feathers&fables


hitting the books (it’s 2011)
March 2, 2011, 8:54 pm
Filed under: f-f-f-fiji, the beginning and the end

I wanted to recommend this beautiful piece of Australian literature by Craig Silvey. Jasper Jones is about  prejudice, misunderstanding, race, things lost, things found and the small town experience. It was the first book I finished in 2011 and I sincerely hope that it has set the bar not only for my own reading habits this year, but for Australian teenage literature also.

I slacked off on reading last year. Despite having so many opportunities to just sit, relax and read a book in 2010  (on the beach, on a mat, in bed, in the sun, on the couch), I have to say I did not seize them (note previous post about using alone time constructively).  In 2009 I listed all the books I read and the total came to 13. In 2010 I only read 6. When I tallied them up I was shocked/dismayed/appalled but go easy- living island life has been as thought provoking and entertaining as any piece of literature and I’ve connected with people and places through performance,  weekend getaways, fashion, food, kava, and rum. (in no particular order of frequency or importance.)

Reading isn’t a popular activity in the Pacific. Information is spread by word of mouth, radio is the best form of communication particularly in a country still based strongly on village culture and stories are still told through cultural dance and art. Recreational reading, reading for work, reading reports- it takes a long time, there are other things that need doing, and (particularly with reading for work or reading reports) there are other ways to connect with people and resolve problems or issues within the community. Speaking with a friend last week we identified the above points and then went on to discuss a culture of not reading versus the nature of  work done by NGO’s and UN agencies. We talked about the ‘high tech solutions for low tech people’ that most of these agencies adopt instead of making their message as clear and as simple as possible using the basics. What happened to simplicity? What happened to taking advantage of already existing, and well functioning, infrastructure to solve issues or in this case, when did we stop talking to people and start handing them 50 page reports with pretty covers and binding knowing they aren’t going to read it? (furthermore, since when were reports the ‘action’ part of development?- that’s another ‘post’!)

Going back to recreational reading, the University of the South Pacific is this year strengthening its Literature department- it will be interesting to look at the kind of literature being promoted through the school (I am trying to get my hands on a syllabus) and how literature, as well as the course itself, is being promoted and marketed to students in this region.  Will USP work with high schools in the region to promote recreational reading and therefore an interest in literature? Will it encourage students in the region to critically engage with literature or be passive participants? What themes will the school explore more thoroughly (postcolonial? diasporic?) and where will this literature come from- Pacific? Australian? American? Indian? In a region where literacy levels are low and access to books and reading materials is limited, is there need for a Literature department?

I hope so.

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killing shit
October 13, 2010, 7:25 am
Filed under: dear diary, f-f-f-fiji, hit me on the cantina

Herein lies a centipede- found crawling down a wall, coaxed to the floor, squashed with a rubber thong, wrapped up in newspaper, and burnt. With fire. (Exit centipede.)

Killing a bug is ok with me if it’s a cockroach or a poisonous spider, wiping ants off a kitchen bench is also ok. But squashing a centipede and then burning it in newspaper seemed a little excessive/unnecessary. Also add in that the murderer was Island Boy, (a quiet, reasonable, gentle man) and I was equal parts shocked, dismayed and intrigued. On a much smaller scale it reminded me of a friend of mine (also a reasonable guy) who, when walking on an Australian beach with his girlfriend, saw a brush turkey run out of the scrub. On seeing brush turkey he charged straight for it, caught it and then whipped it around, breaking its neck in one ‘fowl’ swoop. He then dropped the dead bird and turned back ‘all nonchalant-like’ to his stunned gf.  Island Boy may not have murdered the centipede in such circumstances but like a brush turkey just doing his thing on the beach, what’s the real threat of a centipede just doing his thing on the bedroom wall?? Aren’t centipedes kind of like caterpillars? And aren’t caterpillars just hungry for yummy fruits??

And then I googled the shit out of centipedes and found that big ass centipedes can cause big ass anaphylactic shock. While unlikely to be fatal to adults or those with no allergy to bee stings, they can also cause severe swelling, fever and chills- and according to Island Boy these symptoms are best controlled with onion flesh. I wonder if my friends gf is feeling as grateful for having him around…. xx



blog neglect & holiday pangs
August 30, 2010, 3:07 am
Filed under: b&w, dear diary, f-f-f-fiji

i strongly doubt that anybody actually reads this. still, i feel genuine guilt when i don’t tend to feathers&fables on a regular basis. how hard is it to rant about something and post it up with a semi-hipster picture that doesn’t belong to me? not hard at all. lately i’m feeling a bit of disconnect.  my work environment is somewhat toxic, i’m not particularly enjoying my apartment, and fiji is starting to look more like reality every day. my mum and sister are coming to visit me next week so i’ll be taking a week off to lounge by the pool of five star resorts and drink cocktails and take afternoon naps and talk shit and just generally chill the fuck out. perhaps that’s all i need to start feeling better.



cheeseburger heist
August 16, 2010, 1:43 am
Filed under: dear diary, f-f-f-fiji, wild things

no mcdonald’s for a year- that’s the pact i’ve got going on with part time friend, mic cro. this means no cheeseburgers, big mac’s, quarter pounders, fries, apple pies or hashbrowns. this particularly hurts when hungover, stoned or just feeling the need for a gherkin/onion/tomato sauce/beef patty hit. there’s also no kfc although suva offers other poultry delights in the form of chicken express and wishbone with the latter being the secret recipe of choice. whoever succumbs to the craving and breaks the pact has to do naked star jumps in the main park in town with mcdonald’s conveniently located right next door…



tropical chills
July 27, 2010, 3:49 am
Filed under: dear diary, f-f-f-fiji, the beginning and the end

it’s getting cold in suva. and by cold i mean 25 degree highs and 23 degree lows. but i’m wearing a jumper and wish i’d brought some tracksuit pants with me. i’d also like a doona if it’s not too much to ask.

life here is quickly becoming routine- i go to sleep, i wake up, i hit the snooze button, i wait until the last possible minute to get out of bed and start getting ready (i.e. frantically scaling the room in a search for clean, appropriate work clothes),  i order the same coffee from the same coffee place, i spend too much money on take out lunches every day and swear that each will be the last, i make open ended commitments i do not intend to meet although the ones i do meet generally involve alchohol, i don’t drink enough water, i go home in a taxi after dark and crawl into bed, i watch an episode of my latest tv show obsession, i go to sleep. all while smoking too many cigarettes. not that i’m complaining.

in all honesty, there are soooooo many things happening that are driving out the ordinary- things like building cubby houses in the lounge room, Indian weddings, fish and chips on the sea wall, friends in high places, visitors from home, farm animals, geckos in my bed, stove top kettles, island getaways……………xx



ford perfect
July 7, 2010, 11:32 am
Filed under: dear diary, f-f-f-fiji, the beginning and the end

house party, robbery, lights at night, cracked floor, staring at the sun, space/time continuum, bugging me out, eternal recurrence, keeping in time, new crews, new tunes, parental visits, get out of town, insufficient funds, yoga, possessions, theft, culture, roots manuva, shower tap, bills, lightning, static, patterns, show boat, gift horse, play mate, grime, wash, healthy, pen, tattoo, puffing, rushing, wayward thinking, rich, bo-bo, poor, nothing, IVF twins, knowing shit about shit, homework, trapped, powder, tripping, clean sheets, rain, smoking trees, juggle, envy, masquerade, hating, can’t stop it, let go, tea and afternoon high, the gate, compton, fear, two piece, two step, rasta. xx



FINDING NEW PLACES TO HIDE
June 29, 2010, 6:40 am
Filed under: dear diary, f-f-f-fiji

sunny suva, toothache, visitors, bananas, bleaching your white shirts, drawing time, miss miss, gypsy memory, time on your hands and on your mind, closing the curtains, the b-team, ghost stories, aids babies, six-thirty-seven, life in kitsch, check one two, the jug lady, honeymoons, rushing out, blocked drains, cleaning frenzies, hairy moments, whispering, race you, vinaka vakalevu, wananavu. xx