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Future shock is the new normal

23 July 2015 | Brian Matthews

Shocked manThey are ‘coming to get us’, warns our Prime Minister, adapting the ‘bogey man’ mode of our childhood fears to the contemporary narrative of terrorism and violence. The effect of related intrusions on our daily lives is being gradually dulled. The neoliberal dispensation under which we now live both relies on, and encourages, new episodes of normalisation that go far beyond what we've known in the past.

Middle age suits me just fine

21 July 2015 | Isabella Fels

Rear view of middle aged womanAgeing. Looks fading. No longer able to wear the clothes from my early twenties. Feeling slovenly and matronly but enjoying the respect I never got when I was young. Deep down I love being called Madam. In middle age, I feel much more empowered and no longer so cowered towards authority.

Tough but fair confronts human vulnerability

20 July 2015 | Lea McInerney and Sandra Renew

Man being interrogatedThe woman holds up her hand to stop him speaking, with one finger pushes her black-framed glasses back into place, continues tapping keys in a large face calculator. The tiny baby in the old pram sleeps. Will our children know the cost of it all?

Tears as a sign of inner strength in troubled waters

14 July 2015 | Cassandra Golds

Teary woman'You are stronger than you know.' To scroll through Facebook is to meet such exhortations constantly. Often circular, and strangely unhelpful. Some, at a time of rising concern about violence against women, are downright alarming. 'A strong woman is one who is able to smile this morning like she wasn’t crying last night.'

The moment of not knowing wishes do not come true

13 July 2015 | Jane Downing

WishboneI will put my pinky round one arm, she'll do the same to the other. our knuckles will graze, purchase will slip on the smooth old bone. Thumbs will hanker to push against the head that binds the two arms. But our mother says, wait.

Elegy for Joshua Hardy

06 July 2015 | Dougal Hurley

Stop trying to possess him, claim him, covet your story, talk it away with the Christ or the hackneyed straddling of 'Two Worlds'. He didn't walk between them, he just was, is and ever shall remain, a man not a slogan.

Two goats, a sheep and Grexit

30 June 2015 | Gillian Bouras

Alexis TsiprasIn the early hours of Saturday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced a referendum for July 5. Whether the average Spiro and Soula has much idea of the macroeconomic issues seems doubtful. I certainly haven’t. And there is not much time for them or me to learn. Spiro and Soula and I are naturally concerned about the supply of ready cash.

Artefacts of grace

29 June 2015 | Rory Harris

QuiltingThe fabric over your bed, a life of quilts made simple & held up ... of more than ninety years, taught generation to generation.

All deaths great and small

1 Comment
25 June 2015 | Brian Matthews

Cover of 'A Small Death in Lisbon'Many deaths of course are not small deaths. They evoke distinction, achievement, leadership, innovation, creativity or, in some cases notoriety, quixoticism or eccentricity. Yet placing some names above many, some in a class of their own, others in a ruck of the scarcely memorable, one indispensable criterion unites all the characters and places them beyond our imaginative, intellectual or descriptive reach: they are dead.

The rhetorical question with an answer

23 June 2015 | Maureen O'Brien

Gesturing manWhat can you do? There's comfort arising from an internal acknowledgement of the fact that, however painful it might be, there are some things beyond our control. But certain role models in our community - including anti domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty - have demonstrated through their actions that it is possible to move beyond a seemingly all pervasive sense of resignation.

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