Or a Bad Day with an Ikea Cup

The actor Colin Friels discusses anger and the frustration of words in an interview with Alexa Moses, in August 2004:

“How can a writer not be angry? How can they not be? Show me a writer or an actor who is at peace with the world and they’re not worth a pinch of salt. ‘Too right I am angry,” Friels says. ‘I’m just concealing the anger, that’s all. I’m easygoing…’

“He’s angry about the Government, he’s angry about the war in Iraq, he’s angry about the right-wing columnists in the newspapers. He wishes he was more articulate, that he could write an opinion piece brilliant enough to ‘blitz them off the face of the Earth’.

“‘Speaking of those people, I don’t want to advocate violence, but if I could metaphorically ram their heads into a wall, it would be great..I don’t want to, I don’t want to–yes, I do wanna get my hands around their necks and lightly squeeze.”

“It’s not fair to end a story starring Friels with a quote, because everything he says is in the actor’s powerful body language. When he says he wants to ‘lightly squeeze’, he plasters a faux-maniac grin across his face, moulds his hands to an invisible neck and squeezes like a caress.”

And Michael Ondaatje writes, in a poem in The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems

How many windows have I broken? And doors and lamps, and last month a tumbler I smashed into a desk …… they were acts when words failed the way surgeons hammer hearts gone still…

And I wrote, in an email to an old friend I’d gone to visit, her singing in a country town, me watching, and dancing a bit:

Dear T- it was great to see you too- I think it’s great you go and do that and get paid for that- even if you didn’t get paid- it’d be worth it cause it’s expressive and fun. I’m still feeling a bit flustered/frustrated, but at least I am honest and I know what part of me I like existing (that opinionated side). I just don’t know what the heck to do with it. Like wanting to run with no feet. I suppose I’ll work out how to use that energy- it just frightens me cause i don’t know how to use it, and before I spose I blocked it out/ but now it’s bursting out, and I just feel like smashing plates to get it out… maybe i shld go and get some op shop plates…. Very Greek restaurant style- like Olympics in Greece now. Hope you are watching the Olympics and enjoying it- I haven’t watched it, But I watched Hugo Chavez win the election in Venezuela- so that’s a good race to win.

Love you , from Vanessa

I chose an old cup I keep under the kitchen sink. An Ikea lime green one. Went out to the backyard, and after giving the chooks their scraps, I aimed at the center of the concrete slab under the washing line, and threw the cup. It bounced to the back fence, unbroken. I went and picked it up. This time I imagined I was shot putting, or javelin throwing. Took aim, and threw hard. It smashed into smithereens, and I walked away, lighter.

VANESSA JONES lives in Australia and can be contacted on post4@bigpond.com.au.