Stationery printIt’s a new year, and it feels stale and old and tired already, like the end of the old year dragged forward, smudging the fresh starting line with a slug tailed mean-ness.

Happy New Year to you. I hope that there was much to be merry about and that 2016 feels shiny and clean for you.

I went for a walk by myself yesterday, ostensibly running errands, but the lightness in my step reminded me that I hadn’t had a moment alone in weeks.

I tried to fix myself with promises. I would resolve to cook a new recipe every week. I would bake some Richard Flanagan bread * this week, and I would buy some good jam to eat with it. Always with the food as reward and consolation, these days.

I would read a book a week. I went to the library and borrowed a Cormac McCarthy and the heavy, hard cover Letters of Note book, as well as Interview with the Vampire to remind me of being 20, and the girl in love with an idea, that I described in my previous post.

I promised myself that I would dive deeply back into my book, because I believe in it and because it is another place to live, within those letters that I type, those places and characters and pasts, loves and sorrows that I create there. I worried upon finding a mentor. I wondered if I needed to go back to uni to begin a writing course. Third time is the charm.

I resolved to publish the couple of copies of the book of my transcriptions of my Great Grandmother’s 100 year old WWI letters this year, because they mattered enough to her to carry around until she died at age 99, and they matter to me today, a 100 years from when they were penned.

I thought, I will wait, and perhaps this year things will flower.

This Charles Bukowski poem, read aloud by Tom Waits is my mantra for now, and for that matter, I need more Tom Waits and Nick Cave to replace the endless Wiggles and worse soundtrack of my life.

I think pots of really good French Earl Grey tea, as introduced to me by my friend Merri this week, will see me through.

That’s my map, of sorts, to find my way back to me. I hope that you have a map too x

* I don’t have permission to re-publish this, but I hope that the spirit of the thing is some protection. This is from Richard Flanagan’s collection of short pieces And What Do You Do, Mr Gable

‘The flanatta

The Ingredients:
500 g plain flour
400 ml cold water
1 tsp salt
1/3 tsp dry yeast

The Work:
1. Mix the yeast, salt and flour together in a bowl.
2. Add the cold water and mix with your hand until you have a thick batter.
3. Cover the bowl with cling wrap. Leave to rise for between 16 and 24 hours.
4. Thickly flour a bench and pour out the dough. Lightly flour the sticky mass and then push and prod it into the biggest square you can. Pick up the corners, stretch them out and fold them inwards, one on top of the other until you have a lump like loaf. Leave for an hour.
5. Place the cast iron casserole in the oven and pre-heat to 240 degrees Celsius.
6..Carefully take the very hot casserole out of the oven, remove the lid, dust the base with flour, and drop your dough into the centre.
7. Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes.
8..Remove the lid, and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the bread is well browned.
9. Cool on a rack for an hour before cutting.
10. Find a kitchen table. Fill it with friends. Bottles. Stories. And share. With or without a breadknife.’