Enhancing life

When a person dies, they leave behind, for those who knew them, an emptiness, a space: the space has contours and is different for each person mourned. This space with its contours is the person’s likeness and is what the artist searches for when making a living portrait. A likeness is something left behind invisibly. John Berger,  ‘Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Visible’ It’s been hard to write, evidently. It’s March. This morning I was over on Plashing Vole’s…

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Stop it, step in

If you are white, you can make sure where you work, doesn’t do this, look around you and if you see something happening stop it or step in. Colleen Lavelle, Subversive Racism, Aug 2016 1 I’m sitting in the rain in my car listening to the radio, waiting for my daughter. There’s a senior corrections officer from the Northern Territory on the phone to the radio station explaining why restraints are used on “challenging prisoners”. He’s talking about Malcolm Morton,…

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Service as a Service

There is a lot of activity that an academic undertakes that acts as ‘glue’ holding together the whole scholarly practice. Martin Weller, Scholarship Can’t Afford Itself, July 2015 But after what happened at the Tour, I need to prove myself on a bigger scale. Tejay van Garderen, 2015 Two stories about the glue that holds together the whole scholarly practice. 1. It’s 2007. I’m in my office. I’m always in my office. Looking back, I don’t remember much else about that…

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Words for the way we talk

1. January 28th, 1986 the Challenger Space Shuttle finally took off after many delays and concerns about safety. The parents of female astronaut Christa McAuliffe were watching from the stands, news cameras trained on their upturned faces as the shuttle exploded.  “Etched forever” is a meticulously pieced together account of the reactions of all those who prepared for the launch and then witnessed the explosion, from the NASA ground support to the families to the President to all the bystanders. So many stories…

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Writing and dying

This weekend the situation in Indonesia has escalated. It shouldn’t have come to this, and yet here we are. Networks and timelines are filled with expressions of horror and sadness that the executions are going ahead. Families and loved ones are racing to get there in time; governments all over the world are appealing and protesting. The lawyers are giving last minute radio interviews, exhausted. A consignment of plastic chairs being ferried to the prison is photographed and worried over. Who are these chairs for?   Those who…

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Vigil

End of life illness stories come to this moment: the final period of waiting and staying awake. Sleeping mats on the floors of hospital rooms, dozing in chairs, holding hands, keeping shifts and vigils, hard choices, knowing what is to come. There’s an intense wish repeatedly expressed to get there in time: for the living to be present with the dying, to let them know that they are safe and cared for, and that those they love are safe and can…

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The reality

Even though I know what the reality is, it gives me hope, it gives me a purpose, it gives me something to do. However little time I have. — Myuran Sukumaran, Australian artist Here’s a story that ought to be filling us all with hope: a big tale of resilience, creativity, cooperation and opportunity, driven by a remarkable and gifted Australian. Look at him here: he is young, and healthy, and doing so much good. He has time left. If I was his mother watching…

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Whatever it takes

“We will do whatever it takes to make Medicare sustainable … If we don’t, with an ageing population, we will find ourselves in 10 or 20 years with a system that will collapse under its own weight.” Peter Dutton, Minister for Health,  The Australian November 27 With things in the world as they are, two things to celebrate, and Australian health care reform. First, something really great: the women of Elcho Island mentioned a couple of posts ago succeeded in their…

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Showing up

Go son, go down to the water / And see the women weeping there Then go up into the mountains / The men, they are weeping too Nick Cave, “The Weeping Song“ 1. It’s a day for weeping, as it turns out. All over the place, so much grieving. Lives brought up short abruptly and in shockingly public ways right in the middle of being lived, and other lives ending privately with some warning.  Barely born ones touching down lightly and leaving us at once and very…

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With our own meaning

I met for the first time the essential questions of my own mortality … None of us have 300 years. The terror that I conquered in those three weeks left me with a determination and freedom to speak as I needed, and to enjoy and live my life as I needed to for my own meaning. Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals Short version: it’s about this. Please donate. Long version Last week was national Go Home on Time Day, and for…

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