Novel-esque dystopian conditions make for interesting living on my mountain top.
Some days I feel like my life mirrors the post-apocalyptic YA novels I enjoy reading. I was forced offline yet again from failing hardware. Finding a solution with my smart phone and an online order, thinking I was being clever ensuring a quick resolution, I ordered the parts needed and awaited for them to be delivered to my door. When in reality it added an extra month to my hiatus from the world wide web. It would have been so much quicker to suffer the forty minute drive to a regional centre and purchase the parts in person. Grrr!
That was my easiest obstacle to overcome these last few weeks…
We ran out of water.
Nothing to drink, no showering, I couldn’t even wash my dirty dishes. Learning all the life hacks up here is character building. Living on a remote range means I have to pump my water from a rain tank or from the natural spring…. It’s no longer as easy as turning on a tap and paying the bill at the end of the month. Just like my writing had resorted to the primitive: writing on paper with a pen, it was strangely exhilarating to overcome these obstacles.
The fact that the days up here are incredibly humid and temperatures average between 32-40 degrees Celsius – you get hot and thirsty! (Not to mention develop somewhat noticeable body odour) I was concerned about my three fur babies in the extreme heat – they are covered in tick luxurious hair and used to the cool Melbourne weather… for three days they did not stop panting. It called for plenty of douses in the shower with cold water (until it ran out) and trips in the air-conditioned car. I’d Maguyvered a tray to slip over the steering wheel to act as a desk, the blessedly chilly air from the vent and novel make-shift office, only spurred my imagination. I managed to scribble out the plot points for a sequel and finished writing a few chapters.
Next week a cooling unit is going to get installed into the Writer’s Cottage – thank heavens. But will the quiet everyday pace be less challenging and my writing suffer?
At night I’m battling toads, and all manner of biting insects – I have what is dubbed our ‘snake rake’ when venturing outside, a torch in the other hand following the dogs to relieve themselves while I stand guard. It’s pitch black out here… you really can’t see more than a few metres in the glow of the led light. But looking up – it’s breathtaking the amount of stars you can see filling the night sky. You only really see snakes in the daytime when it’s hot, and the trusty rake is used only as a deterrent for all the curious local wildlife. All the critters up here are BOLD. They aren’t used to predators or human habitation. Birds will practically eat from your hand. Reptilian and rat-things simply stare at you uninterested. And there I am, this crazy redhead, waving my rake and hands telling them to ‘shoo!’
Yeah right lady, this is our mountain.
Talk about a fish-out-of-water story!
You have to dress practically here – gone are my business attire and high heels – I’ve had to purchase “gardening outfits” that make me look like I’m about to venture off on a long hike. But I suffer the fashion crisis rather than get sunburnt, bitten, scratched, poked, or slip on my backside. I’ve already done all of those things, and value these new rumpled clothes and hardy footwear – if only there was something to stop me from walking though spider weds and swatting-waving for ten minutes afterwards in hopes the creator of the sticky structure in not still clinging to me somewhere.
I half expect to see Katniss break from the trees with her bow and arrow…
Really, I’ve only been living here four weeks and already sustained a hip injury, bitten by spiders, had a tree ant fall into my top and wreak havoc, bruised my legs so badly moving boxes and furniture I look like I fell down a ravine, poked myself in the eye with a stick (don’t ask) and turned beetroot red from overexposure (10 mins in my case) to the sun.
But for some reason, have written one of the highest word counts in a while… so there is a lot to say for unplugging and returning to nature.
Let’s just hope my situating does not escalate, although I’m prepared. Bring on zombie frogs and vampire wombats I say!
What difficult situations have inspired your writing?
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