New Additions

Journal: 047


I love writing, the way words appear almost unbidden on the page making phrases I didn’t know I was thinking. Sometimes when the words are flowing I amaze myself. I had an editor friend who said to me one day when I had written something prosaic, why don’t you write that other way, and the answer is because I don’t know when it is going to happen, it just happens.

The reason I write Journals is so I can keep writing without the discipline of waiting till I’ve researched a review. I write letters. I enjoy schoolwork. And yet I have never considered writing a book. Well not until now. I’m twenty words in, I wonder how far I will get. If I get serious it will impact on my blogging. Or my driving. And driving pays the bills. Even now, I have to stop sometimes to get stuff written down, I wonder if it will get worse.

As you can see above, while I was away in Darwin the family got a new addition, no not Psyche, her op followed a cancer scare, was routine, planned, but a few hours before I drove her in to Royal Darwin, Gee her younger sister back in Perth, had her fourth, a boy a couple of weeks early and unmentioned in these pages for reasons of superstition (don’t jinx it!). And two or three days prior to that, without a word to her mother or father, she up and eloped! Married her boyfriend Oak in these days of plague without ceremony and with the celebrations held over till next year on Rottnest Island.

Oak already had a couple of his own, so our young Dingo pup has five siblings. Welcome to the family all of you!

Lou, in almost constant demand for babysitting and home schooling, is rapidly learning to appreciate the advantages of bachelorhood. I’m not sure what he’s getting from the government here, though I understand reports of the dole being “doubled” are if not exaggerated, at least premature. This is how I write letters, moving through the family and giving an account of each. Milly is hunkering down with her sister, repurposing her garden for herbs and vegetables.

Shelleys Garden

Did I say Psyche is fine. I feel guilty because a road train job came up, had me on my way out of Darwin less than 24 hours after getting her out of hospital, back in to WA through border control – remember the line in our constitution that says Trade between States shall be Absolutely Free (S. 92) – and down to Halls Creek to load for Perth. So thank you Lluna and Melissa for keeping an eye on her while I scoot off home.

Darwin, like every other city right now no doubt, is very, very quiet. Psyche lives only a few hundred yards (metres) outside the CBD. Her local Woolies is in the middle of town with parking out the front. I went in quite often, sometimes there would be a greeter to spray my hands with sanitiser and sometimes not. I found the local bookshop – BookshopDarwin, I suppose one is all they need – open but empty. I bought Patrick White’s Cockatoos and went back on Saturday to buy Marie Munkara for Psyche’s friends but it had closed early. There seemed to be no restrictions on where we could drive. I would drive most days the four or five ks to Truck City where my truck was parked, to check on it or get some work done at Volvo’s next door. To get it started one time when I found I’d left the park lights on.

Royal Darwin is out on the edge of town, past the airport, so I got to know that drive pretty well too, twice a day at 10.00 and 5.00. Psyche spent a couple of days resting under observation and we would go for a walk to stretch her scars. A very nice young doctor came in the first morning and drew a picture of what they’d done and why it might be sore. Between him and Psyche and Mum I learnt altogether too much.

I use the lists at the end of each journal to total up my reads for the year, but I’ve forgotten to write down the audiobooks I’ve left in the truck. Coming down I listened to Jane Eyre with which I thought I was familiar but maybe not. Milly who does remember what is in the book has said she will help me write a review. All I recall is a young Elizabeth Taylor dying in the Orson Welles movie.

It seems to be a day for good news. Our friend and fellow blogger Nathan Hobby (here) has a publisher for his biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard and not any old publisher, but Melbourne University Press (they must have deemed it sufficiently academic). Release is scheduled for the first half of 2021.

Currently reading

Dymphna Cusack, Jungfrau
Ada Cambridge, Sisters
Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Wizard of the Crow
Melissa Lucashenko, Too Much Lip
Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark
Willa Cather, My Ántonia
Miles Franklin, Bring the Monkey
Patrick White, The Cockatoos


32 thoughts on “New Additions

  1. Congratulations on the new additions-baby & son-in-law & a heap more grandchildren! 😊

    I went to the Darwin Bookshop back in mid-March. Very disappointing, I thought, but I did come away with a copy of Daisy Jones & The Six to read on the plane back.


  2. Congratulations on the good family news! When I had My Operation for an ovarian cyst a few years ago, my surgeon came round to see me when I’d come round and said, “I took some photos” – starts to riffle through her folder – “Would you like to see them?” NO I WOULD NOT. Argh. That was a cancer scare but wasn’t the big one, thank goodness – it does change your life and world to go through that and she might be a bit wobbly mentally even after getting better physically.

    And how exciting that you’re considering a book! Do it!


    • Photos definitely a step too far. I agree about wobbly. Milly flew up last year when she went in for tests, this year with two daughters in hospital at once in different cities it was my turn. I was sorry I couldn’t stay longer, but I was confident about her friendship group.

      In my EOY post I’ll let you know if I got past the first page.


    • Thankyou. Gee read this post this morning (and offered to help with Jane Eyre) I’ll have to tell her to come back and check all the congrats. What happened book-wise is that I was thinking about writing my autobiography out in the open so to speak, online where everyone could watch, and then I had a different idea and just started writing. Whether I go on will depend at least partly on whether I can write consistently to a standard I would wish to see published

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you could! Audio tape in the cabin if you can’t write. Ideas do come up at the oddest and most inconvenient of times. 🙂 Glad to hear you are still working. My outreach work has come to a grinding halt and I’m so longing to be ‘out there’ again.


      • I can see why it would (come to a halt). There were roadblocks at Kununurra, Sandfire and just outside Perth at Bindoon. I have a map somewhere, but that implies the restricted areas are east of a Mt Magnet, Meeka, Newman, Port Hedland.


  3. Yes, dawnbirdau, I was going to say audio it too while doing this long drives. You can tidy up the expression/language later but audio will get the ideas down.

    But, congrats on being a grandfather again. How exciting. And to Gee and Oak on their marriage. How funny to elope like that but good on ’em I say.

    BTW I have had my experience of the Royal Darwin, a couple of years ago when I had a terrible reaction to midge bites (me who in the past has rarely even had a mozzie bite so hadn’t been thorough about protection. Pride goeth before a fall they say.) It was an interesting experience, though I didn’t get past Emergency (fortunately!) It IS way out in the sticks.

    I hadn’t seen Nathan’s news but wow, how exciting. I’ll go check that post.


    • Thanks, Sue. It didn’t occur to me to ask them why when I went down there today. I think they decided they wanted to be married now, even if they couldn’t have the party till next year (when it will double up with my 70th, so it’s going to be a big weekend!).

      You guys have tried to persuade me to talk into a recorder before. I might give it a try for audiobook reviews, one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dang kids tying the knot without notice. Just think of what a story it will be for the new little guy when he’s older: mommy and daddy got tired of staying indoors because the world was overrun by a virus, but their love was stronger. I feel like it’s the start of a post-apocalyptic novel, but I don’t want to say that because that means the world would have ended.


    • If not ended I fear the world will indeed have changed a great deal by the time the ‘new little guy’ is 21. But yes a great story. My mum and dad ran off to get married (70 years ago next week now I think of it) and it disappoints and confuses me that they didn’t make it into a ‘story’.


      • I’m struggling to imagine how things will be different, and if they will ever be “not different” again. For instance, the library I patronize is “opening” next week, but they’re not letting in the public. Instead, you can pull up to the curb and pick up books you’ve requested. It’s nearly impossible to use social distancing at a library, so it’s hard to think about when the public will be allowed in again.


      • My local library has written to say I can order mystery parcels which I can pick up from outside the library. Good idea I suppose, but that is not how I read. If I get really desperate I may see if I can order a mystery parcel of audiobooks (probably easier just to learn to download!).

        Will things ever be not different again? An interesting analogy is 9/11, after which everything was different – for Americans. I barely remember it. Just as I’ve barely been in lock-down during the whole Covid-19 thing, except for 14 days quarantine which is how I often spend the time between trips anyway, so when my grandson asks what did you do poppy when the world changed? I may not be able to give him an answer.


  5. Congratulations on your new grandchild. You certainly have been busy. We have also had a new grandchild born – after the fires and before the virus, so good timing in one sense.


    • I’m not the one who’s been busy! That would be my full time worker, PhD student, no longer single, new-mother daughter. Must be very hard for the bush fire survivors to be so quickly out of the news and so out of politicians minds. Very hard for Albanese too to see Morrison at last rising to the occasion. I hope social distancing hasn’t kept you too long from holding your new grandchild (or from helping your son/daughter).


      • You are right about your daughter being the one who is busy. We were in the middle of moving to Melbourne, ie packing boxes, when the restrictions came in force and we got sick with flu-like symptoms. We were not eligible for testing for 4 weeks so for 4 weeks I isolated myself. We got tested when our Sydney suburb was listed as being one of concern. We were negative.

        We are staying put and focussing on getting our business oriented to these new conditions. We are a long way from our grandchildren. It is hard not being there to help out.

        And yes, we must never forget the people who have had their lives upended by the Black Summer. I can’t imagine how much they would be struggling now while the world moves onto the next crisis.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Nathan. Your own double celebration must be a great relief – PhD and book deal. Gee’s PhD is now another year or two down the road, but is still sort of on track, they’ve given her maternity leave. And yes I love that my job lets me be out and about more or less at will.


  6. Congratulations all round Bill – baby, marriage, a successful op & a safe trip home. All things to share and celebrate in these strange times (I refuse to use the word unprecedented!) And a book! Ever since you started writing your bio posts, I wondered if you might be tempted to give them the full-book treatment. I say go for it!


    • No, not unprecedented at all, not even unexpected, at least by experts, But I’m getting a surprisingly easy go of it compared with others shut up and with no possibility of income.

      It was thinking about upping the ante from journals to memoir that made me think about writing something else, not for the first time, but for once I’ll see if I can get a chapter or two written, to judge whether it’s worth proceeding.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can relate to your love of and the unpredictability of the flow of words when writing. I find some of my blog posts are quite eloquent but most are merely… there. You never know when the muse will strike! It’s never occurred to me to write a book, but I don’t consider myself a creative or inventive person. I like process and routine, two things which do not lend themselves well to creative writing.

    What sort of book are you writing? I wish you all the best!!!


    • Hey Jackie, did I forget to answer you? Sorry. I was probably a day or so into a trip. I won’t say what sort of book I started writing, but my inclinations are experimental so the word ‘unreadable’ might feature in there somewhere. Meanwhile you, who write far more than I do, will probably write the new Egg & I and be famous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha– you’re still better at being on top of comment replies than me! 🙂

        I do not aspire to write a book of any form, honestly. I find it a very duanting task! While it would be a great accomplishment, I don’t have anything I feel like I could write about. I have no stories in my mind. I’m just an exceptionally practical human when it comes down to it. 🙂

        Good luck with your writing! And, no matter how experimental, know that it’s totally worth it. I’m sure it’ll be great!

        Liked by 1 person

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