An epic tale brewed up in writers’ cafe

Thanks to all my fabulously creative friends and readers who contributed to this month’s short story conga line. The story explored the life of Ralf (or Ralph-poor fellow had a few moments of identity crisis!) a true Byron character. You can read the tale of love and loss and a llama here.

Stay tuned for the next conga line dancing by next month!

Surf’s Up!

 Despite what the postcards show, not every day in Byron is a perfect beach day so today, as fat tears of rain slid down the windows, I curled up in my ugg boots and trackies and indulged in a little surfing on the net. The finalists have been announced for the ‘Best Australian Blog Competition’ and, as a fellow nominee I was especially interested in the finalists of the ‘words’ category. The gloomy weather is forecast to hang around until the end of the week so grab a coffee and a couch and enjoy some surfing!

Words Category:
Bothersome Words by Abigail Nathan
Call My Agent! by Agent Sydney (anonymous)
Creative Penn by Joanna Penn
Graham Storrs by Graham Storrs
Musings of a Literary Dilettante by John Boland

Some thoughts on Bottoms-Overheard at the lighthouse…

As the confetti settles after the royal wedding, it seems most of the conversation generated in the media and on the street has not focused on the pomp or the pageantry or even the dress, but instead on one very perky bottom (Her Royal Hotness!) Bottoms are celebrated year round in Byron with so many tanned, toned derrières on display. This fascination was nicely summarised on a recent visit to the lighthouse…

A multicultural crowd was milling around the lighthouse, talking photos and dolphin-spotting when an athletic, supermodel lookalike  came bounding up the stairs wearing running shoes, a singlet top and perhaps the skimpiest pair of bikini bottoms ever tailored.

Young Asian boy: (as if in a scene From the Emperor’s New Clothes)  Look, she’s only wearing her undies!

Mother: (in a hushed, rushed explanation) yes but you see she is very sexy so she is allowed.

Young Asian boy: Oh, is that the law?

No one in the crowd disagreed, in fact many probably wished it was.

A Magic Moment

Amazing photo huh?! Unfortunately I can’t claim this one! This superb shot of Byron surfer Danny Wills and a friendly dolphin was taken by Lennox photographer Craig Parry during the Ben King Memorial Easter Classic surf comp. To see more of Parry’s stunning photography check out his blog or his website 

Surf Contest

Grommets unzip their salty seal skins and dig cans of Solo out of waiting eskys. They shout to their mates above the sizzle of sausages spitting on the BBQ and slap high-fives like they’ve just walked on water. Did you see that last barrel? It was hell good. Yeah man you fully dominated. Fully epic. Fully sick. Girls with copper midriffs and denim shorts squeal as the pros parade past; iPhones and padded bikinis flash. Wildcards wait nervously tracing spirals in the sand; leg ropes are tied and untied.

The beach front is an ants’ nest; black smears of spectators mingle and commentate, flying their flags and opinions, critiquing my form before I catch my first wave; judgements as flaky as dried board wax. He’s the number two you know. Used to be, before that pitiful effort at Snapper Rocks.  You’re talking out your arse. Bet you a carton he can’t topple Slater. Cheering swells above the roar of the loudspeaker, the roar of the waves. The muffle of a megaphone crackles scores and records, rounds and heats, the IGA-sponsored marquee flaps wildly in the wind and the flags fly faster.

But out here the liquorice ocean silences the shoreline

The waves rise and fall

And foam and melt.

My board is steady

The dolphins smile

And the sea is crowned champion.

Easter Greetings!

A (belated!) happy Easter to all my dear readers. I hope you had a restful break filled with family, friends and perhaps a few chocolate treats! A five-day weekend, each day spilling with sunshine, saw me trade in my blog for some long walks, lazy lunches, ocean swims and quality hammock time but I also did lots of eavesdropping, writing and photo-snapping so stay tuned over the next few days…

Wishing you all love and peace. xxx

ps. How fabulous are these Byron Easter Eggs?!  ‘Eggistence’ was created for ArtScape by local artist and lovely friend Samantha Collyer-she is a gem! x

The Many Faces of the Bay

 Main Beach was in a sultry Autumn mood today-bruised, brooding clouds, mercury water, the hint of a chill in the breeze-but still the holiday-makers flocked, high on fresh air and freedom, determined to surf and swim and sunbathe despite the threat of storm clouds. 

Melbourne-based writer Daniel Ducrou spent some time living, writing and surfing in Byron and wrote the following piece on the glamour, the beauty and the seediness of this unique meeting place.

Cavanbah

You are Cavanbah, a meeting place for all the world’s people, a town where travellers come to talk about their homelands. You are a joint passed between seven nations slouched around a living room. You are a flesh-tease on a beautiful beach, a lazy congregation of sun-worshippers basking in the mindless heat. You are the quickening merry-go-round of tourist seasons and holiday weekends. You are the feeding frenzy of businesses like sharks tearing blubber from a whale’s back. You are pretty touts on five dollars an hour offering backpacker-fliers to locals. You are locals who can no longer afford you, moving elsewhere. You are a Spanish guitarist sitting on a stool outside the bakery chopping big colourful chords into carefully portioned splashes. You are palm fronds bending outside a window, a neighbour’s music blaring in the background & dirty dishes stacked up on the sink…

To read more of this piece check out Daniel’s blog.

 

A Shout Out

Sending a heartful of gratitude to the girls at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre after my manuscript A Maiden’s Voyage was selected for the NRWC Residential Mentorship with Marele Day; I’m bubbling with excitement! The Writers Centre is a fantastic resource for local writers-check it out.

Overheard at The Channon…

 About forty minutes from Byron and fifteen corkscrew kilometres from Nimbin, lies the tiny village of The Channon. On most days this tranquil one-store town, where lush rainforests merge with dairy-advertisement farmland, quietly minds its own business, but one Sunday a month it shakes itself awake in a rainbow of colour and eccentricity and hosts a bustling craft market.

Exploring the racks of a quirky clothing store, two twenty-somethings, presumably from Melbourne or Sydney, excitedly deliberated over a flamboyant feathered, bowed and beaded extravaganza of a hat…

Fashionista 1: (Twirling) What do you reckon? Could I get away with it in the city?

Fashionista 2: Hmm, I’d say practicality zero, style ten…get it.

Fashionista 1: (again consulting the mirror) Yeah you’re right, definitely. I’ll take it.

The Fabulous (??) Hat.

 

Holiday Wardrobe

Fisherman’s pants from Byron Bay

Bright fabric spun from Summer

Too comfortable for a city street

The hem drags in the gutter.

.

Rainbow scarves from a market stall

Five for ten dollars

Scrunched in a suitcase, stored away in the closet.

The holiday is over.

A Favourite Place…

Hidden amongst the hills in the Byron Hinterland, down a winding road and off a leafy track, you will find a treasure-chest of amazing waterfalls. There really is something magic about swimming here-it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature, rest a tired soul or pretend you are in a shampoo commercial. It’s also a place frequented by local dare-devils who throw themselves off the rocks all in the name of adrenaline. Usually I watch from a distance half in awe, half in fear of this thrill-seeking behaviour but today, inexplicably, I was filled with an uncharacteristic boldness…

I climbed up the slippery rocks, I thought “this would be a good post for my blog,” I tried not to look down, I held my nose and launched myself…

I was hoping to experience a rush of emotions, draw on the thrill and use the feelings as inspiration for a new piece of writing but I was so paranoid about  a jet of water flushing out my nose upon entry or surfacing with misplaced bathers that my split-second descent  was nothing but a panicky blur.

Perhaps later in the week the elation will be recaptured and a story will come but if not you can at least be impressed by the photos-the majesty of the falls and my one-show-only leap!

Overheard at Wategos…

 A beautiful day today at Wategos Beach, playground of the rich, the famous and one very optomistic backpacker…

Female backpacker: 

(speaking excitedly into her phone) 

“Yeah, so my first date with John Lennon Junior was so good…yeah he’s hot… Don’t make any plans for around October cause we’ll probably be getting married…”

Ahh, romance…

All You Need Is Love

After Marcus dumped me I came to Byron to find myself.

It only took two yoga classes to realise that finding myself by myself was a lonely task, and not just the ‘make-you-want-to-stay-at-home-in-your-pyjamas-eating ice-cream’ lonely but the ‘start-wearing-cardigans-and-buy-another-cat’ lonely; the worst kind. So I reassessed and decided that I really came to Byron to find my soul mate. Or maybe just a boyfriend. Or a summer love. Actually I’d settle for a shag…whatever.

***

I met Dave at the Great Northern. He had bass player hair and eyes that could tell stories. I introduced myself to him between sets and told his band how much I loved every song they played. In my head I could hear Marcus’ disapproval “stop gushing you sound like a babbling idiot.” But I knew I wasn’t gushing I was being poised and flirty…and funny. Definitely funny-all Dave’s mates laughed hysterically when I made a joke about booking them to play at my wedding except Dave who would be too busy being the groom (LOL) and they were so complimentary when I offered to go to their hostel and cook dinner for them the next night. “Sure Edie, we’d love you to come round. Ha ha ha! How lucky are you Dave!”

Actually I’m the lucky one. Marcus was a Tommy Lee, rock-and-roll-rough, but my Dave is different. Dave is a poet, a folk song, a Woodstock poster. Dave is a John Lennon. All you need is love.

I first glimpsed his sensitive side that night after the gig when we went down to the beach. It was so romantic, just the two of us lying in the sand talking with the rhythm of the waves in the background. Actually I did most of the talking. Dave just let me unburden and never once interrupted as I told him how Marcus broke it off because he thought I was smothering and neurotic but as if, really I was just being supportive and taking an interest and who doesn’t check their boyfriend’s emails from time to time? It felt so good to have someone to open up to and Dave listened so intently. I’d sneak a peek at him every time the lighthouse beam swept over us and fell a little more in love with each flash.Curled in the sand with his eyes closed, he looked so relaxed and attentive. Sigh.

Even though it’s only been three days, it feels like Dave and I have shared a soul forever. That’s why I decided to buy him a gift. I knew as soon as I saw it in the window that the Gibson Les Paul was a perfect present; aged mahogany, mellow song, very John Lennon. It was a little bit expensive but no big deal, I’ll just stop doing the yoga classes, I don’t need them now anyway, I have found the ying to my yang or whatever.

***

Dave’s phone has been off all day and he hasn’t replied to my texts and emails but he’s probably just been busy practising with the band. I ran into the drummer at Woolworths and he said tonight is guys only poker night and maybe they’d bump into me somewhere around town tomorrow. He left the store with a carton of Coronas and case of Vodka Cruisers which was weird cause the other night the band only drank beer, the cruisers must be for AJ the roadie, he looks like he’d be a girlie-drink type guy.

Anyway I’ve decided to go around and gate crash boy’s night. I called every hostel in town to find out exactly where they’re staying and have made some delicious dips with carrot and celery soldiers to share. I’m bursting to see Dave again and I think he’s going to be super stoked when I just spontaneously pop in-guys love surprises.

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