Friday, 31 July 2009

Writing the Wrongs

When I was about 8 years old, I bought a new notebook which I decided to use as a diary. I had the smart idea of writing in it every day, and to be efficient I wrote "Dear Diary" in every single page. Just to get ahead of myself.

Unfortunately, I had written, "Dear DAIRY". My sisters clocked it and teased me mercilessly, so I threw it in the bin, so disgusted at my spelling mistake. (I'm usually a good speller.)

This did not deter me. During a recent cleanup at home, all of my old random notebooks over the years got reunited. I'm loathe to look in a lot of them - especially the dream diaries. The one constant theme is that I never finished writing in ANY of them. Some of them are filled with bad poetry; odes to dead dads; written under the influence. Eight years ago I kept a half-hearted pregnancy journal with Max. It has three entries - one at 3 months, 6 months, and then 10 months as I stood at the kitchen table in labour, my waters dripping all over the floor. After he was born, I had to put my occupation on his birth certificate. I didn't have one ... so I wrote "writer" and felt like a liar. I joked with Dave that I wrote shopping lists.

My grandmother always told me I would be a writer one day. Once, not long before she died, she stared at me. "You really are going to be a writer - but not until you're after thirty. Until you chalk up enough life experience."

HA. Shitting my pants in taxi cabs from too many red wines? Life experience. Psych ward? Life experience. A boyfriend a week for every year of my twenties? Life experience.

Last year, during Dave's cancer fiasco, the sky opened up and some beautiful paintings slipped through the clouds and into my house. I was asked to write the text to go with some paintings that were getting published as a childrens book. One of those thick cardboard books, for toddlers. I had all the paintings in an upstairs room, waiting. My sister Leigh came up, to take Dave for his chemo. She fell in love with all the paintings, and really got my interest sparked in writing it. She slept in the same room as them all .... swears she woke up feeling amazing after "sleeping with the bees."

After she left, I lined all the paintings up in the order I thought best, and wrote the story -


The artist told me I could pick one to keep. I chose this ... the buzzy bees flying over the Sydney Harbour Bridge -



One day in September last year, Rocco was asleep, Max watched TV, and Dave was beige, sick, cancerous and chemo-ridden. I blasted my iPod with U2's Live in Paris, and listened to a 1980's Bono sing amazing versions of Bad, Running to Stand Still, and Party Girl. Crying, I had the heaviest fucking heart in town. I guess my grandmother would call it life experience.




Anyway, so it's writ, now published, next week will be a launch in my home town. With live music, wine, and nibblies. There's a voice in my head saying "But it's only by a niche publisher! It doesn't count!" Dave keeps asking why I haven't told anyone ... I don't really know why. It feels odd. Like, in the end of Shrek II when Pinocchio finally gets made real, and yells, "I'm a real boy!!!" But before he blinks he's changed back again.

The book was meant to be published back in January ... then March, now August. If anyone reads here who used to read my other blog, and I have your address and you've waited a mere millenia for the parcels I have promised .... this is the reason. I'm going to send you a copy, amongst some other Australiana stuff. You have no idea how your addresses have been burning a hole in my psyche ... promising something and not delivering, I am SO sorry.

I have started writing something else now ... but haven't devoted that much time to it lately. This week I forgot to blog about the night Rocco didn't get to sleep until 4AM. No joke. I ended up walking round the house a wailing wreck. I appear to be coming out of a foggy depression I didn't even realise I have been in for a few months. Maybe my whole life will just be a series of depressions and coming out of them, who the hell knows. The last therapist I had sat slack-jawed at me. I almost wanted to buy her a bucket of popcorn as I told her about my life. She was like, "And THEN what happened??" I can't be bothered to find a new therapist. They annoy me.

Today all I could do was weed the garden, while the boys mulched. It was great. Dave and I are still on a high from dinner last night. We ate truffles - (grated on blue swimmer crab omelette) - not the chocolate kind, the underneath oak trees kind. At $2000 a kilo, Dave leant over and whispered to me - "Two grand a kilo! Fark, it's like smack!"

My sister Linda is egging me on to write a memoir, we joked that instead of spicing it up with falsehoods I would have to leave some truths out, to tone it down. I just don't know. I owe blogging a lot of credit ... it has kept me writing, continually finding my voice. But best of all it has led me to you.

23 comments:

  1. I can't wait til your book is published how exciting, you should be telling everyone about it ! One day I will illustrate one, hey perhaps we could tee up and you could write it ? :)

    Glad you enjoyed your dinner, it sounds wonderful!

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  2. I bet the book is incredible! You must be very proud...and the pictures are beautiful.

    Also, I think you should absolutely write the memoir - and don't tone it down either! Then, you could get a therapist, and when you make the appointment, you could just give him/her the memoir. They can get their amazement over with before you even enter the room! Call it a medical history...

    Re: Dear dairy...sisters - you just can't do anything with them. One of my sisters just posted an old (horrible) family photo of the four of us with our mom. Everyone looks horrible in the photo, except me. However, at the time I had short hair, so they were making fun of my "mushroom" look. This devolved into a long series of postings involving songs that they (my two oldest sisters) had made up about us (my other sister and I) (the one about me has the words "quiver chin" in it), who should get credit for the songs, whose life was worst, etc. It makes me eternally grateful that I don't have to live with them anymore.

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  3. I am so happy for you darling. I want to RSVP yes- but that would mean I would need to bang Richard Branson to get on his private jet.

    I love you dearly my sweet eden- you are a writer. A damn good one.

    I cannot wait to read that memoir. (and I cannot spell for the life of me)

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  4. ...and you to us. For that I'm thankful.

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  5. I think I love you.....well not exactly, but I got your attention!

    I started reading your blog a few weeks ago and I am not sure why, but I am totally drawn to you and your life and your family. I have already read your blog on more than one occasion when I was feeling down and it pulled me out of a bad funk. I keep thinking....at least no one I love has cancer!

    I am fascinated by Australia too....so that is a bonus.

    I am so excited about your book and would love to get a copy somehow. Please advise me what to do.

    Keep up the good work and keep inspiring people like me that need people like you too look up to.

    Hugs,
    Judi

    PS – I have had the exact same thing happen with a therapist! It took me weeks and weeks to even get them remotely caught up in my life. Now I blog and annoy my friends and skip paying for a therapist.

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  6. Congratulations, Eden! If the book is going to be available here in the U.S., then I'll definitely buy a copy.

    I hope you continue to feel better.

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  7. Many many congratulations to you Eden! I cannot wait to read it. You are amazing!

    i have never had truffles....are they yummy?

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  8. Eden, I am so proud of you! I bet the book is amazing - I love the painting that you kept especially, and I know that anything you write will be something I love to read.

    Not sure if you have my address but I will send it to you in hopes of getting a copy, and you'll also have to send me info on how I can purchase copies - I know lots of toddlers who would love to read your book!

    And my life experience for today includes putting my underwear on inside out.

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  9. That is awesome and totally exciting!!! It 110% counts. I hope we can buy it in the States. I want to see photos of the party!

    I know that I should liuke truffles, but i think they taste like dirt. Same as I should like caviar but I think that's gross too.

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  10. I am so happy for you!!!!

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  11. Congratulations! Please keep us up to date on the publishing journey.

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  12. Wow! Too cool! You are an honest-to-goodness writer. And those pictures are gorgeous - I like the one you kept.

    And I can't even begin to count the number of journals/diaries I began and didn't finish. Glad to know I'm not the only one!

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  13. I love the DAIRY thing, because is something I probably did, too.

    I am so excited that your name is on a REAL, LEGITIMATE book! And don't you dare minimize this AMAZING accomplishment.

    Too funny that you will (notice I didn't say, "you would") have to tone down your memoir. And by funny I don't mean haha or peculiar. I mean wow. That must be some story.

    And I will LOVE reading it.

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  14. I am so utterly and totally proud of you. Send me a link so I can order your book. You are a writer - and I predict this will open the floodgates for you. A wee first step (but a very beautiful and exciting one) and in years to come I will be so happy to say "I read Eden before..."

    I just had this image of holding my yet to be born baby in my arms and reading your book to him/her and saying "your kinda auntie Eden wrote this". Just got teary thinking about both wonderful things :-)

    Sorry I had to RSVP no - would SO love to be there and meet you!

    Love and huggles

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  15. man, i wish i could be there! many congrats!

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  16. I absolutely love those paintings. They are truly fabulous. I bet the book is fabulous too. And way back then I never sent you my address but I would love one of the books. I think a memoir would be great. And I believe you are a writer.
    Funny about the truffles and what Dave said. Glad you enjoyed the dinner.

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  17. I just know your book is incredible!

    I am so happy for you! And so proud! :-) Mwah!

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  18. Oh it's getting published!!! That's FANTASTIC! I thought you said you weren't sending out the books? But you are? DOes that mean I get a book? OMG! Eden! You have NO idea how excited I am! I can say "I know the WRITER who WROTE THIS book!" And I'll say it just like that too!

    I'm so happy for you sweetie! I really am! You're amazing, I am so proud of you!
    *HUGS*

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  19. 2K...Once a addict, always a addict.
    I love Dave!

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  20. Holy shit...I forgot to say congrats!

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  21. OMFG!

    That was adolescent of me, sorry. You wrote a real book! I know an author :)

    Awesome!

    xx

    g

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  22. I am so excited! Those paintings are beautiful and I cannot wait to see the book! You should keep on writing. Don't ever stop.

    I always feel awkward calling myself a writer b/c nothing I have ever written has been published, but Hubby proudly throws that title around to everyone in town as if I had written a slew of bestsellers.

    It has been difficult, but thanks to his encouraging, proud words, I have slowly started thinking of myself as a writer, at least inside my own head.

    The definition of writer after all is "one who writes." Therefore, the only requirement I see for claiming that title, is the actual act of writing.

    Write on E!

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  23. You bad bad girl. You KNOW it is not nice to keep things from me!!!

    I just returned home from my girls weekend and this is where I came first when the computer started.

    I am more than happy for you "But it's only by a niche publisher! It doesn't count!" BULLSHIT woman.

    I am grinning ear to ear and you should be too :)

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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