Elusive as fuck

One day looks like the other day
Looks the same as tomorrow

Eat shit bullshit repeat

Joy is pretend
Found between the sofa cushions with a bunch of stale unsalted peanuts and one sugared almond
Joy’s the sugared almond
Costs a bunch and rots your teeth
Joy’s elusive, not an unsalted peanut which is everywhere

Like a sugared almond, Joy is for special occasions
And they’re distant as a memory

Repetition is a pack of unsalted peanuts
Always on sale
The olds buy them in bulk packets with bland labels
Everyone can afford repetition
‘s’just that I don’t want it
Day as today as yesterday as tomorrow.

Jealousy and Disappointment

Today I cried and made a choice.

Today I chose the wrong way but I know I chose it.

There’s nothing like walking into your bedroom to find your lover staring at the wall, defeated.
Because I made a choice.
He didn’t like.

At least I’m not a lamp made of skin.
I heard this. I don’t own it. I’m not Jewish.

But I’m told I lived in a kind of concentration camp.
I feel nervous at this because I’m not sure anyone is allowed to own the idea of the concentration camp unless they are Jewish.

But it resembled one – albeit with food and school and the rest of it.

My therapist describes my concentration camp as a solitary life, where a child cooks for herself from the age of six, where she has no friends, no family, not until after 5. Where bullies were the norm. Where she sat at the front of the bus, the low seat next to the driver. Where she was the last kid off the one hour bus ride home.

My therapist tells me that my concentration camp looks lonely. Where the adults are unpredictable, even in anger. Anger involves oranges flung at mum. Unpredictable anger where a car is driven towards a pole. Unpredictable anger who didn’t come home until late at night. Mum was sad an lonely and thought she was responsible for killing her mother, but didn’t worry about how she was killing me.

I don’t know who I am. Stories flood my brain and I don’t know what’s real and what’s a lie. My dreams feel more real than my memories, at times.

I made a choice tonight and I’ll live with it.

I grabbed a bottle and chose to drink it.

Should I feel bad that I feel great for the first time in months?

How did I make my therapist cry?
What does it mean?
I feel like everything I tell him is a lie.


What is it?

I’m told no at every turn.
And it makes me 15 again, want to say “fuck you, even if I agree, I’m saying yes”.

No to painting the bathroom blue.
No to more cats.
No to more dogs.

No to making.

Making decisions is hard!

This morning (a Sunday) I made the decision to stay in bed and read, fart around on Facebook, write a pros and cons list, watch my dogs sleep, play with the cat until she tries to kill me… you get the drift.

Because, seriously, making decisions is hard!



Fucking Mercury Retrograde!

So I don’t usually believe in astrology.

I know that certain signs conform to certain traits, but I certainly don’t read my daily astrology because, who cares?

But I DO believe in TWO major astrological phenomena:
1. The Saturn Return.
2. Mercury Retrograde.

Why? Well I reckon it’s because these are the two stages of life that actually manage to FUCK UP YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. And seeing that Mercury is my ruling planet, I’m easily influenced whether I know it or not.

What’s happened to make me want to say this shit?

  1. I was alone 3 weeks ago and started to cry. I’m on anti-depressants and have NOT cried in years. So it freaked me out and I decided I wanted to die so I drank a tonne-load and took a tonne-load of random pills. Luckily, I sent fucked up messages to my friends and they passed them onto Jeff. One of my bestest friends and, well, she’s like a daughter, came over and let herself in the house with her keys and sat with me with her new girlfriend until Jeff came home.
  2. A week ago, I was feeling so amazing that I decided to drink and take an extra dose of my antidepressants so I could feel more amazing for longer. (You know like when you take E and then chase it with another after another looking for the initial high?) Instead, I became psychotic. I screamed like a banshee, bit and hit my husband, screamed for the neighbours because I was convinced he was trying to kill me (he was not), he called 000 and the ambulance came and took me to hospital. I was a version of me I haven’t been since I was 17-19. It wasn’t even scary to me. It was just a real feeling. I simply stopped caring what happened to me. I begged for my beautiful Holly to be there and she came without a thought. Jeff tells me that I flipped off the (very nice) nurses when I discovered they could not keep me in hospital because I was there voluntarily.
  3. I went to a drug and alcohol centre to be interviewed for options. I am desperate now.

Those are the three crazy events. Also, though,

4. I also heard back from a local writing mentorship group I’d applied for that I have been shortlisted for their mentoring group and went to an interview yesterday.

See? Mercury Retrograde! Anything is possible.

The first day back at work after the hospital visit was hard. I didn’t know how to behave like a normal person after what happened. How do you just act normal after that?

I also didn’t know how to thank and apologise to the people who were there for me. I still don’t know.

I’ve learned a few big things.

  1. I used to love making things. After the first nervous breakdown three weeks ago, I sewed and crocheted like a crazy person in a crazy ward. I’ve missed this shit.
  2. I’ve decided to live/eat/be locally. There is an amazing community in Melbourne’s West, many of whom I’ve met through our shop and various businesses in the neighbourhood.
  3. I want to make a chicken coop and I want chickens and home made eggs cos they’re rad.
  4. We’re eating at home more, thanks to Hello Fresh. Seriously, we haven’t thrown away food since we started our food box/recipe deliveries. Get on it.
  5. I’ve been to my psychiatrist 3 or 4 times in the last couple of weeks and given the cost (no private health insurance so that’s around $140 out of pocket every visit), I wonder how people who have little income can manage their mental health.
  6. I need to drink less. Drinking is my current habit of choice. I’ve had many that I won’t bore myself with. Reminders are so yesterday.
  7. Facebook is great for communicating with actual friends and for asking questions of groups you’re into. Everything else is bad news for me, so I’ve removed the visible widget from my phone.
  8. A friend’s sister killed herself a few weeks ago and talking to her made me realise how hard suicide is on the people who remain. Suicide isn’t selfish. It feels like the only option, sometimes, but your friends and family will never recover, and that’s really sad.

I’m retelling all of this not for some narcissitic reason but because we look normal on the outside. But there’s always something happening inside.

Thanks for supporting me.


See this pic for this post with the woman and the birds? That’s how I want to feel!



One time, I burned a book

This one time, when I was twelve, I burned a book. Not a book with cover – no back nor front – but a book, anyway. The book contained 112 pages of angst the size of a high school basketball court. I don’t regret it. Not now. It was probably a pile of shit the size of a high school football field.

But anyway.

Years later, I sold 523 books at a garage sale to make room for 522 piles of shit in my 4-car garage. Not a single one of those 522 items could fill the void made by those books. In the meantime, I have turfed 519 of those piles of shit from my garage, and the three remaining don’t fill as much as a match box.

A poem that inspired a book

This, poem, written by Rimbaud when he was 16, inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, will inspire my next novel. Not so much the poem itself, but the poet, and his life. I came across him via Patti Smith.

Rimbaud stopped writing by the time he was 21, and I need to know why.

As I was floating down unconcerned Rivers
I no longer felt myself steered by the haulers:
Gaudy Redskins had taken them for targets
Nailing them naked to coloured stakes.

I cared nothing for all my crews,
Carrying Flemish wheat or English cottons.
When, along with my haulers those uproars were done with
The Rivers let me sail downstream where I pleased.

Into the ferocious tide-rips
Last winter, more absorbed than the minds of children,
I ran! And the unmoored Peninsulas
Never endured more triumphant clamourings

The storm made bliss of my sea-borne awakenings.
Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves
Which men call eternal rollers of victims,
For ten nights, without once missing the foolish eye of the harbor lights!

Sweeter than the flesh of sour apples to children,
The green water penetrated my pinewood hull
And washed me clean of the bluish wine-stains and the splashes of vomit,
Carrying away both rudder and anchor.

And from that time on I bathed in the Poem
Of the Sea, star-infused and churned into milk,
Devouring the green azures; where, entranced in pallid flotsam,
A dreaming drowned man sometimes goes down;

Where, suddenly dyeing the bluenesses, deliriums
And slow rhythms under the gleams of the daylight,
Stronger than alcohol, vaster than music
Ferment the bitter rednesses of love!

I have come to know the skies splitting with lightnings, and the waterspouts
And the breakers and currents; I know the evening,
And Dawn rising up like a flock of doves,
And sometimes I have seen what men have imagined they saw!

I have seen the low-hanging sun speckled with mystic horrors.
Lighting up long violet coagulations,
Like the performers in very-antique dramas
Waves rolling back into the distances their shiverings of venetian blinds!

I have dreamed of the green night of the dazzled snows
The kiss rising slowly to the eyes of the seas,
The circulation of undreamed-of saps,
And the yellow-blue awakenings of singing phosphorus!

I have followed, for whole months on end, the swells
Battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows,
Never dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys
Could force back the muzzles of snorting Oceans!

I have struck, do you realize, incredible Floridas
Where mingle with flowers the eyes of panthers
In human skins! Rainbows stretched like bridles
Under the seas’ horizon, to glaucous herds!

I have seen the enormous swamps seething, traps
Where a whole leviathan rots in the reeds!
Downfalls of waters in the midst of the calm
And distances cataracting down into abysses!

Glaciers, suns of silver, waves of pearl, skies of red-hot coals!
Hideous wrecks at the bottom of brown gulfs
Where the giant snakes devoured by vermin
Fall from the twisted trees with black odours!

I should have liked to show to children those dolphins
Of the blue wave, those golden, those singing fishes.
– Foam of flowers rocked my driftings
And at times ineffable winds would lend me wings.

Sometimes, a martyr weary of poles and zones,
The sea whose sobs sweetened my rollings
Lifted its shadow-flowers with their yellow sucking disks toward me
And I hung there like a kneeling woman…

Almost an island, tossing on my beaches the brawls
And droppings of pale-eyed, clamouring birds,
And I was scudding along when across my frayed cordage
Drowned men sank backwards into sleep!

But now I, a boat lost under the hair of coves,
Hurled by the hurricane into the birdless ether,
I, whose wreck, dead-drunk and sodden with water,
neither Monitor nor Hanse ships would have fished up;

Free, smoking, risen from violet fogs,
I who bored through the wall of the reddening sky
Which bears a sweetmeat good poets find delicious,
Lichens of sunlight [mixed] with azure snot,

Who ran, speckled with lunula of electricity,
A crazy plank, with black sea-horses for escort,
When Julys were crushing with cudgel blows
Skies of ultramarine into burning funnels;

I who trembled, to feel at fifty leagues’ distance
The groans of Behemoth’s rutting, and of the dense Maelstroms
Eternal spinner of blue immobilities
I long for Europe with it’s aged old parapets!

I have seen archipelagos of stars! and islands
Whose delirious skies are open to sailor:
– Do you sleep, are you exiled in those bottomless nights,
Million golden birds, O Life Force of the future? –

But, truly, I have wept too much! The Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:
Sharp love has swollen me up with heady langours.
O let my keel split! O let me sink to the bottom!

If there is one water in Europe I want, it is the
Black cold pool where into the scented twilight
A child squatting full of sadness, launches
A boat as fragile as a butterfly in May.

I can no more, bathed in your langours, O waves,
Sail in the wake of the carriers of cottons,
Nor undergo the pride of the flags and pennants,
Nor pull past the horrible eyes of the hulks.




The thing about thinking too much

As a creative person, as pretty much everyone is, whether realised or not, you tend to overthink everything, and when you’re not creating, you feel like you’re wasting time.

At the moment, work is so hardcore – that’s what you get when you run your own business – that I actually WANT to concentrate on it for a while. But the other side of me, the creative one, wonders if I’m not just wasting time? Or maybe I’m procrastonating.

Arg, somebody give me the answer!

In the meantime, I’m watching the Patti Smith doco from 2008, Dream of Life. Fuck, I love this woman. I hope you do, too.

PS. Just last week I went to a tribute show of Patti’s Horses, featuring Australian musos I love to bits: Adalita, Jen Cloher, and Courtney Barnett. Check out the photos.


It’s a Giveaway!

It’s giveaway time over at Goodreads. Enter to win a copy of Floating Upstream – a real, flick-the-pages-with-your-fingers copy that you can dog ear, cry onto, underline and the rest of it.

For your chance to win one of three copies, head over to Goodreads. PLUS All winners will also receive a usb stick filled with music that inspired the book. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Floating Upstream by Jo Vraca

Floating Upstream

by Jo Vraca

Giveaway ends October 05, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

A thousand million years ago

A thousand million years ago I ran away from home (for the second time out of four) and took up a room in Geelong. Pretty sure it was a big old rooming house with 9 other women (also pretty sure this is one of the reasons why I could never be a lesbian, besides not being one, whatever).  So anyway, I was at Deakin Uni and one of my classes was called “Narrative Studies” or something (this was 1987!) and a woman called Ania Walwicz came to our class and got us to do some weird-ass writing that changed my life.

One hour for a life-changing experience.

Ania had us do some stream-of-consciousness writing, something I’d never heard of. Yet it was life changing.

A few years later, I came across Ania again in a writing class at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, and had coffee with her at the Black Cat on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, and visited her home. Ania believed in my writing before I did.

Many many years later, I took a class at Melbourne University with Karen Burnes. Karen had me do a reading at a bar on Brunswick street. Karen believed in my writing before I did.

I still don’t believe in my writing, because that’s weird, and presumptuous.

Anyway, I’m publicly launching my book next week, the one I started as a short story during Karen Burnes’s class 15 years ago. I’ve connected with a few people from that time, who read my stuff, people like Rachel Matthews and Peggy Frew. They believed in my writing before I did.

I’ll believe in my writing some day. 

Here’s some of Ania Walwicz’s writing. She’s such a rad spoken word artist, and I believe in her.

David Bowie, Therapy, and Live Music

What a freaking week! I LOVE change. Change is also pretty overwhelming. Right now, I have change-a-million (and a cat crawling over me).

So let’s ignore that fluff and look at David Bowie. I heart Bowie’s music. Until tonight I thought I hearted Bowie. Period. After visiting the much hyped Bowie Is Now exhibition at ACMI in Melbourne tonight, I learned that I really just love the music, not the artist. Is that even possible?

Can you love the music but not the performance?

Friday nights at the Bowie show, ACMI is putting on some live shows, and tonight I got to see a favourite of mine, Jen Cloher, with Courtney Barnett (on guitar) – talk about all of my girl crushes in one room!

The band wore black.

The band was noisy.

It made me think hard about the avant-guard-ness of Bowie’s performance art-ed-ness.

That’s why I’m more Lou Reed than David Bowie.

I like artists who just tell it like it is.

I still love Bowie’s music.

I just don’t care for Bowie’s costumes or performances.

But I love this.

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