No rays of light sneaking long fingers across the pale skin of morning. Not at this time. Beyond the window glass the stars shone precision silver, dew casting a silvery skeen across thirsty grass. I’d lie awake in the darkness waiting to hear the cough of the Toyota bring the catch home and him with it. I’d learnt to wait for the fluorescent light to cast diamante warmth through the white double doors windowed by an earlier deco-age of artistic privacy. When opened, conversations drifted like song, bounced by high ceilings and slick laminate floors. But closed, sound muffled and […]
About three months after Black Saturday dad and I drove up to the place where our house used to be …
If I were to tell you our story in sign language—the story of my grandparents and me—I’d begin with a single finger touching my chest. My hands would form the signs for ‘grew up’ and then ‘next door’: a flattened palm rising from my torso to eye level; followed by my index finger hooked over my thumb and turned over at the wrist like a key in an ignition. I’d use the signs for ‘my grandparents’: a clenched fist over my heart, and the letter signs ‘G, M, F’ to represent ‘grand-mother-father’. Then, placing two fingers over my right ear, […]
This book will change your life is a phrase to make the eyes roll, especially if you’re a book publisher. It is conceivable that a book’s wisdom and insight might make you fitter or smarter, a better lover, cook or parent. It might make you more empathetic and spiritual, calmer and neater to boot. It might transform your social interactions as your friends start twitching as you drone on about a book’s revelations. Residents of the Land of Literature will argue that the pleasure of serious reading—a noble end in itself—is life-changing enough. I am an optimist and a booster […]
The shoulder bumps from strangers that make me shove back during the day go down easier at night. The power dynamic shifts when you hurry against the CBD’s foot traffic as a group, newly animated with the ability to break up other clusters of bodies with your increased speed and size. On the corner of Sydney’s George and Bathurst I glance up, diverted by some Big Four firm’s logo beaming down—its sedate, civilised, civilising weight. The building’s few lit office windows cut and blaze against the ones that have gone dark. I imagine being one of those floating Friday bodies shifting […]
When my daughter was a baby I knitted for her a pair of woollen bootees in red, green and yellow stripes. I liked them so much I kept them safely and sentimentally for 40 years. But in the end I was defeated by moths. The bootees are now just a tragic bundle of bright, broken stitches, a cluster of airy spaces held together by scrappy twists of coloured wool. They are perhaps also a kind of description of memory, a flawed tangle of broken threads, having the power to stimulate vivid images and deep emotions that have lain cradled in […]
Dang, sorry. This is only available to a Meanjin subscriber. But we can fix that. It’s just $80 for print or $50 for digital. DIGITAL PRINT
On the Saturday my friend dived into his beloved surf for the last time I was closeted away on Canberra’s limestone plains, landlocked, writing. Over the Christmas break I’d fully disconnected, hoping to gather some thoughts about where journalism had landed, or failed to land, after ten years of constant change, and then massage them into publishable form. That weekend was the last big push to get the words right. When I left my desk and plugged back into the world, the messages were there: emails, voicemails, bringing the news that Mick Gordon had gone into the surf and, inexplicably, […]
Central to strong Jewish diaspora support for Israel is a homogenous Jewish community that rarely questions the basic tenets of Zionism. This has been constant in the Australian Jewish community for decades with barely a whisper of dissent.
The women taught me things. One showed me how to hold onto the sleeve of my shirt when I pulled on a jumper so the sleeve didn’t roll up and bunch around my elbow. Another showed me how to press the top of a milk carton into a beak so the milk could pour out.
I’d spent the previous week trying to ‘get things ready’, ‘tidy up’ the loose ends of the semester so that I’d be able to make myself fully available to my father’s dying …
‘Regrets I’ve had a few / But then again too few to mention’, the famous song declares. It is enduringly popular: the singer did it his way. This hymn to individualism I heard broadcast the other day to us shoppers, one familiar song following another, in a place of conformity and predictability, a large supermarket, where occasionally a distracted customer, oblivious to others, will sing along or hum. I didn’t—I’m reasonably sure—in that somnambulistic state generated by supermarkets, as shoppers drift down one aisle after another, sing snatches of ‘My Way’ but I did, masked no doubt by an expressionless […]