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 […]
My first question to him at six-thirty this morning was, ‘Have you taken your antibiotics?’ His first question to me was, ‘When I take money out of the ATM in Japan do I choose yen or Australian dollars?’ Today my firstborn, Dom, and I ran through another of the many crepe paper banners, of parenting for me, and being an adult for him. I didn’t sleep much. I wasn’t sure if Dom was expecting me to wake him, I assumed not. He was 19 after all, and getting up is something Dom has never had trouble with. The only time […]
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 […]
Magic was important to me for a while. I was strangely tethered to an idol. But it wasn’t a sophisticated connection, nor constant. In contemplating my imagined virus, I was variously confused, frightened, forgetful, fine.
If you think walking alone on steep tracks through Spanish forest overgrown with eucalypt, blackberry and bracken in oppressively humid weather carrying a 12-kilogram backpack for 25 kilometres every day for about six weeks is your idea of a good break from urban life, then the Camino del Norte from Irun along the northern coast of Spain to Santiago de Compostela in Galacia is for you. And if you like barking dogs, walking on narrow country roads and through industrial wastelands then by all means take the plunge. I did. This was to be my second pilgrimage. Having completed the Camino […]
Occasionally, a Stranger to Watch the Stars With by Andrea Baldwin.
I cannot distinguish between the grief and the pain or between what is real and what is not and it has nothing to do with refusing to believe but with an inability to comprehend.