On the Penultimate Day of the Year…

December 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s sunny at last in Sydney, glorious and blue-skyed. The beach is crowded with happy holidaymakers as the city belatedly gets its groove back. In the lead-up to Christmas, there was a palpable sulk in the air as the entire population cursed the persistent cold and rain, but when Christmas Eve bloomed bright and sunny, our collective mood lifted. Finally the unseasonal weather vanished, and we were rewarded after our long wait with the most perfect Christmas Day in years. I know you northern hemisphere types struggle to comprehend the appeal of a boiling hot Christmas Day, but for me it’s the only variety that feels real, and I basked in the beauty of this one.

And now here we are, one day out from the last day of the year. Master J is due to awake at any moment, so this post will be necessarily short and sweet. All I really want to say I’ll say now: thanks for sticking with me during this first year of parenthood. Despite the sporadic posting and alarming tunnel vision of my first twelve months as a mother, you guys have held fast and continued to drop in and wish me well, spurring me on at times when I was really floundering, always ready with your good sense and even better humour. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you.

I hope 2012 will be a year of improved form here and elsewhere on the writing front – but who knows what Master J shall have to say on the matter?! I guess we’ll find out. He’s in great form, though, you’ll be pleased to know, and I am looking forward to spending the time by his side. If I’m not here, that’s where I’ll be, and I’m so lucky to be one of his chief playmates because boy, the kid sure does know how to laugh.

I did have some time to myself yesterday, and I carved up my manuscript. It’s been a long time coming – something that’s needed doing for years. I’ll explain it all another time, but the main point is that the MS has always suffered from the way it was begun:  with some of my own recollections and experiences fused with some inventions. At the time, I just wanted to make a start. I also wanted to record some of the more lasting scars of growing up, so I did that, but now I see I have no place in the MS that emerged in the years that followed. I have to get myself out of this story. It took a long time for the MS to reveal its own character, and its own characters, for that matter. But they do exist now, and if I can excise myself from the page they may yet flourish. I don’t know if they will, but I have to give them a chance.

And as for those things sparked by my own memories, as well as those darker notes that actually didn’t happen to me but which nonetheless came out of dredging up the mood of the past? Well, there’s been a ritual purging, I suppose, and I think the things that aren’t real may find a second life in short form, and the things that are real may be the basis of some memoir writing; perhaps I’ll even post some of it here. But the MS, I realise now, is a lighter creature. Like its author, it is at heart a more positive beast, and I shall strive to improve its fate, just as I have always worked to improve my own. It turns out cutting things out can be just as cleansing as writing them down.

See you in 2012, dear friends. I shall raise a glass to you all as we farewell the year that was and usher in a new one. Happy, happy days, one and all.


  1. Lilian Nattel said,

    I love to imagine how strange (to me) a Christmas is when the days are at their longest. I’m glad that you’re going back to your ms with fresh insight and energy.

    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, Lilian – it’s certainly taken a while to regain the necessary interest!

  2. charlotteotter said,

    Happy days to you too, dear Di! I have learned to love a cold Christmas, but my heart remains with turkey on the barbie and then a swim in the pool.

    • doctordi said,

      I won’t labour the point because it’s cruel, but Charlotte the water is just amazing at the moment. Much as I am quite keen on a novelty White Christmas one year, in general I am one for a big blue sky.

  3. Paddy said,

    I am also in the process of reflecting on parenthood – four years to the day today!

    I hope that we get to read more of your writing soon. For now I wish you, L and Master J a great 2012!

    • doctordi said,

      CONGRATULATIONS on the four year milestone, dearest Paddy!! My goodness – I bet you’re still reeling at how quickly the time has passed. I look at the size of Master J and truly cannot believe it’s him, my tiny little baby who sat snug in Llew’s hand. Here’s wishing your beautiful family a great year – I hope we get to see you somehow. xxx

  4. litlove said,

    Happy happy new year, dear Di! And of course Llew and Master J. The first year of motherhood is always extended madness – you’ve gone through it with plenty of grace and goodwill and always your clear-sighted honesty, and have every reason to be proud of yourself. As for a northern hemisphere Christmas, I would willingly swap the grey chilly day we have here for the hot sun!!

    • doctordi said,

      What a gorgeous little vote of confidence, Litlove – thank you. It was a tough year in so many respects, and extremely humbling. Thanks for being one of the saner voices in my head, helping me survive the shit bits.

  5. Grad said,

    As the new year rolls in, and the old one fades to memory, I will certainly raise a glass to you and Llew and Master J and all my distant friends – made distant by miles or by time. Happy happy New Year, Di!! Press onward!

  6. jenniferscoullar said,

    Here’s to 2012!

    • doctordi said,

      Indeed, Changeling – you’re going to have a CRACKER!

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