From the book stacks
I had a completely valid reason to spend too much money on books this week. So my daughter and I organised a trip in from the outskirts and it was one of those post-lockdown shocks to find ourselves browsing in shops after so much months waiting for parcels to arrive. I bought a pair of earrings, glittery moths. We went out for dinner with my son and his wife. It all felt very decadent.
I used to go to the CBD once a week, but during 2020 we all got more used to living close to home and I haven’t quite made the shift back. Has anyone? Of course, we’d just moved house and it takes time – boy does it take time! – to settle into all the new routines a new house demands. And then, as with every writer I know, I have fingers dabbling in different working pies and they all take time.
I want to stop the internal bitching I do about too many responsibilities and not enough time. I want to eradicate envy. I want to go back to living the way I did when the kids were small – so happy with the gentle unfolding of every day.
This week I’m happy that I’ve written four five-minute book reviews. Also that we’ve planted out beans, snow-peas, new ground cover and a peony rose. I’m delighted to be wearing moths in my ears. And so pleased to be reading Beverley Farmer – I bought the reprint of her A Body of Water and remembered all over again the thrill that book first gave me. How the mixture of stories, journal entries, quotations and meditations sent me scuttling back to my own journal with renewed enthusiasm and a larger vision of what I could permit myself to do. Good on Girmondo for republishing it. Her recollections of living in Greece, which are scattered through, reminded me of the poets Jack Gilbert and Linda Gregg and I just realised that the latter died two years ago. Do yourself a favour, read Gregg’s poem ‘We Manage Most When We Manage Small’.
What else has made me happy? The dahlias I bought from the local flower man who told me to come back in spring and get some bulbs from him. The dog who watches my departures and looks forward to my arrivals. Looking into a room with the lights on. The stack of books at my elbow.