BOOKS ....... FREE STORIES ....... TALES OF TAM YS ....... ARCHIVE ....... EDITING ....... SARAH

Wise Child

It was thirty years ago now. Actually a little longer than that, although I can still see the translucence of the candlelight, as if it was a ghost of real light, swaying quietly against the patchwork walls. I can still smell the brine of the sea just outside the door. I sat curled up on the ancient sofa that's still there now, and I listened to records on my portable stereo. Joan Armatrading. Roberta Flack. Pink Floyd. Music, tide, the scratch of the stereo needle. Every now and again a possum or wallaby leaping onto the roof.

Outside, a moon would have been slipping away into the deep of the sky, then coming slowly back in again. A moon always was, of course. The light it cast on the forest looked like threads amongst the tree darkness; looked like yearning, although maybe that was just me. I sat on that old sofa which was also my bed, because there were too many ghosts in the bedroom, and I wrote about sea, stars, moonlight.

I wanted to grow up to be a wise strong woman with herbs in my hair and poetry written on the back of my hand. But those island nights unravelled each thread in me and left a wild darkness I've never quite mastered, let alone stitched back into good sense. But you know, I recently came across someone asking that old question, what wisdom do you have now that you wish you could pass on back to your younger self, and I think in some ways I was wiser then. I spent most of my money on music and books. I left my shoes behind more often than not. I knew where the magic was on the path to home (literally: in a knot of roots that had broken the surface of the stone, and when you stepped over it you sometimes went through several minutes, and got back to the house later than you reasonably should have.) For years after I left the island, I would panic at the mere thought of returning there. Sometimes now I wish I could, though. Maybe not the actual place, but the candlelight and dust, the music soaring across sea and forest, the feral dreaming in me lost in long, star-burned nights.

So, what wisdom would the teenaged you pass forward to the you of now?


  1. My teenage years were a time of not knowing what anything around me meant. I would have had nothing to say to the me of now except maybe help me.

  2. In my case, I feel that whatever wisdom I had then I still have now, only more of it. But I was better at being and wanting to be a close friend as a teenager, and that is one of the few (only?) things I miss—being at an age when people have the time and desire to share their dreaming selves and daily lives with a friend.

  3. my teenaged self was not particularly wise. but what she did get right, i still believe is important:
    go with your intuition
    anchor yourself in the beauty of the sensual world.
    don't tell lies, especially not to yourself.

    lovely post and images.

  4. Wow - This has set me thinking and remembering. I think I’ve just about come full circle and I am in tune with the things I was passionate about then - and acting on them - giving them the voice my teenage self couldn’t quite manage. What would she tell me - don’t compromise - be brave - don’t take the safe road. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of that and it surprises me now to remember how much my younger self knew and believed - but she didn’t have the know how to put that into action and live it.

  5. Thank you for your comments, so interesting to hear other perspectives and experiences.

    Another question for you : do you come back to see if I have answered your comments? When I leave comments on other people's blogs I almost never go back to check, but I know some people do.

    1. I do - I like the interaction, the online conversation...

  6. Ah, we listened to the same music... I spent my teenage years dreaming of escape, which I managed aged 18, thank goodness!
    (Last year I had Catherine's wall calendar, her paintings sing deep, don't they?)


Thank you for reading. If you enjoy this weblog you may like to leave a tip.

Thanks & Blessings.