Thank God for that stranger turning up unexpectedly at my front door, or I’d have nothing at all to write about. For the last week or so I’ve been acutely aware that I need to write a new post – it’s now eleven days since the last – but I’ve had no inspiration.
For the first six months of blogging I found topics throwing themselves at me continually – I’d see a little boy selling his teddy bears out the front of his house or an elegant gray cat wearing a pearl necklace, and I’d think to myself, yes, that would make a fantastic post, and by the time I got to the computer the thing had already written itself in my head.
But no more, alas: for the past eleven days I’ve come across nothing even slightly blog-worthy. I can’t even use my old fallback, the cat, who after nearly a year of rampant and unmitigated evil, has become completely dull, spending most of her time sleeping and sitting on the rug… thanks Fina, heaps of great material there. It just goes to show you can never depend on a cat.
I thought I had a topic this morning, but it turned out to be nothing. I was down in Callan Park looking for a good spot to set up my yoga mat: somewhere secluded and shady, preferably with a nice view over the water. I decided to try the secret beach just around from the playing field – more a thin thumbnail of sand than a beach, rimmed with straggly lantana and an arc of wooden rowboats. It’s a popular place for dog owners – usually you can bank on a whole bunch of them being there, along with a bevy of Dalmations and Spoodles and sundry other gourmet mutts prancing about happily in the shallows. There was no-one there today though – just one lone Labrador barking incessantly at an overturned dinghy bobbing close to shore beneath a tangle of vines.
Where was his owner? He was obviously a well-looked after dog, with a thick, honey-coloured coat and a few spare inches of flesh around his belly – so why was he on his own? And what was with all the barking? I don’t know what your opinion of Labradors is, but I’ve always thought of them as a sensible type of dog – solid, unflappable, certainly not like those bug-eyed yappy dogs so highly strung they need to be confined to padded handbags for their own safety.
I quickly surmised that something was very wrong: clearly the dog was trying to get someone’s attention. His owner had knocked himself out with an oar and was now lying trapped beneath the dinghy in 10 cm of water. Or perhaps there was a stash of drugs or whiskey hidden underneath by pirates. I scrambled down onto the beach and waded across to the dog, who was so preoccupied with his barking he didn’t notice me until I was right beside him. ‘What is it boy, what’s wrong?’ I asked (I knew the appropriate phrasing to use, having watched dozens of episodes of Lassie in my childhood.) ‘Is someone hurt? Or trapped down a mine?’ (Never mind that the area wasn’t exactly replete with mines – I think the nearest was about 10,000 kms away to be precise.)
The dog whirled around in fright upon hearing my voice, droplets of water rainbowing off his long coat. He quickly recovered his composure, however, gave one sharp urgent bark and sped across the beach to the dirt track I had come down. He looked back quickly to check that I was following him, then raced off up the track, his heavy tongue trailing behind him. I ran through the bush after him, trying not to stumble on my yoga mat, and after ten metres or so came across a scarf abandoned by the side of the path – clearly a sign that I was getting closer.
…And then I realised that I couldn’t see the dog ahead of me anymore. I couldn’t hear him either. I walked around for a bit without finding anything particularly unusual, then decided I may as well do my yoga. So I did, and it was very relaxing though a little frustrating because I couldn’t remember how to do twisted pigeon pose. I passed the dog on my way home an hour later, contentedly chasing a ball with a woman I assumed was his owner.
I did warn you that this story was going to be anti-climactic.
But the stranger I alluded to at the beginning of my post: Sydney is in the grip of a fierce storm tonight with blustery winds, heavy rains and that constant tremulous lightning that looks like a sheet of crumpled tinfoil flicking in and out of shadow. I was chopping vegetables for a stir-fry when R came running into the kitchen, muttering something about ‘very busy – man at the door – selling his wife’s music – I said you’d talk to him.’
Somewhat dubious, I allowed myself to be herded to the front door and found a man in shorts, who sure enough, was trying to promote his wife’s self-published album, Twisted. I was a little wary initially, the way everyone invariably is when someone comes knocking at your door with an agenda, cautioning him that I wasn’t much of a pop/rock/heavy metal/jazz/every musical genre I could think of fan, preparing the groundwork for the inevitable ‘best of luck but I’m afraid I really can’t’ rejection. He was probably a little wary too, given the album was heavy rock, whereas my librarian glasses and ‘Little House on the Prairie’ skirt proclaimed me as more of a tiny-fragments-of-pebble girl.
After a few minutes, though, he’d won me over: he persuaded me to listen to a few minutes of the CD, explaining that they just wanted to get her music out there and have people listening to it as they thought this might help with securing a record contract. He would take anything for it he said: some people had paid $3 while others had paid store prices. Listen to it, lend it to friends, download anything you want – it’s all unlocked, he assured me – and if you like it, please visit our facebook site and say hi. I bought a copy for my Dad, who’s a true musical omnivore, willing to give anything a go. I really hope he loves it, and I really hope others do too.
Why? It was largely the dedication and persistence this man showed in going door to door, one of the most thankless, humbling and soul-destroying activities I can imagine. The rewards would only ever be small, and the hard work and emotional resilience required immense, yet he did it, went to house after house on a cold wet night, because he loved and believed in his wife that much. I learnt later that he’d sold his house to pay for the album.
Anyway, thank you serendipitous visitor at my door: you reminded me that sometimes you just have to do the leg work – pick yourself up, smile and go to the next house; write that stupid post, even if your creative well has run dry and you feel completely unmotivated, because you said you’d do one a week – and sitting in front of a computer’s a lot easier than having doors slammed in your face. I really hope she gets that recording contract, not because of her talent (although I’m sure it’s considerable), but because of your commitment, and what you’re willing to do to help her.
And if any heavy-rock fans would like to learn more about her music, you can do so here.