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Life

Where are all the clever girls?

By | Life, Storytelling, Writing | No Comments

Last week I finally got to see Bruce Beresford’s new movie, Ladies in Black, based on the novel by Madeleine St John. Two hailstorms and a cyclone had previously stopped me, and I was beginning to think I wasn’t meant to go. But the skies cleared, I went, and I absolutely loved it – especially the idea that ‘there’s nothing so wonderful as a clever girl,’ which is said by one of the characters in the movie, and is a theme which is developed and celebrated. It also made me sad. Angourie Rice, who plays one of the clever girls in the movie – Lisa –…

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Thumbs up to Mary – and Lilith

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Mothers Day is complicated for me, because my son is non verbal, and has severe autism, and so a special occasion without presents for him, or cake, or a party, would have no meaning in his world. I’m very happy to make these things happen on days like Christmas, or his birthday, but not for myself. That would heighten the sense of the absurd that already hangs about ‘mothers day’ for me like the faint whiff of a chemical air freshener that I can’t quite separate from the perfume of fresh flowers. It’s manufactured to a certain extent, and then, on the other…

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The Outsiders

By | Life | 2 Comments

I’ve always felt like an outsider. I was born late, the last of my generation in my large extended family. I was too young to participate in my family’s life while it was all happening, and by the time I reached those milestones of family holidays and celebrations, I often as not did them with just my mother, or by myself. As I grew older I went to schools in other, far flung parts of Sydney – many long bus rides away. The inner city area we lived in – Glebe – was mainly a slum then, and I was…

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The Female Face of War

By | Life | 2 Comments

“He’s afraid now that I will remember the wrong thing. That I will tell it not the way I’m supposed to,” says a woman in Svetlana Alexievich’s book about Soviet women’s experience of fighting in World War II, ‘War’s Unwomanly Face’. It applies to women’s experience of conflict and war everywhere, though: Once women stop being victims, and become combatants, physically, or psychologically, they are met with unease. Women are silenced on the topic of war, by men and women, and also by the traditions and genres of journalism, history and publishing. “We usually think of wars as something that men…

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