Monday, February 22, 2010

Ten thousand.

Last week, a little milestone slipped by mostly unnoticed -- the ten thousandth hit at this wee blog. I know some sites get that many visitors a day, let alone in the almost two years this space has been floating around the netherworld of the internet. However, it makes me happy that ten thousand people (or more likely two people, five thousand times over) have visited here. After all, that's what this is about. It's about words, certainly. It's about life, for sure. And it's definitely about faith. But life and words and faith could be explored solo. No, blogging is about interacting and discussing and relating and learning, and it can't be done alone.

So here's to you. Here's to your visits, your thoughts, your ideas, your encouragement, and most definitely your comments. You rock.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First week of school.

The first day of school has always made me just a teensy bit delirious. Fresh-sharpened pencils! Blank exercise books! Lunchboxes (after six whole weeks of eating like normal human beings at a kitchen table)! Teachers! Libraries! Assignments! But, yes, mostly the pencils and the notebooks.

That feeling hasn't lessened even though it's more than twenty years since I was in kindergarten (um, ouch) and this week -- the first week of my second year of uni -- I feel the old happy delirium all over again. Learning is exciting. Information is exciting. And -- I won't lie -- blank notebooks are very exciting.

I'm taking three subjects this semester. It still counts as a full-time study load, but will -- in theory, and hopefully in practice -- leave me time to dive back into some freelance work. I say dive but I imagine it will feel more like wading leaden-footed through a muddy mangrove swamp. Freelance writing is not like other work; there is no boss around the corner who might walk in at any moment and see that you are fooling around on facebook. There is only one person to crack the whip, and it is you. But it is challenging and stimulating and adventurous nevertheless.

My subjects this semester are Ancient Civilisations, Prose Writing, and Literature and the Christian Faith. I'm eagerly anticipating all of them, but that last one has me rubbing my hands together in a sort of gleeful, silent happiness. It consists of a whopping overview of English literature from the medieval period through to the twentieth century, tracing Christian themes as they emerge from within literature and also as they influenced it. The course looks at a vast variety of writers, from Shakespeare to Flannery O'Connor and T.S. Eliot. I estimate that there's about 9,000 pages of required reading this semester -- I'm not even kidding -- and most of it looks delicious.

I'm ready to dive in.

PS. These pictures have nothing to do with the first week of school and everything to do with the last week of holidays -- which were fantastic, by the way.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's the story of my life.

I love those moments when life doubles back on itself and, just for a second, you can look at your life as though you are something quite apart from it. You see things as they are. You see what has become.

It happens with extreme randomness. Like, just yesterday, I was chatting on the phone to my sister. We hadn't spoken for a week or two (it felt like months) and so there was much to catch up on. While she talked, my sister had set up her two little kids with the hose. They were spraying each other and roaring with laughter, and my nephew was coming out with all these amazing words I hadn't even known he could say. As is the way with small people, things turned messy when someone got water in their eyes, and my sister broke away from the conversation to resolve the dilemma. Then it happened. I suddenly thought: my sister is a mother. And it was amazing. Of course, I've known she was a mother ever since she had her little girl two and a half years ago. But I realised it then.

It happened again this morning. I was tidying up around the house and found three small plastic boats -- one red, one yellow, and one blue -- stacked on the ledge of the bath. They were remnants from when my niece and nephew were here last. My niece and nephew, I thought. I have a niece and nephew.

And then, last week while we were in WA, my sister and I took a little road trip north to spend the evening in our old hometown. My brother and his girlfriend met up with us for coffee at a gorgeous restaurant in the ground level of a massive apartment block. When we'd lived there before, there was just a shabby little corner store looking out onto the beach. I pulled up a chair across from Nick and Nat and Lauren and burst out, "Look at us, having coffee together -- we're grown-ups!"

They looked at me with a sort of pitying bewilderment and carried on talking, but for me it was just another moment when, without reason, the curtain between what is now and what will one day be history pulled apart and I caught a glimpse of the story-thread running through my life. I appreciated that glimpse.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Well here we are.

2010 is already one-twelfth dissolved into history, and that fraction has been a month very full for me and the people I love.
January was a flurry sandwiched between two weddings at the beginning and one at its end, filled in all its spaces with one interstate road trip, one interstate air trip (why do we not say air trip when we so easily say road trip?), my parents' move, thousands of words of essay writing, farewells as friends begin new lives elsewhere, and wedding planning.
And it all concluded with my sister Lauren and I spending nine days on the gorgeous West Australian coast. There, we hung out with our parents and littlest brother, enjoyed traipsing around their new neighbourhood, read books in the middle of the day, went to the movies with Mum and Tain, developed golden tans without even trying, saw dolphins, caught up with beloved friends for the first time in three years, cuddled a gorgeous brand new baby (who was conveniently born while we were in the state), watched a beautiful friend marry her bff, hung out with our big-little brother and his girlfriend, sipped espreskis at Dome(!), and remembered just how incredible WA really is.
The holiday finished today, as we cruised back into Brisbane above the sunrise (and through a rainbow) during a stormy dawn. At the end of such a delightful holiday, and galvanised with the halo of thoughts that a holiday always creates, this feels like the beginning of my 2010. I am ready to make things. To write letters. To welcome my excellent cousin Annie for five days. To start my second year of uni. To edit my novel. To wash loads of washing. To read great books.
To get better at that confusing aerobic dance workout. To keep a journal once again. To get to know more locals. To bake cupcakes.
Tomorrow. I'll start tomorrow. This evening, I will curl up on the lounge, watch a nice movie, and possibly even doze off.
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