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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Pleasures of the past have been on my mind recently. Some are once-offs, a lot are series’ or phases or crazes that fled through my time as a child. Some memories are bittersweet, some are vivid while others pale against the background of their time. But here are just some ‘things’ – for lack of a better collective noun – I miss.

  1. Baby-sitters Club books, Karen Brewer and Stoneybrook Academy
  2. So Fresh and Barbie CDs
  3. Lizzie McGuire
  4. Mary-Kate and Ashley books
  5. HMV gift vouchers in metallic colours
  6. Arthur
  7. Barney & Friends
  8. The Ketchup Song (Aserejé) by Las Ketchup
  9. Beanie Kids
  10. Gel pens
  11. S Club 7… “ain’t no party like an S Club party”
  12. The original version of Snake for old Nokias
  13. Pinball on my mum’s old PC laptop
  14. Sunny Boys from the milk-bar after school and snow cones at the Australian Open tennis
  15. The Game of LIFE and Guess Who?
  16. Follow Me by Uncle Kracker – the first pop song I ever knew all the words to
  17. Canned-spaghetti sandwich jaffles
  18. Cheese toasties my Nanna used to cut into boats with sails
  19. Before- and after-school care with Milo milks
  20. Four square
  21. Splice ice-creams
  22. Ice Magic
  23. Monkey bars
  24. Performing shows with friends/cousins for family and friends
  25. Family outings/day-trips
  26. Incursions
  27. Parental permission slips
  28. Baby chinos
  29. Going into mum’s work and being spoilt rotten
  30. Hairbrush microphones
  31. Lime spiders
  32. Ribena
  33. Getting a packet of salt and vinegar chips from the vending machine after swimming in the local pool, with wet hair and a towel swung around my waist
  34. Spider solitaire
  35. MSN
  36. Not knowing your own city well enough such that every trip in made it feel like there was a whole new world you were about to explore
  37. Calling up a friend and getting your parents to speak to arrange a play date
  38. Slumber parties
  39. Feeding the ducks on an extended-family picnic
  40. Looking forward to a trip to Luna Park/a theme park for days in advance
  41. The Drive-In
  42. Baking tiramisu on Italian Day in primary school
  43. Book Week dress up parades
  44. Roll-Ups
  45. Those sucky yoghurt things where you tear off the top and slurp up the dairy
  46. Lip Smackers
  47. Monkey bar blisters
  48. Family road trips
  49. Staying up late enough to hear the number one song on the Hot30 Countdown, just as the clock ticks over to 10pm
  50. Endless energy
  51. Waking up early and actually being ready to start a new day
  52. Lunch orders
  53. Ovalteenies – “nutritious & delicious”, from the tuck shop lunch mothers at morning tea time
  54. Choosing which Teletubbie/Powerpuff Girl/Sex and the City character you wanted to be
  55. Getting a new CD and playing it over and over and over again (e.g. anecdotally, Anthony Callea’s Rain)
  56. Sandpit treasure hunts
  57. School fetes
  58. Junior School discos
  59. The Black Seat outside the principal’s office
  60. Kopiko and White Rabbit Cream Candy
  61. Hall – a subject we had at my first school that was just literally semi-structured play time in a huge hall where there was gymnastics equipment, a stage, art materials, things to play ‘shop’, and an old typewriter that I seem to remember was pretty popular
  62. Plaster fun houses
  63. Relative fearlessness
  64. Seeing someone with their/getting your hair braided and beaded, and knowing they’d just come back from a tropical, exotic island holiday (and then seeing how long you could leave it in before your mum told you it was getting too knotty beyond presentable standards)
  65. Running through the sprinkler during a hot Aussie summer in the backyard
  66. Choosing (in advance) what I wanted for dinner on the night I arrived home from camp after a week of dehydrated, mass-produced meals
  67. Moving the TV into the living room for the 2000 Sydney Olympics
  68. Solitary tea parties with my dollies
  69. Loosing track of time and not worrying about how much/little time there was to do something/anything/everything
  70. Lining up in pairs to enter the classroom
  71. Sitting on a bag of rice in the back seat of my dad’s car so I could see the world – like a booster seat, just made of uncooked, edible grains
  72. Kneeling on a stool to reach the stove top and cooking and stirring the Béchamel sauce with my dad
  73. Judy Blume books
  74. Voting for class captains/library monitors/SRC representatives
  75. Guess How Much I Love You

250px-Guess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Art

 

 

 

Additionally, here are two pieces I wrote for artsHub this week:

Name Your Price for Leading Literary Journals <— this is super good value for all you bookworms

Grants Support INternational Opportunities for Victorian Artists

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Anyone can be a victim of violence. From petty crime to theft, domestic violence, physical or verbal abuse, emotional trauma, as well as rape, and murder. The list goes on and none of it is pretty. Violence can lead to physical and mental ill health, homelessness, feelings of shame, embarrassment, and acts of retaliation. The severity of violence is vast, and each case is unique. I am fortunate enough to live a life where I feel cared for, loved and safe. But too often, I take these life essentials for granted.

Three stories have featured in tonight’s news headlines, each involving women and acts of violence. Without going in to too much detail, Adrian Ernest Bayley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum jail term of 35 years, for the rape and murder of Melbournian Jill Meagher. Ms Meagher’s father said ‘justice has now been done’. But, nothing will bring back the innocent woman who found herself in that eventually fatal position in Brunswick last September.

St Kilda footballer Stephen Milne was yesterday convicted of four counts of rape of a 19 year old female, dating back to 2004. Victoria Police say they have ‘implemented substantial reforms and improvements to [their] sex crimes investigative processes which has enabled a number of older investigations to be reviewed, offenders identified and charges laid’. Yet one may beg to ask why it has taken so long for the truth to come out. There has been deception and what one party involved called a ‘sabotaged investigation’. However, the AFL have now disputed Milne’s suspension based on the presumption of innocence. I find it hard to believe that in any other workplace or sector that an organisation would speak out against an employee’s suspension when accused of rape, but is it not both troubling and fascinating to hear the different arguments in play?

The third news item is undoubtedly less severe but just as intriguing in its own way. In recent months there have been numerous reports of abuse on Melbourne and Sydneys’ public transport system. On Monday evening, a customer was physically and verbally assaulted on an Eltham-bound train out of Melbourne’s CBD. The difference in this case though, was that the victim was a 56 year old man, and his abusers, two 15 and 16 year old girls. While the girls have been questioned and the victim’s story has been told and retold, the emphasis has certainly been placed (at least by commercial and tabloid media) on the age and gender of each of the three involved. Yes, it is terrible and unjust, the man was victimised and abused in a public situation that should have been safe. Yes, others should have stepped in to prevent the action or assist the man (hello, PSO officers?). But the focus is on the two girls. Journalistic reporting also shifts: words chosen are inherently more feminine, soft, and possibly, forgiving. The teens are described as ‘feral’ rather than violent or brutal.

So, why do we find female criminals so, do I dare say, inviting?

I took a subject over the summer called Women and International Justice that asked this very question. Through exploration of the way women are treated in court, in society, and in prison facilities, I gained a great deal of knowledge, and began to form my own perspectives on these issues. Women can be both victims and perpetrators of violence, and there are many factors – biological, environmental, psychological – that play a part in each case. For my final essay, I focused particularly on the case of Aileen Wuornos, America’s most infamous female serial killer. Filmmaker Nick Broomfield made two documentaries on Wuornos, and a blockbuster film Monster, starring Charlize Theron was produced in 2003. I highly recommend all three of these films, and for you to watch the documentaries first, to gain the ‘facts’, and then Monster, as a testament to and so as gain fully appreciate Theron’s incredible acting. She physically embodies Wuornos’ character and personality in a way I’ve never seen an actor do so, before.

Charlize Theron in 'Monster'

Charlize Theron in ‘Monster’

 

I’ll also post my essay below, for further interest.

***

Meanwhile, I’ve had another week at artsHub and here are the links to this week’s work:

The End of the Educational DVD

$12,000 Playwright Commission Available

International Artists Bolster Competition in Stencil Prize

Record Breaking Box Office for Melbourne Jazz Fest

Penguin Kicking Goals with the AFL

60th Sydney FIlm Festival Award Winners

***

Compare and contrast two major theories to explain the offending behaviour of women.

Gender is a socially constructed idea, and unlike sex, which is biologically determined, is reflective of the culture in which it is located. The definition of ‘gender’ changes as what is considered ‘acceptable’ for a male or female is both rooted in tradition, and crafted by new thinkers and philosophies. Whether male or female, a person’s life course is affected by conditions including race, social class or socio-economic status, sexual orientation, and physical ability. Much traditional thought expresses women as inferior beings to their male counterparts, and feminist theory sees many women criminals to be stuck in a patriarchal bind, where “women have no civic identity separate from their husbands or fathers” (Goodstein, 2000). This struggle to pronounce themselves as separate individuals leaves many women relying upon men for representation in the public sphere, money, and other resources. Such dependence was not always held respectfully, as what males chose to do to their ‘property’ behind closed doors was off limits to those enforcing justice (Goodstein, 2000).

In Western countries a ‘rule of thumb’ operated, with a literal meaning that men could freely beat their wives so long as the instrument used was no thicker than their thumb. In a culture of male privilege and female service, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and wife battering were not considered ‘real’ crimes until the 1970s (Goodstein, 2000). While some consider those violent towards women as having ‘sick personalities’ or a ‘psychological illness’, these practices are likely to have been founded more concretely as reflections of structural gender dynamics, in keeping with the traditional roles assigned to a man and woman. Ferraro (2000) argues social institutions of religion, kinship, the economy, and media, normalize hierarchical gender relations and enforce male power and privilege, leading some males to exercise emotional and physical control through abusive means (Goodstein, 2000). In broad terms, feminist criminologists agree with this sentiment, with radical feminism defining women’s oppression as originating in the categorization of women as an inferior class. Similarly, socio-cultural feminism sees the patriarchal structure of society perpetuating sexual violence against women which is particularly evident in some middle eastern nations, where rape has not been criminalized in marriage, and domestic violence is a pervasive problem.

Attachment Theory

The Attachment Theory suggests that abuse and offending behaviour is a cycle, passed through generations, perpetuated by childhood abuse and offending as a result of insecure and anxious attachment to a primary parental figure. Both boys and girls growing up in violent environments have higher propensities to model such behaviour (Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004), yet girls must also negotiate gender oppression, where yearning for someone to be close to them, they feel powerless and are left with limited options for change, where thus, they are met with continued abuse and violence.

Many girls abused as minors try to flee violence and trauma, leaving them without a home, education, or access to a steady income and daily necessities. Widom (2000) attests that victimized girls who enter delinquency as a result of this continuum, and “often with deficits in cognitive abilities and achievement and few positive relationships or social controls”, end up on the streets with very few survival skills (cited in Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004, p. 106). Furthermore, they may experience lowered self-esteem, a lack of sense of control over their lives, and thus show tendencies towards criminal behaviour. Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2004) state that consequently, these girls grow into women “with few social or psychological resources for successful adult development” (p. 106), and are likely to become involved with others who have walked similar paths. Group affiliation penetrates crime-ridden neighbourhoods and some women feel compelled into illegal behaviours through their menfolk or other associations (van Wormer, 2010). Geography is significant in determining the influence of crime and drug use (van Wormer, 2010), with areas populated by those of lower socio-economic status often reporting higher levels of crime, gangs and drug abuse. This supports the evidence in favour of the Attachment theory, and reinforces one’s experiences during childhood as a key determinant of one’s ability to grow into a law-responsive adult.

Prostitution is commonly known to be the only crime in which women dominate numerically. Research has shown it to be part of a recursive cycle of victimization leading to criminality and then back again, where these women are knowingly both offenders and victims, in order to maintain their lives. Women arrested for embezzlement were often employed in low-paying clerical, sales and service positions, and were found to have pocketed smaller amounts than males involved in embezzlement. Women were less likely than men to be ‘commercial shoplifters’ (stealing for possible resale) and saw their criminal activity as being part of a ‘second shift’ of household management, rather than for extensive or personal gains (Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004). Where women are arrested for more serious crimes (such as robbery) they are more likely to have served as accomplices to men in various capacities, than to have masterminded the offense. Murders by women are likely to be domestic or inflicted upon someone they knew, to be carried out whilst the victim was asleep or incapacitated, and as an act of self-defense, with the women in fear of her (or a child’s) life. Female perpetrators of these crimes were less likely to have a criminal history, or to have a criminal history overwhelmingly dominated by prostitution.

Many studies of women’s crime focus on the events and circumstances women faced during childhood, with a specific emphasis on the importance of victimization and abuse. Heimer identifies, ‘Nearly all of the women discussed in the ethnographic literature on women’s poverty and crime find themselves living in disadvantaged, disorganized, and deteriorating communities with high rates of drug use, property crime, and violence’ (p. 26). Daly coined a subgroup of female criminals as “harmed and harming women” who experienced abuse as children in addition to economic hardship, invoking what Heimer calls a ‘quasi-psychological argument’, maintaining that as abused girls grew up, they were unable to contain their rage and were increasingly violent and committed violent crime. She adds that these felons are simply reproducing their experiences of abuse, and utilizing them as a coping mechanism when faced by confronting circumstances or situations. Moreover, women living in marginalized communities are more likely to encounter and become incorporated into criminal and deviant networks where family members may serve as the conduit between young women and criminal groups (Miller, 1986, cited in Heimer, 2000). Therefore, these women are easily initiated into groups of crime that then sustain their criminal involvement.

Economic Marginalization Hypothesis

The economic marginalization hypothesis suggests the gender gap in crime has narrowed as women have experienced increasing economic hardship relative to men. When this occurs, women’s rates of crime as compared with men’s rates will increase. The hypothesis emphasizes that economic circumstances and crime are a dynamic process (Heimer, 2000) influenced by social demographic and economic indicators. Importantly, gender ratios of arrests can increase when female crime rates are not rising if men’s crime rates are dropping off more rapidly (Heimer, 2000). Citing Blau and Blau’s (1982) argument about inequality and violent crime rates, Heimer notes that high levels of inequality can create a sense of relative deprivation, to which crime is a natural response. Similarly, Steffensmeier and Allan (1996) discuss poverty as a key factor driving changes in women’s offending.

Employment, or lack thereof, is a significant indicator when studying individuals or demographics at risk of criminal behaviour. Box and Hale (1983, 1984) reported that women’s rates of registering as unemployed had some influence on female conviction rates in England and Wales, for the period of 1952 to 1980, yet the percentage of unemployed women does not give information about levels of male unemployment, thus capturing absolute rather than relative economic status (cited in Heimer, 2000). In a study of women street hustlers in Milwaukee, Romenesko and Miller (1989) note previous jobs of women in their sample included work as cooks, housekeepers, store clerks, waitresses, and go-go dancers (cited in Heimer, 2000). Baskin and Sommers (1998) reported that employed women offenders in their sample worked mostly in unskilled jobs as factory workers, salespersons, and office clerks. In these positions, women are at greater risk of committing property crime when faced with financial hardship. Additionally, Daly (1994) observed that at the time of arrest, only 8 of 40 women studied worked in legitimate jobs, 16 were receiving welfare benefits, and the remaining 16 had “no clear means of economic support” (cited in Chesney-Lind & Pasko, 2004, p. 26).

Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2004) discuss a study done by Gilfus (1992) in which 20 incarcerated women were interviewed in exploration of the link between childhood injuries and adult crime. Gilfus found many likenesses between the 20 women, most of whom were single mothers who considered their illegal activities as work, economically necessary to support partners, children, and addictions. Three-quarters were intravenous drug users, 17 had histories of prostitution, 13 reported child sexual abuse, 13 ran away from home as girls, and only four completed high school. The women collectively recalled trying to care for and protect others, particularly younger siblings, from violence and abuse, and 15 had lived with violent men who expected them to bring in money through prostitution and shoplifting. These women saw their criminal role as a form of caretaking. Whilst this study consisted only of 20 women incarcerated in the United States, the social and economic conditions in which they were brought up are similar to those of women held in prisons across the globe. Baskin and Sommers (1992) note, “‘violence and drug involvement’ are adaptive strategies in underclass communities that are racked by poverty and unemployment” (p. 114). Chesney-Lind and Pasko support this statement that “women experiencing gender and racial oppression and social marginalization are particularly vulnerable to both abuse and victimization and involvement in illegal activity” (2004, p. 106).

Aileen Wuornos – A Case Study

American serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, embodied many facets of both Attachment Theory and the Economic Marginalization Hypothesis. She was arrested and charged with capital murder in January 1991. Wuornos was born to a broken family, where her mother left Aileen and Aileen’s brother to her own parents (Wuornos’ grandparents), and her father committed suicide in prison soon after. Wuornos’ grandmother was an alcoholic and it is alleged that her grandfather beat her, and his friend molested her. At nine years of age, Wuornos began work as a sex servant and became pregnant at the age of 13. After the pregnancy and subsequent adoption, Wuornos was told she could no longer live at the house and took to the streets, making money as a prostitute. Prior to the murders, Wuornos committed crimes of theft, robbery, assault and illegal possession of a firearm and had served short sentences in prison. Maher (1997) argues female sex workers robbed their clients as a way to build reputations for violence to help them divert potential victimization (cited in Heimer, 2000). Wuornos had experienced victimization from a young age and it is possible these crimes were an example of building her resilience, in addition to maintaining her lifestyle and her life. Wuornos also played the role of caretaker to her lover, Tyria Moore, who eventually got Wuornos to confess to the murders via telephone, tapped by police (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, 1993, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, 2003; Monster, 2003).

While Wuornos worked alone as an adult, during childhood, she was surrounded by drugs, rape and criminal behaviour. Often betrayed by loved ones, Wuornos was unable to trust anyone and learned to fend for herself at a young age. She was economically marginalized and often homeless, where hooking and stealing were her only avenues through which to obtain money and necessities. Unlike other female offenders, Wuornos was the key perpetrator of the crimes she was involved in. She was socially and economically marginalized, unemployed (save prostitution), sparsely connected to family or friends, and was victimized and abused as a child (Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, 1993, Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, 2003; Monster, 2003).

While her status as a serial killer may be uncommon amongst women, her traumatic childhood and marginalization from social, economic and familial realms stands to support the propositions of each theory. With a more supportive networking system and a stable income from an occupation not marred by such potential risk and violence, Wuornos may have found a life very different from the one she led. The Attachment Theory signifies the importance of a parental figure in a child’s life, and without this presence, Wuornos found herself to be detached from society. In turn, she held loose morals and became a victim of the social system, from which she was largely set apart.

Conclusion

A broad feminist framework is vital for understanding offending women, yet both the attachment theory and the economic marginalization hypothesis help shed specific and critical light on many of the underlying issues. Without these perspectives, our understanding of the reason why women offend would be much more limited, as would our capacity for generating legal reforms and social changes that might ultimately lead to a reduction in women’s crimes and their underlying causes.

References

Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer 2003, documentary, Lafayette Films, Louisiana, USA, viewed 21 December, 2012.

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer 1993, documentary, Lafayette Films, Louisiana, USA, viewed 22 December, 2012.

Baskin, D and Sommers, I 1992, Sex, Race, Age, and Violent Offending, Violence and Victims, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 191-201, Springer Publishing Company, New York, USA.

Chesney-Lind, M and Pasko, L 2004, ‘Trends in Women’s Crime’ in The Female Offender Girls, Women and Crime, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, Inc, California, USA.

Ferraro, K J 2000, ‘Woman Battering: More Than a Family Problem’ in Goodstein L and Renzetti C, Women, Crime and Criminal Justice: Original Feminist Readings, Oxford University Press, USA, viewed 27 December 2012, http://roxbury.net/images/pdfs/wcj2_chapter1.pdf

Goodstein, L 2000, ‘Women, Crime and Criminal Justice – An Overview’ in Goodstein L and Renzetti C, Women, Crime and Criminal Justice: Original Feminist Readings, Oxford University Press, USA, viewed 27 December 2012, http://roxbury.net/images/pdfs/wcj2_chapter1.pdf

Heimer, K 2000, Changes in the Gender Gap in Crime and Women’s Economic Marginalization, Criminal Justice, vol. 1, pp. 427-483, viewed 27 December 2012, https://www.ncjrs.gov/criminal_justice2000/vol_1/02i.pdf

Monster 2003, film, Media 8 Entertainment, Florida, USA, viewed 20 December, 2012.

Steffensmeier, D J 1980, Sex Differences in Patterns of Adult Crime, 1965-77: A Review and Assessment, Social Forces, vol. 58, no. 4, pp. 1080-1108, The University of North Carolina Press, North Carolina, USA.

Van Wormer, K 2010, Working With Female Offenders, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New Jersey, USA.

Widom, C S 2000, ‘Understanding the Consequences of Childhood Victimization’ in Reece, R M ed. 2000, Treatment of Child Abuse, The John Hopkins University Press, Maryland, USA.

Anxiety is a feeling, a characteristic, and one with both positive and negative connotations.

Having butterflies in your stomach before a live performance, an exam, a sports final or a major event is completely normal. In fact, this anxiety is often related to eustress. Eustress is a form of positive stress that enables you to balance out your emotions, giving meaning to your life choices and activities. It’s what helps drive us to act, to achieve more, to conquer a feat. Eustress is beneficial in that it provides a stimulus for creativity, productivity and relationship-building.

Distress, in comparison, can have a hugely negative impact upon one’s mind and body. Distress is more commonly identified and is associated with high levels of anxiety, poor levels of resolve and can lead to chronic illness, debilitation and social isolation.

Anxiety is a normal response to a foreign situation, a perceived threat or starting something new, and there are many ways to manage such stress. Everyone feels anxious at some points in their lives, and certain personality types have been thought to be more prone to feelings of anxiety. However, there comes a point where stress and anxiety can escalate beyond what is considered healthy, or ‘normal’, and for people who experience intense anxiety, every day tasks and social situations can become unbearable.

My piece for this month’s Modern Woman’s Survival Guide mental health column is about beyondblue’s new campaign, creating awareness about anxiety disorders. You can read it here. The campaign features world-renowned actor, Ben Mendelsohn, who delivers an incredibly compelling performance as ‘Anxiety’.

Screen-shot-2013-06-15-at-4.14.53-PM

beyondblue have also just launched a campaign Man Therapy, in reponse to Australia’s terribly high rate of male suicide. You can check it out here.

For help visit:

beyondblue: the national depression initiative1300 22 4636 (1300 bb info)

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

So today I met the most amazing guy while I was out shopping. I always thought people who say everything happens for a reason were kind of crazy but my mind’s spun 360. I’d just bought a top from Sportsgirl and as I walked out of the store, I turned my head to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind. My legs didn’t quite get the message so I kept moving forward while I was looking the other way, and what do you know? I bumped straight in to McDreamy. He had brown hair with a cute little curl down by his ears and his eyes were bright blue. He wore a black jacket with burgundy jeans and a little beanie, in a deep emerald that brought out his eyes. And then he said to me, ‘You look so hot today, Esther. Like a sunrise”.

Okay, clearly the above is a total coup and while I’m hesitant to publish such utter crap, and don’t want to be labelled as the girl who cried wolf, I’m interested to know how many people will click to ‘read more’ after scanning those opening lines. Ps. I promise I’ll never do it again.

This long weekend has been a chance to rest and recuperate (from what specifically, I’m not sure, just ‘life’ I suppose). I’ve been to a photographic exhibition, seen friends, celebrated a few birthdays and spent time reading. I thought I’d post a little recap of some things that have caught my eye or ear over the past week or so. So without further ado, here’s my What’s Hot? list for the Queen’s Birthday weekend of 2013.

1. You may or may not have been aware that we were given a whole day off today to watch the incredible talent of Broadway, by way of the Tony Awards. In fear of spoiling the results for those hungover and still in bed, or studying for an exam this week, I won’t say too much. But in case you were tossing up as to whether or not to watch the awards, here’s the ceremony’s opening number from the ridiculously innovative and entertaining Neil Patrick Harris. So much love for Lin-Manuel Miranda and his ridiculous lyrics.

2. I’ve also been listening to lots of podcasts. I’ve written about podcasting before, but I want to reiterate that it’s such a good way to catch up on news and cultural debates. Podcasts also open up windows of opportunity for you to gain insight into niche fields of study and enquiry. Some of my recent favourites are as follows:

3. On Twitter I’ve (Re-)Tweeted links to Dumbo Feather’s What Does Money Mean To You?, Steve Colquhoun’s piece, Is shiny Apple rotting at its core?, this short film about Zach Sobiech who said “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living”, and Mental Floss’ Five Hit Songs, Translated.

4. This pin has been repinned from one of my Pinterest boards 46 times and liked seven times.

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6. Here’s a Greenhouse made of caramelised sugar.

Solarium-9

7. And here’s a collection of cupboards, drawers, fridges and ovens. Click on the picture for more in  Erik Klein Wolterink‘s photographic series.

kitchen-portraits-by-erik-klein-wolterink-6

Hope you’ve relished your last long weekend until November, Melbournians.

You can follow me on Twitter @estherlf or on Pinterest here.

It’s so hard to know where to draw the line, sometimes.

Do you lift a pencil before the procrastination can begin, or knock of the pen’s lid only to twiddle it between your second and third fingers? Drawing the line can be preventative or experimental. There’s the line separating the platform from the railway. The lines that run in perfect parallel (tautology?) across the pages yearning for your scrawl. The points of high and low across a musical score, the bars on a cell, the perimetre of your windows and doors. The lines created through positive and negative space when observing the heating vents on your floor. The pinstripes of your pants, the lines of the law. Script lines, spoken words, paraphrases, Southern drawl. Accents have lines and are lines. Exclamation points, marks on a page, seats on a stage.

What is a line? Are all lines straightforward, or are they up for interpretation? Some lines are a way of expression, they are creative, help us make sense of things.

girl-and-a-house

Sometimes things seem so black and white, with a definitive line separating two distinct parties. Good and evil, right versus wrong, high and low, speech and song.

I wonder if it all comes down to respect.

And just because one person crosses a line doesn’t necessarily make it okay for us to follow suit.

I saw a man yesterday. And I saw another man. The first man was in trouble. But he was troubled. He may have done wrong but he wasn’t wrong in himself. He needed help. And how can one be helped if one keeps to them-self? The first man was scared. He was under pressure. He was paranoid and upset. Then the second man took it upon himself not to offer support or a kind word, but to take out his phone and captured the first man’s pain. He literally filmed another man in crisis. And that cannot be okay. There has to be a line there. And man number two crossed it.

all-people-are-killing-themselves-preview

Today, a young person going through a rough time has found herself to be a headline act featured across newsstands worldwide. I am aware that by writing about this I too, may be partaking in the media frenzy. But I have chosen to voice my opinion for a purpose. If someone is suffering, don’t make jokes. You may think you know the whole story, but for better or worse, people do draw their own lines. There’s the stuff they tell you, and then there’s the stuff they don’t. They might do it to protect themselves, or to stop you from hurting. And suddenly, a single person transverses the line, whatever it may be, and the whole world knows everything person ‘A’ wanted to keep secret.

angry-sun

Boundaries are both helpful and unhelpful. But, put ourselves in the situation of another and many of them suddenly seem to make sense. Line’s are a protective mechanism, a signifier of privacy, a marker of difference, or a connector between two people or events.

Some lines are straight forward, clean cut, obvious and matter of fact. Practical, functional, statement, simple. Other lines are elusive, you can’t quite catch them, or if you do, you can’t properly grasp them.

But all lines have a purpose. So, if your lines are hazy, broken or you’re feeling uncertain, call another line for help. Because that’s a healthy choice you can make to expel, settle, and regain focus.

Helplines.

***

And, here’re some lines I wrote for artsHub this week:

‘Prince Harry Kills Me’ Banner Left Out of Biennale

Understanding Arts Audiences <— *this is really interesting*