Our cats don’t live past six. We don’t see them die. The forest takes them. We’ve heard your cats live longer? Do you not have forests?
The heads have been taken from the chickens. We know what this means. We know what waits in the woods. There’s no fence deep enough, or tall enough. All we can do is hope it’s had it’s fill.
In the winter the trees cry. If you’re out at night, and it’s so cold you feel your lungs freeze under your skin, the trees will cry for you too.
You don’t know winter roads. They don’t know you. Or your white car. You’re not from here. I don’t care what your license plate says. That’s a white car. You’re not from here.
I see your boots. They shine. They’re meant for horses, not mud. I know you are a liar.
Winter is silent. You forget the world make sound. Winter is long.
In spring you realize something has been living under the road. When you step on the dirt, it feels hollow, like the side of a dead animal. It’s going to eat your Mercedes.
The mud is two feet deep. Don’t try to make it home. You won’t.
In the spring we bleed the trees. The blood is sweet, and flows better when it freezes at night. There are many celebrations.
We don’t lock our doors here. I don’t know how to lock the doors here. I have never seen a key.
The sun finally shines in May. The snow is finally gone. Everyone smiles. Everyone. We can’t stop. We can feel the sun again.
In the summer, clouds sleep on the roads.
It’s very beautiful here, we know. You’ve stopped your car. You don’t even realize it, we know. You’re in the middle of the road. You don’t realize it is a road anymore. Not a real road. The beauty is all there is for you now. You step out of your car. You can’t remember where you came from or where you were going. “Out-of-staters,” we mutter as we resist pounding the horn.
In the fall, the trees catch fire. Those we bled burn the brightest.
the pacific highway is constantly upgrading. the roadworks never end. the road stretches into the distance, quiet. there are no workers, but the machines still dig.
you log into facebook. people you may know has updated. a girl is friends with your cousin. your cousin is friends with your boss. your boss is friends with the girl’s brother. they all live three hours away. they all know who you are. you do not know them.
Grafton is inland, but there is nothing to the east. do not ask what is there, only pray you will never find out.
city people ask you where you’re from. you tell them the name of your town. they have never heard of it. neither have you.
the villages on the coast brag about the beach. you visit, once. the ground is covered in sand. seagulls tear hot chips from your fingers.the people are covered in sand too. none of them wear shoes. there is a vacancy in their eyes.
don’t linger too long at the Taree service center. everybody is dressed in yellow and red. the town is yellow and red. yellow and red sponsors the town. yellow and red owns the town. yellow and red is the town. Taree is McDonalds.
the islands off the coast are empty. only one has a lighthouse. we say nobody lives there. we know that it blinks at night.
choosing a university is difficult, even with your regional points. you could brave the cold winters of Armidale, or escape to the drunk paradise of the Gold Coast. quick, you only have 3 seconds to decide, or Lismore will be your only option.
Mullumbimby doesn’t exist. Iggy Azalea never grew up there. The beaches were beautiful, but it couldn’t escape the shame. Mullumbimby doesn’t exist.
the Great Dividing Range looms over you. waterfall way is the only way up to Dorrigo. your parents warn you never to go west alone.
state of origin night, and all the houses are painted blue. all the faces are painted blue. except for the children. they don maroon. they have never known victory.
your local shopping centre has no escalators, if you even have one at all. you buy your clothes from target country. unless you live in Coffs Harbour. in that case, good luck.
it’s July, and the hipsters, goths, indie girls, and tired dads swarm up the highway. they ask you for directions. splendour, they say. it’s in the grass. you only nod blankly. there is no splendour here. only mud, and rain.
there’s a roundabout in the middle of the highway. and a 40km school zone. this is the main route between Brisbane and Sydney. only the strong will survive Urunga to Nambucca.
Russell Crowe’s house in Nana Glen is empty. he only ventures home to visit his parents. there is nobody living there, but that doesn’t stop the sightings.
You visit Casino for Beef Week. You see the Beef Queen crowned. You clap, as the cows surround the regent. All hail the queen of beef.
you wait at your local bus stop, for the once-a-day service. it never comes. it was never going to.
working a shift at your local bowling club, you notice the customers ageing. they age, and you are afraid. everyone is old. they all order chicken schnitzel. you must send them to Port Macquarie. it is the only place for them.
everybody loves the big banana. you are proud of the big banana. everybody wants to visit the big banana. nobody wants to leave the big banana. nobody is allowed to leave the big banana. everybody want to stay at the big banana. everybody must stay at the big banana. it’s a whole bunch of fun.
you moved to the north coast when you were young. you know your way around. it becomes your home. soon, you forget any other places exist. you stop visiting Brisbane or Sydney. you have never been further north than byron bay, never past the nymboida, you are scared to step foot in forster-tuncurry. you were born on the north coast.
Alice Neel (US 1900-1984)
One of the last paintings Neel completed before her death. This painting depicts her daughter-in-law Ginny, mourning about her mother, who had died the previous year. Neel knew her own time was almost up, for she had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. For her the painting was thus a glimpse into how her family might respond after her death.
A humorous aphorism attributed to E. B. White summarizes the following distinctions:
To foreigners, a Yankee is an American. To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner. To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner. To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander. To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter. And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and a co-author of the English language style guideThe Elements of Style, which is commonly known as “Strunk & White”.
A collection of portraits of Union soldiers who served with Company H and Company K of the 13th Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War paired with later portraits of them in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
“Hi my name is Bandit and I am an 8 yr old Staffie. I love people, but I would like a quieter home to spend my golden years in. I am a major snuggle bug and after missing out on love for 8 years I am expecting lots of attention in my new home.”
OPPORTUNITY ALERT: VSC has a special fellowship earmarked for black women! Get on it. (And there are fellowships for other folks, too.)
Voices Rising Fellowship This fellowship is for an African American woman fiction writer with demonstrable financial need. Given in honor of women writers of color such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Zora Neale Hurston, whose voices have inspired so many, this award also comes with a $2,000 stipend to help offset costs associated with the residency, such as travel, childcare, lost wages, rent, etc..
More details here! http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/fellowships