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IMG_6327.JPGIt’s been a hundred years since I last blogged, and you probably thought I was dead, unless you follow me on Instagram, in which case you knew I wasn’t dead because I’m over there all the time providing incredible content like videos of my cat pole dancing and pictures of me driving a ferry.

Things around here are ticking along, as they do. Time is passing. Children are going to school, my first book is off with the editor, my next book is becoming notes on a page, which are slowly and unsurely revealing some sort of story. I don’t know. Don’t ask me about it.

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Like sorting Lego into colours, listing your worries makes you feel like you’re making progress. In both cases this is an illusion.

I’m supposed to be revising my manuscript. I’m supposed to be making the characters appear at the right times and the jokes be funny and the poignant parts be more plentiful and the scenes that don’t carry the plot forward be gone. But I can’t because I have too much panicking to do.

When I get like this, my first instinct is to panic at other people. Those in prime position to cop the panic are H and my Mum. I’ve panicked quite hard at them over the past few days and they’ve, in one voice, said ‘make a list of all the problems’ and ‘take the list to your counseller and stop banging on to us’. Obviously they said this in a nicer way.

What they probably really meant was ‘make a list and publish it on the internet, so there is a permanent record of your lunacy’, so that’s what I’ll be doing this morning.

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There’s No Me In Team

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Here’s me at five, being bamboozled by sport. Nothing has changed.

My kids are now five and seven. As of two days ago they are both students at the local primary school. They wear uniforms, they will attend five days a week, and are learning to read and mathematicise and understand what the moon does (totally beyond me). The next thing, if I am to go by what all my neighbours and friends are doing, is for them to join some sort of sports team. Around where I live, lots of very nice people have their children in netball, soccer, cricket and that other one that’s like AFL but the players are roughly 85% uglier. They all seem to be thriving. I get the feeling we should be doing something like this.

So we had a vote recently in our house about whether any member of the family wanted anything to do with that sort of malarkey and the result was a landslide: 100% NO FUCKING WAY. I’m extremely relieved, but I feel guilty because maybe, despite all my feeling about team sports, they might matter. Lots of people I love and respect think they matter.

I truly did ask the children, in a neutral way, whether they wanted to play in a sports team this term and they really did say no, but I’m worried that I’ve influenced them in a subtle way, due to my less than happy sporting past. Don’t get me wrong: we’re not a total bunch of idle layabouts. I do understand about physical fitness and the importance of it from a health perspective, it’s just sport I don’t get.

H played team sports – including rowboating, horseless grass polo and perhaps AFL (I think? Possibly?). He liked them, and I think he was pretty good at some of them, and he still likes watching many sports, thought not so much that he’d chose it over at least six other activities.

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IMG_5708On Sunday I started a three-day writer’s retreat at my parents’ weekend house in the country. The plan was to come home after dinner on Wednesday. Today, Tuesday, I finished that retreat, at 4.55 am.

I’ve done a couple of these little three-day stints in the past few months, and until now they’ve been fantastic for getting a huge amount of work done in a really short time. There’s something about not having to get small people’s lunches made, clothes on, and delivered to school and preschool, then not having to plan dinner, shop for dinner, and do laundry and bath, dinner and bed that really helped me focus on the book.

Lots of people, when I said I was going to the country on my own to write, expressed concern. Mostly the people who have actually been to the house, because it is big, old and, not to put too fine a point on it, haunted. (more…)

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IMG_1179Completely disorganised this Halloween? Got no costume? No decorations? If you’ve got kids, I think you’ll find you’re all set.

4 Simple Costumes!

  1. Zombie: don’t sleep through the night for seven years. You’re good to go.
  2. Cold Sore Monster: stress out like a maniac for a week before Halloween. By the big day you’ll have a nice crop of sores on your lips. Gross.
  3. Count Moneysworth: get the shits about how many random costume parts are alreay in the toy box, yet no child will consider wearing. Put them all on at once. Wear at least three different types of animal ears. A couple of crowns. Novelty glasses, if you have them. Plastic vampire teeth. A mask. Harry Potter scarf. A tail or two. Job done.
  4. Massive Killjoy: Striped shirt, jeans, flat sandals. Roll eyes constantly. Confiscate most of everyone’s treats. Make children eat chicken and vegetables before they go trick or treating.

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Seven year olds can make their own fairy bread. That’s dinner for the rest of the year sorted. 

I’m a long way through the writing of this first book but I’ve hit a little wall. It’s not a big or hard wall, and it’s nothing to do with the book (which will be great and excellent so my publisher who reads this need not freak out and go into labour or anything), it’s just a wall with a sign on it that says ‘nearly there: reduce speed now’.

It’s to do with the fact that if I keep writing at the rate I have been I will finish it well before the deadline and then what fun will having a deadline be? For surely the only point of a deadline is for it to cause enormous trauma and misery to me and everyone around me, right? Like the deadline for my thesis at university, which was approached correctly, by doing bugger bloody all for months on end and then writing almost the whole thing the night before it was due. (more…)

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Here’s my awful ugly new desk chair, rehearsing its look for next Book Week, when it plans to go as Doris the Desk Chair Fairy

We’ve had Book Week, and now there doesn’t seem much else to look forward to until next Book Week. For my non-Australian readers (and WordPress would have me believe there are one or two of you in Papua New Guinea and Denmark), Book Week is a week when kids get to go to school dressed as their favourite book character. All through primary school it was hands-down my favourite day of the year.

To celebrate Book Week this year, I wrote a big chunk of Book and I exercised all my self-control to let May Blossom do her own thing for her costume. I’m reasonably easygoing about what my kids dress up as for things like Halloween and dress-up parties – usually at least one kid goes as some sort of cat — but I did have to take myself to one side and have a serious chat bout how I’m no longer the kid and I’m not the one dressing up and my child is her own person and thus should be permitted to have her own thoughts and feelings about books. Operation Don’t Be A Book Week Dictator went pretty successfully. I only made a few suggestions about Hermione Granger, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Heidi, which were all overruled in favour of someone called Lydia The Reading Fairy.

May Blossom is a fan of a series called the Rainbow Magic books. There are umpty-gasquillion of them and they are all nearly identical except for the fairy-protagonist. There’s Phoebe the Fashion Fairy, Melissa the Sports Fairy, Harriet the Hamster Fairy, Nora the Netflix Fairy, Abigail the Attitude Fairy, Ella the Eyeroll Fairy, Betty the Brother-hating Fairy. Some of those may be forthcoming titles. (more…)

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