When you move away from home, you’re taking a risk, putting all your faith in your own abilities to keep yourself alive. Trusting that everything you’ve done up until this point is adequate to substantiate yourself henceforth. And using big words to prove it.
“Mum. What would you say to me possibly moving out?”
“Um, well, I don’t know hon. I’d never given it much thought. Where were you thinking of moving?”
“Uh, you know, just a casual three hours away – to Wollongong. Sarah’s roommate is moving out, and she asked if I’d want to take her place.”
“When would you move?”
“In two weeks.”

Two weeks go fast when you’re reducing your life into cardboard boxes that fit in the back of your little hatchback. Finishing up at work. Having farewell drinks with all the people you’ve become acquainted with. Things go all beautifully foggy, like when they covered the camera lens with Vaseline in the romantic scenes of old movies. You wonder if you’re making a terrible mistake. But then you realise that everything’s going so well, because you’re finally taking the time to notice everything. You know it’s ending. That’s when you make the most of it.

The first months of living away from home are the hardest. You remember Newcastle as those final two weeks, at its peak. You spend days just sitting at home, slowly unpacking the boxes, questioning everything. You call your mum more than you have in your whole life, in the space of three weeks.
“Did I make a big mistake? Surely it’ll get better. The degree only goes for three years, time flies when you hate your life, right?”
That imagined meet-cute of moving into a new town and meeting a boy doesn’t go quite as you’d hope.
“Hey there, I don’t think I’ve seen you at church before. My name’s Jude,” says the attractive guy who was seating two seats away from you that you spent the whole sermon trying to see his left hand.
“Hi. Nope, I avoid places where I might have to have deep emotional discussions with someone like the plague. I’m Tilly.”
“Oh. Right. Um, cool. So what do you do with yourself?”
“Working. Starting university again soon, which I’m looking forward to. Give my existence some purpose.”
“What are you going to do at uni?”
“Writing and English Lit.”
“Writing hey. That’s cool. So you must be heaps into poetry and rom-coms and feelings and that kind of stuff.”
“Not quite. I’m pretty anti-anything that requires having a heart. Missed out on that one.” You laugh. He doesn’t. You realise you should probably phase in that kind of humour. Oh well, better luck next time.

But after a while, things start to pick up. You get a job that you love, working with people you’re actually quite fond of. Where you don’t have to think of an excuse every time they ask you to go for a beer. Your church is filled with people who are genuine and kind, offering to shout dinner so you don’t miss a potential husband-finding opportunity. You have dinners with friends, spend evenings playing monopoly deal. Traditions of Thai night. In-jokes. Your housemates learn your particulars.
“Two capfuls of milk in the tea yeah? And do you need a refill on that hot water bottle and some more Panadol?”
“Yes please.”
“You really need to man up and see a doctor.”
“Thank you.”

And then, one day, you’ll realise Wollongong has become your home. While Newcastle will always be the place you come from, your hometown, it isn’t it anymore. Nearly everything you love is here now. Because there’s something so gratifying about building a life for yourself. Knowing that you’ve cultivated the friendships, paid the bills, kept yourself alive. Your mum will call you and ask when you’re coming to visit. And while you miss your family, and your beautiful best friend who you call every other week, and so many lovely people you grew up with and went to church with, you know it isn’t where you belong anymore. Here is. Where you’re your own entity. And it’s the most lovely feeling in the world.

this is the way the world ends.

The world has ended.

It didn’t happen at all like I thought it would. Whenever I had imagined the end of time, it was always so…cinematic. Maybe because it had always been talked up. I expected hurricanes that picked up entire cities. Tsunamis, deadly viruses, aliens. Or nuclear fallout, after each major world leader had pressed their big red button. Maybe even something more religiously inclined, Jesus finally returning to end it all.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

It was much more quiet. If I hadn’t been paying attention, I probably wouldn’t have realised. It was very subtle. A slow, incremental ending. Like the phasing out of a song when you don’t want to interrupt the atmosphere of the party. I don’t even know when it started to end, I only remember noticing that it had all gone much more quiet. Like the calm before the storm. But instead of the storm, nothing. Just the end of it all.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

And I don’t know what to do now. How does one go on, knowing that it’s over. I hadn’t anticipated this interlude. The world ending, but humanity still existing. I’d always thought that when it came to this, we’d all end too. But it’s funny. It’s all still pretty much the same, everything is as it was. The sun still shines. I still have work and assignments. Breakfast followed by lunch followed by dinner. It is all as it always been. All would be normal, if it wasn’t for the lump in my stomach and the nagging thought eating away at me.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I’ve realised the world doesn’t end with explosions and riots in the streets. It ends when you run out of things to say, when all your conversations have run their course. It ends with awkward silences when you realise you can never go back to the way things were. The world ends when the boy you love, loves someone else. Or when a boy loves you, but you love another. The world ends when you have to break someone’s heart, and live with that. The world ends when you realise that everything is not what you thought it was. That you can never really know what someone else thinks of you, whether your affection will ever be returned. Whether happiness can ever be attained. The world ends when you grow up.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I know it’s a first world problem. It’s up there with having too many friends to invite to the party, or choosing which dress to buy with birthday money, or forgetting the password to the Netflix account. And with the housing bubble being what it is and the refugee crisis and the world being forecasted to end three times in the next five years, I know it may seem trivial. But I assure you, it’s real. Writer’s block.

It eats away at my soul. I can spend hours, days, weeks, staring at a blank page. Balled up pieces of paper surrounding me, haunting me. First lines and opening monologues scratched out. Ideas eerily reminiscent of Harry Potter discarded. Rough drafts with only the author’s name to go from. 

I set alarms to go off in the middle of the night, hoping I’ll interrupt a dream featuring a dream within a dream. One that I can turn into the next winner of the Man Booker prize.

I read classics over and over, trying to find my version of Mr Darcy or “stay gold Ponyboy”. J Alfred Prufrock wanders aimlessly around in my head.

I go out and purposefully fall in love, just so I can have something to write about when they break my heart. Writing poems about the same boys over and over. Hoping that each time the same story will sound new. Taking different pieces of their personalities, turning them into one being, the ultimate muse.  

I time my walks for when the sky is soft and pink. Go for long strolls along the beach, Nicholas Sparks style. Spending my days looking up and around at the universe, hoping that it’ll elicit some Biblical revelation, and with it a story of the same ilk.

I try haikus. Epic novels and quintets. Short stories paired with long essays. Discovering whether acrostic poetry is my niche market (it’s not). Experimenting with every form of the written language, trying to find something that works. 

Because I know I need to write. It’s something that has surpassed all other fancies and whims. It has become an integral part of me. Not just a desire, but a necessity. I need to write like I need to eat, to breathe. It is the only way I can make sense of myself, the human race, our entire existence. I write because I can’t not. It is the only way to maintain my sanity, reason for living. I know I need to write.

The question is, what?


Holidays are the best. Seriously. I actually forgot how lovely and beautiful and necessary they are. After a year that included moving out of home, getting 3 jobs, and starting a university degree, which was amazing and great and I had a ball, don’t get me wrong, I was so very thrilled with the idea of a holiday.
And, for the first time in my working career (just over 9years), I was taking my longest break to date – a total of 3 weeks. Which is a little sad in itself, but lets not talk about that.

I got to spend the first two weeks surrounded by some of my favourite people in all the world: the extended Britt family. With 14 grandchildren, not including girlfriends, husbands and kids, 8 aunts and uncles, and 1 set of amazing grandparents, spread out over 4 apartments in a one-way street a block back from the beach of South West Rocks, it was an absolute ball. Swims everyday. An excess of icecream. Raiding fridges from apartment to apartment. Different movies in different loungerooms being watched every night. The Annual Lord of the Rings Extended Edition marathon. The Bridge Jump. Hot chips being eaten for lunch 10 times in 14 days. Serious perfection.

Getting to spend 2 blissful days back in Newy was the perfect separation between my two trips. New Years with best friends and gal pals and Wild Yak Pacific Ale. Happiness.

Spending the last days of my Great Laze in Evans Head with my best friend and my best friends fiance (and also really good friend) was about as good an end as you can get. Eating food, playing card games, going on long drives, visiting Byron for the first time, seeing a bevy of longhaired surfer dudes, was really all a girl could want. Going on bike rides and drinking thickshakes and trying not to vomit, and doing it with people you love, makes a girl pretty damn happy.

Many many thanks to any and all people that contributed to what has been an absolute banger of a year, that ended with three weeks of complete and total happiness. Much love to you all. Enjoy the ensuing pics X

I was driving along and listening to Spanish Sahara and the sky was pink and it reminded me of a message my Mum sent me saying, “I always think of you but especially when the sky is pink,” and it made me both happy and sad because I don’t think of her when the sky was pink I think of you and all the you’s that have come before you that have never thought of me and it breaks my heart but at least now I know I can exist with a broken heart.

short story.

He’d definitely smiled at me. There was no mistaking it. It hadn’t been some trick of the light, or my mind playing a prank on me. He’d definitely made eye contact, and smiled.
“Damn.” Some of the jam had slid off my toast and onto my dress, down the very middle of it. I looked back over at him. He was laughing now. I wondered if he had a nice laugh.
“Ah well. At least you’ve established yourself as humorous,” Mim said. “You pride yourself on being funny, and you’ve already made him laugh.”
I looked over at my soon to be former best friend. “Thanks. What a consolation. He’ll think I’m a grub. A funny grub, but a grub all the same.”
Mim gave my face one look and laughed. Apparently my serious face hadn’t been serious enough. “I think you’re a funny grub, and I still love you,” she said, throwing her arm over my shoulder.
I immediately ducked out of it. “You’re not getting off that easily.” I used her arm to wipe off the jam. “There, now we’re even.”
She pulled a face, then shrugged. She’d gotten used to my antics long ago. “Now, let’s talk about this,” she said as she sipped her coffee.
“Actually, lets not.”
“Nice try pal. But I wasn’t born yesterday.” She gave me a look, silencing any mockery I had planned. “I know you. I know what you’re thinking. I know how you work.”
I looked back over at him. I wanted him to know how I worked. Then maybe he could fill me in on that little secret. I looked back at Mim and smiled. But it didn’t quite make it to my eyes. “It’s nothing. Trust me, I know better than that.”
“Better than what?”
“Better than liking the prettiest guy in the room.”
She gave me that Mim look that meant I was about to get a lecture. So I jumped in before she could. “I don’t mind. Really, I’m okay with it. I am the funny one. You’re right. I’m that funny off-kilter best friend in the rom-com. The sarcastic one that drinks a little too much at your wedding.”
Mim looked at me with either anger or disappointment. Or maybe it was sadness. Probably all three. “But doesn’t it make your soul ache, feeling this way? Doesn’t it break your heart?”
“I don’t have a heart.” I took a sip of my water, thinking about my answer. “I gave my heart to someone else, who didn’t give me this to replace it.”
“But you shouldn’t have waited around for him.”
“I didn’t wait. It’s just that no one else came along.”
“But some day. Someone will.”
“Yeah. Maybe.” I took another sip of my water, trying not to meet her eyes. “But don’t worry about me,” I said, trying to lighten the mood. “One day I’ll meet a boy and he’ll lasso the moon for me. And I’ll have the moon for a heart instead.”
And, because she loved me, Mim didn’t say anything. Because she knew that sometimes silence is a gift of itself. An acceptance. Acknowledgement.
Then, as if on queue, like there actually was a higher being in charge of the comedy of errors that is my life, the beautiful man from three tables along walked over. He was even more beautiful than I‘d thought. Damn, I was screwed.
Mim gave me a look and a smirk, and excused herself with some vague mumbling about having spotted the moon.
“Hey. I just came over to say that the jam actually improves the dress, in my opinion.”
“I’m glad you think so. I’m actually going for that Jackson Pollock look. Next I’m going for some mustard. Then maybe some beetroot.”
He laughed. It was a nice laugh. I was definitely screwed.
“I’m Jude,” he said, “what’s your name? Ms Pollock?”
I laughed. “No, it’s Scout actually.”
“Scout,” he repeated.
I knew I’d replay this moment over and over. Because a beautiful man saying my name slowly, letting it roll off the tongue, doesn’t happen very often.
“Like the book?” he asked.
“Like the book.”
“Your parents have good taste.”
“In literature, yes. In getting together and bringing me into the world…the jury’s still out on that one.”
He gave me an up-and-down look that made me want to both live and die at the same time. “You’ve got me convinced. Well, Scout-like-the-book, I hope to see you around. I’m looking forward to seeing how that dress turns out.” And, with a smile, he walked off.
Mim walked back over, with what I suspect is my least favourite look on her face. “Told you.” Damn, I’d nailed that face. “So, is the moon still up in the sky?”
I gave her my best withering stare. Which, as it turns out, wasn’t very good.
“You’re going to tell me sooner or later,” she laughed. “You may as well spill the beans. You’ve already spilled the jam.”
“He seemed nice. Funny. Gorgeous face.”
“Damn it Scout, give me more than that. You said that about the guy you saw walking on the other side of the road on the way here.”
Knowing that she wouldn’t give up until I’d given her some kind of emotional reaction, I thought it over. Secretly wondering if this would be the day we’d both look back on. Wondering if this moment was the moment.
“Well…I’d never realised my name could be a poem, until it came out of his mouth.”
Mim gave me a knowing smile, and laughed. “You, my dear, are in for a world of pain.”
I laughed. That girl knew me all too well.