Finally the house is quiet, glass of wine poured, a perfect sunset happening just outside my window, the new (well, I guess it’s not so new now) Radiohead album playing at an acceptably mellow volume, all child paraphernalia hidden from view. And it feels like my head is full of sand. Or sawdust. (Yes, I think sawdust… that horrible, fibrous, cork-coloured stuff they used to heap on top of spew in the playground back in the day, although it never seemed to do the full trick of masking the spew’s uneven chunkiness or its eyewateringly foul odour…)
I have planned this time all day, pictured it, right down to the detail (wine glass to the left of me, baby monitor to the right (here I am, stuck in the middle with you… um, what?), dishwasher purring in the background… okay, the dishwasher’s sloshy accompaniment didn’t actually feature in the original plan, but I don’t begrudge its presence one bit — it just adds to the texture of the house’s glorious quiet). I even pre-loaded images to pay it forward to myself — no pesky blog admin, just pure, unadulterated typing. Imagine it! And I am a sublime two-finger typist, if I do say so myself.
And now I’m here and, well, I’m not sure I’ve got it in me. This old night owl is a night owl no more. I never thought I’d say that. The wall has been hit. Just a soft hit, mind you, a limp-ish, anticlimactic thud, nothing bone shattering. It happens every night around this time. Too tired to put my brain to anything useful, too light outside to sleep.
So, some stuff, all inside-out and back-to-front, piecemeal and probably a bit phoned in and/or abbreviated…
I’ve had this phrase stuck in my head since the weekend. Reading Martin Amis’s Experience, he proclaims this the age of mass loquacity. The old fifteen minutes of fame now passé when any old Joe with an internet connection can spark themselves up a blog and start unleashing on the world their laundry list of passions, peeves and peccadilloes. So much noise, so many gems, and a hundred thousand digital landfills’ worth of untold rubbish.
My brother recently unearthed this story, written by seven year-old me to mark the passing of my grandmother, Dorothy.
This is Dorothy, better known to me as Granny. I didn’t inherit her legs. (I mean I didn’t get those leg genes passed down to me… that sort of came out weird and got me to thinking a bit about the be-socked-and-be-shoed prosthetic limb that lived in Matt Couper’s room once upon a time… I’ve forgotten the leg’s particular back story, though.) I remember Granny as a gentle woman. She taught me how to tie my shoelaces by pretending they were bunny ears.
Speaking of grannies — this time not mine — today the world farewelled Nana Morrow. I only met her a couple of times. She was an awesome woman and a huge part of my brother in law’s life. And as far as final requests go, to ask for a Black Russian, take a few sips and then go to sleep is pretty awesome, too. Right up there with Mr Wilde and his famed wallpaper ultimatum. Cheers, Nana Morrow.
my backyard voyeurism
In my last post I might have mentioned a spot of backyard voyeurism and then not gone on to explain myself. Which may or may not have left you wondering about my moral character. (Or not. It may have actually done something for my blog stats, considering the most commonly searched on thing on my blog is a variation on the words: LITTLE GIRLS IN BATH. Which never ceases to make me feel fucking sick and dismayed about the internet’s grubby underbelly, although I still haven’t pulled down the photo of me and my sisters and brother in the bath some twenty-six or so years ago. It’s a cute photo. Perverts be damned.)
I shall explain myself. It’s perfectly legit. (Or legit enough.) At the bottom of our garden is what I presume to be a student flat. One young tenant, a male in what I presume to be his early twenties, has a room overlooking our garden. I cannot help but notice him. I spend a lot of time at home these days, you see, and he also probably cannot help but notice me (doing baby front-pack aerobics to Viva Hate up loud at 11 on a Monday morning, even… which is probably only just preferable to glimpses of me hiding behind a strategically-placed Christmas tree hooked up to a breast pump). His daily activities have become kind of curious to me. He has become symbolic of a much younger me. So — there we have it — my voyeurism is purely symbolic, which immediately removes my fascination from the realm of the pervy and gives it pseudo-mythic status, which is perfectly acceptable, I reckon. During the day he sits on his window sill with the windows open, smoking cigarettes and playing his guitar. I think the guitar is more of an accessory than anything else, though, since I’ve never witnessed much more from him than the guitar equivalent of Für Elise. By night he cranks a whole lot of video games (do you still call them video games in this day and age, or have I just gone and exposed the closet luddite in me?). To me he embodies all the unencumbered, idle luxury of youth… the durries, the aimless breeze-shooting, those heavy-headed day-long sleep-ins. It takes me back to what really does seem like a lifetime ago.
And that’s all there is to it. No photographic evidence or anything like that.
my domestic spaz-ness
I can’t think of another word for it. Motherhood is most excellent. Cleaning is not. I had hoped that by right I would have got a package deal where, along with the new mother starter pack, you also got the clean freak/suburban housewife on crack module as well. But not so. So, accepting my lot, I then tried to trick myself into thinking it could be fun!! Bull. Not fun. Cleaning the house from end to end/top to bottom took the better part of a week all up (with all the requisite baby things and a little bit of sleep interspersed) and cleaning the toilet in particular had me seriously considering punching someone. I channelled Mary Poppins, sucked it up, thinking that when everything was spic ‘n span it would all be worth it. Total let-down. I felt like I had wasted time that could have been better spent on the internet/in my head.
And when I say in my head I just mean doing the lifetime’s worth of stuff I’ve become accustomed to doing, which has more to do with my head than my new mop (which still remains in its box, although I sometimes look over at it and fantasise about how I might fall in love with it and how it might completely revolutionise my life).
I have just enough head stuff to be getting on with. Mostly just for sanity’s sake. Just so I don’t wind up punching someone in a fit of toilet-rage (?!). And my current editing task is conveniently chunked up into 1000 – 1500 word pieces that can be slotted, one at a time, in between the occasional feed cycle. Nothing like weilding a red pen to make the synapses sizzle, 15 minutes at a time.
In my last post I also — semi flippantly — mentioned dusting off the 73% complete second novel. This comic from Sarah Laing says it all, really, about Confronting the Beast. It cracks me up.
I did dust it off, and now the manuscript lives in the bottom of the pushchair, along with my new walking jacket. One day last week Oscar and I walked down to Aro Park, found a shady spot under a tree, and I did the unthinkable: cracked it open and actually read some of it. It’s not a beast, not exactly. More like perfunctory and aimless. I handled this realisation just fine.
The next day we walked down to Aro Park. We settled in a shady spot. I pulled out the manuscript. But Oscar was just too cute and far too awake to be concerning myself with booky things! So we played on the rug in the grass as the world walked by, I managed to earn myself about five huge grins, and then we walked back home, happier than either of us would have been if I’d ditched playtime for a ten-page stretch of wincing averageness.
But to return to domestic life, just quickly, to qualify… It’s really just the cleaning part that blows big time. There are big upsides. Like discovering Ellen (who, I just found out today, dances in the aisles at the start of her shows — so liberated, so liberating!) and the mere idea of opening the bottle of Rosé in the fridge at three in the afternoon and drinking it, by myself, on the deck in the sun (I’ve yet to actually do this, but the fact remains that I could). Emotionally charged laundry sessions with Lighthouse Family at high volume. And opening the door in my dressing gown with a small person attached to me and watching as the door knocker immediately resolves not to sell me anything. (Especially good was the Telstra guy coming round, although I wasn’t holding Oscar and I wasn’t wearing my dressing gown, because I got to unleash about the astounding total shitness that is T-Box and pretty much everything Telstra-related by association. But that is another story.)
And the best part of all is the Oscar (here featured at bathtime).