An Annual Forecast

I wasn’t prepared for winter when it came. I was confused, living with more questions than answers, and didn’t own nearly enough jumpers. I went to the psychic in April. Her office was on King St (a Sydney street that can only be described as alive, all hours of the day), up a set of stairs, warm. I knocked my knees on the low table between us, upsetting the cards, and she apologised. The session was recorded for posterity, and because I knew eventually I’d want to compare notes. It was an expensive half hour, but it got me out of my house, and once I was out of my house, it got me out of the rain.

“There’s nothing light about this energy at all,” she said. “But why does it need to be? I think you’re feeling a lot more deeply than you ever have before… and with that comes an awareness that this is a strange place to inhabit.”

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Art by Siobhan Schmidt


Science Camp: The Alvarez Hypothesis

Week Two: A Distrust of Received Wisdom

As a kid I had, as New Scientist would call it, a “distrust of received wisdom.” In early school I sat at the back of classrooms quietly sceptical, watching teacher after teacher strut in front of the blackboard. Sure my teachers were much older than me. They ate their dinner with proper cutlery and stood at the head of the classroom with the chalk. But I praised myself for my common sense. So at the age of seven, sitting in the school library with a book about dinosaurs, I had a real bone to pick with my Year 2 teacher.

The Alvarez Hypothesis suggests that an asteroid hit the Earth about 66 million years ago, marking the end of the Cretaceous period and bringing about the demise of every single curiously colourful dinosaur in the book I was holding.

It all sounded rather dramatic to me. If I hadn’t been so shy, if I’d been even a year and a half older, I would’ve asked: Shouldn’t there be more to it?

Yes seven-year-old me. Yes there was.


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I Misheard You

For a long time I misunderstood the chorus of David Bowie’s song Changes – I misheard the lyric “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strange)” for “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strain)” and went on singing and dancing to it in my bedroom at 1AM, fully dressed and fully awake. And I LOVED that misheard lyric – it was about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, wading through mud to get to a better version of myself.

I noticed my mistake after Bowie died, when I pulled my headphones over my ears and listened to the song at full blast. I heard the “ge” and had a little pity party for my belated understanding. There was a physicality to that lyric that I mourned when I learned it wasn’t the right one. According to Google, strain means “to force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make an unusually great effort” – that’s the type of motivation my masochistic, overworked brain likes to hear!

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It Wasn’t a Kiss

My first kiss was more an act of feminist rage than teenage swooning. I was selfish and unkind. I chose to crack someone’s heart a little bit, just for a night. I turned a first into a last, an admirer into a stranger, and a stranger into a make out partner.

Let me explain myself.

It was a house party, the type with red plastic cups. They were the exact cups from all those early 2000s movies, where high schoolers would illegally crowd someone’s parent-free house for a few hours, blaring New Found Glory in the background. I used to watch those movies. I always thought alcohol would taste sweet. That’s why everyone was so happy, right?

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