Lulled by a temporary cure for self-criticism

Fog-haunted field in morning twilight, on the way home

Sitting at a cafe in Lismore. 2pm. I’m tired, head aching following 2–3 days of self-abuse. I’d characterise what just happened over those 2–3 days as a “breakthrough” but I’m wary, since I dosed myself on Sativa oil for pretty much the duration and (as John Lennon said) drugs reduce self-criticism. In rock music (as Lennon said) this is generally thought a good thing, but I’m not so sure. I’ve got a back-catalogue of music made when stoned that, you could argue, testifies to the opposite. Of course back in those days I was stoned more often than not, at…


How to accept what I can’t control

Smoky sunset through gallery window — spring bushfires

Saturday 14th September

Almost 3:30pm and I’ve barely done a thing (creatively at least) since arriving here. The morning (until 1:30) was taken up with chores (shopping, household stuff) and in the last two hours I’ve written an email, read a chapter of a friend’s (or online acquaintance’s) novel, done some stretches and exercises and fallen into some random internet browsing stemming partly from an urge to repeatedly check two recent Facebook posts: (1) an instalment of this blog (one “like” and three reads so far and I don’t expect much more); and (2) a link to a Soundcloud playlist…


Work has its consequences

Drought underway

Wed 4th September

When I left this blog four months ago I did so on a note of self-caution: I feared my projects might never be finished. What a relief, then, to have finally (almost!) finished something, and to a higher standard than anything musical I have produced before. Sure, it’s only two songs, a “single” and a “b-side”, but given that since buying new software six (or was it five?) months ago I’ve written and recorded the skeleton of a whole new album, I’m amazed I’ve finished (or even almost finished) anything. And, as I said to my wife…


Time to come up for air?

Sunday 28th April

Music obsession continues. But I’m managing it. I took a day off yesterday: hiked, cleaned the house, cooked lunch and dinner. Admittedly I only did so because my wife needed to study and the twins were at home and would prey on her without me there to intercept, but once I realised I’d be staying home and unable to dive into music (and surrounded by noise: renovation-work underway in the kitchen, plus the typical weekend chainsaw, brushcutter, etc) I embraced it. My wife had told me of a blinkered/obsessional view that can take hold during prolonged focus…


Simple things don’t always come easy

Rare vocals session, the office, Lismore NSW

Fri 19th April

At the office. My first day out (aside from three short hikes in the national park) since the vasectomy. I’m feeling fragile.

I slept terribly last night. I woke at three with music-production thoughts going round in my head (I’d dreamed I was programming MIDI, placing each hit of the bass with a mouse-click on the “piano roll”) and couldn’t sleep again at all — pretty much a first for me, I’d say; normally I can sleep again eventually no matter how worked up I am. (Of course on occasion I’ve stayed up all night, but I…


Vasectomy and screen addiction

View from the study

Thurs 11th April

A lot has been happening to distract me from writing: first, a headlong dive into music production via the new software, which has addicted and obsessed me to the point of neglected sleep, fitness and diet; second, a vasectomy, performed yesterday at a clinic in the Gold Coast, three-and-a-half hours return-drive away, and necessitating (so I’m told) 5–7 days’ recuperation. So I may not return to the office for a while. And I can’t hike, work out, or even do yoga or pilates for at least a few days. What can I do? …


Connections fray

The office, South Lismore NSW

Sat 6/4/2019

Writing is a dive; it’s a leap of faith. I’m at home (or at “home”) now, on the porch outside my study, my wife four metres away through an open door typing and sometimes addressing me, the deep murmuring voices of two neighbour-tenants six metres beyond that, close enough that I half expect at any moment one of them may take a few steps closer and, in a raised voice, address my wife, who for the most part acts as landlord (the place is owned by her and her children’s father) and fields enquiries and anyway is the…


We live on a hill

Garden at the Crystal Castle, near Mullumbimby NSW

It’s 10:20 in the morning of what I expect to be a finite number of such days: warm, mild, sunny (who knows, there may be many more such days) and at peace (surely there can’t be many more of these).

A clumsy sentence. I’m distracted. Out of my comfort zone. In a place designed explicitly — or so I presume — to comfort: a new-age tourist-destination in the Byron hinterland 20 minutes from where I live. It’s a gorgeous day, but I forgot my hat, and I’m having trouble positioning myself so that the glare doesn’t distract me; either it…


Fists are raised

[This post is a continuation of “Man Into Child” and “Father Wound”, and concerns my father’s Alzheimer’s and alcoholic dementia.]

Tues April 17th

A malevolent look from Dad today, a look I know well. He’d come to the crowded kitchen (my wife, two kids, my wife’s houseguest and me) to ask if he could use the bathroom. He asked my wife, not me, since he seems to have resolved not to ask me for anything. Then, since I was about to leave for the day, I asked him if he wanted anything in the town. He seemed to adjust his…


Aversion to fairytales

I sink into despair…

My father has been with us two months and I can’t stand him. I’ve failed him. Accept him as he is? I don’t think I can do that. He gives me the creeps.

To be fair, it’s not only he who has inspired my freefall; friends of my wife have come to stay and the house is invaded by unfamiliar consciousnesses. Already we’re surrounded by neighbours here — tenants of the “community” who walk past my study window, talk outside, strafe and dissect the land around me from any and every angle at any time (the…

Ben Winch

Writer/rocker travelling light to the horizon’s glow.

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