Saturday, October 26, 2013

I'll show you mine if you show me yours

You know I’m just busting to tell my story, and its stuff you’re
never ever ever supposed to talk about: How a bully transformed me into 
Australia’s first guerrilla knitter in 2009 and got me not one, but 
two jobs at the National Gallery of Australia.

How my family were so freaking strange, the normal thing to do was  
become a Scientologist for 14 years. How my Dad - no that one's for later.

All I wanted was to be normal, but I wasn’t. Thank Dog! Phew.
At 19 I narrowly escaped being normal by getting engaged to
an illiterate Irish sailor. He could barely string three words 
together and it was love. I was frozen in the headlights of a 
life in the burbs with three kids and a cotton shift dress.

Thank Dog for the tiny spark that said, “Quick, go sleep 
with the DJ at the nightclub and create such a kerfuffle he will break it off”, 
because, you know I was 19 and didn’t know how to do it any other way.

Fast forward 33 odd years I’m a little more sophisticated about things, 
and far more sophisticated about being UN normal. It’s my unique point 
of difference. I love being UN normal.

A friend said “Bone crushing” honesty. It's a compliment. When a bone breaks,
 it gets stronger. Get your calcium pills, because I’m just getting started.

Normal? Normal is what your Mum says as she pulls the 
thermometer from your mouth. Normal is a dryer setting.

I’m still coloring outside the lines and running with scissors – and living 
to tell the tale. Not just living and surviving, but thriving. If you'd like 
to stick around to hear the tale, I promise you won't be bored.

There's no such thing as a messed up page or a messed up life. 
I'm looking forward to sharing my stories and the journal pages 
along the way. All art is narrative. There is always a story in every 
tiny work of art, how could it not be?

I'll show you mine if you show me yours. What parts of your story 
show up in on the art table? 


  1. what is normal ? Can't wait to hear your story. Jacqui x

  2. Lol,I wonder how many of us tried to be normal when we were younger and then one day just accept that we are un normal ...and that's ok. I'm so glad to be un normal. So much more fun and I get away with things that normal people can't. hehe.... In my job I have to teach kids to colour in the lines but I get juicy moments when they can let their imagination and colouring out, grow wings and fly... :)

  3. Life in the burbs, 3 kids and a cotton shift dress.......unimagineable for you Denise.
    Look forward to reading more.

    Claire X

  4. Yes indeed... looking forward to hearing all the tales. Go go un normal grrl! X

  5. You never fail to bring a smile to my face! thank you for being UNnormal x

  6. I LOVE THIS!!!! I swear to god you and me got separated at birth!!!!!!!

  7. I would bet my last dollar that I could never be bored with your story, Denise. Really looking forward to your posts! What part of my story shows up on the work table? Hmmmm... I will have to think about that but for starters, as a child I dreamed of being a famous naturalist married to Gerald Durrell. I read all his books and eventually when I discovered he was happily married I decided I would have to become an artist instead and create art that would incorporate the "specimens" I had collected for Gerald. That was a long time ago, but I still try to bring natural objects into my carvings.

  8. My whole childhood was spent being UN normal - told off, never getting it right, always in trouble, never good enough which thankfully I survived and have managed to turn into a successful career because it turns out I wasn't evil I just saw things differently from 'normal' people and the UN normal Tribe is bigger than we think.

    Thanks for sharing Denise. x

  9. I am so lazy and such a "safe" chicken...I look to you for inspiration and courage and damned if you don't deliver! You are a beacon in the shit fog! Gawd I love you! I love everything you do and I love your dog.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Wow, "a beacon in the shit fog". Can I use that for a testimonial?

  10. Sign me up. I've grown to think of myself as the unraveled sweater sleeve. My story turns up more often in my writing than in my art, though the rubber stamp, "If I have to wear pantyhose, I'm not going." will be forever true. It is much more interesting out here on the rim planets. "What a long strange trip it's been." xo

  11. My husband and I say we're "abbey-normal" (from 'Young Frankenstein', "You got me an abnormal brain!") We prefer it that way! I don't even want to know what color "normal" is, sort of a grey-beige!

  12. I look forward to hearing more of your story! Is anyone normal? I read somewhere just today that normal people are just people you don't know very well. I've been doing a lot of soul searching recently and there are things I regret doing but I'm coming to think that I shouldn't beat myself up about them- They were a product of where I was at that time in my life. My art often features themes like home, safe haven, and a sense of being different- perhaps because I've often felt like I don't fit in except in my own home with the family me and Mr Dotty made where I can be myself. Your colours always shine through xx

  13. I pretend to be normal by keeping my mouth shut as much as I can, then when I can keep my mouth shut no more, I come home and write.

  14. Bruce Cockburn sang 'the trouble with normal is it always gets worse'. Normal is a bauble that ain't worth the price. It is shiny and empty. Revolution happens out here on the skinny branches (you're out here swaying in the breeze on one little twig while I'm close by on another) - it never happens in the fat center. Love you and your fabulously un-normal meta-eccentric ways.

  15. I think 'normal' is pretty good. I lust for normal and dull.
    But I think we should celebrate abnormal too.
    But we all do have the most fascinating tales to tell...and you tell them rather marvellously well.
    You must read Brenda Ueland's IF YOU WANT TO WRITE she was a friend of Sandburg and wrote in the 1930's and is my guru.I long to hear all your tales - you've heard most of mine, I think.oxoxo

    1. Brenda's book is on my shelf - time for a re-read.
      And it was your book that inspired me - your tale is so beautifully told.

  16. all of my life is my art! my child's diagnosis with sms, my work for reeces rainbow that saw me iving in a mental institution in remote Ukraine to love special needs orphans, my self esteem yo yo dance! It's all there, bare and explored! x

  17. You know, none of my story does! How odd I'm thinking now, coz I know it can make for some fab artwork. So why doesn't it? Because I do have one......a bit. Hmmm, after reading this you've really got me thinking Denise. Not sure now whether to thank you or "weelll thenk yew!!!" ;) ♥

  18. You are one-of-a-kind, a breath of fresh air, a light that shines, and an artist who oozes creativity from every pore. In other words -- just perfect!


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