life and what my hippy name is. Seems I overdosed at Woodstock and my alternative name is Solstice. I can’t help it. That stuff is like quicksand and sucks you in.

The excitement of just releasing a second novel is somehow withered a little by my stumbling upon a luke-warm review by some teenager who can’t string a sentence together. The one five-star review by an eloquent blogger, is always open on my desktop so I can breathe it in like smelling salts to get me through the rest.

Still no return emails, I’m rubbing my red-hot-poker heel on a frozen bottle of water, the hives are beginning to subside but now my eyelids are getting heavy. The anti-histamine is beginning to feel like a preoperative sedative. The sound of running water pulls me out of my drug haze. No Woodstock for me today!

The laundry looks like it’s been hit by a tsunami. Who puts a plastic bag into the laundry sink and leaves it there? I hang the clothes out and one line snaps and a whole row of towels falls in a soggy heap onto the damp grass. Some random noisy miner bird swoops me and just about takes out my eye. The backyard is treacherous and my hives are rising again like bread dough under the heat of the sun. I retreat looking like a leper, feeling like a fool.

I’m on the Dukan diet in preparation for my book launch and so have a chunk of overcooked salmon for lunch with nothing on the side. Afternoon tea is a can of cat-food...I mean ...tuna. Skim milk in coffee feels as unsatisfying as the old withdrawal method of contraception.

I enter two more twenty-five-words-or-less competitions on Facebook and then, toad-stool skin fading, I begin to write something more challenging – a novel set in 1600 Hungary because I am a masochist and clearly want to remain poor. It is two thirty and the kids will be back at three. It’s not what I’d call a productive day. I manage two hundred and thirty words, which if they end up making it to publication (about the same odds as a sperm successfully fertilising an egg – somewhere between 40 million and 1 billion to one) may translate into a potential earn of eighteen dollars and forty cents.

No-one returns my emails. I send myself one from my other email address just to make sure there is no problem. But, it’s not me. It’s them.

As a girl I dreamed that being a novelist and freelance writer would be romantic.

It’s not.

My volcano budget theory.

By George! I think I’ve got it. All this debate about the budget is missing the obvious. This is not just about our economy and our deficit. In fact it’s barely about that at all. It’s about the impending invasion of millions of US citizens seeking refuge in our Great Southern Land. It's the Volcano!

See, most rational thinkers have been approaching this budget as if it were any other budget from any other time and government. But oh no, no, no. Abbott and his band of brothers (oh and one sister) have been facing a secret and catastrophic looming disaster and they are doing what they can to avert a major social crisis in Australia, without causing a wide-spread panic and sense of powerlessness (oh well…the budget itself did that anyway). There is literally no other way to interpret the budget. The answer lies on the other grape-vine. Not Murdoch’s. Not the mainstream ones at all. For the answer to the mystery that lies beneath the worst budget in the history of this very young nation, we need to look deeper at the conspiracy theory whisper-web.

That’s right! Whenever there is a disaster, a terrorist attack or a school shooting, one must put one’s ear to the ground to listen to what the mainstream, rational world does not hear. The conspiracy theories. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. In early May, the whisper-web began murmuring, quite loudly for a whisper-web, about an impending super-volcanic eruption in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in the US. It is such a huge caldera that a major eruption would have a global impact. It may even have the capacity to present an extinction event or biotic crisis –something that would threaten our very existence.

In the event that the whispers are right and that animals have been fleeing the park, due to or independently of the surge in earthquake activity in the area and in the event that reports from South Africa claiming that their government was secretly approached by US officials to sign up for a volcano refugee intake but refused, then this might have some bearing on the interpretation of Joe Hockey’s budget.

Think about it. Australia would be sitting in the most comfortable and safe spot, globally speaking, in the event of a super eruption. We would be the closest thing to Paradise on Earth. All tucked up safe in the lower part of the southern hemisphere. Rumours abound (in whisper world) that Australia, Brazil and Argentina have agreed to the US request for shelter for their displaced millions.
So. Bingo. The Australian budget reflects this perfectly. 

We are going to need some major beefing up of our border control for renegades who don’t follow the proper procedures and we’re not talking about a few Afghani stragglers on rickety boats. So of course it makes sense for Morrison to establish a super agency for border control. It puts Abbott’s ‘Stop the Boats’ into greater perspective, eh? And we’ll need a kick-arse army and some shiny new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft – over 12 billion dollars worth of them in fact….because what if the US breaks its promise (the one that they may or may not have made) and just decides to take over Australia, leaving their lava-fields behind? We will need to be prepared to defend ourselves against an invasion. So while flinging the little fish to Manus Island, the government is really focusing on the next wave of boats. The US invasion.

Now, for legitimate US refugees, we’ll have to feed, clothe and house them. That’s a big ask. But if you have in place measures like get a job or wait six months for the dole, then at least it won’t be government funds footing the grocery bill. And all our unemployed youth under thirty will be forced, due to the new measures and incentives in place, to join the armed forces. So dole bludgers will magically turn into soldiers because it’s the only way they’ll get a meal and a bed. The welfare will be replaced with a weapon and bammo we’ve got a big, young army and big, shiny airplanes and we’re ready for all those volcano refugees and whatever else may come knocking on the door.

In the wake of the volcano, the entire world environment will be screwed so all those climate measures and environmental agencies won’t do diddly squat which is why no-one in power in Australia gives a toss. They know the volcano’s coming so they’re making hay (for themselves) while the sun still shines. The one percent need to stock up on cans of caviar and kippers. They want to freeze up the funds for the masses because there’s only so much stock on shelves, y’know?

Petrol will become a major point of contention, post Yellowstone, because air travel may be off the cards for some time and foreign trade will be down. We might end up like Mad Max. Maybe. I don’t know. But obviously foreign aid is no longer necessary. We’ll be letting in a few Yanks and doing our bit and knowing just how devastated the rest of the world will be…well there’s no point allocating bandaid money there. Lost cause. Hang on to every cent we’ve got for our own people to survive. Or the better class of people at least.

It may sound far-fetched this theory of mine. But it’s the only one that makes sense of the weird budget. So …anyway, I think it as good as the one about the budget emergency and deficit disaster that requires heavy lifting across the board….if you ask me…that’s the far-fetched one.  

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