Tomboys and Totems

Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” (Luke 23:30)

What we see
and what we seem
are but a dream…
a dream within a dream.

These lines by Edgar Allan Poe, slightly reshaped, are the first spoken words in the classic Australian film, Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975). Based on a novel by the enigmatic Joan Lindsay, it is an experience that clings to you, not merely because it is so carefully and beautifully made, but also because it is a film with secret blades: it is a mystery without a solution, a horror story without savagery, a nightmare in which all the watches stop at noonday.

On Saturday 14th February 1900, a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mount Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace…

(Spoilers follow, but feel free to read on…)

[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]

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4 Responses to “Tomboys and Totems”

  • David Says:

    Mike, you are amazing. A true artist in your own right. Instead of paints and brushes, you use words and thoughts.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks David – I’m pretty good with paints and brushes too. I think these are related skills, daubing and scribbling, like Cezanne and Zola (current reading). But these are tempered by major faults in all other areas. I was always the last to be chosen for a sports team and can be guaranteed to say the wrong thing in polite company. ;)

  • David Says:

    Well I thought you were artistic even by the images you use (no idea where or how you find them) and even though I have not seen your art,if it is anything like your writing is must be very good!

    Thanks for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    No – thank you for reading!