Getting to the point…

September 3, 2009 at 5:42 am (Uncategorized)

* I’m not sure I’ve ever written a post in point form before, but I think today’s the day.

* It’s raining for the first time in what feels like weeks. I don’t mind. I got the washing off the line in time, and now the frangipanis are getting a soak.

* I like running in the rain, even though my sunglasses fog.

* I’m still mulling over last night’s book club. It was intense, and I’ve just received an email from the hostess apologising for hurting and/or offending me. She did neither. In fact, I had a great night, but it’s true there’s awkwardness and misunderstanding around my lack of children as against every other member’s on-going experience of motherhood. These experiences are all unique, but even so I think maybe they feel they ganged up on me as The Mothers last night. I don’t feel that way myself, and I am not easily offended. I’m rather more easily hurt, but again, no bruises in sight. I think things become distilled in potentially explosive ways because of the nature of these short-burst catch-ups; in general life’s not nearly so fraught. I hope no one else is worrying about this – I was surprised the hostess felt troubled enough to send me an apology.

* I’m really much more concerned about my friend S. She’s walked into a hard time she doesn’t deserve, and I feel helpless and upset about it. She is deeply fabulous.

* I ate a box of Cheezels yesterday. And by that I mean I ate the whole box. I don’t quite know how it happened. I just kept putting Cheezel rings on all ten fingers like highly processed Crown Jewels and then chomped my way through them until the box was empty. Afterwards I felt revolting and  ill, but I had a shamefully good time sucking residual cheesy preservatives off my fingers.

* We saw an owl last night, sitting outside the hostess’s lounge room perched regally atop a towering cactus. He had whiskers, and our rushing over to the window to admire him seemed to really cramp his style. Old Man Owl ignored us. I love owls, so after yesterday’s whale, I really felt nature was putting on a bit of a show.

* I heard a great expression at book club last night. “Uni Dabbler” – one who experiments sexually during the wild years of undergraduate study. I’d never heard it before. I love it. It reminds me of “Bobby Dazzler.”

* The new Mr. Rose catalogue for spring-summer 09-10 arrived today. I am madly coveting everything. It’s all gorgeous.

* My fingers and toes are tightly crossed for my friend T. If I prayed, I’d pray now.

* Darkling JB has WON a national writing award AND been picked up by Australia’s BIGGEST literary agency and we are BURSTING with excitement and pride. Incredibly, we’re all going to be able to celebrate in person because she and Jenny fly into Sydney tomorrow and the Darkling writing retreat begins. I see several toasts in our immediate future.

* Sometimes I feel I am travelling in reverse.



  1. litlove said,

    I’m longing to know what book provoked the discussion. And how the mothers could possibly have ganged up on you. But I’m just curious like that; feel free to ignore me!

  2. piereth said,

    Well done to Darkling JB indeed! Write on!!

    Travelling backwards? Like ass-first? Or backwards through time?

    • doctordi said,

      Progress wise, I often feel like I’m moving backwards rather than forwards. This feeling is amplified by knowing writers who have just entered warp speed!

  3. Grad said,

    I parrot (another bird reference here) Litlove. What was your book group reading? What was the discussion about? As for rain, it has hardly stopped raining here all summer. Big boomers. I guess we’re heading into hurricane season now. We’re often warned to evacuate the island, but I hate it and think it’s more dangerous to be stuck in “traffic flight.” What is a Mr. Rose catalog?

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    I hope that things improve for S and T. And congratulations to JB. I also was curious about the ruckus at the book club. It’s lovely to live somewhere you can see whales and owls.

  5. Pete said,

    Congratulations to Darkling JB! That’s fantastic. I also saw two owls in Kirstenbosch a month or so ago and it was a special moment. They were just parking off in a tree waiting for the mice to come out. Really cool.

  6. doctordi said,

    Cool, Pete – more parallel universe stuff! Owls are just so cool.

    Book club – you’re going to be disappointed, girls, because it wasn’t actually a discussion about a specific book, more about books and reading in general. Hardly anyone had READ the book (which was a shame, because it was Beyond Black), which prompted a discussion about time and reading and the way that taking up a book is perceived as somehow a very luxurious thing that no self-respecting mother would do or be caught dead doing or would at least ever admit to doing. I was aghast. Really horrified. The idea that reading could ever be perceived as shameful, something to be hidden from one’s husband and friends, is an anathema to me of fairly epic proportions. So I said, “Well, if I ever do have a child, I can tell you right now that I’ll still be reading. I actually require it. I need the stillness, I must have it for my psychological wellness, and it’s non-negotiable. Plenty of things will go hang first.”
    Well. That just kicked off. There’s this whole thing with some of my mother friends – great girls, smart, accomplished, all the rest of it, all doing, I think, a pretty amazing job – where it’s almost a contest to prove one’s rabid busyness, busy, busy, no time, no, no time at all, can’t you see I have two children, and while I really do not think I underestimate the difficulty of parenting, nor of keeping all those balls in the air, I do think this is a dangerous and foolish competition, because it puts out stupid ideas like the one that says if you’re reading, you’ve obviously got too much time on your hands. No child is ever the poorer for a mother who reads, of that I am quite, quite sure.

  7. Fugitive Pieces said,

    Oh, I’m looking forward to Litlove weighing in on this one…but of the many ways to slice the world, there are people who read like us, and there are people who pick up a book occasionally to distract themselves, or because they think they should. The latter DO regard reading as dispensable, faintly shameful, and there’s no way their dabbling will persist through the maelstrom of early motherhood. They’ll prioritise everything above reading, because they might enjoy it but they certainly don’t need it. Those of us who hear the siren song, who go cross-eyed with delight on entering a bookstore, who read ’til 4am barely blinking (and the devil with the next day), who get apoplectically angry over bad English because you are shitting on the steps of our temple… Yes. Well, good luck removing our books, because you’ll be lucky just to lose the one hand. Regardless of ankle-biters.
    And no, you are not moving backwards. You are moving with all due care and attention, and forward. I don’t know a writer who would look at JB’s fabulous news with unmixed emotions. It’s entirely wonderful for her, of course (and I hope you have fun celebrating with the Darklings) but you can’t help but think “when will I get to experience warp speed?” You’re a writer. You feel nuance, and complexity, and sad little shaming jabs of envy tipped with delight – what sets you apart is that you can recognise and describe them. Very soon, we will be reading your book and relishing the story that only you could have told; and your success will look just as inevitable and well-deserved as JB’s, because hindsight tend to bestow grace that way. The owl says I’m right.

  8. doctordi said,

    I’m struggling against tearing up, Fugitive, sitting by the fire, laptop in, er, lap, with the Darklings – yes, we’re all working like freaks. An eleven hour day for me today. Thank you… I so badly want to be worthy of these sentiments and predictions…I’m not at all sure I am, but I can tell you I am trying my absolute best, and that’s all I or any of us can do.

    LOVING Bird by Bird, btw.

    On these part-time readers, I am intrigued, because I guess you’re right, but it’s just so foreign to me that I honestly can’t compute the shape of the particular planet they’re living on.

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