It seems peculiarly apt that, a year to the day I flew back home, I will be moving out of Sister’s and into my own place. I will have to get a divorce from the coffee machine. This is heartbreaking. It has been a haphazard year. Every second that could be spared — from thesis corrections and conference presentations; finding a job and enough money to stay afloat while writing; babysitting, cooking and cleaning; making new friends and flirting; cycling, running and swimming; travelling up and down the East coast to home, to Bundaberg, to Canberra and Sydney — was spent on my novel.
The patchiness showed in the text, my agent said, as she found it hard to figure out who the characters were and what was going on. It jumped around a great deal. I had been jumping around a great deal also. So I battened down the hatches and did another draft, and I will have to finish it amidst the move, surrounded by boxes.
Despite my unsettlement, it has been heavenly to start life again in Brisbane. There has been much good coffee; Turkish Delight and Oriental lilies from the markets on Saturdays; my sister and her captivating children; bookclubs at Avid Reader and dance classes; drinks with clever people on Friday nights; a fluffy puppy that sits at my feet as I write and runs with me in the afternoons; old acquaintances who have become good friends; babies to play with and hold; a river to ride along; lush vegetation and, above all, the gorgeous, abundant, glorious sunlight.
Even though I still often get tired, I think of how miserable I was for years in London, and I count my blessings. For now I am as happy as I was when I was a little girl, running madly along the verandah before the summer storms.