Dear Melbourne

Oh Melbourne how I love thee/ hate thee!

Melbourne Street Art June 2012

I appreciate you more now that I live further away. I love your many faces. You are indifferent and snobby to all people. They try to make a corner to call their own. The rabbit suited guitarist playing Stayin’ Alive at the traffic lights, only to be upstaged by the penguin suited busker playing the bagpipes on the bridge across the not-so-beautiful waters of the Yarra River. Earlier this spot belonged to an ancient looking Asian man sitting cross-legged and playing an ancient Asian flute.

The able-bodied wheel-assisted pedestrians weave uncaringly amidst the brisk walkers; they on scooters big and small, skate boards, small bikes and large bikes.

The beer/wine/coffee drinkers inside and out at bars and cafes in every nook – river pontoons, holes in walls, rooftops, lanes, everywhere.

By day your grey footpaths cause sore feet; by night your fairy lights deceive. Too cold and windy in winter and too hot and dry in summer. Autumn and spring is when you are best dressed.

You exhort an edgy fashion sense – cool, tough, absurd, and aloof. Stilettos and Doc Martens; flat runners and boots; always thongs (flip-flops) in summer. The clothing is always dominated by black; splashes of colour here and there, but always black, black, black.

The idea spruikers try and persist: The Big Issue; The Watchtower; the endangered species protectors; the sidewalk chalk artists; the actual beggars; full of daring and hopelessness; optimism and pessimism. They are ignored by the suited office workers, the beautiful women, the haggard faces; the many shapes of people matched by the mixed architecture. There is no dominant style – old and new, symmetrical and asymmetrical, shiny and textured, elegant and ugly; conformity and anarchy. The gold phallic top of your Eureka Tower catches the afternoon sunlight shining like a beacon that can be seen from The Heads.

You beckon but when they come you turn them away with indifference. Unless…..unless they like your football. You give us that. One thing to hang our hopes upon. One thing to inspire us, excite us, unify us. Are you really happy to share that one thing nationwide? If they like your football you enfold them.

OK so you have more to offer than football. There is live theatre, music, opera, comedy, soccer, art, cycling, markets, movies, libraries, museums, golf, and great food food food. We know.

You could be Paris but there is an absence of dogs. You lift your nose with mistaken self-aggrandisement, but you are not Paris.

Melbourne you are like a dysfunctional parent that is difficult to hug. Still…you are my city. (Fortunately for me my actual parents were not dysfunctional at all.)

What is your relationship with Melbourne?

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Dream

When we think about the topic of dreams we can go in two ways: the dreams we have when we are asleep; or the dreams we have when we are awake.

The dreams of our sleep consciousness tend towards the surreal that can stir our emotions in all of their complexity. We know they are not real. and have no control over them. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a perfect example of a weird dream. Psychologists try to interpret dreams in an attempt to know the human psyche. Books on this subject vary from superficial to a far deeper enquiry. The work of Sigmund Freud and Jung has led this field.

The dreams of our waking hours are what interest me. What are they? How do we cultivate them? Why are they important? This stream of enquiry reveals our hopes, desires, inspirations, and what we do in order to bring them into reality. There are many authors who choose this topic as their mainstay of material, and there continues to be a hungry readership for this work as it continues to sell well and often. I immediately think of Deepak Chopra, Joseph Campbell, and Wayne Dyer. Their books serve to inspire us, instil the notion of possibility, and show us practical steps that we will make our dreams our reality.

A whole army of self-appointed gurus have followed this trend and spruik the message of self-actualisation. If it works then why do we need to keep hearing it? I suppose that our daily routines bring us back to reality. The bills need to be paid. Our employed work might not be fulfilling. Our personal life might be challenging and/or in disarray. So our dreams get a back seat. We remind ourselves that “one day” we will be able to realise that dream. One day…

In the meantime we can read those books that maintain our dreams. That trip to France, the time to paint, the space to develop, the freedom to find stillness or creativity, that yacht to go sailing off into the sunrise untethered.

Whatever your dream might be the local library is the place to go to fuel your passion. @love2read #NYR12  National Year of Reading 2012.