It is a truth universally acknowledged that prolonged periods of lockdown aren’t good for the human psyche. Being confined to our homes, our suburbs, even our state can be claustrophobic. We stare at our four walls but dream of faraway places.Continue reading
I’m on the train to Flinders Street Station, heading for my first silent reading party and already I’m nervous. The STFU (Shut the Fuck Up) Reading Society’s official Facebook page reads: ‘We host silent reading parties because we want to allow for […] introverted or anxious people to join a no pressure social activity with zero expectations of social interaction or conversation if it’s not wanted!’Continue reading
I began to wonder why the verb that goes with ‘attention’ is ‘to pay’. Is it a debt? A duty? A tax? An outlay of energy? Work seems to be involved in the phrase, or perhaps sacrifice. And what do we get back, if we pay it?Helen Garner
Helen Garner’s reflections on her writing life – featured in this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival – were as welcome as could be to this HG-starved aspiring author. Immersing myself in the writing life of other writers feels like relaxing back into a warm bath. These are my people.Continue reading
A Melbourne poised to go into stage four lockdown is probably not the ideal place to be in mid-winter.
Icy blasts of wind from the snow-dusted Dandenong Ranges whistle down the deserted streets as masked shoppers scurry along in search of final supplies before the expected announcement from Dan Andrews of further closures.
Who was it who said ‘Living with your adult children goes against nature’?
Oh yes, I think it was me.
It was long before the financial implications of choosing a life in The Yarts had hit home to two generations of my family: my muso son and me. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. The writing/music life fixes you in its gaze and you are powerless to look away. So here we are in lockdown together.
This online dating story was the catalyst for a piece of mine that appeared in The Guardian this week. It led to a second pitch, a whole new focus and a home in one of my favourite newspapers. It’s a lesson in perseverance and sheer bloodymindedness.
Here is the original…
An English friend of mine, now in her late 70s, introduced her husband to me by saying ‘This is Bill. I advertised for him in the Guardian.’
One day last week I looked around me at the piles of newspapers, manila folders, books and binders scattered over the floor in my bedroom/study and took a deep breath. I’ve been sleeping, working and eating in this room for the past few months.
My brain is a lockdown-induced jumble of broken resolutions.
The freedom of working from home has turned me into a combination of jellyfish and goldfish – lacking in backbone and unable to retain a plan for more than three seconds. I can’t put it off any longer. I need order in my life.
Kids, I’m going to IKEA. If I’m not back by midnight, send out a search party.
I am a keen list maker.
A quick look at the Notes app on my phone reveals all the usual stuff: outdated shopping lists, blog topics, ideas for Christmas presents, music for the Absolute Lizzie Funeral Selection Volume 2. (Just me? My children and I joke about the fact that at this rate, my wake is going to have to take place over a weekend. Could be kinda fun.)
A bonus long weekend post in honour of my nephew Tom and his mother – my friend – Anne
A gift like Anne comes along once in a lifetime
An in-law who becomes a close friend, confidante and partner-in-crime. From the day we met, we got the point of each other. We laughed at each other’s jokes, shared each other’s pain (including a common mother-in-law), went on holidays together and shared a brood of children who were best mates and just happened to be first cousins.
Since lockdown began six (or is it seven?) millenia ago, I have begun to realise how reliant I am on the companionship of sound, and of classical music in particular.
I wake up to Russell Torrance and his gentle Scottish brogue on Classic FM, then move on to my late father’s classical music CD collection for the rest of my working-from-home day. Once meticulously filed in alphabetical order in his study, it’s now a jumbled pile in his old bedroom – my current retreat. I sift through it for old favourites – the B for Bach, H for Handel and M for Mozart sections were always heavily weighted on Dad’s shelves – and spend hours every day of this 21st century pandemic immersed in 18th century music.