Monika Schott

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A life of 'oh wells' is greater than a life of 'what ifs'.

Purging minions

b2ap3_thumbnail_23c365f6af44dd8272a6b5fd1d1f9938.jpgScurrying to hide and go, and move and do, flying and jumping in erratic motion of crazy ... manic minions fighting for attention like spoilt children vying for the last sweet on Earth without knowing where it is.

They clash and scrap within a mess of scattered matter, bullying if they must in their desperation for validation and prime position. The frenzy becomes a bubbling cauldron of emotional prod and pull, too big for the heart to contain. It erupts, overflowing to the brain. 

That’s when true plumbing havoc begins with blockages of activated sludge and leaks into cracks of permeability. Crusts of tar form to smother reason and logic, fear grips to suffocate what’s right and best and nurture the growth of trepidation and uncertainty. Manic minions have now become tribes of egos that squabble amongst their own.

Where to look and what to do ...

A stroke of unexpected softness from innocence, a touch that says, ‘It’s okay.’ The stroke becomes a hold that stops your breath and grounds you to the earth in shuddering reality, sending those manic minions scurrying.

Their withdrawal is short-lived however, and those minions return revived and more frenzied than ever. But you’ve had a glimpse now, a reminder from your heart.

The minions come and go, like and dislike, take a sneaky peak. They want but don’t know how to want and send mixed up messages. They’re greedy and self-satisfying with egos that thump and demand.

Each minion has its own agenda that changes by the minute, sometimes repeating to never end or begin, as the chicken and the egg. All are urgent, yesterday urgent ... the wheel spins faster and faster until a centrifugal force kicks in.

Then, in the momentary flick of a switch, everything stops. Everything falls to nowhere.

A life is gone.

All that remains are memories and grief, and people with minions yesterday, bound together today. Nothing is the same again. What mattered yesterday, matters nix today.

Instead, spending an hour having dinner together, savouring the conversation more than the food, takes centre stage. And when that stage moves to the kitchen to clean those dishes, the chatter moves with it, as an oozing luscious centre from a warm chocolate pudding. Yesterday’s minions are floundering as they wash down the eternal emotional drain, until the minions are gone.

You remember what’s important to you and not what’s important to anyone else, what makes you happy and your heart sing as the most exquisite sound on Earth. You remember the power of love and that when fear knocks at the door and love answers, there’s never anyone there.


Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Powerful, truthful and brilliant rendering of an interior landscape. Thanks, Moni! :-)
Saturday, 21 February 2015 11:58
Monika Schott
Thanks Rosy. Love your description of the rendering of an interior landscape! ... Read More
Sunday, 22 February 2015 02:47
Katherine Gregor
So vivid and heart-rendering, Moni. All the very best to you.
Sunday, 22 February 2015 11:10
1918 Hits

The little flat-head that swam away

b2ap3_thumbnail_20150123_085203_resized.jpgWhat beauty surrounds me, even while sitting under an overcast sky wearing a jumper over my summer dress and a strong westerly spitting rain onto my laptop. My bare legs catch the breeze, sending my feet into a gritty quick-step against the ribbed decking under the table. No matter how many times I dip my feet into the bucket of water by the door, my feet are never truly sand free with grains collecting in between my toes and up my shins and calves. Not that I mind.

Waves roll in and crash to the shore as I sip on a glass of local Riesling. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s not quite two thirty in the afternoon, but I I’m on holidays and savouring a glass of wine at this time of day is okay I think.

Two of the boys are fishing from kayaks and the other is fishing off the rocks. The beach belongs to us as the only house perched into the bottom of the hill with the beach at our front door step.

‘Mum!’ comes a deep call. I look up to one son waving me over.

I stride from the deck down a few steps onto the sand.

‘I caught a flat-head,’ says one of the boys. ‘But it’s too small and I can’t take the hook out. Can you?’

I take his rubber thong and rest it over the poisonous spines of the fish to protect myself as well as steady the fish so I can ease the hook from its mouth. Poor fish. The hook barely moves. After some gentle tugging though, the hook loosens to release. The flat-head doesn’t move to begin with and I hope with all my might that it soon will. And it does. Albeit a little dazed, the fish swims out to sea with all my encouragement coaxing it from behind.

After twenty years, my brother’s hook was finally released this week. It’s been edging off for a while now and sometimes, it’s been yanked at with no movement at all. That’s typical of mental illness though, it’s unpredictability to improve or deteriorate. He has been cared for at home all those years and it has been only the last few months where he has steadily improved. This week saw one last tug that released him from that hooked grip. He secured a bed in a transition house where he will be supported to learn to live independently. He’s probably floundering in his own sea at the moment as the little flat-head did when it was first unhooked, as he tries to find his way. Unlike the little flat-head though, he has support all around him to help him and it’s that support that will be the difference between sinking or swimming.

A bite at a piece of softened chocolate and sip at my wine brings me back to the water. I gaze across the bay to the distant mountains sitting quietly in various hues of grey while savouring the sweetness of the chocolate and crispness of the wine that complement one another perfectly. Being on a deserted beach adds another dimension of deliciousness.

A few days at this place by the beach is a stark contrast to our visit to Queenstown days earlier. Queenstown is a struggling mining town that boomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s with gold, silver and copper unearthed from the surrounding hills and mountains. In 1896, Mount Lyell was touted as the greatest copper mine in the world. Investors, led by BHP, became very rich.

The key to the huge mining success at Mount Lyell back then was pyritic smelting, a process that utilised the heat generated by burning sulphur and iron in the pyrite, which was used in place of coke to fuel the furnaces. The first time the furnace was lit, the workers could hardly keep up with the flow! The image of billowing smokestacks became a symbol of pride and progress.

Fast-forward a quarter of a century and that hook of greed had snared tight. The smoke from those smoke stacks released toxic sulphur dioxide that clogged the air and left the surrounding landscape covered with a poisonous yellow dust. A blanket of yellow fog could be seen from miles away and workers needed to carry hurricane lamps in daylight hours to see. Work horses too suffered, as they bled from their noses. The sulphur killed what hadn’t been chopped down from the surrounding forests and the slopes of Mount Lyell and Mount Owen became devoid of vegetation. Instead of grass, the football oval was covered in gravel and those investors, they left with pockets bulging.

Today, almost one hundred years since the pyritic process ceased, those hills still lay bare. Some mining occurs but the town struggles, caught in a tangle of the huge legacy of what was. Seeing that was saddening and I felt angry at the greed of humanity. Having breakfast in a local café one morning though, amongst wonderful, open and chatty locals, gave me a glimpse into a community that breathed an air of resilience that only diversity can give. People seemed to exude as an aureolic halo as they went about their day. If reports are true that the Tasmanian government has plans to explore a range of opportunities that will bring life back to the town, then Queenstown could have a second chance at life. They too have all my encouragement gently supporting them.

Second chances are wonderful things, especially when they involve an underlying strength that stems from the polarisation of life – beauty and devastation, strength and vulnerability, care and indifference, greed and generosity.

Just as sunshine beamed down this morning and an overcast sky adds a tinge of grey to everything around me, baby flathead will always be set free. The greed for more will always be, as will the resilience in all of us grow. It’s what makes the world go around.


Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
A complex, vivid and inspiring post - full of information. Beautifully painted chiaroscuro. Thanks so much, Moni.
Friday, 23 January 2015 11:36
Monika Schott
Thanks, Rosy. Always appreciate your feedback. ... Read More
Friday, 23 January 2015 21:01
2309 Hits



A new energy is blowing in on the swirl of dry and dusty 35 knot, north winds. Its force rattles windows throughout the house as an exasperated energy eager yet unwieldy in its drive to blow through, loaded with new adventures and challenges. It comes as gusts that ignite grass and bush fires to clear remnants of the old and rejuvenate for the new, of hope for better. 

‘Forget last year and focus on the new year,’ I’ve heard it said so many times already. Last year brought its challenges and many want improvement. But why forget last year and all its teachings that have made us who we are today, ready for this new year and new adventures? Without the year-after-year of building upon previous foundations we wouldn’t be ready and capable to take on this next year of 2015. I certainly wouldn’t be.

Last year brought a wild ride of endings and beginnings, challenges and triumphs. And with that came all manner of change that toughened and transformed thinking on both global and personal levels. 

Conflict and crisis continued around the world and impacted many, like the 12-year old suffering leukaemia who could not receive the appropriate medical attention because of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. That child died. There was the Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to neighbouring countries and the two Malaysia Airlines flights that saw 537 people die - one being shot down by a missile over Ukraine with the question of who fired that shot still unanswered, and another that disappeared without a trace. Gough Whitlam died. He passed the Racial Discrimination Act in Australia and introduced free tertiary education and paid maternity leave in the 1970’s. And then there was the quest to land on a comet. So much more news from 2014 can be found at 

My year sparked from the high peaks of the roller-coaster in palpitating and flirtatious heart beats, to my gut being wrenched in crazy plummet from those highs. I questioned honesty and integrity, and what I considered extremist and calculated behaviour when confronted by bullies and a level of betrayal of my openness and honesty. It made me realise once again that what is important to one person may not be important to another and that passions and beliefs fuel actions that are individual to all of us. Simple in its prose but quite a process in thinking!

Success and celebration abounded too, of my children’s achievements and of my own, with people believing in my writing, whether for adults or for children. Sometimes those celebrations came with a twist of quirkiness, as in waiting up until 2.57 am to quietly see in a thirteenth birthday with the birthday boy! 

Then Christmas came and suddenly I found myself questioning traditions. A tradition after all, is simply a custom, behaviour or habit that we develop and act on. In my growing family, I never thought we had traditions as each year was different from the next. Until this year when the question was raised about breakfast on Christmas day and how we must have our cooked ham, eggs and croissants as always, regardless of having to prepare for 43 lunch guests, which in itself was another break in tradition. As was New Year’s Eve celebrations when for the first time, the two older boys went to friends’ parties to wait in the new year.

Ultimately, last year was a year that pushed boundaries and thinking and in reality, was an undertone that existed in all previous years too. It highlights one thing: the need to live in fluidity. 

There will always be want and desire, challenge and triumph. Some things we desperately desire, others we’re happy to sell off! In the end, all we can do is be limber in our movement through the clearing, in all its frenetic and subliminal under currents.

Best I slide open those windows for as Gough Whitlam once said, "When you are faced with an impasse you have got to crash through or you've got to crash."

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
You're right about using the experiences and knowledge of the past year(s) as a building block for the year to come. Happy New Ye... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 09:29
Monika Schott
Thanks Katherine. Happy New Year to you and yours too. ... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 19:29
Rosy Cole
'It made me realise once again that what was important to one person may not be important to another and that passions and beliefs... Read More
Sunday, 04 January 2015 13:00
1794 Hits

A weather change


Writing by candle light seems right given the rain that falls on leaves outside my window. It’s a trickling patter that dulls to a thump when it hits the ground. It’s in this dawn before the dawn that life is clearest, as if the rain is washing away a layer to reveal the next delight in fresh rawness.

It’s so transfixing when stopping to listen. Quiet time out. I want to turn up the volume for more!

A rattle of an open window and flicker of flame accentuates a breeze that’s barely audible. But it’s there. Blowing hellos onto my neck that’s undressed, cleared from the old in preparation for what must be part of this next wave blowing in.

A sip of tea, a gulp in decibels not normally measured.

A puff of air swirls in and down to my bare feet hooked under my desk. My toes tingle in a gentle wake up call. I hope the spiders lurking in the dark don’t wake to join in the toe tingling!

Change is stopping by once again. A clearing of the staid like this can only mean change.

The breeze becomes constant and travels around to waft under my nose and cool my lips moistened by tea. Each breath in is sheerer than the last, cleaner, and travels deeper within. The dross is being filtered to expose a new layer.

A gentle faraway rumble …

Here comes that ride of extremes, of loss and happiness and humblings of caring kindness, of passions that can question all that life is. It’s almost as a storm chase of dreams on the curve of any rain drop daring to carry.

Come, change. Every molecular zephyr is welcomed!

Another swirl of breeze, a sip of cooling tea. Chirping song wafts in through my window. All is awakening.

Change equals love, of the self and others. Accepting that change and appreciating it for its place in life as an unknown journey to somewhere new is the key.

A rustle of leaves outside. Change is not easy for many. Taking leaps of faith into unknowns can be more terrifying than anything imagined, crippling. That rumble grows to a thunder … heavier rain sweeps in.

Trusting in that change is part of the change and realising it’s not just about arriving at any end. Change is individual and always laced in a newness nourished by the freshness of more rain.

Change can make any heart sing, even when it can’t be heard. The heart knows what it truly needs. The trick is in letting the heart be to do what it needs to do. And maybe dance with it and the rain, and the rumbles of thunder now cracking.

Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Monika, your piece touches the heart. It's so beautiful. And so true.
Monday, 08 December 2014 19:16
Monika Schott
Thanks for saying that, Katherine. Like most writers, I sometimes question what I write!
Monday, 08 December 2014 19:59
3481 Hits

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