By ESTELLE ROBERTS
How to start? How to end? And what’s in the middle? A jelly belly paunch, a rippling washboard or taut curves?
I used to be a beekeeper. Keeping bees was an interesting one amongst the many incarnations I’ve had in the employment world. I’ve been a wine-maker’s sidekick or ‘lab technician’ as my CV states. I’ve cooked, cleaned, gardened, painted and bar wenched at a truck stop. Looked after baby birds in Ireland and fingered beautiful coats, hats ‘n’ scarves in smoky cloakrooms in Paris. And of course I’ve made countless coffees and waited thousands of tables.
I have had so many jobs that catching up on my tax has been a right mission. I had to ring one boss up as I didn’t recognise their trading name but there was a time I used to work in an ad house sticking glossy advertisements to their Styrofoam backings.
So they say Alice Springs is a land of employment opportunity for the inexperienced and gung ho fast talker. And so many thanks and hats off to Mozzie Bites for lending me your boots – they’ve been roomy and sometimes a little blistery but I’ve enjoyed wearing them thoroughly.
I’ve shared lots of stuff, some of my favourite stuff including my newfound affection for stuff, roadhouses, the ocean, birds, trucks, food in its different contexts, circles and you know… the weather. It’s been a curious experience writing in a small town somewhat anonymously but maybe not really. I wonder sometimes who the readers are of this word smithing enterprise (and thank you, Mum, for your proud comments).
Every week I endeavoured to find something interesting to write about, appreciating having this lens through which to view my little existence. I’ve looked at Alice Springs with an alert inquiry that I’ve enjoyed putting into words in this peculiar stream of consciousness manner. So many half stories half jotted down on café docket books.
I had been talking to a friend before this writing post came up about how I wished I could be more disciplined (in more aspects than one) and write. I’ve had many beautifully bound, gorgeous blank paper notebooks follow me around reproachfully, but I was always so reluctant to mess up their lovely white pages with my scrawl. I like to write in exercise books with blue lines and scrawl away as I have been. Time travel and other nonsense fills the dotted line marked for School Subject. And Estelle Roberts fills the dotted line marked Student’s Name.
Sometimes writing took me places I wasn’t looking for, like an unsolicited memory or far flung places reached only with imagination and maybe a little luck on the road to the future. At times I loved having the time to reorder my thoughts or play with a word that I wanted to pair with just the right other word. But I have also secretly relished the pure panic driven momentum that precedes deadline, choosing a photo, screaming at the computer to hurry up and read the camera! Rounding up the edges to form firmly around a topic.
One of the things I realised was that I like to write in circles. The other day though I read a really nice piece that was a bit cyclic but also tailed off openly towards the end. I would love to experiment with more writing. For example to just end something as though it’s just stepped off the edge of a cliff. No fall, no landing, no diving into water. Just that step over the edge.
Stepping over the edge
By ESTELLE ROBERTS