Monika Schott

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A life of 'oh wells' are greater than a life of 'what ifs'. I write to express life in all its glory, to spark thinking … I love to swim outside, practise hot yoga and hit the boxing studio. I'm currently undertaking a PhD research to capture the social history of the community that lived on Melbourne's first sewerage farm. I've had several short stories published, my latest being 'The Teacher' in 'These winter months'. I was short-listed in the Ada Cambridge Prize, won the inaugural Wyndham Rotary Arts Small Business Award and have a Masters of Communication where I looked at boys and reading and what it is they like to read.

The vying

A blaze of cyclonic fire, a blow torch of extreme has rampaged the Earth and scorched it bare. Nothing remains. No fragment of life exists on the blackened face scattered in trillions of smattering flecks of grey.

No birds of waking tunes or trains of clicks and clacks ferrying their freight into town. No roosters calling or dogs singing with clucking chooks as they lay their eggs.

In their place is the darkness that suffocates as a silent tightening, tourniquet.

And yet if you sit in utmost concentration in the stillness of this aftermath, the cleansing of the burn is obvious. Concentrate, even when fidgeting itches can disturb, and tune in to the unmistakeable pitch of the fresh and new and the faint whispers of a dawn about to break.

Glints of pink stained orange wrestle billowing, liquid cloud in the distance. That glimmer of sun’s warmth stirs our seeds, willing them to unearth.

Root tips begin to tingle … the emergence IS coming.

Those seeds know of the birthing about to occur, of the potential waiting to applaud them.

They nudge and jostle to edge upwards, stealing past fractures in rocks opening and widening under the pressure of their shoving. The charm of those minuscule glimpses of light flickering through the friable soil is irresistible, their appetite for it is insatiable. They tussle for prime position, vying to reach higher to break through the surface.

The darkness warms around them, the nurture of the sun’s warmth has hit. Ravenous eagerness ricochets and disrupts the birthing balance. Restlessness underground … a rumbling core.

 

Breathe, be patient little ones, the dance of birth into a bosom of fertile and Mother Earth nourishment will soon begin. The time is near for a creation yet unknown.

 

 

 

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
There is always something so powerfully life affirming in your writing, Monika. Thank you!
Monday, 05 September 2016 11:17
Monika Schott
Thank you, Katherine! ?
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 06:24
Rosy Cole
It's always a welcome reflection that while humans gather and store as summer shuts down, nature is scattering in preparation for ... Read More
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:50
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4 Comments

Currents of existence

Gazing stalks tickle my trunk and wriggle into my roots. A breath on my neck whispers to let go.

Breath grows to a breeze grows to a wind more stirring than a witch’s brew spiked in slivers of upheaval and entwined in the riling passion of debauchery. It whips deep into my soul, rippling and rustling my every fibre, unhinging the grip that steadies me.

Chaos squalls in on a tail tainted in musty stale that gives rise to a festering stench. My roots bore down, scavenging for the tiniest morsel of stability from a bottom of waning. Instincts tell me to give in and toss all that’s known, to allow for the emergence of the new. And yet instincts of knowing can battle as Titans in an underworld of raging wrath.

Cells of being start to wilt and dry under the stress of spitting solar flares, beads of me bleed from a craggy facade. My might is wasting, flailing in frailty as sacrificial kindling to the desolate and barren. My roots dislodge under the smirk of despondence shunning the sun ... my core teeters, and erodes in quivering quakes. Twilight gives way to darkness.

Exposed in a waste land of vanquished foundations and smothered in vulnerabilities of unknowns, all I can do is let go and be whatever it is I’m meant to be, to sway in the currents. Numb and with no fight left or strength for thought, it’s time to just be. In the smothering aftermath of debris, I shut my eyes.

Time passes without measure, in a gloom of gluttonous gloom shaded in clouds of obscurity.

Then comes the rain, sometimes ringed in rainbows, other times as hammering hail. It’s cleansing is in preparation for the fresh and new, for the nurturing to nourish the bleak and stark.

Soon, my roots begin to sprout new footings and as they do, a budding strength locks in. They grow in tentacles of spiderling webs to clutch the Earth and bore quickly and deeply to re-establish a solidity beyond measurable compare.

A flicker of light over the mountains of purple and blue arouse the tips of me and I hunger after the warmth as a Bird-eating Spider ravenous for glow worms. My tips reach for the stars to dizzying heights … such joy in the stretch that unchinks me, for the new genus of existence.

And then it hits my centre, propelling me and thrusting me to the gist of me. Glorious golds shimmy beside molten silver rippling in ridges of red ... a new strength is birthing in heartening warmth and bottomless love, a depth of boundless appreciation blooms in the feminine of frangipane and masculine of magnolia.

An energy more luminescent than a blood moon and more unconditional than the heart centre of Mother Earth ... that’s the new found strength.

From any ashes, comes eventual rise.

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Beautiful, rich, colourful.
Saturday, 20 August 2016 11:07
Monika Schott
Thanks, Katherine. Exactly what I was striving for.
Saturday, 20 August 2016 22:43
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2 Comments

It’s done.

Cocoroc town, photo courtesy Melbourne Water

It’s been so long since I’ve posted any thoughts here. But contracts are now signed and time’s ticking to lift-off. Gestation has been long; 10 years from the initial idea to now, with the last few months being the most intense.

Just days away from beginning, I’m like a cub salivating and frisky for the ostrich egg gleaming in the sun, champing to sniff at it and bat it, to push it and roll it until it cracks open to reveal riches yet unseen, with Mum watching and grinning as the proud lioness and all in the pride purring whispers of, ‘you go girl!’

I’ve signed on for a three-year research project. A PhD within the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University, with a book and theoretical exegesis as end products.

Many writers seek to write the story that’s not been written. And I’ve found one of those.

British journalists in the 1800s dubbed Melbourne as Marvellous ‘Smellbourne’ because of the raw sewage being disposed in the city streets. By 1891, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) formed to treat Melbourne’s sewage, 30 kilometres away from the city at Werribee.

As Melbourne grew, so did the volume of sewage and the workforce needed to manage it. Workers rented a house in one of four towns on site for their families and single, migrant men lived in tents with a communal kitchen at the camp’s centre. Communities grew and connected through schools teaching children, football and cricket teams playing in local leagues and other social activities. The place was one of the largest and most important public works undertaken in Australia in the nineteenth century. It provided job security for many farmers during the 1890s economic crash and 1930s depression.

Little oral history has been recorded of the generations that made up the MMBW community. My project will seek to capture that social history and document previously untold stories of MMBW community life from 1900 – 1975, as a creative nonfiction book. It will explore social and political values of the period, the conditions the community as a company town endured, and not, and the social fabric and values that bound people to live on site while managing Melbourne’s sewage. I hope to give some insight into the people that made that community and the role they played in helping Melbourne grow into the metropolis it is today.

Perceptions (and illusion) have always interested me, the unseen story behind every face. This project is loaded in both: a story unseen and untold, and negative perceptions about sewage that can be seen as far back as 1899 with the Yea Chronicle reporting on the appointment of new teacher, Miss Schwiige, to the Cocoroc School on site. It referred to the town as, “a small but rapidly rising township between Little River and Werribee … chiefly noted as a health resort, guaranteed to contain a more varied collection of germs to the square inch than even Footscray … Miss S. is fortunate.”

Interest in the project so far has been incredible. So many are attracted to it and want to be part of it. I’m absolutely looking forward to it. It’s such an opportunity (and indulgence) to be able to focus on it for three years.

The need to tell the story well and with the merit and respect it deserves will keep me on my toes though, to make sure that egg cracks in just the right spot so all inside can bask in full glory. I’m sure that responsibility will weigh heavy on me at different times over the next few years. Thankfully, I have a most fantastic team to work with and couldn’t do the work without them. Thankfully too, I have people around me who believe in me. That counts for more than I can define.

My penguins are almost lined up in a row. Just waiting for one last scallywag to fall into line. Then I’ll be more set than Antarctic ice.

 

Go to https://www.facebook.com/MMBWFarm/ to follow the project or hear more about it.

 

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Well done and good luck with the project, Moni! Fascinating!
Thursday, 11 August 2016 14:46
Monika Schott
Thanks Rosy. It will be a very interesting project. ... Read More
Thursday, 11 August 2016 20:47
Katherine Gregor
Wow! A PhD! I admire your courage. Power to your elbow!
Friday, 12 August 2016 08:49
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7 Comments

Jelly cakes and daffodils

There’s a place where petunias and pansies in reds and blues and edged in frills of white stretch as an endless sea of pretty. Their finery is you, poised in baubles of ranunculi and dainty blush-pink, tea roses that weep of gentle bliss on the waft of yesterday. Their delicate petals wrap snug around a centre oozing in precious, tender nurture.

And in this place, we sip tea from fine porcelain cups laced in pale blue forget-me-nots as we savour raspberry jelly cakes sprinkled in Easter daisies and scones of yellow daffodils with piercing red centres, chuckling and nodding to caught up news.

It’s all you, unwavering in acceptance of all the hydrangeas in their shades of pinks, purples and electric blue, sometimes tinged brown or wilting from a harsh reality that takes nothing from their beauty.  

As gladioli from heights of cherry and burgundy, you watch in adoring eye from the curling lips of flowers, guiding in gentle care.

Your garden of fertile flourishes forever, eternal in the warm buttercups and lemons of heavenly jonquils, indestructible and surviving in the most abandoned of gardens.

And yet there’s this other place, a chasm of gaping void strewn in unsuspecting boulders and glaciers of splintered shatterings. The dark, barren expanse sweeps beyond the horizon as a vast vacuum of loss, where cups of teas and coffees when the day’s tea quota has been reached, and cream puffs of whipped cream and soft, biscuity chocolate hedgehog are no more.

Still, the fuchsias continue to flower, twirling as ballerinas in their tutus on the gist of gardenias, ever dependable in their orange blossom honey and refined bloom.

The nods are forever free in your garden, among the tulips and snapdragons, the lilacs, violets, dahlias and peonies … in forever love.

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
This is so rich and colourful, Moni. I wonder whether you paint as well as write and if some of your images are your own work.... Read More
Monday, 09 May 2016 17:49
Monika Schott
Hi Rosy. Thanks for your comments, which are very insightful as I did paint in oils and draw in charcoal and chalks once. My work ... Read More
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 00:06
Rosy Cole
I do hope you will! I'd like to as well! It's something I'd love the time to return to (after many decades). Art is more therapeut... Read More
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:28
4468 Hits
3 Comments

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