2018, America

Defining Success.

‘What is success?’


The daily writing page I’m signed up on which I try to write daily for, asked.

Plain and simple. No messing about here. Just what is success. This is something that I think constantly on.


Is success having a fantastic career that provides money, a home, a car, those things which we are all indoctrinated to believe we want?

Is it something more esoteric like validation and acclaim from your peers and contemporaries?

What is this thing that some of us have, yet others [including myself] never seem to manifest?

In my life, I feel as though the concept of ‘success’ is something that is forever slipping through my fingers, unobtainable and elusive. Something so close yet so difficult to grasp.

I have always viewed success as being something linked with prosperity. As though they naturally go hand in hand. A relationship that is symbiotic and dependent upon one another. Success begets prosperity, as well as the other way round. Or does it? Can one prosper without success? Without money?

These days, it’s difficult for me to feel that I have success in my life. To convince myself. Here I am, jobless and in a new country. Away from friends, family, all those whom I love and miss. Not to mention that everything is done differently. I have to adapt and relearn life as it were. Finding and making new friends and connections, which is usually a challenge in itself for me has become even more so the case. Readjusting and thriving has been my top priority. And its been a turbulent fucker, let me tell you.

I know that many others out there may classify the concept and terminology of ‘success’ in a different subset of ideals; swap out monetary gain and career advancement for headspace self-helpy concepts of wellness, mental health and relationships.

Is it healthy, to re-categorise the idea of success as being not necessarily prosperity and attainment of status and wealth, but to a place of your immediate and close life: how well you manage a relationship, how well your life is with your loved ones, friends, coworker etc?

A part of me feels that this is somewhat naive.

Perhaps I’ve become more jaded in life. Is it because I’ve never experienced what my ideal of success is, being money/career/prosperity?

The tenets of this rather new-agey paradigm of success to me right now unfortunately has the smack of anathema to me. As though this line of thought is simply a salve to sooth a troubled mind like mine who constantly thinks on this very subject. Is it a cop-out to think this, or is it somewhat constructive and good for the soul?


I’m of two minds about this.


One the one side, success shouldn’t be so simply aligned and synonymously linked with the idea of prosperity and monetary gain and status. It should feel more well-rounded. A mother or father who stays home raising a child who would grow to become a good, kind-hearted person should be regarded as a ‘success.’ Being a stay at home parent is not an easy task. I can only imagine the challenges and difficulty that lay with this work.

Working and improving your mental health is also something that I see as a measure of ‘success.’ This has become such an important part of many of our lives. My own included. With the onrush and rise of the whole idea of wellness culture especially so in the last few years.

At times when I think of this, I recall Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic [don’t hate on me for referencing Titanic please], after she survives the ship and moves on with her life. The camera pans across frames of her doing all sort of stuff. Why she thought to bring them on a research vessel not withstanding, it showed her getting up to all sorts of rad stuff: horseriding, posing with a cool plane, at a beach with friends and looking hot in an old timey Hollywood portrait.

Clearly it was all a device to display how full her life was, and how her not choosing to go with the rich arsehole, she built this life that was clearly fulfilling on her own.

What would those pictures have looked like had she choose to go with Mr Punchable Face’s character, who may have given her a life of luxury and ease, yet detested and belittled her?


I sometimes wonder how many people out there who have the money, the careers and status might look at someone like me who has none of this, yet wish for a relationship like mine, for instance.

On the other side, I feel that it can be naive to think on success in such a simplistic manner. I feel as though this thread above is what I’ve been told by others, that career and money is not the end point of what we traditionally regard as success.

The unfortunate thing is, alas, we don’t live in a society that seems to view ones’ life worth in terms of success as how well a relationship goes, how good a parent one is, or how well one is doing with their mental health.

Capitalism sure does have its fucked up features.

I could be the perennial Red leftie that I was and start a spiel on how an economic system ie Capitalism destroys people’s very lives and wellbeing, and places ones worth solely on their monetary intake, but I’m not going to do that today.

The days of my university demonstrations, ardent leftie essays espousing the virtues of Socialism in the modern world and the need for it, are long gone. Not to say I have given up. I still dearly believe in left-wing politics. More the acknowledgement that the system we live and work and breathe in is not going to go away, at least not for a very long time.

This side of me thinks that it is rather simplistic and unworldly to believe that success can be more than money and status. Unfortunately, it is something that those of us that do not have, tell ourselves in order to feel better about our lives.

I sincerely do want the career, the recognition, and yes, the money. Not as a means in itself but rather so I can have a great life with my husband and not worry.

And that’s my issue with success. The pain, the worrying, the pressure that maybe I put on myself far too much. The expectations of my parents as a kid and adolescent, and their subsequent disappointment in me not reaching my potential. Am I exerting this pressure on myself? Is this more in my head than out there in society?

We are truly a generation weaned on the belief that we could do anything we wanted. Yet the hard truth is, indelibly, we cannot. Success is something that yes is attainable, but not perhaps, for each and every one of us.

What then, is success for you?


Books to read in 2018

It’s a new year which means a time of renewal, growth and determining things like goals and objectives and what you want to get out of life for the next year.

As part of this idea of growth, I wanted to share some books that I have read or re-read in the last year or so, and for whatever reason stood out for me as share-worthy. These are all books that for different reasons piqued my interest. Some are based firmly in the real world and speak on concepts, issues and themes that are quite serious yet still great reads. Others are less serious and far more whimsical, imaginative and fun to read, as well as works of sci-fi or fantasy, and even one special book I rediscovered that was once my favourite book to read when I was a child, which I recently re-read.

Note: click on the image on the books, which will take you to Goodreads for more reviews and info. 


My Life In France, Julia Child.


If you’re unaware of who Julia Child is, the book My Life In France is a great intro to someone whose passion, grit and determination was an inspiration not just for me, but for countless others. The first reference to Julia Childs for me was the film Julie and Julia, which I feel this book lies adjacent to.

An autobiographical account of Julia Child’s [well-known American chef who specialized in French cooking and was the first to create a cookbook intended for home cookery] years in France with her husband, this book was introduced and gifted to me by a friend and fellow avid reader who espoused how relatable, enthralling and simply fun this book was to read.

I felt as though I was sitting at a French restaurant in the 1950’s with the grande dame of the culinary world herself, as she meticulously and juicily describes every detail of so many meals eaten in fine restaurants, as well as adventures she partook; from the start of their move in Paris, to studying cookery at the world-famous Cordon Bleu school in Paris and her subsequent rise in fame and recognition.

This book proved to be such an inspiration for me. Reading this one woman’s recounts of her life in that beautiful country helped me in turn better accept and thrive on the fact that I too, like her, moved overseas with a husband for his career. It was just something nice to read, with her making friends with locals, divulging secrets and skills required for cooking, as well as her struggles with finding an identity and purpose for her life.

I really loved reading this book, and I can always tell when a book is not just good but great, when it feels as though you only just started when you reach the final page.


Ready Player One, Ernest Cline


This soon to be released film adaptation captured my imagination immediately. I was again recommended to read this book by a friend who knew me well, and said to me this book has all the things you love in it: namely, 1980’s cultural references, and science fiction and fantasy elements.

I wanted to read Ready Player One for years, it was admittedly a case of judging a book by its cover; which I LOVED but had never gotten around to it as it were.

The book tells the story of Wade Watts, a denizen of the dystopic world of 2044 USA: standards of living are in sharp decline due to depletion of natural resources and the collapse of the ecology, the poor are generally uneducated and live in ‘stacks’, giant towers composed of trailers.

Most escape this grim reality via the pervasive virtual reality named OASIS, created by the recently deceased genius and 1980’s-obsessed James Halliday.

I won’t get too far into it, but it is chock full of 1980’s, fantasy and sci-fi references, action and drama as well as well-written likeable characters and villains whom you want to throw your Gameboy at.


Skygods, The Fall Of Pan Am, Robert Gandt


Being a bit of an aviation nerd, I’ve always had a strange fascination for the golden-era of aviation and airlines up to the late 1960’s; being that time before Jetstar, Ezyjet, cattle class, discount tickets etc.

The Queen of the airlines was undoubtedly Pan American, headed by the singular Juan Tripp who is the man who is honestly responsible for giving the world the Boeing 707, the worlds first truly successful airliner that changed travel indelibly, as well as the Boeing 747.

I’ve had a bit of a strange obsession for defunct airlines such as Pan Am and TWA and wish I was old enough to have flown on either; this is the next best thing as this book goes into great detail about the formation, golden era and demise of this at one time blue-ribbon pedigree of an airline.

It reads as one part drama, one part recount, yet to me managed to keep an air of entertainment as the characters whom were responsible for this great airline’s birth as well as those responsible for its decline, not to mention those who worked for this venerable airline, come to life.


Red Plenty, Francis Spufford


Red Plenty tells the story of the burgeoning USSR and its efforts at overtaking the United States in terms of economic, scientific, technological and social growth in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It speaks of a time when the Soviet Union was modernizing rapidly and keeping on pace with the US, and was even set to surpass the US in terms of economic growth.

It was an era of optimism and eager competition, as well as a heartfelt honest belief in the Communist system by those living in the USSR at the time. Red Plenty tracks the progress and ultimate demise in the Soviet Union’s determined quest to gain parity and subsequently overtake the USA by means of planned economy using mathematics and cybernetics, for the ultimate aim of giving one and all the best quality of life possible.

Clearly, things didn’t turn out quite the way that the economic planners in the USSR had planned, but I found this book completely engrossing and intriguing; not 100% non-fiction and some characters were clearly fictional, yet still a great read.


And The Band Played On, Randy Shilts


The best way I can describe this book is heart-wrenching, emotional and frustrating. Not the things you want to find in a book necessarily. And The Band Played On tracks the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s, and for me was a must read as a Gay man to educate myself about just what it would have been like to experience the terror and fear that I could only imagine in this time.

This book goes in to extensive depth and detail about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the inability of the US government to take charge, or even acknowledge what was occurring. Although some information since the time of this publication came out has been updated [ie the concept of a Patient Zero from which the virus was first attributed to], it for me is something that all LGBTIQA people should read if they want to know more about how HIV/AIDS affected just so many people.

Like others before me whom have read this book, this would have to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding books that I have ever read. It is just so disappointing and sad to read about the lack of information, the inability of the myriad government institutes to coordinate to even simply identify this virus as people were dying, not to mention the initial intentional ignorance of the politico class about this issue, and following lack of action to put plans in motion.

This book will leave you with much respect and admiration for those whom lived through this era, as they really are survivors and heroes who deserve so much respect.


House Of Tribes, Garry Kilworth

I’ll never forget the first time I saw this book, in a little independent book shop on Norton St, Leichhardt, back in Sydney. I was with my mum. I must have been perhaps 9 or 10 or so. Something about this little innocent looking book with a mouse depicted on its cover drew me to it, and it took me in hindsight perhaps a week to finish up, as I fell straight into the world this author created.

This is one book which helped shape my reading habits and my interest in literature, reading, as well as the fantasy genre. The novel follows a young field mouse named Pedlar who leaves the relative safety and familiarity of his home in a hedge behind, to enter the great country known solely as ‘The House.’ The house is another world entirely, replete with gangs of mice and rats who live in different parts of the house and vie for control and authority.

It was such a fun book to read as a kid; I must have re-read it at least a half-dozen times, and it [magically in my mind] captured my imagination, and inexplicably followed me in my life and now sits proud on my bookshelf here in San Francisco. Some people cite the Harry Potter series as their mainstay books which harken back to their youth and that initial spark and love of reading, and this is my version of that.

Oh, and the other thing that made me fall completely in love with this book was that it had a map!


The Consolations Of Philosphy, Alain De Botton.


Love him or not, Alain De Botton for me is a great educationist and instructor of thought. I don’t know what it is about the guy, but ever since the first time watching his documentaries on life, thought, philosophy and culture and society, I’ve been a big fan.

Maybe it’s the way that he informs and teaches without pretension; without the need for needlessly complex jargon. He has a concise and minimal voice and tone which can make even the most difficult to understand concepts quite clear.

If Alan Attenborough’s domain was the natural world, I would then see Alain De Botton in a similar vein for the world of thought.

I received this book as a birthday present; I won’t lie, it sat on my shelf for months as I had a plethora of fantasy and sci-fi books I wanted to read.

I picked up this book to read as I have this idea of ‘cleansing the palate’ as it were, with regards to what I read. I love and adore science fiction and fantasy novels, yet I find after reading book after book after book I need something more thought-provoking in terms of life and thought and lived experience. To cleanse the palate as it were. Something which will exercise my mind. Usually I’ll hit up whatever self-help book I have about which will fill me in with some thought that is based at least partly on philosophy.

Consolations, then, proved to be a simple and introductory means of learning about philosophical thought, and how it translates to the everyday life. De Botton mixes in a dash of self-helpiness as I think of it with his dollops of philosophy, and the result at least to me was a thought-provoking read and a good refresher on philosophy, its origins and it’s repercussions.


Those are my books to read in 2018, let me know your thoughts, or if you have any standout books that you have read recently that you love. Cheers!

2018, Australia, Opinion

What Do You Stand For

It’s that time of year again, when  Australia Day, our national celebration comes about.

More and more in recent years, controversy has arisen over this specific public holiday.

Increasingly, the day is becoming synonymous with racism, discrimination against our indigenous peoples and the worst our society can represent, as opposed to a day of civic and social unity.

Newspaper articles are published like clockwork every year on this subject, radio talk show hosts will begin to decry that this is even an issue and blame the ‘do-gooders’ in our society for wanting to change everything.

Many people have come to rename the day Invasion Day, and within certain circles if there is a gathering, it has become customary to at least take a moment of remembrance for what this day represents for an important part of our society, and maybe chip in a bit of cash for donations to an indigenous community initiative or two.

You see, for many of us, and myself included, it is increasingly representing something dark and unhappy. Uncomfortably so.  A day that has resulted in misery for generations for a people whose land was taken from them forcibly, simply as they had a society that was of an alternate make-up to what the original settlers had.

Imagine, if you are reading this in the US, if Columbus’ Day was the United States’ national day of celebration. That’s the crux of what the issue is.


Yes, feel free to call us all ‘woke hipster douchebags, but the fact is,

Because they didn’t build permanent structures on this land, they therefore had their lands removed from them.

Because they didn’t have a formal written language [instead a very rich oral and pictorial language spanning back aeons], they had their lands removed from them.

Because they didn’t farm this land in the traditional agricultural Western sense, their land was taken.

This issue has become one of contention and debate.

The one thing that makes me grateful is that we have this opportunity to have a national dialogue about this. Many of Australia’s indigenous peoples abhor this day, and see it as [justifiably] a day of sorrow and remembrance as the start of the destruction of their culture.

We all seem to forget collectively the atrocities that have taken place in this country in the name of civilization and advancement.

The genocide of the Tasmanian indigenous peoples. The waves of disease and sickness of the indigenous peoples due to foreign diseases introduced into this country by settlers. The Stolen Generation, where mere children were forcibly removed from their families in order to grow up ‘white’ and ‘civilized’. The intervention in the Northern Territory in 2007 by the arch-conservative Howard government. The numerous massacres that have occurred.

These are all things that have happened that I feel we have all collectively swept under the rug. Is this the kind of nation we want to be a part of? Is it really what we stand for? Where we ignore the plight of the very people who were here before anyone else?

The upsetting thing is, the defence used by the crowd who do not want to change the date or even have this discussion at any cost is tinged with racism, anger and belittlement.

I don’t think I have heard yet a decent argument to keep the date where it is. Every argument and point in discussion has turned to the following:


That the do-gooders want to destroy this nation. 


The trope of the ‘woke SJW’s [Social Justice Warriors] aka ‘Do-Gooders’, a term I recall even from when I was a kid and my parents listened to talk back radio, is a point in contention and is a tried and tested stand by. The fact that so many who speak out for moving the date to a less controversial time tend to be younger and urbane has become a bone to pick with the no-move crew.

It’s become popular to use the stereotypical SJW inner city Greens or Labour voter and slam them, as well as paint them as a scapegoat for the fact that many people feel that these types are indelibly changing their society, one which they see as falling apart and losing its way.

This makes no sense, as these people are the ones who espouse free speech, yet decry those who want to initiate this national conversation.


The fact is, nothing stays the same. Nothing stays static. For the good of the future and the wellbeing of all, things change. It’s unavoidable. It’s how society develops and evolves.

It’s not the heyday of the 1950’s. Women are not bound by men’s attitudes, and strive hard for the same rights [and pay, still to this day] as men. LGBTIQ people are visible and have the same rights as all others and are making a big impact on society.

It shows just how afraid some are in Australia. How increasingly worried and paranoid some are becoming. Fearful for becoming out of touch; becoming irrelevant, and being pushed slowly but inevitably aside from channels of power.

Some of the arguments made touch upon this as an issue, or use the hipster, coffee slurping inner city dweller wanting to change everything as a negative, when in fact it is something to behold as those under 40 are becoming more and more interested and invested in talking about our national identity, about what our society should be like and represent.

Not to mention the plight of our indigenous peoples whom have been entirely forgotten in this whole debate. Many of us are concerned, and want to change things for the betterment of all.

Did we all forget our protester past, including those heady times in the 1970’s when support for change in the form of the Whitlam Government reached fever pitch? Or the Moratorium against the Vietnam War? Where is that youthful exuberance that was apparent then, now?

What do they think? Why are they so incensed and upset by this?


The same people who would have us keep the date then remark on my next point, that:


Our society is becoming too precious and sensitive. 

This has been an argument which plays into the above. It is without fail utilised by shock-jocks and certain news outlets of increasingly questionable repute to play into the fear that the segments of society that want this date changed, led by the villainous figures that are the Greens party, are indicative of a society they see as being too ‘precious’ and overly sensitive.

But yet again, this is the very core of people who cry out for freedom of speech, tell us again and again that they have the right to stand up for what they believe in, yet have no recourse or rebuttal that is not tinged with anger, discriminatory or vaguely offensive remarks.

There is a really jingoistic parochial nature to this argument.


I have yet to hear of a single clear and concise argument for keeping the date where it is, using logic, rational and analytical thought. 


There really does not seem to be one. Browsing relevant posts on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, any rebuttal and reply I have come across has had no conscionable, reasonable and intelligent point.

Really, there hasn’t. Majority of the replies seem to centre on the notion of ‘don’t be so sensitive and harden the fuck up.’

Going up the heights of Australian politics, the assistant Immigration Minister, of all people who should look at this national conversation with some attempted objectivity, had this to say:

‘The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, says he has not heard a “reasonable argument” to support changing the date of Australia Day, saying the national day should not be moved “just because we have some elements of our history that we’re not proud of”. -The Guardian, 16 January 2018

‘Some elements of our history that we are not proud of’, does not seem like a very strong or convincing argument in order to keep the day where it is. It’s a simple flat-out denial of this even being an issue. Despite this dark history that so many of us are not happy to sweep aside.

Again, we are in a free enough society where we can be honest about our politic. Yet, this statement discounts a very important aspect of our history, one of which many of us [myself included] had no real in-depth knowledge of, growing up.

It is a lazy and indolent argument and smacks of a dismissive arch-condescending tone.

But hey, that’s Australian politics for you.

Finally, the last point that is made at times by those whom want to keep the date where it is, is the following:


Australia Day has been a part of our national identity for a long time and should stay where it is because of this. 

…Despite the fact that it was only recognised as a national public holiday across the country from 1994 onwards, and has had a history of being a mainly New South Wales-related day of celebration for many years.

Despite the fact that it has jumped about for decades, and there was no official day of recognition for the formation of this country across the whole country until the 90’s. Some states took longer than others to take up this day as an official day of this nation.


Clearly my thoughts on this issue should be quite apparent now. To me, there is no great affront to changing this day to something more appropriate and less controversial. It might be a great change for us all.

And that is the thing I’m trying to get at. Sometimes change is an amazing thing.



You’ll still have your day off and a chance to go to the beach or get pissed or have a BBQ.

You’ll still be able to celebrate a day that would more correctly be about national unity for all, not for most.

So, what do you stand for?



2018, Life, Opinion, Thoughts


The one topic I wish I knew more about is something rather banal and dry, yet something I think would be incredibly useful for my husband and I with regards to our future.

The one topic I am talking about is finance and more specifically, investment and commerce and basically how money works.

I always thought looking back at my education as a kid and into adolescence, attending an all-boys Catholic school, that there were some major gaps in my education.

I attended a relatively privileged school back home in Sydney, Australia. It had large green lawns, well attended cricket grounds, rugby pitches, an Olympic swimming pool, indoor sports gym and buildings kept in perfect condition ranging from the 1920’s to modern expensive buildings.

It wasn’t a cheap school to attend, and this was reflected by its wide range of facilities and high degree of teaching, which resulted in majority of the school body going on to tertiary studies. Including me. Couple this with its ethos and focus on sport and you had what was essentially a hold-out and outpost of British post-colonialism.

This anachronistic feature of my school was even present up to when I graduated in 2001. Modernity was still something that was knowledgeably kept at bay by any means. Good old-fashioned English sports like Cricket and Rugby were praised; teachers were generally of the strict old men variety, mass was compulsory, and there was a school speedo swimmer uniform we had to wear. Which proved awkward when we all hit puberty.

My school was mired in old outmoded and anachronistic tradition that would really simply make me laugh today. Like calling every male teacher sir. Compulsory competition sports. Regular grooming inspections where Year Masters would inspect us all [arrayed in lines ie military parade] our haircuts and nails and shoes to ensure they were all up to scratch. Standing up whenever a teacher walks in the door. Obedience at any cost really was a key factor in our education, and punishment could be swift, harsh and severe.

All the more made obsolescent and yearning for an imperialist past by the apparatus of a School Captain, that upstanding individual who represented the best of the school, supported by all, including the school cadre of School Prefects, that vaunted group of senior students who demanded respect from all and sundry in the school, including nobody proles like yours truly.

Despite this environment and education, I still feel to this day that so much was missing. Namely, any practical education. So stuck in the past was this place that basically it was unspoken that men don’t pay the bills or cook for instance. OR do the housework. Only women and queers would.

Yet funnily enough here we all are fending for ourselves.

I really wish my school or schools in general had more foresight in teaching students things that will be valuable for them later on.

Specifically, from something simple like how to wash, iron and fold clothes. How to cook simple yet nutritious meals. And perhaps most importantly, how to start bank accounts, utilities, pay rent and bills.

In hindsight, it’s amazing that schools or at least schools where I’m from never taught this. For years afterwards in my case, the decade or so since graduation was an era of giving no fucks about the future, being a dirty little grub of a uni student and not to mention being very lax in my general hygiene and not looking after myself.

I wish I was taught how to pay those bills, how to manage and look after money and make it grow. It should be something that is compulsory and mandatory. In order to be an adult, you need to be able to be independent. Which means unfortunately, being able to budget and limit needless expenditures and not live in a state of abject poverty.

For a long time I didn’t know how to do any of this. It has taken me decades to learn how to be self-sufficient and how to budget. I really feel as though had I learnt this in my school days, no matter how boring it would be, it would serve me some use.

Joining and extending upon that is the topic of finance, and growing what you have. I really wish I knew more about this topic, and had someone knowledgeable in this topic instruct me on ways that I could grow my money; how to invest, how to contact a broker, what generally to invest in and what to do with said investments.

The only lessons I had on this topic was with an old friend of mine, who was a gay man in his 40’s whilst I was in my early 20’s who talked to me about this and gave me some advice. And that was it.

I’m at a point [34 in a month if you can believe it], where I am starting to think about this topic more and more. I want to ensure that I can be comfortable in the future and not worry overly about what my situation will be.

2017, America, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Thoughts, writing

My Writing Process.

My writing process is quite simple. I try to set aside some time, preferable each day, and preferably somewhere light and airy. My work space will typically be quite organised, clutter free and minimal in what needs to be there. The less ‘stuff’, the better.

I find that I write best and most effectively when I have a clean and clutter-free space. To me, this is paramount. My mind works best when everything is organised. I tend to concentrate more, gain inspiration and let those streams of thought enter into the room. I guess I’m a creature of order.

Some prefer a degree of chaos and a ‘organised mess’ as it were, in order to get inspired and to really get those creative juices flowing. To me, a chaotic mess means an unorganised mind, and an inability to analyze or complete tasks.

And that’s my biggest fear, as well as a massive motivator for having such a precise and agreeable workspace. It seems that without this, I can’t get a thing done.

Having only just recently moved countries, all the way to San Francisco from Sydney, finding a place to sit, work and process has proved to be challenging. For the last 6 weeks we were staying in a temporary flat, and to be honest, as lovely a building and place as it was, it felt uninspiring, dull and not amenable to me feeling comfortable or uplifted enough to write. It had an air of being generic. Knowing that its sole purpose as a temporary abode felt disheartening to me.

This space proved its worth as a short-term home, but even so, trying to get off my backside to write was incredibly difficult in this time.

I really did drop the ball. As part of my day, I wanted to write for even at least a half hour. I would bring my husband’s unused laptop downstairs to the luxuriously appointed common lounge, which looked like a ski lodge, replete with fireplace and comfy oversized chairs.

I’d set the laptop up on the communal table, get myself a glass of water, and try my hardest to put words to screen as it were. Yet I found myself more often than not simply staring at a blank screen, somehow unable to get thoughts into the laptop. I was at a roadblock.

And as it stands, in that whole time, I only ever managed to get two posts out.

In some six weeks.

Funnily enough, I ended up using my old back-up of a small Moleskine notebook and started writing thoughts in it every couple of days. It’s proved to be invaluable, having that small innocuous notebook around. I make sure to carry it about wherever I am.

I always remember my old photography teacher would say you must carry a camera everywhere you go in order to consider yourself a true photographer. Well, to be honest, I’m not going to lug an insanely cumbersome [not to mention expensive] piece of equipment about in my semi-sketchy neighbourhood.

Rather, I’m happy to carry about my small and highly portable notebook, which in a way is far more valuable than any camera.

We just finally found and moved into our new place, and have finished unpacking and setting it up. We’ve taken everything from home and brought it here, including my trusty desk and now ancient, ten-year old iMac which I’m using to write this post. Which to its credit, just keeps on truckin’ along.

My desk now resides in our bed room, a far cry from my little alcove back home. Our bedroom is a simple room with large windows that face the sun and let light great big dollops of light into the room. The room itself is simply appointed. Two bedside table flanking our bed, a mirror leaning against the wall and my desk next to that. All I have on my desk besides my computer is a desk lamp, an old camera as a reminder of the past, a hard drive, and a glass of water [on a coaster of course].

I feel some affinity with my favourite author, Haruki Murakami, whom also keeps a quite understated and a simple set-up desk. Everything he needs is there, as well as some decorative items of significance. There are no piles of books or paper, or anything that appears out of its place. I feel as though his desk is therefore a reflection of his manner of writing, which is everything I admire: simple yet effective, minimal and understated yet so subtle and with an intrinsic inspired genius who will make you spellbound in his prose.

I love his writing, as he makes the simple act of cooking a meal for one alone a grand affair.

My workspace, as you can see, is my writing process incarnate. If I’m somewhere attractive, relatively peaceful and homely, I am able to get myself writing and more importantly, posting for the world to see.

If you write, what is your process? Like me, do you need your own space, your own aerie, or do you prefer to be out in the world?

2017, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Opinion, Thoughts

Motivated Me.

Motivation for me unfortunately comes from a place of fear. A place of failure. A place of fearing the mediocre, and honestly from the fact that my life may not amount to much.

I grew up in an era where we were all told that we could be anything we wanted, that all we had to do was try our best and it would happen.

Years later, I feel that this is not the case at all, and that this mentality is dangerous and in fact a detriment to the normal development of a human being as a fully-independent, functioning member of society.

Unfortunately, it seems that you can’t be anything you want. Yes, you have to work excruciatingly hard to get to where you may want to be, but the fact remains that not everyone is born equal or with the same opportunities, which in turn means that even in the best petri-dish of formation, with the ripest, most perfect of conditions, one still might not get what one feels they may, however rightly, deserve, through their hard work or determination.

The world these days feels worn. Humanity feels underappreciated, stomped down, oppressed and waxing lyrical about the almost impossibilities that are real which once were simple and taken for granted. A period of malaise.

I know, for example, that I most likely will never own a house, or flat, or even just a piece of land. This isn’t a necessarily a determinate factor in success at life, yet for many of us, owning something like a house or flat equals security and a future. This isn’t me simply giving up, rather it’s me being honest and real about life and how the world works. I know, it comes across that I’m becoming yet another jaded and bitter inconsolable 30-something, who feels as though their best is behind them, and only negativity lies ahead. Maybe I am a little bitter. Perhaps I see the truth of the matter in this case as opposed to a naive fallacy. The truth of the matter is that the universe really does not ‘owe’ you anything.

It comes back to my previous point. A generation expecting the most out of life including instant success, prosperity and not to mention sexual fulfillment, attraction and gratuity are on the onset of taking over the reins, as it were. We’re on the cusp of heading and being the group that runs the world. And this terrifies me. What exactly terrifies me is that we are a generation of idiosyncrasy and contradictions, and we will one day be holding the controls. Sometimes it feels as though the most successful in my generation aren’t the ones with the knowledge, skills, nous and intelligence, rather, the most successful are the ones who are attractive, great at knowing what they’re talking about even if they may not necessarily know what they’re talking about at all, and have umpteen thousand followers on Instagram. I really do get worried that the complete self-entitlement and self-indulgent are themata that will be marked on my generation indefinitely. We expect so much, yet are given so little. We can be self-serving, indolent, lazy and lack at times a moral compass and empathy, yet we do work very hard, in many cases for little or no gain at all. Similarly to the Baby Boomer generation, we are all about self-expression, self-discovery and fulfillment in life. Many of us aim to be the best version of us. Yet unlike previous generations, we don’t seem to be getting what we want out of life. There are so many of us [myself included] who really are struggling, and feel as though we are hitting our heads against the wall through trying to break through it. I know so many people of my age group who are systematically and constantly preoccupied with a lack of career, meaningful relationship, lack of direction an meaning in one’s life. So where does our motivation come from? Do many of us feel that motivation is something that is self-entitled, that is owed to us? That by going through the motions of working hard and pushing ourselves the universe will magically simply manifest whatever we desire and are working towards? Are we kidding ourselves with this idea that the universe simply provides whatever we ask and have need of it?

Motivation for me is something tricky and not constant. It rises and falls, ebbs and flows. Some weeks I am the most prolific I’ve ever been. I can write and write and go to the gym daily and clean and tidy and do laundry, and other times less so. Such as this instance. I haven’t posted on my blog in two months. I can’t say why. Laziness I guess. With a pinch of too much harsh self-criticism thrown in. But hey, at least I am aware of this, and knowingly accept it. Now the hard part, which is actually working on my motivation, and simply getting things done for myself.

2017, Australia, Gay, Gayblog, Life, Thoughts

Manifesto 2017 Revisited.

Back at the start of 2017, whilst on holidays down the coast over New Year’s, I decided to write a Manifesto to live by for the year, as opposed to a set of resolutions. They were a mixed bag of practical, career-based, emotional and personal concepts and ways in which I want to improve myself or commit myself to.

As the year is just about done (!) I wanted to look back and see how my tenets have held up, and reflect as to whether or not I have stuck by them and upheld them in my life.

Manifesto 2017

I will not be taken advantage of. My life is finite and fragile.

When I wrote this, I felt quite taken advantage of by some individuals in my life, in different ways. I was feeling slighted and hurt. I feel that I have improved somewhat, yet I still find it challenging to stand up for myself and stick to my decisions.

I will be honest about my feelings. I won’t hide behind half-truths and passive aggressiveness.

In 2017 I have come really far in this field. I am far more open than I have been previously. I am able to communicate far better and more effectively, and I am willingly pouring my heart and feelings out to those that love me. The challenge has been those hard talks that we all need to have, which can be difficult and gut wrenching, but I am learning to front any issue or problem head on.

I will take my career, or lack thereof, more seriously, and give it focus and thought. In this year, I will knuckle down and work out 3 things: What do I want to do, how do I do it, and where.

I’ve floundered in the career aspect. At this point, having moved away, I was still at the same job plodding along. However, this is mainly due to the unforeseen at the time development of moving to San Francisco, which has meant that there is little point to switching jobs. In a wider context, I still am grappling with just what it is I truly want to do with my life and career. This is something that I am consistently thinking on, yet find myself at a dead-end with regards to what it is that truly would make me happy. It is definitely an area I must work on harder.

I will say yes only when it pleases me to do so, and no when it doesn’t please me to not do so. I won’t let myself be swayed for the sake of a good time or fun.

This year, I have taken this tenet to heart. I haven’t put myself in situations I don’t feel comfortable in, yet have still experienced and done quite a bit. If anyone pressures me into doing something, I am able to firmly say no without guilt or FOMO.

I will not listen to or accept idle gossip.

I still easily fall for what others may tell me about people. I feel that I am incrementally improving and learning not to listen to gossip or dish gossip out, and the major method for me to do this is to fill my life with more of what I find fulfilling or fun: spending time with loved ones, reading more, writing, geeking out and playing Dungeons And Dragons, exercising etc.

I will not lead others on, or let myself be lead on by others.

I have tried my hardest to do this. To state intentions clearly, no matter the fallout or how much it might hurt to. To lay everything out and say ‘No, I am not free for A B or C’. Unfortunately, not all friendships can be maintained, and not all people I have met can be a part of my life for whatever reason. There’s simply been far too much that has been happening. Getting married in New Zealand. Moving away halfway across the world and leaving my home that I have lived in for the majority of my life. It has been a challenge to say to people who I may not have time for them, to have to under promise or decline social gatherings as I simply am lacking any free time.

I will invest my time into those who will reciprocate.

Both my husband and I have improved on this. We are both vary aware of past instances where we have befriended people who have taken and not given. This has helped us both as we have strengthened our friendships with those who give back and reciprocate as well as protecting us from those who may not.

In 2017, I will surround myself with those whom inspire me, and hopefully I am able to inspire them in return.

2017 has been a year of big earth-moving changes as well as inspiration and new energy. I have met some fantastic people who have inspired me, and whom I look up to, as well as continuing relationships with those who have continually done so. On the other hand, I have had some great conversations where I have given advice and thoughts to others.

I will create, produce and generate more. I won’t second guess myself, will output more, and worry less.

My creative output has increased. I have written more and posted more frequently. I still find an obstacle in posting and fretting and worrying about the quality of what I produce, however this is happening less so. I am learning that to be prolific and diligent and practicing this craft in itself means that I am improving. I know my work is improving little by little, and each time I write or post my voice and tone are becoming easier to voice through written thought.

I will not think less of myself compared to others simply because they may have more followers on social media than I.

I am to this day struggling with this. I still can’t get round the fact that I am inherently somehow less than others whom may have thousands more followers or interaction with their social media. Especially in context in the Gay world where those who are perfect in terms of looks are held above all the rest and seemingly given all the perks. I am learning my own self worth, but I am finding it incredibly debilitating.

I will remember to breathe.

Taking a moment to realign and breathing when I feel stressed or anxious is a quick and easy fix for me, I do it at work or at home, and count down from ten in the fresh air and sunshine if there is any. It has helped immeasurably.

I will use the block button on apps more, and argue online less. Low-resolution profile images a good opponent for arguments does not make.

That ‘Block’ button has seen quite a lot of use this year. I have learned to negate other’s potential hurtful nature and power over me by blocking. To not see the abuse written online means I won’t think on it and it won’t put my in a downward spiral. I don’t deserve to be called names, I won’t be called names or have abuse hurled at for whatever reason.

I will not succumb to thinking of myself or others merely as a ‘brand.’

In this day and age it seems I am more and more surrounded by people who think of themselves as a ‘brand’ or ‘influencer.’ I still think of this concept as incredibly toxic and bad for the soul. Not to mention just so silly. Despite the contradiction of me stating this and posting on a personal blog which is branded, [believe me I’m well aware of the irony], I refuse to think of myself and my social media outlets as an exercise in marketing and PR. I write and post first and foremost for me as I enjoy it.

I won’t forget to take my meds.

Some days I’ve forgotten and it’s a disaster. Still working on this though.

I will learn to like myself more, and hate myself less.

I’m becoming more comfortable in my skin, and more confident. This might be from me getting older and more self-assured, coupled with being active and hitting the gym. It’s been really nice to get any compliments, I still have trouble believing them but I’m learning to take a compliment when it is given.

I will write/photograph/contribute to the greater world because I am compelled to do so, not for likes, comments or the affirmation of others.

This is the core of what I am doing. I write because I want to, because I need to, and because like in the above statement, I am compelled to, as though something invisible within me is driving me to create. I do all of this as an exercise in well-being and perhaps in the hope that what I write can start a dialogue or interaction, not for the sake of others validation of me.

How are your New Year’s resolutions or manifesto’s coming along?