This is a true story. So it’s going to be tough to believe it. Why have our words become so empty. The word ‘friend’, for example, no longer has any currency because we can ‘friend’ absolute strangers on Facebook. The word ‘love’ can be applied equally to shoes as to an intimate partner. And so to ‘true’. This is a true story automatically means we begin to doubt any credibility we might have ascribed to the writing.
Yes, I’m playing this game too.
My true story is this. I use bunting as therapy.
Bunting: the art of making little flags to hang – willy nilly – throughout any space. I bunt all the time. I bunt for Christmas, for Easter, for Grand Final, for birthdays. I bunt seasonally and randomly. I have messages on some of my bunting. ‘Wear pants’ is one such piece of bunting. Sometimes we need reminding.
But the bunting is more than decoration. It is a kind of meditation.
To make bunting, there is a whole, involved and almost immersive process. The first step is inspiration – what is the occasion? And then come the colours – how do these colours fit the inspiration? Shape and size come next. Length too. And after all this is decided and the elements assembled, the actual making comes into focus.
To bunt, there is measuring and counting. There is pairing up and then sewing together. There is the process of making a repeated pattern and then sewing that pattern onto a long piece of ribbon. Have you gone to sleep yet? And this is the point: this is, if you will, the truth. Bunting is labour intense and essentially boring. But it also insists on absolute attention and, if there is unease afoot in the self, if there is – well – anxiety or sadness or helplessness or a feeling of purposelessness, then bunting is here to help.
After some hours of bunting and putting it up in the house, those feeling seem to evaporate for me.