The Lost Thing: Back To The Present

shaun tan2

Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing

Hey TLG fans!

What did you do this weekend? I spent two days roaming the streets with my friend who flew to Melbourne to see me. It’s funny how when we get together with certain friends we become totally absorbed in the present moment. Her with her baby brain and me with my natural aburrr brain (think Austin Powers!) were an interesting mix on Melbourne’s streets. In a recent post, I outlined an incident that occurred last Sunday in Melbourne that shook me for the whole week. After that, the city sensed my vulnerability and sent a barrage of ammunition my way. Like in the film we saw Saturday night, Saving Mr. Banks (brilliant – five stars for me!) it can be difficult to let certain things go and get back to that child-like, open state of mind.

We stumbled in to a book shop so that I could point out to my friend, the works of writer and illustrator Shaun Tan, because I had been raving about my dream to have Shaun Tan illustrate one of my children’s book manuscripts. The lovely book shop lady, Anna, jumped up and down with excitement when I said his name and (half seriously) joked that the reason she had moved from New Zealand to Melbourne was in hope to one day meet Shaun Tan. ‘The Lost Thing!’ she declared. I thought she was coincidentally referring to our state of being this weekend but she was instead referring to the exhibition at Melbourne’s ACMI building, of Tan’s book-turned-movie.

We checked out The Lost Thing and became quite absorbed in Tan’s world and I couldn’t help but notice some kind of ironic and layered parallel universe we had found – partly to do with being in the city and partly to do with the new life situations we have found ourselves in. Roaming the streets of Melbourne completely alien to the comings and goings surrounding us; hopping from one madmen to the next with no direction; reading unfamiliar signs (street and metaphorical) containing a complex city language us small town coastal girls don’t recognise. We were, back to the present, and we didn’t even mean to build that time machine.

After a week where the city snapped at my heels like a rabid dog, goading me to bite back, I somehow decided that it is best to stand up against the city, face it full on and accept that it is a mad dog. So I shedded my soft skin and made way for leather because, as it appears, once the city drags you down, it gets you by the throat – the city wins; and I just don’t think that Mary Poppins would have that.