The Sound of My Gentle Failure or The Art of My Gentle Revolution part 2: the reckoning

I posted a list a little over a year ago, of things I would attempt to do before I turned the “give up on your teen whims” age of 30. Below are the results. Forgive me.


1. Start dancing lessons– nope. Thought about it a lot, even googled things, but not one. Sigh.

2. Practice self control (particularly as regards eating, spending, wasting and watching)- look. I lost this one for a while. Nearly a year, actually. But, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been controlling my appetite for the junk food, walking to work and walking other places too. This counts. Money I’m still bad at. Sigh.

3. Bake a Pie– HA! Hahahahaha! I baked TWO! In your face 30!!

Pie the first- pear tart; lumpy yet satisfying
Pie the second- Pecan; possibly ill-advised yet flavoursome

4. Start learning French– je ne comprends pas? Je suis fatigue. Yes these are phrases from a learn French iPhone app. But, if someone French was to ask me- in English- if I would like more food or the cheque, I could respond with l’addition s’il vous plait. Counts.

5. Save money-…. cough. Oh GOD why am I so crap? In my defense, a lot of stuff came up this year that was somewhat unexpected and further to this, I am really really shit with money. I did buy plane tickets to a whole other country for next year, so I’d better figure it out soon.

6. Read at least half of the books currently unread on my shelf and do not purchase new ones until that has happened Secure second bookshelf and make every effort to purchase every book I like, love and think possibly looks interesting or pretty to fill said bookshelf (important caveat, books can be purhased for me)– Doneski.

7. Watch less TV –hmmm. Tricky. I did watch less TV shows actually on the TV set. And I was a whole hell of a lot busier than I have ever been before so I’m going to assume this means I had less time to watch stuff and call this a check.

8. Take more chances – why do I do this? Stupid vague and inspirational goals. How is this quantifiable? Well, I talked to boys I liked, I got my hair cut very short on one side, I submitted pieces of writing to the uni mag Farrago, I wrote honestly and sometimes embarrassingly on my blog, overtook large trucks on a highway and allowed myself to be awkwardly auctioned off for charity. Done? Sure.

9. Give one night a week to writing– straight up, didn’t happen. I did write more… This is something I need to get amongst. Onto it, accountability matrix.

10. Walk daily– Yes! …iiin the last two or three weeks. But I did it before I turned so, counts. Ha.

11. Talk less and listen more– I sort of have this covered on account of my job, although it can be startlingly easy to get through a day at the drop in without having a decent convo. I try to make listening a priority (but could still do with some more work on the “I have the attention span of a spaniel and am frequently caught out not actually listening to my friends” front), and I am finding I’m enjoying it more. I still talk a lot, though. A lot, a lot.

12. Be increasingly comfortable around new people– I think that it’s easier to feel other people will think you’re a freak, if you think you’re a freak. And so conversely, if you git on down with your own unparalleled you-ness and how good that is, then you don’t mind other people copping a load of you. You dig? I’m so at the top of my game (still a ways to go before I’m channeling Beyonce style diva confidence (frankly, I think it would make people uncomfortable (just cos, they’re not used to me being a douche(in that way) and it would definitely come out like that))) in terms of liking Carlynne, which is nice. A few things have fallen into place mentally and that’s really helped, and so I think whilst I can still be intimidated when I meet new people, particularly those of the good looking persuasion, mostly I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to assume someone will think something about you, you may as well assume they’ll think you’re a fucking rad-ball. Or something.

13. Sing frequently– oh man. All the time (In my house, obviously (Possibly to the irritation of my housemates (although my latest, Joe (so excellent) sings actually, ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME, which is great and means he can’t be angry about mine, which happens significantly less than his))). I also tried to be put on the singy roster at church, which happened once, and was fun. How good are multi brackets.

14. Take more photos– I took so many photos. Ludicrous, annoying amounts. And I stopped doing my photo a day business, but then I missed it so I started again. More on this later.

15. Catch a barramundi– Alas. I caught no fish this year. I did, however, catch several colds, at least one flu, gastro, and several people’s drifts.

16. Do not use cynicism as a crutch– I feel the annoyingly positive side of me has grown in power and fluffiness this year. Perhaps my cynicism was in my hair, and the shorter it gets, the brighter the bright side. Or, I’ve just been a little happier. –side note, Carlynne, the dark side of the split personality that inhabits my frame, wishes you to know that I am still in the possession of a very healthy portion of cynicism. I just don’t choose to assume the worst when I can about things like religion, other people, and where possible, myself. Still working on assumptions about the state of the government, the state of the environment, certain activists I know, and one of my parents. We’re only human.

17. Throw out one thing a month– yes! (does this count if it was done like, in several big piles scattered throughout the year that surely added up to more than 12 things) (I think it does)

18. Buy clothing and footwear only from vintage/recycled shops where possible– eep. Mostly, yes. Totally beautiful dresses, MIND BLOWING jumpers, even perfect jeans (op-shop holy grail). So much purchased from oppies that I had to impose trade embargoes on myself and Savers. There were exceptions, though, which I feel I was mostly driven to by fat days and wedding attendances. I’m sorry. Honestly.

19. Understand what it means to grow up – I believe I covered this in one of a series of self indulgent word vomits.

20. Eat at this allegedly fantastic Japanese place my mate Brad went mental over– Bam. With two days to go- locked down.

21. Make my blog look a bit nicer- woo hoo! I think it does. I don’t know about the blog fanciness, alright? It’s not my bag. But I gave it a red hot go.

22. Judge less– again. Judge less? Less what? Judge who less? It’s such a subjective, cloudy thing. Look, I generally think that if one of us is shit, then we’re all shit. Because you know and I know, all the shitty things we’ve done and are capable of doing, deep down. So, if I get to walk around and not be kicked in the face or spat on or sneered at or sent to prison or whatever, then I don’t think that I want to do those things to other people. I think I put this in because sometimes I can get all neggo about Christians and socialists, and ladies who wear leggings as pants. And I still do, way more often than I should. But I’m trying not to, and I’m thankfully arriving more often at the conclusion that maybe everyone is at least a little broken, and that compassion doesn’t actually cost me anything, and that everyone can do what the hell they like and it’s not up to me to make decisions about their pants (but seriously, leggings are essentially an undergarment, I’m telling you this for your own good).

23. Send more postcards, inc’ to people I don’t know

I violated several postcards with several cheerful and possibly inane messages several times, then left them to be taken by other folk. Counts.

24. Talk to people I recognise instead of acting like I don’t see them– this has also become easier because of my work, and the fact that I spend a lot of time near where I work. If I see Mr Talks to Himself in the street, or Mrs Smells of Pee, it’s flat out not nice if I pretend I don’t. Plus they’re fun to talk to. And even when they’re not, when I’m tired and I don’t want to “work” it’s easier. I don’t every time, for every person I know, but mostly, and with peeps from other scenes, I say hi.

25. Spend more time chatting with my Grandma– this one is a little rough. She died last month and one of the reasons that is shit for me is because of this list and the fact that I obviously registered a need to do this because maybe she wouldn’t be around forever, and then I didn’t do it. The most I learnt about my Grandma, I think ever, I learnt in the week following her death from talking to my family and watching them bury their mother.

26. Buy film for my polaroid and use it – I tried. It’s sooooo expensive, I just could not justify $40 for like, 8 photos. But, I did buy one of those cool oldie looking plastic cameras and some film to get developed and I will be doing that a lot from now on. Sah Indie.

27. Go out dancing at least once a month– Probs not once a month, but, I have shook what my mama gave me on the dance floor well over 12 times this year at least three different clubs (six or seven times), three houses (three or four times), three different weddings and once, three times in the same weekend.

28. Develop less irritating and useless crushes – don’t even get me started.

29. Attempt to make dolma – just.. just move on.

30. Learn to play that Turin Brakes song/ any song on guitar– what? What do you want from me?! Guh.

31. Figure out how to get around hating on church in general – Bam-a-lam. Covered a little in this entry, and only progressing really. Still a lot about traditional church that doesn’t gel with me, a lot I find extraneous and irrational, but I like mine. Despite the fact that it sort of doesn’t suit me at all. They’re good people, my church.

32. Get to know family I don’t keep in touch with– please to refer to overly long blog post here.

33. Jump out of a plane bed– done! I’m sometimes a lot better at mornings now. Sort of.

34. Take an interest in the world both around me and across oceans and not hide from the truth of it – this actually really happened. This was the year I took larger interest. Fortunately I know a lot of passionate, intelligent and interested people who help me learn and stay involved. My interest has only so far extended to some ABC watching, some reading of news articles and some protest attending, and what I don’t know about could still fill a lot of scarily large books, but I’m not content to not think about thing any more, despite the fact that it’s a giant cesspool of awfulness and mean people and oil-spills and greed out there (I don’t really believe that. Now more than ever I think, I KNOW there is the capacity for GREAT LOVE within people. Yes).

35. Talk to strangers– like a dinner, baby. Plane guy, Irish guy, old lady on tram 1, Irish guy 2, drunk people on street, drunk guy at pub, guy on tram who looked like a bearded Dylan Moran (Oh Lord), old lady on tram 2, drunk Canadians x 2, tram driver, several ladies in ladies bathrooms (you know how that goes), girls on dance floor, dude on tram 2, many café staff and I’m assuming several retail assistants in several workplaces of theirs.

36. Knit things– two parts of scarvey things later, I’m a knitter again. Getting better too. I want to branch into crocheting now. But I won’t like, make a dramatic list about it or nothing.

37. Be kind – who knows. God I hope so. I feel like I like people a lot, and am fortunate enough to keep on meeting them. It’s often hardest to be kind to yourself and those close to you though, and I’m still working on that.

And this of course is the end. I could ad several things to the list that I did do this year, but it’s late and I have even bored myself.

So the tally stands at:

Carlynne- 27 or 25 or 26.5 or something;

Doing Things-10 or so.

Victory is MIIIIINE.


thanks for listening. I promise I’ll never do this again.

Slightly below slightly above average

Oh Internet. Let me tell you a little something.

Turns out me making a list of things to do before I’m 30 was a great idea in theory, but a really poorly thought out one in the staggeringly disorganized reality of my day to day existence.

Hahahahaaaa uugh.

I will not, you can be sure, get all of the list done. I can say this with some certainty as my birthday is less than 3 weeks off and I am yet to even conceive of how to fish, let alone catch a barrumundi, and of course have not leapt from a plane. I have no plans to do either of these mid-assignment time and can also not go back in time to stop myself buying new books, bully myself into walking daily and take up both French classes and dancing lessons. Le sigh.

I do however have a couple of important updates along the “perhaps I’m not completely useless” line. Squee!

No. 36. Knit things. I, have been knitting up a sort of casual and spaced out storm.. or more accurately two flattish pieces of knitted wool that could become scarves for either people or, I’m hoping, bike racks. I have to tell you- it’s all about knit one purl one. Who knew.

28. Develop less irritating and useless crushes. Ha! hahahahaHAHA! I’ve done it! I don’t even really know how, but


It’s amazing. When I see a dude on the tram and he’s all sporting a beard and wearing an excellent shirt or reading a good novel instead of staring at him at intervals, inner voice manically repeating “lookatmelookatmelookatme” while trying to simultaneously sit up straighter, suck in gut and turn face ninety degrees so he sees my hair properly OR  even more embarrassingly, trying to casually reveal one of my tattoos (shame spiral); I now don’t give a crap. Ha!


See I’ve realized something very important. Not every guy I see on the tram/the street/at uni/at a café is going to fall madly in love with me. Say, whaaa? I know.

Most aren’t even going to notice me and this is ok. Mathematically speaking (can I do that? Do I need a licence? Don’t tell anyone), all of these dudes I notice around the joint, and even the ones that I more than notice, that I meet and am friends with, aren’t going to be someone that I will wind up biking cutely down Bruswick street with. And, even if they are someone that that is going to happen with, chances are they’ll work it out when we’re hanging out and I’m being normal, rather than when I’m swishing my hair slightly and hoping they can hear Cold War Kids coming from my iPod speakers.

I cannot will these connections and I no longer want to, especially when willing them leaves me feeling stupidly shitty and hurt for the twenty-seventh time because I’ve decided from a series of secret and hidden clues that boy x is in love with me but has not told me yet because he needs me to be more available and less intimidating.

If boy x is indeed in love with me, or as is more likely, wants to grab a beer, then he can ask me, and we can hang out, and I can not be a giant overthinking spaz ball who ends up analyzing every word he utters, comparing herself to every girl he talks to and crying because the mean man didn’t have the decency to like her back.

You see this way, and here’s the best part, I get to enjoy myself, something that was largely shat on by my citizenship in the land of liking.

So catchya round, Crushton, hopefully not for a long long while though.

32. Get to know family I don’t keep in touch with. Whole other entry just posted.

And most importantly I think- 19. Understand what it means to grow up.

I never wanted to be one of those people who every birthday shrieks and covers their faces screaming “no oh god why me why is it always me” or, as is more realistic, complains a little about getting older every year. It didn’t make sense to me. Birthdays come whether you complain or not, and it seemed to me, you don’t want to complain away the one day a year you get presents for essentially not dying, you want to eat all the cake.

Despite this, a few years ago, I came perilously close to being that person.

I turned 26 and the knowledge that this would keep on happening, that though I still felt 19 and was for all intents and purposes, homeless and unemployed, I was no longer in my early twenties, and that there was every chance I would grow old and die dawned on me with a horrific thud that resounded deep in my viscera. No one told me it would be utterly terrifying.

Mild break down later, I went on to be a 27 year old, with a similar but less intense freak out about officially moving in to my late twenties, then, surprisingly, I turned 28. It was here that myself and a similarly aged friend did the maths and realized we were 12 years off of 40.

We very nearly lost our minds.

Since then I have been dreading 30. Not because I won’t party any more, not because of my skin sagging and the jokes from friends, but because I am most definitely not a 30 year old.

I believe I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel my moving into adulthood has been some sort of embarrassing paperwork error on someone else’s part. I am stupid, laugh loudly, still enjoy slurpees and cartoons etc etc.

Though I joke about it, there has been many a moment of real fear in there as I contemplate my life after 30 watching people wear beige and be convincing about things they understand as I tie up my cons and move on to another in a series of casual jobs.

When I was newly 26, and lying on the floor in a morass of undignified horror, I paused in my wailing to ask my good friend Caryn, if she ever freaked out about getting older. “do you ever feel like you’re not the right age?” I whispered down the phone.

Caryn, a beacon of hope in a stupid, probably sugar induced frenzy, sagely replied “actually, I feel more like myself every year.”

At the time I was stumped but had the good sense to hope that one day I would understand how or what she meant.

And now that day has arrived. Somehow, slowly and insidiously, without really noticing it happening, I’ve arrived somewhere calm. Somewhere I’m happy to be, where 30 is actually something I’m really excited about. It snuck up on me like a sneaky little maturity ninja or responsibility ghost and now I feel like 30 is something I want to put on with my favourite shoes and go dancing in.

It’s a whole mess of things that have not all come together at once, but have rather been growing in me and around me, some for nearly 30 years. It’s about how I have a job now that I love, and that helps me to feel like I can do things for the first time ever. I am excited by the new things I can learn and encouraged by creativity rather than intimidated by it. I am comfortable but still challenged by my faith and though I’ve had times this year when I thought it was all a bunch of shit, I am happily trapped here once again. I live in a fabulous area of Melbourne that helps me feel alive and connected. I write more than I did before and I feel like I do an ok job sometimes. I am the happiest and most satisfied with who I am, how I look and how I spend my time that I’ve ever been- in short, I feel more like myself than I ever have.

I am still a huge spaz of course, but I’ve learnt that everyone does everything differently and the way I do 29- 30 doesn’t have to be the way that others have. I completely dug my 20’s and it will still be surreal when I meet various 23 year olds and I tell them I’m a whole different survey box, but if 30 means more of this learning how to be myself bidness, then bring that shit on.

So that is all the things I’m writing about for now because my internet was weird and i’ve been busy and tired (and at the microbrew showcase) and I will do more writing later. Like you even care. Shut up.

…Love you. x

Accidentally Relly St

So a couple of weeks ago I got respectably tipsy with a bunch of my cousins in a shed in Port Lincoln. Novelty hats were found and donned, arms were thrown around shoulders and the lyrics to Livin on a Prayer were proudly screamed into Strongbow bottles. We kicked things off quietly, I thought- I certainly had no idea that six hours later I would be swaying gently on the back of a ute as one of my cousins cavorted with a cut out horse- with a glass of wine over lunch and then essentially we didn’t stop.

My family is fun.

Not uncommon, I’m aware, but you see I didn’t know this. Don’t get me wrong, I’d always liked them when we managed to see each other, a couple of us used to live near each other and so were friends when we were younger (six hundredth viewing of Wayne’s World, anyone?), but things change, people grow up and move and mortgage things, or something, and you end up being one of those people who knows she has an extended family, but can let four year periods pass where you don’t see any of them without even thinking about it.

I guess I’d always thought that those immediately around me were my family, that the people that take care of you, that listen to your shitty stories and laugh until they pee a little with you mean more than people who just happen to have similar genes (for additional points, guess who spelt this word like the denim garment on first draft?). An on purpose connection surely means more than an accidental one.

I have, though, on occasion been jealous of those families that dig each other. My mate Amy always sees her cousins when she visits Melbourne and they laugh hysterically and get each other and it baffles me. My old housemate has cousins that are like sisters to her. How does this happen?

Last year, I made a wee note for myself as part of my list of things to do before I was 30, because I saw people like my housemate, and my friend getting on with their fam and it struck me as odd that my family connection for the most part stopped with my mum and brothers. Then of course after I made the list I forgot about it, and like, did things normally (read: in a manner both slovenly and oddly frenetic) and let nearly a year pass without anything happening. Because that’s how I roll, yo.


Then, my Grandma. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and she’d moved back home to Port Lincoln where she used to live, and then in the space of just over a day, she got sick and she died.

It was pretty strange.

(This will sound dumb, which I know is something you’re not used to from me, but I am not the person that this happens to. Which is exactly what I thought back when I was 13 and my Dad moved out or back when I was 19 and my Uncle Rick died. Out of the ordinary, dramatic things don’t happen to me, they happen to People That I Know, Friends of Mine; generally Other People. I did not, and still do not, I think, understand what it means that I no longer have a Grandmother because she stopped being alive. And just as I processed my parents marriage breaking down by confessing it to my school friends in quiet, giggly whispers and imagining the wonderous things my Dad would buy me now we were a “broken home”, I absorbed the reality of my grandmother dying with the quick, no mess no fuss “let’s just get on with it then” manner which I’ve realized is how I do things.)

So one day I’m at work, telling clients not to be racist and then the next I’m in another state, feeling bad that I haven’t cried yet, and then the next I’m chasing bottles of Moscato with bottles of cider and just the worst shot I’ve ever had in my life (sorry Mel) with a bunch of people I barely know.

The whole drunken day was quite the surprise for me, and just beyond surreal at points. My cousins Mel and Catherine were distant memories of mine, two small girls, one blonde, one brunette, filed away from a time when we were all too young to care that the others existed until I entered my uncle’s house and saw them on the couch, looking for all the world like two grown up women.

(Catherine didn't know what time it was.)


And they have jobs and opinions and long pretty hair and stuff and I was initially intimidated because the idea still had not occurred to me that maybe, just maybe my family could be one of those ones who enjoy each others company and I of course assumed they’d think I was a douche.

That was before Catherine started pouring me tumblers of wine and I knew we’d all be ok.

(there was something over there)

And we’re out in the sunshine, them and me and my other cousins Ro and Kelly talking and laughing and drinking and I realize that I like my family. That it’s been hours now since I felt remotely uncomfortable (I was so comfortable that though I paced myself and actually was significantly less drunk than others I could name- I’m looking at you, Ro- I still joined in the loud singing and mad dancing to mid nineties pop BECAUSE THAT’S MY JAM). I realized that my cousins had become my friends, either again, or for the first time.

throwing some shapes


I realized that I was one of those people.

A couple of points- My cousin Kelly is the shit. I love her and her wife Ro and they will come and visit me in Melbourne I hope. Hoorah! Hilarious, kind and accepting ladies.

Mel and Catherine exceeded all my expectations. I didn’t have any really, aside from my usual unvoiced certainty that people that aren’t nutbars won’t like me. Turns out they are nutbars so we’re ok.

The Uncles and the Aunts, are all crazy, and a little inappropriate when drunkish (stern looks towards my mum’s brothers). Albie and Helen were effing guns of hosts and I felt loved instantly by all, which surely, is a convenience that you should be able to go to your family for.

Uncle Albie. A good man with a penchant for impropriety.

So. It’s shit that it took my Grandma dying to bring us all together. It’s shit that she didn’t see us falling about laughing or hear us screaming lyrics raucously from her position inside with the grown ups for she would have loved it.


But this time taught me a number of things, mainly that life can actually, just, end and so now would be the time to love those about you and find the ones that aren’t about you to love, but it also taught me that family is kick ass. The only real thing we all had in common aside from Bon Jovi, was our connection to a lady called Merle Ransome, and though we are not a part of each other by choice, we are a part of each other. And this is a real, solid and wonderful thing.

Dear Baking, Sorry we’ve not been friends.

I know a number of people, people that I respect, who love you. They love to stand in their kitchen and move pans about and find ingredients and look in their pantries and make things for those they love. I’ve always thought that’s fabulous. I love the idea that people can be not lazy. That they can make food for themselves. It amazes me. And some of them really love it. Like, they LOVE it. They want to be with you, Baking, a lot of the time. Your sometimes painstaking methods seem a sweet price to pay for the result they get.

Not so for me. It’s not always been that I hate to cook. I don’t even think I do. It’s just never occurred to me to like it. I will certainly grab a spatula or wooden spoon and do my half assed duty, but the idea of cooking as something that’s fun to do, of YOU as an interesting way to spend my time has, on occasion, seemed laughable.

I hope this isn’t offensive… It’s not you exactly, it’s just that why would something that seems almost chore-ish be fun for me? Putting flour and salt and other shit together in exacted quantities just doesn’t get me going.


As you may or may not be aware (I’m sure you’re busy with Nigella or Masterchef or something but you may have read my blog..) I decided I wanted to make a pie. I decided this around seven or eight months ago as a part of my quest to do some shit before I turn 30. I have after all, always been a huge fan of pie  -one of your finest works, I think- and the making of one, crust and all, seems like such an insignificant and obvious part of other peoples lives that the lack of any experience making one in my own began to look ridiculous.

The pie making scheme sat latent within me, swallowed by laziness, fear and my super human ability to forget things and be easily distracted for many a moon. Then, one unsuspecting Friday night, at around nine, I began to think. I began to think pie thoughts. I began, Baking, to dream pie dreams. We didn’t have a lot of fruit, so I googled pear pie recipes lazily, still not entirely committed to the revolution.

I found one. It looked good. I sat, and read it and thought and read it some more and then, when my self esteem thought all hope was lost I said “fuck it, I’m doing this” got off the couch, took my place in the kitchen and, may I say, my place in history.

First, as you will know, I made the crust. I took the crust part of another recipe as the one I found was all American and saying things like Wholewheat Flour and stuff. I hoped the recipe wouldn’t know I cheated. The dough freaked me out when I took it out of the food processor as it was a little wet and greasy. Convinced that I had fucked even that small a part, I divided it in two and put it in the fridge to set. Or whatever.

Next! The filling. Several sloppy pears dripping all over the bench later,

I know, right? Nutmeg and cinnamon and honey dude. Damn.

So. Once this was done and after a few minor interruptions in the way of facebook chat and freaking out a little more over the fate of the ill-begotten crust, it was time to like, assemble this sucker.

Here is where the trouble started. I placed the pear mix in the middle of my very nicely rolled (I thought) pastry. I began to pull the edges of the pastry over the pear to form a little tart case thing. But woe! The pastry was too thin and the pear too juicy and small cracks began to form in the newly soaking dough. I would smoosh one crevice together only to catch another forming on the other side. It stuck to the bench and looked unlikely to ever make it into the oven. Somehow though, the lumpy pear boat was placed hastily on a tray to await fate and my surrender to inadequacy.


I moaned aloud, I told friends on facebook this was sure to result in horror, I lamented my danged decisions to attempt anything ever as the little pear boat waited for me like an unassuming time bomb of floury doom.

I waited.

Something peculiar happened. When repeatedly checking the pie, I noticed it had begun to look..golden-ie. Sort of baked and delicious. It looked, dare I say it, edible.

Not letting myself dare to hope, I paced the kitchen some more and then…

… it was born. My first pie. And I cut into it, and I ate it, and Baking my friend, it was good. The crust was crumbly and baked through and not dry and the pear was succulent. I was exultant. Where there had been no baked good, I had made baked goods.

And now here I stand, on the other side of my great adventure, humbly asking for your forgiveness. I’m sorry I thought you were naff, Baking. You gave me pie and for that I will be forever grateful. I now look forward, almost, to spontaneously deciding to try you late at night again, and possibly at other times when we might combine to make other pies.

Here’s to a long and healthy friendship,




Things I’m average at no. 24: Talking to strangers.

I’m on the nine pm tiger flight to Adelaide. My tray table is upright, my knees unbearably close to the seat in front, my lower back humming with the beginnings of the almighty ache I will have when I disembark in an hour and a half. I have the aisle seat, we’ve just begun to taxi.

Seated to my left is young man, probably 24 or so wearing thick framed glasses, a white tee and dark skinny legs. He is fiddling with his phone. I have buried myself in my Stephen Fry bio immediately after boarding but as I read a part of me remembers something.

No. 35: Talk to Strangers.

Dang it.

I’ve noticed he has begun to use his phone as a mini skateboard and is doing little flips and stuff off his lap. I should talk to him. I will talk to him. I will put down my book under the pretence of having a drink from my water bottle, and then I will say “So what brings you to Adelaide?”. Aw yeah.

The plane has come to a bit of a stand still when I finish my chapter and serenely close the book, wondering if there’s any way the hipster next door could anticipate the verbal fireworks that are about to explode right in his face. I reach down, clasp my water bottle, unscrew the lid and take a drink. I put it back in my bag. I gently nudge the bag a little bit more under the seat. Now nothing stands in the way. I look at the pouch in the seat in front of me. Now it’s just me and you, little man.

We idle lazily on the runway.

I stare at the back of the seat.

I look slightly to my left, then to my right. I look down at the book closed on my lap.

talk talk talk talk talk you can do it what brings you to Adelaide what brings you to Adelaide whatbringzzyuutoadelaaaide

I study my fingernails for a bit.

The guy’s phone does another trick, a spectacular mini spin in the air over his right thigh.

I clear my throat slightly, then move my head to my right.

We move forward slightly, then come to another halt.

I pretend to be interested in the cement I can see out of the window, as though I need to visually verify that no, we haven’t taken off yet.

He looks downward, at his flipping mobile, adjusts his position slightly.

talk talk talk what brings you to adelaide what brings you to adelaide say it say it what are you waiting for? what is he going to do? rip your face off? plunge his phone into your eye socket?

I summon my courage and open my mouth. I close it again and look out the window opposite.

We are still on the ground.

The guy is reading the inflight menu. For the second time.

I feel physically ill.

I have now thought the words “what brings you to Adelaide” so many times they have lost all meaning.

Stephen Fry is smirking consolingly at me from his book jacket. Yes you can smirk consolingly. You have to know him.

The guy is looking out the window as well. Probably confirming we’re still on the ground.

I look back at Stephen. My heart pounds in my ears.


Dude pulls out the in-flight emergency instructions.

He begins to read them.

He needs me.

The plane is still not moving but is now making a loud buzzing noise from the rear.

A sweat breaks out on my forhead and I turn jerkily to my left. In a voice that is aimed at casual but probably hitting strangled and teary I say


He looks at me and shoots back in a low and slightly awkward voice “Yeah, pretty sure it is”. He is attempting to be reassuring.

“right right,” I say “it’s pretty weird though..”

He again assures me in his short, deep voice that all is well, clearly thinking that I’m on the verge of hysteria.

Loud buzz continues, sounding like an elephantine mosquito has landed on rear of plane.

Anxious, now that we’re off to this magical start, to make sure he knows my intent was relaxed convo not mindless panic I spout brightly that I’ve never heard that particular noise before at which point he looks at me sharply and asks if I fly a lot.

“Oh yeah, loads!”

Dude now looks as concerned as he thought I was.

Smiling manically, as though alarming young men on stalled flights is something I’m quite cheerful about I happily trill “Oh but, like, I’m sure it’s not a problem. hahaha!”

We are still on the ground.

I shouldn’t talk to strangers.

…but a bitch ain’t one.

Hey internet! How ARE you?! Have you put on, like, stacks of weight? Oh, don’t be mad. It looks goo- Fine. Huff all you want.

A lot has occurred (if when you read “a lot” you understand that I mean “a series of smallish things that ad up to a reasonably boring sort of life filled with smallish things”) since the posting of the list and also the last decent post I wrote before my very minor laptop related breakdown.

The list posting was a momentous thing for me. I was taking a step towards control of my future, shaping it in the way I wanted it to be, the person I wanted to be. I would be self controlled, my time would be organised and portioned appropriately, I would be able to rationalise my perceived need for things like books and food and other easily purchased goods as momentary spells that I could walk away from into the dawn of a new Carlynne, who would also be fitter, kind of glowing from the inside and probably able to fly. Yeah.

The very first thing I did after I posted the birthday list was to purchase a book, stop walking daily, show no self control whatsoever about what I ate and spend all day every day either writing assignments or deliberately not writing them, all of which equals a big poo on numbers 2, 6, 9 and 10 and on the glowie me who is now limping along, muttering and stuffing her face manically. Great intentions, little shaky on the dismount.

I felt like shit, too. Which is fortunate, because it reminded me why it’s a terrible idea eating whatever I like all the time and not exercising. And going mental. So I stopped.

Also, the book I bought I have already read, so it doesn’t ad to the “need to read list” so I’m calling it a wash, deal? Deal.

Now, invisible reader, if you’ll cast your mind back, you’ll remember a particular piece of  drivel I spewed forth under the guise of whining about not getting a job then attempting to come to terms with it. This being the GOOD JOB that I’d heard about in legends and fairy stories, so that when I didn’t get it I threw a tanty and made a cave in which to dwell, clutching my misery forever to my chest like a balding stuffed rabbit with one eye (before I got over it).

So they rang me back about two months later and gave it to me.

I started the day after I handed my last assignment in and now spend a goodly portion of my week sort of running a drop in centre in Brunswick. I say sort of not as a light batting away of any kind of responsibility, a way of making sure you know, once again, how very average I am, but because it really doesn’t feel yet like I do anything besides hang out with these absolutely gorgeous people and make them coffee occasionally. Ok there was a bit of light batting there, I do more than that, but it really doesn’t feel like work a lot of the time.

The interesting thing about that (or one of many interesting things about that- I have an interesting job now, sorry, punch me if you see me in the street, I’ll be the one looking outrageously fulfilled) is its correspondence with the posting of the list and the implications therein. Allow me to expand..

A- Number 5 on the list is save money. I’m so extraordinarily shit with money it is actually something that scientists should study. It should be a meme. I’m the queen of “but clearly I need this muffin/dress/notebook/stuffed dinosaur and it’s only this once”. One of my spiritual gifts is the ability to justify the spending of any amount of money. It’s true. I think something that helps this is my consistent run of casual jobs that I either don’t get enough work at or just don’t bother going to. Now, I have responsibility which means I’ve got to go, and permanent hours which means budgeting will be a distinct possibility. Nothing saved yet, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.

B- Number 31 is “Figure out how to get around hating on church in general”. This was included because though I don’t go very often on account of I strongly dislike most churches and more importantly the services they run and often organised religion on the whole, I feel like there could be something good there, and sometimes I want to hang with peeps that celebrate the same stuff that I do, that hope for and in the same things*.  So I went and got employed by a church and paid to go to a service twice a month. So there. Forced attendance. Check and mate.

C- My job means I meet all sorts of people, a lot of whom have a lot to say, and all of whom have a place to say it if they want to in the form of my workplace. We provide a room and chairs and coffee and snacks and people can drop on in and chill out and be listened to. This is important and lovely and often difficult, particularly when you are as good at “ooh that reminds me of some shit that happened to ME this one time” as I am. Number 11? Talk less and listen more. Oh yeah. Heaven help me.

D- I think in general, having something regularish to do, while already nearly melting my brain (I am not used to being relied upon, I leave that for those who are helpful in some way. I take care of the pop song lyrics and humour as a defence mechanism side of things. Yep. Got that) will assist greatly in the coming to grips with the important parts of being a grown up. Having people depend on you is a deal. A big one. Also it should help with being kind.

E- The church is a fifteen minute ride from my house, which, while not walking, is … exercise! Yeah.

So though I failed at the list in a kind of epic and immediate way, I’m going to keep at it, because I think good stuff is happening and because, what else have I got to write about, huh? Yeah that’s what I thought.

Ps I ‘ve talked to two strangers thus far, not counting those who come to my work. The first was a spectacular success. Names and witticisms were exchanged, it was lovely. The second was a surly Irishman who didn’t seem to understand why a rando girl was chatting somewhat awkwardly to him on the train home from the U2 concert. She will persevere.

Pps I think that being tired and having your mind occupied with stuff helps with things like “what does every boy/man nearby think of me?” by rendering your brain too busy or fatigued to give a crap, which in turn should help with the “idiotic crushes” disease I’ve been afflicted with for many a year now. More on that later, feeling good about it.

Ppps: U2? Amazing!

Pppps: I did go out dancing once in Nov, which keeps me five by five on the “dancing once a month” front. Cool. Just making sure you know. That’s it now. Good night

*Just so I’m clear, why I would care about church is, that while I don’t believe a specific denomination or group is the right one, or that church attendance is necessary for an individuals journey, or walk or whatever religious speak you want to regurgitate, my life with the creator is something that matters to me, as I believe in Jesus is found the only truly revolutionary way of living and for me, it makes the most sense. I’ve heard church helps sometimes. That is all.

The art of (my) gentle revolution

1. Start dancing lessons

2. Practice self control (particularly as regards eating, spending, wasting and watching)

3. Bake a Pie

4. Start learning French

5. Save money

6. Read at least half of  the books currently unread on my shelf and do not purchase new ones until that has happened (important caveat, books can be purhased for me)

7. Watch less tv

8. Take more chances

9. Give one night a week to writing

10. Walk daily

11. Talk less and listen more

12. Be increasingly comfortable around new people

13. Sing frequently

14. Take more photos

15. Catch a barramundi

16. Do not use cynicism as a crutch

17. Throw out one thing a month

18. Buy clothing and footwear only from vintage/recycled shops where possible

19. Understand what it means to grow up

20. Eat at this allegedly fantastic Japanese place my mate Brad went mental over

21. Make my blog look a bit nicer

22. Judge less

23. Send more postcards, inc’ to people I don’t know

24. Talk to people I recognise instead of acting like I don’t see them

25. Spend more time chatting with my Grandma

26. Buy film for my polaroid and use it

27. Go out dancing at least once a month

28. Develop less irritating and useless crushes

29. Attempt to make dolma

30. Learn to play that Turin Brakes song/ any song on guitar

31. Figure out how to get around hating on church in general

32. Get to know family I don’t keep in touch with

33. Jump out of a plane

34. Take an interest in the world both around me and across oceans and not hide from the truth of it

35. Talk to strangers

36. Knit things

37. Be kind

“God help us to change. To change ourselves and to

change our world. To know the need for it.

To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it.

To undertake the journey without understanding the destination.

The art of gentle revolution.


Michael Leunig.