Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When compasses go crazy

Hi again Cormac, I'm so selfishly happy you've decided to start another site.  And welcome to Coraline (or is it Nicole) in her new role as co-moderator.  I'm confused.  Anyhow, here's my first story for the new site, "Icarus' Flight to Perfection", it's Premiere Session, October 2010.  I've chosen to write using the four words: Trip. Triptych. Pick. Tropic.  Here it is:

A trip to the tropics.  North Queensland.  As the train sped up the coastline, the accumulations of my old life began to fall away.  A sense of freedom seeped in with every mile.

Magnetic Island, or Maggie as I call her, drew me to herself at these times of my life.  Times of recovery, healing, refreshment.

But there was someone I wanted to visit on the way.  A friend from down south had married and was living in one of the sugarcane towns.  Married.  This was not the woman I had known.  She had been a free-loving, free-spirited hippie; the one who had admonished me for being jealous when she enticed my boyfriend into her bed.  "We" don't try to possess people she had said.  Our "set" was open-minded, new-thinking, experimental.

She had gone north for work, met a local mill worker and married.  A jealous, monogamous guy, not one of the "set".  She was now trotting out localisms with ease, like describing a young woman as "the town bike".  She had slotted right in without a backward glance at her old liberal ways.  Living her cane town life, she had taken on a cane town persona.  It seemed that, wherever she went, she mirrored the values and ideas of those around her.  She needed acceptance.

Like a three-sided triptych, it was "Take your pick - which face do you want me to show to the world today?"  Or a Rubik's cube with endless combinations of clicks, she was capable of chameleon-like changes to suit her surroundings.

But she didn't need to recolour herself like this.  She had a lot to offer from inside her own being, and this continued to shine through.  She had a beautiful nature and I'd learnt so much from her about organic gardening and vegetarian cooking.  I wish I could have told her that at the time, but I was just confused then.  My swirling thoughts and feelings have only now coalesced into words.

After a few days in the cane town, I continued on my way north.  Captain Cook had so named Magnetic Island in 1770 because his ship's compasses went awry as they passed by.  My mind's compasses too were now all over the place.  I didn't know north from south, east from west, so to speak.  But dear old Maggie would enclose me in her arms and work in the opposite way for me.  A few weeks amongst her huge boulders and blue bays helped to sort through my swirling thoughts and put things right again.


  1. Nice one. I love stories showing how people change over the years, and sometimes grow up to be contradictions of themselves, in order to gain acceptance.

    Congratulations, you will obviously have the first story posted, and welcome to new site.

  2. I like the obvious contradictions that some of us just switch to without thinking and the confusion many of us have as Life throws it's curves at us. You created both very well. Nobody takes the same trip even though we all end up in the same place.

  3. I'm with Cormac and MRM, the contradictions flow so well and give you the lost feeling that the character is truly trying to deal with. A great piece here Gabby and thanks for joining the site!



As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...