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.
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