I had thought that, once teaching finished for the semester, I would find myself with a plethora of time at my disposal to recover, write and read. Instead, the pendulum swung in the other direction, from WORK to PARTY.
Consequently I have no idea where the last six weeks have gone, and have been lucky to write in my journal twice a month (and here I think wistfully of my undergraduate days in Wollongong when it was once a day until, over the course of a summer, my style improved considerably and led my lecturer to ask, 'Have you been drinking?') so I can't rely upon it for recollection. However I do, thankfully, have some entries in my calendar.
These indicate that I attended salon talks at Avid Reader by Charlotte Wood and Anna Funder; dressed up as a tart for a friend's 40th birthday ('Please tell me that you're wearing more than that,' H had said when I showed him the dark red corset with cream ribbons. 'Not much more,' I replied brightly); attended a lecture at the State Library by Melissa Lucashenko organised by Griffith Review; started salsa classes, or rather, picked up where I left them 10 years ago; had a friend from Sydney to stay, whereupon we drank cocktails at Bistrot Bistro and pedalled to see Henri Cartier Bresson at the Queensland Art Gallery; watched a performance of Pygmalion, of which I heard very little as the acoustics were terrible, though I'd managed to read the script beforehand and was entertained well enough; attended a friend's baby naming ceremony on four hours' sleep, having been out on the turps the night before at a cocktail pool party; went to a samba fitness class with T and loved it; organised a bike ride over the rail trails north of Brisbane, returning sore and burnt in all the wrong places, leading to a hideously striped epidermis of brown and white; travelled to Parkes with H for a week for Dr P's nuptials; caught up with friends in Sydney and, back in Brisbane, attended a trapeze performance by some stunning gay men. Is it any wonder that I am still tired, still broke, and slightly fatter?
On the plane to Sydney I finished Anna Funder's All That I Am which was the best book I've read all year. It elucidated a period and people with which I was unfamiliar – the German resistance movement in the lead-up to World War Two – with beautiful writing, a clever plot and thorough research which the text wore very lightly. Funder was a highly articulate speaker and her intelligence was stunning.
In Parkes H and I visited the dish with a uni friend of H's who had a charming one year old, from whom I elicited some smiles. H tried to explain the physics of gravity to me but that wasn't very interesting so I wandered to the shop and found a Christmas present for Nephew. We stayed with Dr P's Parental Unit who plied us with food and booze (hence uncomely weight gain). I wrote 129 place names, had my toenails painted pink and finished another book I was in the middle of reading, Alex Miller's new novel Autumn Laing which was disappointing (more of this in another post). After this novel I read The Tiger's Wife which, though it took a while to get into, turned into a wonderful piece of magic realism with a clever blending of myth and reality. Now I'm onto Gillian Mears' Foal's Bread which is thus far quite good. An excellent piece on Mears and her writing by Susan Johnson, whose writing I enjoy, can be found here.
It rained for five days before the wedding, and on the sixth the sky bloomed with blue. Everyone was relieved. Jokes were made about the sacrifice of goats. The wedding ceremony was beautiful. I wrote a poem for L&G and read it out, and H was MC. I wore a new frock from Kitten d'Amour with dark red Nude shoes (Nude is my favourite favourite favourite fashion find of the year) that I had worn at the 40th birthday party, and in which I had blackened a toenail from dancing too much. Fortunately, this didn't happen again. By the time the party bus came to pick us up at midnight I was already on my way out. Those at the back of the bus erupted into song as I laid my cheek against the cold glass window and went to sleep. The others went to an after party in someone's hotel room and I staggered around and eventually fell onto the bed and passed out, waking pained and somewhat surly the next morning.
H and I dropped L&G off at the airport for their honeymoon before going to dinner with another friend. As usual, H was unable to talk and navigate at the same time, so for a while it looked like we would end up in Wollongong. While queuing to get back onto the right road, H, to our mutual hilarity, pointed out the man in the car behind us doing his toilette, viz. looking up his nostrils and baring his teeth in the mirror. It was worth taking the scenic route (read: getting lost) just for that.
Despite all my avowals to stop drinking and going out and to actually sit and do some writing, I found myself booked to see Briefs with a friend from London. It was a wonderful performance by a troupe of gay trapeze artists with a commentary from a drag queen that I couldn't entirely hear but was highly entertaining to watch. I got more than I bargained for when, as we were at a table near the front, I was the target of a half-empty can of coke, which sprayed over most of me. I didn't mind as it was still funny, and I had on my pink patent Alannah Hill pumps which were water resistant, but my lovely handbag had stains on it. Oh, these first world problems.
Now I have only two weeks or so of work before I go home to Parental Unit's, whereupon there will be nothing to do but write and exercise. What bliss.