The Ex Factor

Dig in!

Dig in!

What’s the protocol when it comes to destroying photos of exes? I was scrolling back through my iPhone the other day and stumbled upon a few photos of an ex of mine and was at a loss as to what to do with them. What are the rules around getting rid of photographic evidence of past disasters? Is it ok to throw someone into the trash? The evidentiary photos sent me on a journey down memory lane to the site of another photographic ex-disposal-session. This was way back in the day of glossy print photos that you could whack in a frame, stick up on your wall and gaze at dreamily whilst the object of your affections was stuck in his bedroom doing homework. Again, a moment of not knowing the disposal protocol.

As a kid I’d read about certain indigenous cultures believing that photographs captured a part of a person’s soul, and I think that superstition might have rubbed off on me. The idea of throwing the photos into the bin was completely abhorrent to me. Not least because I was in the photos as well. How could I throw my soul in the bin? Burning the photos wasn’t an option either. It just felt too destructive. And Satanic. My ex wasn’t that bad that I wished him to burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity. Maybe for a little of it, but not all of it! So I resorted to a photographic burial. It felt more organic to make worm food out of the two of us.

What about memories of exes? How do you deal with those? Can you simply switch them off? What about when you hear that song that you used to listen to together? Or travel to places you’d been together? Or when you drive past his house – not in a stalkery way, but because you have to bloody well get where you’re going, and there’s no other way to get there – do you avert your eyes to stop the memories flooding in? Or is that just like inviting in a trojan horse?

And how about when they sneak back into your dreams? Is there no privacy, I ask? No lock that can’t be unpicked? I dreamed of another ex from my oh-so-joyful school days last night whom I was happily snogging. But he’d been eating fish and chips, so he had greasy flake-flavoured kisses! What’s with that?!

Thanks for the Memories

There’s something fishy going on

You can bury a photo, but what about memories and dreams? I’ve seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so I know what can happen if you try to erase your memories of someone. Sometimes they come back. And as any good Stephen King novel can attest, that might not be such a happy scenario. So tell me, what should I do with these damn photos on my iPhone? Especially now that digital is forever. And ever. And ever?

Magical Mystery Tours

The Fortune Teller


What a momentous few days I’ve just had. Where to begin? Thursday night sounds like a good place to charge out of the starting blocks. My lovely friend Sarah invited me to The Firehouse Hotel to have a glass of wine and a tarot reading. The fabulous Frankie Starr is there each week offering up fee-free readings. How can you resist?

With trepidation I cut the cards. Please don’t belt with doom and gloom! I prayed.

As Frankie dealt the cards, her nails sparkled a mystical red, and I held my breath, longing for good news. Movement, passion, creativity, adventure and love on the cards! Magic! Just what I need. And a decision: Where to next?

“Pick a place, any place,” she said. “Get up and go. And don’t look back!”

“Where to go? What to do?” I thought. “I’ll see what transpires on the weekend before I make any rash decisions.”

Cue the weekend: I ride into town on my trusty green and yellow steed, pulling into the wharf at Circular Quay with an hour to wallow in a bowl of coffee before wandering down to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, where I was greeted with front row seats (on the floor) at a wonderful talk on myth and fairytales.

View from the Front Row

View from the Front Row

“What do you want to write?” I was asked as I scoffed down my lunch in preparation for a talk on small ‘l’ love.

“I haven’t found my story yet. But I love stories of magic set in reality. And true tales of adventure. So, maybe something that combines those things.”

And from fairytales to explorers I went, to hear tales of polar expeditions, Himalayan hikes and my favourite, a nomadic adventure across the Eurasian steppe. For years I’ve been fascinated by Mongolia, so when I saw Tim Cope’s book, On the Trail of Genghis Khan, on the shelf at my brother’s house, I had to read it! What an inspiring story! He had a dream to cross the steppe on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary to understand the nomadic way of life. He followed that dream, faced incredible adversity, and lived to tell the tale. As did his dog, who I was delighted to meet at the festival!

Thank you to all the adventurers, and trailblazers, dreamers and visionaries. All the people who have a goal or a dream. The ones who take the road less travelled. The ones who take the road more travelled and re-purpose it! To all of you, thank you. I’ll see you out there on the road. Because I found my story that day. My tale of magic set in reality, that’s taking me into a true adventure story. Look out Ireland, I’m headed your way!

Will I see you out there on the road too?


I’m running away to join the Circus!

What do you do when you get writer’s block? Or painter’s block? Or sculptor’s block? Is there a magic cure-all for the dreaded stagnation that ensues when your muse runs away to join the circus? My muse up and left me several years ago after a particularly harsh review. I wandered the streets calling her name, “Stella!” Only to hear the lonely sound of nothingness in response. All that wandering led to THE CORPORATIONS – my arch nemeses of creativity – and a sense of emptiness that constantly threatened to consume me.

But it’s not all bad, because the corporations did lead to a trip to the circus. Not my trip, mind you. Somebody else’s. And on his way to Cirque du Soleil he told me (and a bunch of other corporate-types) his story. Have you heard of Sebastian Terry and his list of 100 things? If you haven’t, you should! Seb inspired the bejesus out of me when he told his tale at a sales conference I attended last year. A lost soul wandering the world, Seb wrote himself a list of 100 things that he wanted to achieve in his lifetime, and promptly went forth and conquered. He’s living life on his terms, ticking incredible achievements off his list, and helping others to do the same. AND he’s written a book about it!

100 Things Talk

Meeting Seb at his 100 Things Talk – Item #126 on my list – TICK!

If like me, you’ve been suffering from any kind of block, be it writer’s, painter’s or even a life block, take a leaf out of Seb’s book and write yourself a list. Write yourself a dirty big list (or clean little list) and share it with a friend or two. You’ll be surprised at what happens when you write your dreams down on paper and start taking steps towards them. Even if they’re baby steps. Even if they’re micro steps. It’s not long before your muse will hear your footsteps and turn around to meet you. And she’ll often bring her friends. And they’ll bring their friends. And before long you’re writing again, pulling together a creative business and working on an art exhibition!

Joseph Campbell said:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

I say:

Stella, get our sequinned leotards ready. I’m gonna join you at the circus!