In the midst of a pandemic that is laying bare the failures of nearly every system and institution we have taken for granted for the last 50 years; at precisely the moment when the country could benefit from new thinking, challenging thoughts, and the views of someone who could engage us and rouse from visions of the ordinary; instil in us some measure of newness, some frisson of possibility, some program that allows us to see past and through the things that divide us, that have made us vulnerable to this virus, and offer us some alternatives, the chair of […]
My family and I lost a dear friend this week. We mourned her passing with prayers and candles. She had been tall, straight and true, a constant companion, and this week my husband and I made the heart-breaking decision to cut her down. Our magnificent white cedar tree is now but a pile of logs and a startlingly large mound of sawdust. Though technically the tree was not a casualty of Covid-19, in a way she was collateral damage of the pandemic. We live in Melbourne, where Lockdown 2.0—now under Stage 4—has forced us back into our homes in new […]
‘the fact that who needs heart shapes getting in the way all the time’ —Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann She is lying in bed in the afternoon, reading a big thick book with lots of pages. The book prompts her to have a thought. Maybe if I have a child, I’ll make sure to take care of the both of us? When a thought is a question, is it still a thought? The book is red and blue and so hefty she used it to press down the collar on one of her shirts a week ago, because she doesn’t […]
The first signs of spring are there now. In the narrow bed by the kitchen window, the climbing roses that I cut back hard to the bud in deep winter are flushing out leaves. Cumquats are green on the bushes down the back, and in the dark chocolate soil there are signs of crimson new growth on the dormant nubs of peonies. These are little flinches of hope in a world that seems otherwise stripped of it, a world treading water in a strange and apprehensive hiatus; signs of nature’s perpetual, rhythmic press forward. It abideth forever. I’m waiting for […]
Painting is a silent art, yet so few artists have mastered silence—in Australia, Jeffrey Smart; in America, Edward Hopper; and in Denmark, Vilhelm Hammershøi. If I do not dwell on Smart it is because I sense his debt to Hopper; Smart was born and raised in Adelaide, and though I have wanted him to win my love he has only won my admiration.
He places his hand on her waist and now they’re dancing, a sped-up version of a waltz that’s completely at odds with the song blaring tinnily out of his phone speakers. Inspired, she takes his hand and spins into him then back away, a bastardised version of the classic ballroom move.
I’ve worked as a teacher of English as a foreign and second language for many years and know how to teach the difference between the word ‘house’ and the word ‘home’. I teach that the former is a structure made from concrete or bricks, mortar or wood, while home is a conceptual idea of place and belonging.
The first time I tried to record frogsong
it wasn’t a frog at all, just an insistent
cricket broadcasting his urgent message
to all the females in the neighbourhood—