Wednesday, 24 August 2011


I didn't think it would be so unsettling.

Every time I come back here it is such a struggle these days. Going away makes me so restless. Even the water with its damp salty air and the waves creeping up my legs, tossing into the greeness each morning for a lengthy swim. It had me thinking. About place, about language, about seasons. The seasons of one's life.

I'd love to live near water again. Speak French.

I grew up in a sub-tropical country. Came to Europe when I was a spindly thin and had no idea how to dress for the cold. Then ended up in tropical Africa for a decade. Always sweating, avoiding the sun, eating spicy soup, wishing I had darker more suitable skin. Roving across borders with acquired African calm.

Now though I live on the Veneto plains it seems I have fallen for the snow, the mountains to the north, the oxygen high and cristalline dawn mornings. How did that happen? A need for space I guess, and that Australian sportiness that never went away. And yet, lately, any time I brush with the big city smells and energy I am primed, ready to go back, ready for crowds and community. Bookshops and Asian food, variety in politics and poise.

How confusing, and oh! the only constant is a wish to write more, write more cleanly. Does anyone have a big picture that is so messy?

I can't wait for the end of this heat and some focussed autumn rationale.

* * *
The best news upon my return from Corsica: a story accepted in Tears in the Fence! I wrote it as a sequel to a story whose characters I couldn't leave alone. The original story is appearing in Tears in the Fence. The autumn issue, number 54. Called, 'At the Malga'.

When I finish with my novel revisions - which are really gnawing into my brain - I am dying to plunge into new short stories. It seems so long since I have grappled with new material, new twists and people. I do miss this! I also read four books while away, three story collections and a novel, all lovely journeys: Storm Warning by Vanessa Gebbie, A Little Javanese by Andre Mangeot, If I Loved You I Would Tell You So by Robin Black and The Women by T.C.Boyle. All highly recommended.

Time for a sultry aperitivo.