no real through line except noticing.



On the wall of the cafe where I’m meant to be writing the next novel is a watercolour of a tree house. The roof is gabled, the window frames are blue and the trusses supporting the structure are red. the tree itself is a magnificent, a tree-climber’s tree, a tree where dreams are lived, the boughs are thick and twisting like like gnarled arms reaching to the sky. From the tree house there is a paling bridge out onto a thick limb. Where the bridge goes is out of the picture and left to your imagining. Does it go to another tree house? Another home away from home? Does it connect to nothing but an incredible view?

When I first saw the painting I imagined the bridge was the way back to the family home. That the tree house was the woman of the main house’s escape pod. Not that I need an escape from my family home, nothing permanent, but I’m betting bills and dishes and tree houses don’t mix. I bet Swiss Family Robinson never got one utility bill.

The café plays eighties music and it’s 1984. They just played Marilyn’s, ‘Calling your Name’ and it occurrs to me that in my corner of the café I’m in my own escape pod.

None of this is getting the novel written but I’m out of the mode until school goes back. Novels need space and time, coffee and ideas, but time mostly. Immersion.

Currently I’m immersed in my yearly bugger the boys are going back to school mindset. A couple of summer holidays ago I spent most of our time off in my head upset about the holidays finishing. Weeks of wishing the holidays were longer, days of reminding myself that the kids weren’t dying, they were simply getting edumacated and would be home for dinner. This time round I started lamenting their absence with only a week to go. That’s progress and proves I have learnt something somewhere along the line.

Next week my youngest, Stephen King Junior, starts secondary school. I’m hoping to snatch a pic of him in his blazer and tie. I’ll stoop to bribery to get it, I have before and in the cutthroat business of getting a photo of a ratfinky kid, I’ll do it again. The middle guy, PVP, has a golden, twisty, shiny, eight-haired beard that he refuses to shave off, and my eldest, Big H, is in his last year of high school. The one I prepared earliest could seriously leave home next year; he could join the army, or get married, or go to university interstate.

Escape pods are for writing only. The rest of my time is for plugging in. I didn’t spend a week de-cluttering, classifying, putting away, getting myself ready for a new school year to wish for tree houses, or caves, or islands, or a time machine. Anyhow, if I went back what would I change? I’m a product of my past and I like today. I like the me I am today, my perfect, imperfect life.



trees are beautiful 


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