You could be forgiven for thinking I had pulled up stumps (what a funny term that is) and simply disappeared. Which I kind of have, in the vicinity of shifting sand, but in the real world, I have been around here.
This year I have moved house, and I am half-way through the final semester of my bachelor degree, though I hope to go right on into Honours at mid-year, diving in the deep-end (no actual Honours proposal yet, I might add).
I am in the middle of writing a manifesto for my third-year experimental writing unit. It kind of declares my writing intentions in the unit, in a very declarative way. I have been reading historical manifesto’s. You might enjoy this one by Guerrilla Girls, for instance, but I really love this 1961 piece by Claes Oldenburg. Maybe I’ll share mine when it’s declaratively done. I’m basing my portfolio of work loosely on Anne Carson’s tactile work of art/book, Nox, which I bought earlier this year. It’s such a moving account of things that will never be known, about Carson’s deceased brother, who Carson only tenuously grasped a relationship with while he was alive. So I guess that Nox is a kind of mediation of how to navigate the different kinds of grief around that, and what grief is, even. You can read a New Yorker article about it here if you want to know more (you want to know more). Also, have you read Jonathon Safran Foer’s Book of Codes? There are some clever writers out there, for sure.
It’s ANZAC Day today, and I am thinking of what the world was like in the wake of WWI, and how we can have really no idea what that kind of loss was like, with 16 million people killed, and all of the uncertainty, the absence that came before, this great gulf of mystery and fear. Modernism was born out of that great breaking asunder of all known things. I remember the story of my great grandmother, Nanna Nicholson at her mother’s house on a hill, seeing the priest approaching her own house in Mulwala, and knowing that her 21-year-old son, Ron was dead. That was in WWII. In WWI, another great grandmother wrote letters to all of her male friends who had been shipped to Europe. She carried the letters until she died aged 99. Five years ago, I transcribed them. You can read them here.
I have been listening to The Garrett podcasts, and I loved this one by recent Stella Prize winner, Vicki Laveau-Harvie, who won for her work of memoir, The Eccentrics. It was her first book. She is 70 years old, and has previously written ‘purely for the pleasure of writing’.
I think I cooked the best pumpkin soup ever by roasting up pumpkin, sweet potato, onion, potato and rosemary with dukkha, then cooking it up with olive oil and stock on the stove, adding French Blue brie, blending, and serving with home-made harissa (from chilies that I grew myself, no less). I recommend trying this yourself in this Autumny-turning-of-the-weather.
Having cooked banana and left-over Easter-egg cake earlier in the week (and sending half of it in to my husband’s place of work, lest we eat it all up ourselves), I am today going to make this lovely looking thing from Pip Lincolne’s website, because what I need right now is a cheering cake. And let’s face it, condensed milk? Any excuse. Also, I finally have a working oven again. It’s been a while.
Well, I think that is it for around here. I have a manifesto to finish. Next week I am off to Bali for a week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I know a few people having some really tough times right now, and things have been not so very rosy around here all of the time, but I do hope that the small things that I have shared here might do something to make your days a little rosier.
What’s going on around there, where you are? What are you reading? What are you writing? What are you cooking? Where are you going?