Dance-maker Lucinda Coleman making dance with wily words and syllables that clamber to be stories gently moving.


January 2014

“What makes it so beautiful? …All these years I’ve had it, and it still surprises me.  I go for weeks without looking at it and then, suddenly, it jumps out at me as if to say don’t forget”.

“Art does that”, Jericho says.  “It keeps us awake”.

After the excitement of the New Year, there is the return to work and even an attempt at resolutions, which for me are rapidly swamped by a backlog of tasks and the challenge of keeping children on holidays happily distracted.  I ignore the memory of a Christmas voice saying ‘don’t forget’ and apply my faculties to more productive tasks, jobs and chores.  There are always many of those.

It seems each day I slip into a trance-like state from the moment I get up, put on the coffee and the first load of laundry, check my emails (as I have coffee) and flag those to return to after readying the children for the day.  I begin the day, after day, after day ‘don’t forget’ interrupting my thinking when I’m unexpectedly startled by beauty.  If I’m brave, I hold still.

I wake up and out of mugginess that obscures my vision for a day fresh with the promise of hope realised.  I shake off obligation.  I seek out the beauty made by others… what we call art… and the beauty simply made.  I awake! 

Waking, I work with less haze and less fear.  If it’s not done, it’s ok.  The world will keep turning and I will let go of duty: of pressure.  I move as I work, paying attention to details that matter and people who matter: the work of their lives the art that arrests my soul and whispers ‘don’t forget’.

Two birds

Image: Amanda Humphries, oil on canvas, 2010

Reference: Drusilla Modjeska (2012) The Mountain p.259-260

In the endings are the beginnings

December 2013

To begin we end. The wonderful, awful, heart-breaking invitation of the season is to navigate the endings to embrace the beginnings.  How?  Yes.  We must. Change. 

It’s a tortuous rhythm: the pulse of movement from old to new us clinging to the past while grasping for the future.  There is bittersweet challenge in letting go to begin again.  We struggle to know how to take the good of the past into changes for a new beginning.

Let’s choose to say thank you.  As we end to begin, create space for applause.  We can achieve nothing on our own and the wondrous experiences that launched the beginnings will be made perfect in endings distinctive for gratitude.  Let’s give thanks for this past year and for all those who have loved us, helped us: encouraged, cajoled, nurtured and challenged us. Let’s say thank you even as we wrestle with those who began with us and end with us. They are our companions as we make new beginnings.  They are the wisdom and beauty we take along with us.  We start fresh with learned knowledge from humble beginnings that find fulfilment in endings, to begin: once again. 

I choose to say thank you.  As this year ends, the projects finish, school closes down and friends move on, I give thanks for the gifts of creative grace.  I am grateful for each one whom made remnant dance foraging possible, magical, mysterious and beautiful.  Thank you – yes!  For you, I give thanks.

Change. We must.  Yes.  How?   In this season of giving, let’s stop for a moment and applaud those who began, so that we too might begin.  Let’s wrap up this year with thanksgiving for endings that have given the gift of beginning.

 curtain call


Belonging… ephemeral, ungraspable, haptic

November 2013


Colour is the answer to the question you haven’t asked me yet.

How do you know?

That’s the question! 


Photography by Amanda Humphries © Remnant Dance 2013, reprinted with permission.

The Sound of Silence

October 2013

Silence is one of the voices of God.  But it’s a certain kind of silence.  It is not oppression.  It is a silence of holy heart and that’s completely different altogether. (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)

My favourite thing to do at the end of the school week is to pack platter food, grab a bottle of wine and walk down to the Swan River to watch the sun set.  Most times, my children swim and I sit under a eucalyptus tree, watching the children frolic as the cool breeze shifts clammy strands of hair from my neck.  I sweat under my cap.  My lumbar spine aches if I don’t shift my seat regularly.  I love it.

Sometimes I lie on my back and watch the gum leaves pattern the blue sky in tiny, quivering sections.  Sometimes I peel the bark from the tree and am ridiculously thrilled at the texture of the shredded pieces and of the smooth surface underneath.  Sometimes I just wait, wiggling my toes in the sun, listening to the sound of silence as the colours change and the heat gently softens.

My children tumble on top of me, scattering river water and making noise.  They beg for stories of my childhood; clambering to hear about their aunts and uncles and grandparents when they themselves were young. 

Stories unfold in teary smiles; achingly poignant.  The telling mystifies my children, wooing them to chase a narrative just beyond their comprehension.  Like a wayward wind, they follow with questions tossed and tumbling on a slip of a thought or a remembered moment.  They laugh!  They trust and ask and dive into their history, unfettered and curious.  They give new colour and perspective to stories shut tight in minds holding too tightly to grief and to sorrow and regret. 

They begin to tell their own stories in the spaces of silence that open up through listening to each other. Their lives are hilarious and serious and wild and traumatic.  They agonise the agonies and cry foul over injustice.  They shove each other and hug each other and then race back to the water’s edge. 

I watch, smiling and listening to the noise all around and the quiet stillness within.


Reference:  Estes, C.P.  ‘Silence is one of the voices of the creator’ accessed October 2013

Image: © Kelly Riccetti 2009 - 2013



The truth in our everyday performance

September 2013

Every art contributes to the greatest art of all, the art of living.  (Bertolt Brecht) 

Katie smiling tree

In the performance of our everyday lives, do we lose touch with the truth of who we are?  My internal dialogue holds true to what I am thinking in the moments I instruct, cajole or reassure myself, but the details of this I do not always disclose with others.  I may feel inadequate, ill or hesitant but I exude confidence and certainty in the articulation of my thoughts through dialogue with another.  I even hold to a courteous truth in the telling of my stories, though my internal voice may call me a fraud.

Is this performance for the sake of propriety?  In considering how we relate to others, we take on characters, sometimes to impress, to manipulate: to achieve certain objectives.  We strut the world’s stage, creating a fiction of our lives as the central player in a drama being played out with the minor characters of the world our supporting cast.  We construct narratives with verisimilitude, and suspend disbelief as we convince ourselves that what was once improbable is now true.

Will the performative utterance of a constructed life invite engagement with others?  Perhaps we will be adored for our performances; probably more so than for our dogged pursuit of truth.  That’s a lot harder.  Foucault might suggest this is because authentic truth-telling requires taking personal risks.  To identify what is false takes humility. To see an injustice and to risk calling for a reckoning requires a courageous illumination of truth buried in the place of the unfair, the unjust and the false.

Does an absolute Truth exist beyond the performance of our everyday lives?  Let us say that it does, but we have become so caught in our construct of an overly examined life that we can’t see it.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  It just requires us to step into the wings, strip off our make-up and costumes and give up centre stage: for a moment, or a lifetime.  It takes genuine courage to believe in a truth beyond what we can control.  The irony is to find this kind of truth, we must let go of our own kind of truths and be open to belief.


Photography by Michael Fountoulakis