Paper Cat Tales

Chasing My Tale

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Washing my jeans in the wild world of digital change-making

Being an apprentice is like arriving in a new city. I’m three weeks in to a digital change-maker apprenticeship (so exciting!!) and I’ve found some of the main streets but I’m not really sure how they link up. I’m walking though the city without a map but with an excellent tour guide and some great traveling companions!

Having Glenn Todd as a teacher is like being guided around town by a generous friend who’s been local for a few years… He knows his way around, loves pointing out the spectacles, showing us a few short cuts through the back streets and giving us a few clues on how to enjoy the local culture.

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Mostly it’s new and strange. Some of it is familiar. Some of it’s completely bamboozling… and despite knowing that we’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible, I am starting to feel more confident, and gradually but intentionally letting go of my self-professed (but largely unfounded) technophobia.

This week in our WordPress Master Series training we had a session on web content. We learned that the true cost of a pair of jeans is not the labour, not the cost of manufacturing them, not the water used in growing the plants that made the fabric, but in the water used to wash them once they’ve been purchased by the consumer.


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Glenn used the jeans example to explain to us one of his golden rules of web design… “Content is King”. He says the true cost of a website is not in building the website but in the ongoing production of content, the management of people and the marketing.

We were encouraged to think practically about what content we’re producing, why, how it will be managed, who will manage it, how much it will cost in terms of labour, money, time, what skills we have available to us and where we might look to fill in the gaps, particularly in relation to the individuals or groups we’re building sites for as part of the apprenticeship.

The other 3 and a half apprentices and I are forming a kind of a pop-up web design studio to give us on-the-job experience in working on sites, campaigns and projects aligned with our passions. Soon you’ll be able to follow our progress and learn with us via cocreatechange.net

To begin with I’m helping work on a website for a Melbourne big band and designing a website for an international conference. So far I have a few domains, some databases, a header on a wordpress.org site, a little bit of know-how and alot of ideas.

My street directory is still missing a few hundred pages but my plan is to just keep walking, stopping and running through these streets and enjoying the colours, the crazy characters and the rise and fall of the land under my feet.

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Filed under wordpress web apprentice content design cocreate change

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My friend and I didn’t realise that it would be dog o’clock when we took a walk to the park. Pleased to meet you puppies.

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How to say goodbye to a house that’s become home

I’m interested in rituals for everyday life… rituals for letting go, acknowledging, celebrating and grieving…

Yesterday morning I said goodbye to the house I lived in from late primary school until I finished high school. Since then it has been my Mum’s house and my family ‘home’. I went into each room and stood for a few minutes in each space. I just stood, not trying to remember anything, just choosing to be right there in that moment and soaking in the sense of place. Outside in the back yard I faced the house and spent a few minutes doing a simple body prayer.

On my flight back to Melbourne I had a song (Katie Noonan / Elixir’s cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) stuck in my head. I was feeling really grateful for my family and that I even have a home to say goodbye to and so for a bit of fun I wrote some memories of my old home in the form of lyrics to the tune of the chorus…

Goodbye Terrace my home
Where the Mums and the Kellys did roam
Your roof top fire’s gone out now
Pool tennis balls have been thrown
Back from dinner it’s card game time
Coffee’s brewed on the stove
The walls still don’t quite reach the ceiling
But we love you so Cadell clo-o-ose Oooo OOo OOO ooo oo.

Later in the day I mentioned my in-flight activity to a friend who thought I said I had composed lyrics to the tune of Follow the Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard of Oz! It certainly does add something singing it with a munchkin-land voice… very silly! Not quite what I had in mind but it works. Haha!

The lyrics contain a few in-jokes… Kelly was the name of our dog who died a few years ago, fire on the roof refers to the time my brother and his friends in all their teenage wisdom decided it would be a good idea to to light a fire in a small metal bin while mucking around on the roof. They didn’t manage to set the house alight but they did freak out our next door neighbours. It’s feels good to remember random stuff like that.

In the afternoon yesterday I was hit with another wave of sadness about the fact that I would not be returning to a place that’s been part of my family for 17 years…



My new friend and colleague, Melbourne-based arts educator / storyteller, Julie Perrin recommended an activity that she said can be helpful for processing and saying goodbye to a home. I haven’t tried it yet but the idea is to draw a picture of the floor plan of your house, add in furniture, outdoor spaces, colours, and if you want to, draw or write in memories of things that have taken place in different parts of the house.

I love this idea and am fascinated by simple rituals like this that allow us to acknowledge and reflect on significant changes or milestones as they unfold. 

Have you or has someone you know found a simple way to acknowledge, process, celebrate or mourn an event or milestone?

If so, I’d love to hear about it. Share it in the comments on this post or if you’d prefer you could email me at papiercat[at]gmail.com (yes there is a letter i in that email address).

I’m working with Julie Perrin on a Retreat Day in Clifton Hill called Springtime Story Basking this weekend. There are some tickets still available, so if you’re in Melbourne and you’re needing some space to write or draw or just be, join us at the Athol Gill Centre, 100 Hodgkinson st, Clifton Hill, 11am - 4pm this Saturday. Bookings here http://www.trybooking.com/BYNX


If you’re interested in the idea of home and/or ritual you might also like to have a look at this poem Some Say Home by Cheryl Lawrie and check out her site hold this space- an exploration of alternative worship, public sacred spaces, ritual, justice and spirituality in Melbourne, Australia.

Filed under home house goodbye ritual spirituality story storytelling events

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