Australian writer of books for younger readers, young adults, verse novels and poetry.

Saturday at Through the Looking Glass

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I was affronted, turning up this morning to help out at Through the Looking Glass, our local secondhand bookshop, that someone had put Karen Joy Fowler’s  novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves out on the bargain book table. I repressed an urge to reinstate it on the fiction shelves and mark it at the price I felt it should be. But I’m glad I did because a young woman who had read it for a Uni course came in a bought it and we had a brief, but passionate, fan moment about the book.

I spruiked The Jane Austen Book Club to her – but, of course, we didn’t have a copy. I’m always doing that! I once recommended four different books to a customer, only to discover that we had none of them in stock. However, the We Are All reader left with another Fowler novel, The Case of the Imaginary Detective, which I haven’t read. I told her to pop back in and let me know what she thought of it. But of course, she may not even be local.

While I was at the shop, I discovered that someone has donated Half the Perfect World – a book detailing the lives of the expats on Hydra – Leonard Cohen, Charmaine Clift and George Johnston, amongst others. I was cranky about that, too, having ordered the book myself only a few weeks ago after listening to the audio book of  Polly Sampson’s novel, A Theatre for Dreamers.

My crankiness was dissipated by the discovery that Hilton Als wrote the preface for a memoir by Bill Cunningham, Fashion Climbing, A New York Life. I’ve only recently become aware of Als through his interview in The Paris Review .

I’m interested in the idea of his hybrid essays which connect memoir with criticism. I’ve been playing with some creative nonfiction pieces lately – both because I’m teaching it this semester and because I’ve enrolled in the Writers Victoria Online Clinic in it. It’s always good to flip that switch from tutor to student!

It’s a good thing that I’m going to be busy writing because my daughter is returning to Glasgow to do her Masters. She’s been living with us for the past year and a half and I’m going to miss her so much! We share a lot of interests – she’s my companion in all things textile and we’ve shared a sewing space for all this time, celebrating our sewing triumphs and commiserating over less-than-successful makes. She took up spinning a couple of years ago and we’ve spent evenings watching Netflix or Britbox and spinning side by side. (Yes, very Little House on the Prairie, as my husband likes to say!) She’s also been a huge professional support and there are some irons in the TyleBateson fire that will come to fruition soon. But, of course, mainly I will miss her because she’s my daughter and I love her and her company. It will be a shock not to see her face bent over her phone or laptop at the dining room table every morning. (She put me onto Polly Sampson’s A Theatre for Dreamers – so you see there are many many reasons she’ll be missed!)

I am proud of and excited for her, of course – she’s the recipient of one of Melbourne University’s Prestigious Travelling Scholarships and this opportunity is absolutely the next step in her professional career. But it’s still hard. I find myself writing lists of ‘Things that will make me feel better.’ (As it, will stop me yelling at the other household members and behaving like a complete bitch.) A pile of books will probably help. Recommendations gratefully received!



2 Responses

  1. Carmel Brotherton says:

    Catherine I am at awe that you fit so much into your life. Your self discipline must be very habitual to be able to read books , write books, organise a household, be part of a reading/editing/feedback business and I’m guessing you still knit!! How do you do it… you are my idol. Crikey I’m still writing the same darn novel I started in the TAFE course you taught back in Warragul 🙄The only positive thing… is It’s no longer therapy😆 It’s just an enjoyable story now 🤣🤣🤣 Happy writing❤️😊👍

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