Loneliness is not a long-distance runner

“Loneliness is not a broken heart. It’s a penguin in a tutu.” I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.


Mummy bloggers talk about lots of things, you name it, health, poo, fashion, life, snot, upheavals, relationships, toys, cars, school, politics, love. But prisons? Not so much, not the literal ones anyway. Which is a shame.

I’ve always been strangely drawn to prisons, or rather the idea of being locked in a cell. During adolescence I used to fantasise about living out my days in our downstairs loo. It had everything I needed (well, a loo), and I would add a little duvet, a hatch for receiving food, a video recorder (hopefully not Betamax) and a some bookshelves. What could be nicer? No parents to deal with, no exams to sit, no job to get, no boys to make you feel just awful and sad.

Obviously,  the idea is now abhorrent (apart from those days when I want to lock myself in a cupboard), and yet when I visited Fremantle Prison near Perth in Australia in 2010, I felt a warm fuzzy glow. I can’t explain it, I can’t understand it, but I was drawn to the place. We were traveling with an eight month old BUB.1 at the time so didn’t think it wise to actually to take a tour of the cells (oh how I wished we could) but after a visit to the gift shop I was aglow. So aglow, in fact, I returned to the shop and bought a book,  a compendium of “creative works from Fremantle prison” entitled Prose and Cons.

On flicking through this narrow volume my eyes had randomly snatched the opening line of a poem entitled State of the Heart:

Loneliness is not

a long-distance runner

it’s a cooling breeze

on a hot day in summer

it’s not knowing your place

when watching a plane crash

swan diving with beautiful grace

loneliness is not a broken heart

it’s a penguin in a tutu

everyday state of the art

The reason this took my breath away was because as a teenager, as well as fantasising about living in the privy, I also started to have recurring dreams about plane crashes. More specifically I would witness a plane crashing in the distance, as I stood helpless and solitary in the distance. I had that dream for years. And here I was, in Fremantle on the west coast of Australia, twenty five years later, reading Shane Finn’s poem about that very same feeling.

I don’t know why Shane Finn was in prison, but it doesn’t matter does it? I just loved what he wrote.

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