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Silence

is the pulse of truth

 

Love

is clumsy it’ll make you fall.

 

Wealth

True wealth is being treasured

 

Courage

It’s not how you fall but how you pick up the pieces

 

 

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There’s a lemon verbena tree cocooned between brick walls in the courtyard of the Hunt Club. Last month, it extended its branches to carry the regrets of numerous people who anonymously wrote the things they wish they had of said on red ribbons. I thought it would be easy to let go, to translate ink into the unsaid words that have curdled with years but every ribbon felt like I was hanging my guts. But as other people hung their words and the ribbons increased, so did my courage. “I picked on you coz I was afraid to see me.” “I didn’t know how to love you back then.” “I’m sorry I swallowed your words with mine,” and other regrets decorated the branches of a tree that Uruguayans consider to be one of healing. Now, weeks later, the words that have haunted us with their silence have faded under the sun. So has the year. 2011 was anxious. The year my nerves jittered and strained under the weight of my sister’s wedding gown. The year I travelled the seas, found my writing a home at the Hunt Club, completed a draft of my second YA novel, battled my thoughts and learned how to still them. The year when death gave birth to love.

2011 was the year of change.

I’ve learnt to accept and not resist it. After all, change and love are the only constants.

Here’s to a lighter 2012 with less turbulence, good health, happiness and success. Happy new year!

There’s nothing subtle about change.

Like an unannounced visitor it arrives on your doorstep. No time to clean the dishes that have cluttered the benchtop, no time to tame the frizz jutting out like antennas. You refuse to open the door, lock it for good measure but change helps itself in through the kitchen window. It settles in your lounge, smiles at the framed moments lining the walls, looks out of place on your favourite leather couch.

Your palms sweat, stomach churns with nerves and hunger. You force a smile like a good host when all you want to do is grab its lanky arm and throw it out. You make small talk to ease your fear.

“Would you like a drink?” you say, voice shaky.

“No thank you. You could use one.”

You find Change’s arrogance more unnerving than its stern voice.

“What do you want then?”

“There’s plenty of time to figure it out.” Change stretches its legs, knocks the ten-year-old vase off the coffee table.

You stare at the scattered glass.

“Oops,” says change, holding its hands up.

A whimpering escapes your mouth as you try to pick up the pieces while Change gets comfortable on your couch.

 

A big heart beats outside Degraves Street. “I love this place,” says Marcus, pausing to sell a copy of The Big Issue to a passerby. “I love that I can have a coffee and a smoke outdoors.” His smile is huge, eyes sparkle like his fluoro jacket. A busker sets up her guitar nearby and her soft voice is lost in the throng of people. I buy a copy of the magazine, thank Marcus and make my way down Degraves, dodging tables and feet. People dine back to back in the middle of the bluestone alley reminiscent of the cluttered lanes of Europe. The buzz is infectious; the people a mix of casual and corporate like the lane itself. When you sit here, there are no souvenir shops of Swanston Street to anchor you in Melbourne. Here, apron clad waitresses weave in and out of cafes and moments are captured over coffee and laughter. This is where you fall in love with Melbourne.

Opposite the steely chaos of Federation Square is Hosier Lane. Cartoons, sketches, words take centre stage on walls, bins, doors, ceilings until your eyes are coloured red, green, yellow and blue. It may reek of urine and garbage, but Hosier Lane’s brilliance lies in art, a space where different worlds collide to transform drab walls into humour, horror, and fantasy. This lane has fish with big teeth, flying skirts, butterflies, vampires, wagging tongues, a mix of vibrant cultures that typifies Melbourne and ignites the imagination. Home to restaurants and bars, this lane dazzles with its kaleidoscope of colour.

Melbourne is more than the hustle and bustle of Elizabeth, the glitz of Collins Street, the stony mess of Federation Square. Melbourne is the shimmering backstreets, the screaming alleys, the small boutiques, the art and the stories that pulse with life. You just have to look.

Money

Divides people into cents and dollars, adds them up, and subtracts their worth. I despise its calculating ways.

 

Love

Is an intruder that can’t be prosecuted.

 

Fear

Those that listen with their ears and not with their hearts.   

 

Food

Count your bites, not your calories. They are easier to swallow.

Chew heavy words well. Let them digest before you spit them out.

 

Courage

Is to walk where  fear follows.