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Name: Melanie Joosten
Bio: From the 'Rat to the hood of Brunswick, to Edinburgh, back to the hood, sidetrack to d'Laid and back home again. When nowhere seems very far away.
Photos: neo cosmonaut's photo libraries
Brought to you by the Age. ( 19th Nov, 2007 )
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Belated Belgrade ( 15th Aug, 2007 )
Mercury rising ( 24th Jul, 2007 )
Laurel wreaths for the immortals ( 11th Jul, 2007 )
What we do to ourselves ( 4th Jul, 2007 )
Four corners of the world ( 26th Jun, 2007 )
When is Latvian not Latvian? ( 21st Jun, 2007 )
Eesti ( 18th Jun, 2007 )
Drinking it in ( 13th Jun, 2007 )
The Hermitage. Check. ( 7th Jun, 2007 )
There is no I in Russia. ( 5th Jun, 2007 )
Tropical Moscow ( 1st Jun, 2007 )
Tales from the Big Smoke ( 25th May, 2007 )
Melbourne always was a winter city ( 16th May, 2007 )
Living with the sweet laydee Adelaide ( 27th Apr, 2007 )
This week I return to Adelaide, the city where I began this intermittent blog twelve months ago. A city that holds more memories than I care to remember, a city that frightens me because when I was there it was all about possibilities, it was all about tomorrows. It’s a city that makes me sigh, through no fault of its own. Simply that I hate to return. Anywhere. I move forwards, not back. I am purpose.
And now it is tomorrow.
It has been a year of far away places, and those too close to home. A year when I flitted from country to country, some that seemed to have existed since the beginning of time, others that were born yesterday. My parents moved to the other side of this country, leaving their home of almost thirty years. And even though I have spent so much time oceans away from them, the arid stretch of the Nullarbor Plain means they have never felt so far away. Will tomorrow ever come?
A year of strange words and unfamiliar accents and the possibilities of language. Of rain on concrete, of cold floorboards in early mornings. A year of flawed love and lovers’ flaws. Of unaccountably watching my sense of self cling to me like a winter shadow before finally gurgling down plugholes all over town.
And now it is tomorrow.
I don’t know what comes next. I’m in this city with no plans to go anywhere. The place is so very familiar, yet it is not home. I hold it at arms length, this impostor city. I shake it by the shoulders and demand to know where all my friends have gone, why my favoured haunts are no longer shiny and bright. It purses its lips, it shakes its head. So I discard this city and bury myself in books that take me far away. I live in Simone de Beauvoir’s smoky Paris and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s crying Somalia. In the cacophony of Peter Hoeg’s Copenhagen and the silent despair of Anna Politkovskaya’s Russia. Melbourne is so far away. Tomorrow is another day.
I ride across town, your place to mine in the cool of the morning, knowing it’s going to be a hell of a scorcher. You sleep on and I roll about this city, I pass the rock climbers, hoisting themselves up to the dawn. I cross the park to arrive at my front door and I wonder if you have noticed that I have left.
This summer winter city, it keeps on giving it makes us notice each day. We drive down the coast, through storm damaged forest and scour the op shops for treasures we can haul back to the city. We lie on the couch, read the weekend papers, discuss all that’s wrong and right in the world as though things can quite easily fit into these two categories.
We rock back and forth on your rooftop terrace chairs, the city humming in front of us, the setting sun bouncing back into our eyes. It’s a painted backdrop, it doesn’t feel the need to be anything other than scenery. The background, the setting. And we take our cue from this skyline, we don’t bother trying, we are simply here right now in front of each other and the city runs out to the sea.
I’ve been and gone and come back again and I’m welcomed with open arms. I return to old haunts, their familiarity reading like a Cheap Eats Guide. The Green (and Green), the Northcote Social Club, Prudence, Carlton Yacht Club (far from the sea), Markov Place, the Wesley Anne (will we ever stop calling it Ruckers?), Sister Bella.
Ghosts of boyfriends past wave at me from street corners, swinging from Brunswick lemon trees, whistling along Fitzroy bike paths. Every time I fall in love in this city I fall in love with this city and every time I stop falling, there’s always somewhere to go tomorrow.