Episode 1

No, not Star Wars. A little while back I wrote a 25 minute experimental pilot. It is not as yet a fully developed concept but I think there are some good ideas. It is an adaptation of two web episodes I wrote a while back that never seemed to reach fruition. A lot of the time a finished script will never eventuate into any other type of medium. That is the life of a screenwriter. You hand your baby over and cut the cord. Unless you are planning to also direct (and possibly produce) you have no control over the finished product. It is a tough but common reality.

Synopsis: Vegas Run

Following the brutal murder of her sister, disgruntled cop Vegas Domino leaves the police force and enters the city’s seedy underworld in a bid to find her sister’s killer. Along the way she meets Dean, a kind hearted but violent young man and together they work for mob boss ‘Big Bad Ray’ running errands and solving ‘problems’. Vegas must suspend her moral code and use every ounce of toughness to survive her violent new world and track down the man responsible for her sister’s death.

Read Vegas Run

Six Months (or Dear Diary)

“I can see a kite from my apartment window. It is stuck in a tree, twisted and trapped in claw-like branches. It hangs in plain sight. Reachable. Accessible. Alone. Once brilliant and bright it laps in the wind, tattered and forgotten, the cruel price of freedom.”  – Me

I have never kept a diary but for some reason in 2012 I thought that I should. A single outpouring at the end of every month. It only lasted for six.

     I am pretty glad April 2012 is gone. My mum was in hospital again with another cancer scare which was horrible and makes my heart jump in a painful way every time I think about it. I got really sick again so I couldn’t visit her, which had me crying in between waves of stabbing nausea. I was confined to the couch on a diet of apple juice, water and dry biscuits for nearly three weeks. Nothing cheered me up. Thankfully mum has now gotten the all clear. Other low points include- hubs almost cutting his finger off, my dog being sick, not having any of my writing picked up and a major leak in our apartment through one of the light fixtures and subsequent half removal of the bathroom ceiling (that is still yet to be repaired). Highlights- my mum getting the all clear, Easter, time with my family and friends, my brother by another mother getting his citizenship and my dog cheering me up by being cute (i.e. all the times he wasn’t vomiting on the bed or rug). Sighing a bit but also cherishing the good stuff.

     May 2012 was a bit hectic and filled with birthdays (hello cake, goodbye money). Our nephew turned three. I am trying to get used to having kids around but it’s weird. I don’t hate kids. I’m just not used to interacting with them and pretending to care about the Wiggles. We celebrated Mother’s Day and my mum’s birthday. My brah by another ma had his birthday. So much wrapping paper… I was still feeling pretty unwell earlier in the month and had three major assignments due. I managed to get them finished but it took a lot out of me.

     It was Eurovision, which I love and have been watching religiously for years. Sweden won! Actually I preferred Denmark’s entry but that’s just between you and me. There was a Super Moon. We drove out to Coogee and watched it rise over the ocean. All the leaves withered and fell off the trees. They skimmed around my ankles as I took our dog for walks. We ate and drank too much as usual. I started a couple of art projects including some of the paintings to take my mind off gruesome reality such as money and real estate. I don’t have any art training so they are okay I guess. I had a horrible art teacher at school who was inexplicably unsupportive so even though I really liked painting I quit in Year 10 because I thought everything I created was rubbish. It was only later at uni, when I needed extra credit and did art theory at summer school, that I had a brilliant art teacher who taught me that individual expression is never crap. That’s why you should always try to believe in yourself, most other people aren’t going to bother. This is something I need to remind myself of constantly.

     June 2012 was filled with bad weather, board games, movies and music. I became a Godmother for the first time to my new baby nephew. It was strange to be in the Catholic church. The vows felt false. It’s just not possible for me to believe in the words the priest said. I will love my little nephew and guide him towards being a good person as best I can but those are the only promises I can truly make.

     I started a photography course at ACP which has been pretty great, and I have learnt a lot (like how to adjust my aperture and turn down my flash- geez). I’m now officially set on manual and hope to produce some worthwhile pictures soon. I still feel like a dummy most of the time but I like the weight of the camera in my hands as I try to capture, something. I have been feeling very disappointed in myself the last few months for losing sight of what it is I originally set out to achieve nearly two years ago. I guess it has taken me being punched in the face repeatedly by life and suffering at the hands of my own muddled/ irrational decision making to realign my chakras and begin to focus on what is truly important to me. Writing. Hubs bought me an iPad a few months back to create my ‘masterpiece’ and it is finally out of its packaging, apps are downloaded and so far I am midway through two screenplays, one novelette and an article. I’m beginning to feel alive again- more like myself than ever and am slowly getting my confidence back. I have to thank the unending support of my family. I finally feel like I am taking full, uninterrupted breaths. Well sort of. I of course have a cold at the moment.

     July 2012. So guess what? In July I was sick. Again. I’m a delicate fucking petal. Three weeks of the flu is not fun but it was actually a bit of a catalyst because it completely took me out of the game. The only things I wanted to do was watch movies and sleep but the only other things I was happy doing was taking photos and writing. So I’m back on the path of writing (or rather back on track?) and I have finally put together a photography portfolio at cargo collective called, What the Wolf Saw. I discovered that I really like taking portraits but mainly my photography is a creative outlet. We watched The Dark Knight Rises. I don’t think we have ever been more excited about a film premiere. It also lead to me finally renting Bronson (heellooo, Tom Hardy). I like Christopher Nolan films but Nicolas Winding Refn remains one of my favourite directors. I love the dark little places his movies creep around in your mind. It was hubs birthday. As a surprise I took him on the hottest day in Winter to go iceskating at Bondi Beach. We gave up though as skating through an ankle deep puddle wasn’t great. We had tonnes of fun anyway- including the obligatory trip to Kingpin bowling, laughs with friends and lots of beer. That’s it. 

     August 2012. Waiting, waiting. Standstill. Stagnant. Red light. Stop sign. Hoping. Failing. Anticipating. Hoping. Waiting. Hold my hand, deuce. Cliff edge. Crumbling. Withdrawn. Framed. Image cracking. Hands shaking. Hold my hand. Deuce? I’m waiting. Standstill. Crushed. Waiting.

     September 2012. Last year I was depressed. Like, enrolled in Grad school depressed… This month I became a design school dropout, a decision I am surprisingly comfortable with. After all sometimes you have to fall on your ass to be able to look up at the sky. Hopefully I will be moving on to bigger and better things in the next few months. In the meantime I’m reading this and preparing a submission to this.

     October 2012. Things were okay and then came the slap. Cancer, rejection and a funeral. Both my brothers and my parents disappeared overseas. Temporarily of course. Crying to myself. Saying nothing, feeling everything. Fought constantly with my husband. We held each other up but as usual I am the bridge even though I’m smaller. I built myself up that way.

     Seventeen straight rejections of my writing and I just can’t stand it. How do people go on like this? I have lost all motivation, momentum, desire. The only time I laugh is in between sips of wine. Halloween came and there were some smiles though they were mostly painted on. That’s it. More than enough now.


     A little piece of my heart will always belong to Bronte. My cousins lived next door to the cemetery and when we were kids we would sneak in and scare each other. When I was a little girl my Mum would take me to the safe shallows of the rock pool at Bronte Beach where I would bounce around in a green bikini and a pink sunhat.

     My Grandpa grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and would tell us stories from when he was a teenager. How he and his friends took command of the sand dunes from some older boys with only their determination and an air rifle. When he passed away a few years ago we placed a headstone for him in Waverley Cemetery. The first time I went to visit I stopped by the beach and packed some sand into a little glass jar. I buried it at the front of the headstone so that he could be closer to the beach he loved. It was the smallest of gestures but it meant a lot to me. I was at the hospital when he died. I saw him after he had taken his final breath and his body looked empty. It was like his spirit had been set free, back into the universe to be reincarnated or just add to the positive life force of the world. Whenever I visit Bronte I feel closer to him, which is both a blessing and a little bittersweet. I don’t know what it is exactly but the road down MacPherson Street, the cemetery and the beach feel like a hug. Like big, open arms welcoming me home.

     I spent a really nice day there recently. Hubs and I made our way along Anzac Parade and past the massive expanse of Centennial Park. We parked and had lunch at Three Blue Ducks. We window shopped and watched some cheeky birds steal grapes from a grocer’s fruit stand. We bought Iggy’s bread and even though we were already full we managed to chomp down two sourdough rolls (best bread ever). We walked through the cemetery taking photos, visited the grave of Henry Lawson, and my Grandpa’s headstone. I don’t know if you have been to Waverley Cemetery but it is a beautiful cemetery that sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hubs and I sat down to chat for a moment and just happened to turn our heads at just the right moment to see a whale breach the water. It was surreal to be sitting amongst the graves and headstones, watching whales play in the sea.

     I still think about my Grandpa quite often. We had an unspoken fondness for each other. We shared a love of photography and music. He loved to sing and I’ll never listen to an ABBA song (or Rolf Harris for that matter) and not think of him. I remember the stories he would tell about when he worked for the picture theatre. And how he would offer us kids rather dubious looking old Minties from the car glove box as a treat. He used to sometimes wear a yellow skivvy and my Grandmother would yell at him when he came to the dining table in a singlet. He was an electronics man with a workshop and every kind of tool imaginable (though often broken or second hand). He let us kids use his pool table and his ping pong table. He loved birds and going for long walks. He had two heart bypasses and after the second he got very into Tai Chi.

     He was at my 21st but died before my wedding and I’ll always wish he could have seen me get married. I think he liked my now husband very much and even gave him one of his old (broken) ukuleles. He would have adored our little dog and been fascinated with DSLR cameras. I think he would have probably joined Facebook.

     The second last time I saw him I knew it was getting near the end and I said something to him I had never said but had always felt. It wasn’t until for a brief lucid moment when he looked me in the eye and replied, “I love you too” that I realised that we had never needed to say it. We had both always just known. I think that even if I never achieve anything significant in my life that he would of been proud of me anyway. I think he would have been proud of all his family.

grandpa     Grandpa and me, 1980


     I wake up and my mouth is dry. My pillow cradles my heavy head and I can smell that my hair is dirty. Like, really dirty. I try to sink deeper into the little body groove in my mattress. I can’t squeeze my body down any further and my throat starts really killing me. Somehow I lift my blanket and dislodge myself from my quicksand bed. I stumble into the bathroom in the pajamas I wore yesterday and the previous three days before that. My throat feels like it’s on fire. I drink two glasses of water and it tastes so rusty I can barely swallow it.

     Somebody calls my phone and I answer it, ignoring the face on the screen. I can hear noises but I don’t know who it is because they sound like they are in a bubble and I feel like I’m in a bubble. I stare out to the trees beyond my window and as they sway in the wind I sway too. My vision blurs and a spiraling begins in my head. It starts like a pinprick in the middle of my brain and like a black hole grows larger sucking everything in. My knees buckle a little so I open my eyes again.

     There is a bird on a branch staring at me and I want it to go away. Then I remember I’m on the phone and the words sound like chirping and for a moment I think the bird is talking to me. There is a long silence and I realise I have been nodding in reply to the sounds I refuse to comprehend. I don’t really feel like talking anyway so I hang up and when it immediately rings again I turn my phone off.

     Back in the bathroom I mechanically brush my teeth wondering what the point is since I’m not going to smile today anyway. Not today or any other day for that matter. I collapse in a sullen heap and sit cross-legged on the cold bathroom tiles, an indignant protest to no one. My ass goes numb and I just start to enjoy the painful pins and needles in my feet and legs when someone taps lightly on the bathroom door. I hear my Dad’s voice say my name a few times before telling me I have 20 minutes. I don’t respond or even look at the door and when I know he is gone I drag myself over to the toilet and throw up.

     Rinsing out my mouth at the sink I catch my reflection. I barely even recognize myself. The dark bags, pale lips and hollow eyes all belong to a stranger. I’m a mess and I shouldn’t look like a mess. Not today. I quickly shower. I even wash my hair. I blow it dry very carefully. It takes me ages to do my makeup because I want it to be perfect but its not and I almost cry but then my mascara would run so I break my eye pencil in half instead.

     I stand in front of my closet for a long time. Door wide open I contemplate crawling inside but I know there is no Narnia in there or anywhere. Nothing in my wardrobe looks like it belongs to me and I wonder how someone else’s clothes got in there. I choose the darkest pieces of material I can find. My skirt feels strange and too short and it clings to me like a foreign object. In the mirror I look small and faded like a shadow. I can’t focus my eyes on my face.

     I hear my Dad’s footsteps coming up the stairs and he knocks on my door. I open my mouth but it is full of cobwebs and dead moths. He is standing in the doorway angry because I’m taking too long. Finding my voice I scream at him because I can’t find my hair clips. He screams back at me then immediately apologises with tears in his eyes. I apologise too and silently wish that Mum was still here but she isn’t and that is just tough shit. My Dad leaves and I hurry to get ready as fast as I can but the burning in my throat is back. I ignore it and go downstairs.

     My Dad is waiting on the footpath and I approach him with my head down. I’m wearing Mum’s coat and when he notices I don’t want to see his face. My eyes follow the asphalt all the way to his shoes and I have never seen them so shiny. For a second I remember that not too long ago my life was shiny too but not anymore. The big black hire car pulls around for us and my Dad reaches for my hand. I let him take it for once because the spiraling has started again and he squeezes it all the way to the cemetery.


Tender is a short film written and directed by Australian filmmaker Jessica Redenbach. I had the good fortune to catch it one night on SBS Shorts on Screen. It is the story of Max and Cate. They meet, forget to exchange names, they fuck. After what could easily be dismissed as a one night stand they meet again. They chat. Max is an artist. Cate is funny and charming. They fuck. There is no restraint. It’s just sex and Cate appears to be in control. Then something changes. Cate’s bravado begins to waiver. Somewhere in amongst the casual sex, fun conversations and laughter a need for intimacy invades Cate. She begins to appear clingy. Her repeated phone calls a little desperate. Her daily life seems like a robotic forced distraction from her thoughts of Max. As Cate falls in love, Max remains distant until the final moments of the film when things become too familiar. The fantasy is replaced with harsh reality and Cate is left despondent.

This is such a subtle, delicate film. I was blown away by the performances and progression of the story. I had never seen Angus Sampson in a dramatic role before but he is perfectly cast as Max, a fairly uncomplicated, happy go lucky guy. Katie-Jean Harding brings something very special to the seemingly carefree Cate. Her descent into disconsolateness could easily be dismissed as the actions of a wild and naive woman but instead her forlornness cuts through you like a knife. Her eyes, once so alive and playful, are now sad and clouded with an unsatisfied longing. You want her to receive the love she desires. You want Cate to succeed in her quest. This is what makes this film so brilliant, so tangible. You are drawn into the world of these characters and left wondering about their fate long after the credits.

[image courtesy of Darley Street Disco]