Advent preparations for a tough Christmas

We all have a tough Christmas from time to time. We have years we remember as months full of pain and grief or unexpected sorrow and loss. Christmas time can be full of sadness following such an experience. But this year, because of COVID-19, more of us than usual will find Christmas difficult.

Write your story, enjoy the benefits

When you write your story, whether a page or two or a book-length memoir or autobiography, you can expect many rewards. They come both when you write and when you share your whole story or a part of it. Every life is different, and so each unique story differs from that of everyone else.

Hotel quarantine and COVID-19 from the outside

Hotel quarantine for all travellers from overseas as they enter Australia is mandated by the Commonwealth Government. Each state and territory enforces strict conditions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from outside Australia. Some states use the term ‘medi hotel’ instead of quarantine hotel. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Australians returning from […]

Are prime number birthdays special?

Prime number birthdays should be the same as all other birthdays. So common sense tells me. There’s probably nothing special about those years which are divisible only by one and themselves. But experience tells me differently. It seems to me that prime number birthdays and the years that follow often possess special magic. I’m curious […]

Does dislike of all-gender toilets make me a bigot?

All-gender toilets built at Curtin University will ‘help transgender students feel safe’, according to an article in The West Australian last week. The article also says that a ‘concerted vandalism campaign’ left many students feeling unsafe. The vandalism included tearing or defacing posters. A sad state of affairs. . There’s no excuse for discrimination or […]

‘Honeybee’ by Craig Silvey – a review

Honeybee by Craig Silvey, best-selling author of Jasper Jones, is a big, beautiful coming-of-age novel. Like Hope Farm, by Peggy Frew, which I reviewed recently, it tells a story of a childhood with an immature, addicted mother. Tender, compassionate and at the same time gritty, Honeybee confronted and challenged me.

Appreciation for people who inspire us

My morning pages (four pages, written long-hand first thing) often turn into lists of gripes about the world and my place in it. Sometimes, though, they fill with little songs of appreciation. Often, I forget to tell people I’m grateful for the inspiration they provide. So here, off the top of my head, in no […]

Recovery and the magic of Lake Mere

The lovely Mere Lake, less than half a kilometre from here on the Subiaco Common, might just as well have been on the other side of the moon. Bursitis of the hip has kept me home for many weeks, or at best walking only short essential distances. Swimming, even many laps, on the other hand, […]

Hope Farm by Peggy Frew – a review

Hope Farm by Peggy Frew, my accidental library pick last week, drew me in from the beginning. I’d planned to borrow Frew’s Islands, longlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award. All copies were on loan. I’m glad Hope Farm sat in a pile of returned books waiting to be shelved. Otherwise I might have […]

New shoes challenge old knowledge

Buying new shoes challenged me. At best the activity bored and, at worst, depressed me. Once or twice, a pair of shoes captivated my imagination. An orange pair, the year I turned 39. They matched, perfectly, an oversized pumpkin-coloured jumper I wore that winter. Forty years later, a blue pair made my feet twitch with […]

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