Monday, 25 May 2015

between books. gulp.

Between books. It's a weird, fraught space, dear reader. For me it's a time of confusion and obsessive self-reflection. I'm happiest when I'm working — when I'm up to my eyeballs in a story. When I'm in a storyworld I can ignore everything from mounting bills to mouldy shower-screens and ailing houseplants, and pursue my book with a single-mindedness that has my friends muttering, 'You never come out to play. What is WRONG with you?' 

But when I finish a book, oh dear, that's when I find myself floundering. Of course there's the inevitable slump. I feel empty, drained, vaguely depressed. Do I miss my characters as some authors do? Perhaps. I know I miss their worlds. And my world, well, it always feels a little lacklustre by comparison. 

But it's not just that. This is also, without exception, the time when I start to wonder if it's all worth it. The isolation, the scarce, erratic income, the constant battle just to stay afloat and keep smiling despite the struggle. It's a time when I feel the injustices and slights (imagined and real) more acutely and my wounds start to prickle and demand attention. Between books is the time when I ask myself, would I do better, find more meaning, be happier, healthier, more effective, in another career? Would my family be better off if I focused my energies elsewhere? And if so WHERE? Honestly, I tear myself apart during this phase. And I'm sure I drive Himself to distraction with my incessant soul-searching and midnight ponderings.
Cafes these days always have the prettiest arrangements. Have you noticed?
Worse still, I never find answers. Solace only comes when I start the next book — when I enter the next fantasy. Then I'm happy. Then I'm back on the Life of a Writer Roller-coaster and my ragtag existence feels legitimate again. 

But this time, I'm taking it slowly. I'm resisting the urge to finish one book, spin around, and lose myself in another. I've resolved to spend more time with my demons. Really get to know them. Perhaps we will even hold hands... Perhaps they will finally tell me what I need to hear. Whatever that might be.
I cleaned the laundry and picked an apple. The experience was immensely satisfying.
I have almost finished the little cardi for the ASRC craft market. I will knit another straight away. One seems too meagre an offering.
On a brighter note, while forcing myself to take this break I have been immersing myself in local delights, taking the time to explore my neighbourhood more thoroughly, to check out what's been happening while I've had my head in the clouds. I hope my photos, above and below, gladden your heart. It's always nice to look, to take notice, to be part of the real world again. However fleetingly.
I have fallen head over heels in love with this shop. It's called Mim Found Ena. I bought a handmade ceramic brooch.  I will show you soon. When I can display it to its best advantage.
Until we talk again
I remain 
Yours in 
Perpetual Transition
Jen xx

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

when arts collide

Copying someone else's cupcakes can lead to all sorts of adventures.
I wrote my first picture book in 1989 or thereabouts. As I remember, it was about a teddy bear. Mr Bear spent many hours dangling from a clothesline but I can't recall much else about his adventures (such as they were). No matter. I popped my story in an envelope and sent it to a publisher. Many months later when the inevitable rejection slip arrived was I downhearted? No, no, no.  I taped that rejection slip to the wall above my typewriter. (Yes, it was a typewriter, electric, top of the range). That rejection slip was proof, dear reader. Proof that my story had been on an editor's desk. That my story had been looked at, nay, handled by a professional. My story was worth a stamp and a form letter! My first rejection slip was proof that I was on my way to becoming a professional writer. An Author.

Fast forward twenty-five years or so. I was having coffee in a local cafe and doing some aimless moodling; no newspaper, no smart phone, no notepad or pen and certainly no typewriter. I was just sipping coffee and people-watching. At the next table a grandmother was reading a picture book to a little boy. The boy was DESPERATELY trying to engage with the book. I could see the effort on his face and in his body language. But I could also see that the book was, well, it was a dud. It was one of those awful picture books you often see in cafes. If you are interested in children's literature you will know exactly the kind of book I'm talking about. I thought, if I had to read a book like that to a child what would I do? Instantly I knew the answer. I'd make up my own story. I would make that child laugh if it was the last thing I did.

I wandered home thinking about this and pondering the things that make toddlers laugh.

Now, for some time I had been taking art classes. I was at the stage where I was learning to draw...circles. But my circles had recently evolved. I had been painting cupcakes for weeks. (Actually, I had been copying them from a tea-towel but it was a good exercise and taught me a little about shading and using watercolour pencils etc). I was drawing eggs, too. Eggs in egg cups. Spongecakes too. Big chocolate spongecakes with gaudy pink icing and strawberry jam oozing from their centres.  I had also been drawing chickens.



I had no idea why I was doing this so obsessively but over the years I have learned to go with creative impulses even when, or especially when, they don't make sense. When I arrived home from the cafe I sat down and wrote a story about a cheery old fellow who lived on a farm and one day took a trip into town. I wrote it fast. I didn't censor myself or question it, I just wrote. I soon noticed that lo and behold I had the outline for picture book.

That night I sat up in bed with my sketchbook on my knee. Again, I was just doodling, not trying to dream up anything amazing or create anything in particular. I thought, What does this fellow from my new story look like?  His name is Clarrie and he's bald, came the answer. Gosh! I drew him quickly. He spoke to me, 'I am very fond of chickens,' he said. 'They make good friends and their eggs make delicious cakes.' He kept chatting, he was awfully sweet and his quirky way of speaking and gentle outlook on life made me smile. I drew a pile of quick, wonky sketches. Then I hopped out of bed and did a little 'mixed media'. Clarrie and I were by now firm friends.


I didn't know how to draw a car so I copied one from a Clarice Bean book!

The next day I rewrote the text in Clarrie's voice — character and voice, dear reader, character and voice, for me the most important starting point in any creative writing project. Then I emailed my publisher at HarperCollins. 'I have someone I'd like you to meet,' I said.

I did not have to wait long before the story was accepted for publication, after all Clarrie really does have a certain je ne sais quoi. And yet it was hard to believe it had happened so quickly. But of course, it hadn't had it? I've been plugging away at this writing game, studying the art of storytelling, for thirty years. 

Of course, I will keep you updated as the book becomes a reality (one of my absolutely favourite illustrators has been commissioned and publication is set for 2016). But in the meantime what's the lesson here? Yes, there's something about hanging onto your dreams. But it's more than that. This experience has confirmed my suspicions that we must follow our creative urges. And we must trust them. No matter how silly or irrational they seem (circles, eggs, cupcakes) they are always part of a bigger 'story', they are always teaching us something or leading us towards something richer. It may not be a book or anything quite so tangible but I bet my Faber-Castells that everything you make, everything you create, feeds your inner artist and nurtures your imagination in ways that are essential to your development. 

Trust your creative urges, dear reader, do not dismiss them because you're inexperienced or 'unqualified' or embarrassed. Give yourself permission to play, to be a beginner, to experiment, to be obsessive. That's how we make art. That's how we create. But at the same time don't concern yourself with joining the dots. Don't try to be purposeful or rational about it. All our impulses and interests are interconnected, I am certain of it. If you want to draw, draw. If you want to write, write. If you want to play the tambourine, crochet, sing, collage, make camels out of cotton wool, get to it! Don't question it. Just let it flow. That's how creativity works. Carelessly. Joyfully. In a state of trust and grace.

Until next time
I remain
Yours in Perpetual Wonder.
Jen xx


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Sunday, 10 May 2015

baxter street in the round

I have been in a whirl here at Baxter Street, dear reader. It is a joy to finally sit down and write to you. I could start with the traditional 'how are you?'  But of course this is cyberspace. I have to imagine how you are. I have to imagine YOU. In my mind you are the ideal reader and a dear friend to boot. Which is precisely why I love dropping you a line.

In the big world: I finished writing the fifth Truly Tan book this week. It is perhaps a little quieter than the others with a focus on the machinations of friendship and family ties. I enjoyed writing it very much. I timed myself on this one. It took eight months. It is 45,000 words.
Tan readers are very opinionated. I love it!

I also received second pages of my new novel, The Fourteenth Summer of Angus Jack.  Oh the joy and terror of seeing one's book at this stage. I am pleased to report I only found a few typos, one accidental rhyme, an alarming overuse of the word 'thick' and one hiccup with continuity. All that aside it is looking hunky-dory. It has been typeset which means it now looks more like a book than a Word document. However it is awaiting further design. Next time I see it I will undoubtedly swoon.


This one is a little cardi. Don't you adore these buttons? They look so retro to me. I love choosing buttons.

In the cottage: I have been knitting, dear reader. I am making some baby clothes from my Debbie Bliss knitting book called, Eco Family, if you please. The wool is divine (cashmere and merino) and I have invested in a NEW KNITTING SYSTEM. The gorgeous sales assistant at my favourite yarn shop persuaded me. If you live in Melbourne but have not shopped at Morris and Sons in Collins Street, please schedule a trip. The needles are densified laminated birch wood and have steel cable caps and interchangeable thingumabobs and it's all A DREAM. I've always despised knitting in the round. But no more. I have found salvation in KnitPro. If you are a knitter do click the link. You will fall in love, trust me. I am making these clothes for my colleague, fellow children's author Anna Branford. Anna writes the adorable Violet Mackerel series. She is also an integral part of Creating a Welcome which is a community of crafters and artisans that supports asylum seekers in Australia. These little garments will eventually go on sale as part of that charity. 
Just because it's pretty.
Wearing: My new tartan skirt. I love it because I love tartan skirts but also it doesn't have a waistband which suits me fine, dear reader, because I don't have  a waist. I bought it at Gap. 



Reading: I have been busting to share these two mags with you. How I wish you were here so that I could flick through, gushing and gabbling and showing you my favourite bits. Australian Womankind is DIVINE. The writing is superb, the content feisty and inspiring and it looks drop dead gorgeous.  The art and photography and design are all first rate. Plus there is NO ADVERTISING. With contributors such as Charlotte Wood, Cate Kennedy and Alecia Simmonds this magazine is erudite and punchy and I cannot recommend it more highly. 
My other latest find is Flow. To my mind the name is vaguely creepy but the magazine is entirely beautiful with a 'simplify your life' ethos that I find irresistible. It's a good read (I really enjoyed an interview with Swedish crime writer, Liza Marklund) but more than that it is so beautiful and so full of surprises that every edition is like receiving a birthday present from someone who really GETS you. It's expensive but I buy back-copies at Mag Nation in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, and save myself a bit of jingle.
A magazine for paper lovers. How seriously good is that? That's paper inserts poking out the top.
Gosh this has been a long post. If you have stuck with me until now, I thank you from the bottom of my yakety yak heart. There seems to have been so much to catch up on!
Until next time
Thank you for reading and
I remain
Yours in perpetual twirls and swirls 
Jen xx


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Sunday, 26 April 2015

the art of getting older

I have found, dear reader, that art is as much about mastering your medium as it is about learning to draw. I still have very little control over my lines (or my brushstrokes for that matter) but I love playing with pen and ink and water colour. It must be all those years spent poring over the work of Quentin Blake and Ernest H Shepard, marvelling at their mastery. 




What else? I had a birthday. Yesterday. The day was, as always, damp, misty and buried in autumn leaves. As I sat up in bed, smoothing the counterpane and being a Princess, Himself brought me a cup of tea. 'Twenty-seven years ago you were twenty-seven', said he. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or trying to be a comfort or just making a ridiculous Himself kind of observation... Nonetheless, I have to admit I cannot remember being twenty-seven. I somehow wish I'd kept a journal. It must have been fine, though, at least on some level. (Sadly, I do recall that for most of my twenties I was riddled with self-doubt and had the inner resources of a gnat.) On the other hand, oh the fifties! Much to my surprise, I have renewed energy, I'm more focussed than ever, braver, quicker to forgive but much less inclined to suffer fools or nonsense. There's a Quickening. A need to Get On With It that somehow makes life more exciting. I no longer feel the need to apologise for my dreams, my quirks, my limitations. I will never again curtail my ambitions. It's a nice place to be, both emotionally and intellectually, made easier when one accepts that denying menopause is like denying puberty. Ludicrous and futile. Getting older is a privilege denied so many, I feel a moral obligation to be grateful, to go on developing my talents, to be courageous, generous, open-hearted and not to miss a second of it.
I'm fifty-four, dear reader. How cool is that? 
Jen xx


I got a bag for my birthday! Yes, siree. I have big plans for this bag. I shall be as cocky as Lady Bracknell when I'm toting this little number. 


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Sunday, 19 April 2015

a fireside chat

Squally. That's the weather here today in Melbourne, dear reader. It is a squally, grey, hail-pocked Autumn day. My kind of weather. I have lit the fire (first for the year). I have a chicken pie in the oven. I have pumpkin and ginger soup simmering on the stovetop. Himself is under strict instructions to keep an eye on it while I scurry off and drop you a line. 
The front verandah at Baxter Street today. Note the battered rose petals on the wet cement.

I have also written to my girlfriend in far north Queensland. We write real letters, dear reader, stamps and paper and Kikki K stickers. My friend owns a cattle farm. Can you imagine? She is so brave and hardy. She rides horses and quad bikes. She pushes enormous, FIERCE cows into trucks. When she sustains an injury, as she recently did while shucking oysters, her husband (who is a vet) stitches her wound because they are TOO FAR from town. Oh, the thought of it makes me hyperventilate. Even their internet connection is as trusty as a plastic phone in a sandpit. On the upside, there are platypus in her dam — which is a fine, fine thing. For those of you who do not live in Australia, platypus are not seen around these urban parts, EVER. My friend also looks like Gwyneth Paltrow (just so you can visualise, dear reader, ahem) and is as smart as a whip. She was my bridesmaid (in Queensland) twenty-eight years ago. The wedding was pretty despite the coral lipstick and big hair. The marriage, I am sad to say, was something of a travesty. Oh, he was a cad, dear reader. Such a cad. And while the marriage quickly went belly-up, my friendship with my bridesmaid remained strong. We have since made completely different lifestyles choices, but it's of no consequence. Love doesn't care a jot about such things, does it? 
Drawing to music, in Year of the Spark, with Lynn Whipple.
Aside from this I have been doing more art. I'm finding that the more art I do, the more characters and stories there are shuffling about in my noggin, looking for space.


The classes I'm doing in Year of the Spark are not only a joy in and of themselves, they are also sending my imagination soaring. Remember the woven wire and fibre horse I made last week, dear reader? Well, ever since I made her, a melancholy ghost boy with button eyes has been haunting my imagination. It's all a bit Neil Gaimanish I guess, (have you read Coraline?) and yet I'm happy to stick with him (ghost boy not Mr Gaiman) for a while longer. See what he's trying to tell me. Likewise the little king. He's a cranky little despot but I do find him enchanting. So we'll see.



Signing off for now, dear reader. 
Until next time
I remain
Yours in squalls and scribbles.
Jen xx

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Saturday, 11 April 2015

room for a pony

This afternoon at Baxter Street: making wire and fibre wrapped animals with Carla Sonheim. Another brilliant lesson in Year of the Spark. xx

My apologies for the rather indiscreet angle, dear reader. But as you can see, I was in a terrible tangle with the front half of the body ( I can hear you laughing). At this point I didn't know what kind of animal I was making. In fact, I doubted I was going to get through to the finishing line.

I had very little suitable fabric in the house. The fabric needs to be pliable and  oddly enough I mostly had only felt hanging around. Felt is too stiff, although I did use a bit here and there. In the end I crocheted a strand of string and wool and wrapped that around her body. I think I'll leave her with skinny legs so she can run faster... I also used some florist hessian that I'd stashed when a kind soul recently sent me flowers. The hessian feels very 'down in the stables' and almost smells like hay. It frays easily too which I liked because it added shagginess.

I left the number 'one' on the selvage for obvious reasons.


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Friday, 10 April 2015

what we found

Friday. 2100 hours.
Meanwhile back in the Year of the Spark classroom. I have called this little piece, What We Found.  It came about as part of an exercise called Chasing Rabbits. The lesson was all about messing around, giving yourself time to play with whatever takes your fancy, to move and explore and SKIP in any direction. I chose to play with ink, water colour and line. After many weeks away from the Sparkers, I LOVED doing this exercise. I am obsessed with sea images at the moment, dear reader, and, like me, these girls were having a lovely time exploring. 
I do hope you find time to have a little scribble or dabble this weekend.
Until next time 
Embrace the splotches.
Jen xx 





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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Stepping out (with your new book)

Book launches. They can throw an author into a spin, dear reader. And in my experience children's authors are particularly prone to spinning. Here are my reflections for what they are worth. 

If you are about to launch a children's book you need to think about what you're goal is. Sure, you hope to sell books but it's more than that. What you are aiming to do is connect. Connection is so important in our industry. You need to connect with your readers and their parents. You need to connect with book sellers, teachers, librarians. There's nothing insincere about connecting. When you, as the author, get out there and 'press the flesh' it benefits everyone. And kids love it. You are also energising your book and I'll explain what I mean by that further on. 

So, what are your obligations when it comes to a launch? What do your readers expect? I believe that children's authors often confuse a launch with a birthday party. I've been to countless launches, some simple and low key, some with so many bells and whistles people forgot what they were celebrating. There are many approaches and of course they're all valid. But if you want to minimise stress, allow yourself time to actually chat (and maybe even giggle) with your readers, my advice is to KISS (keep it simple, sweetheart). You are celebrating your book, sharing it with the world and acknowledging a significant event in your career. You're not hosting a birthday party, there is no expectation that you should have face painting and treasure hunts and Santa in a helicopter. By all means follow that path if you want to but the bigger you go the more pressure you will be under and launches are notoriously stressful in and of themselves. 

The first book launch I ever hosted was for my gothic novel Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children. It was an invitation only event. The Department for Mislaid Children sent a personal letter (and code of conduct) to every guest. It was held in the early evening, in the Bishops Parlour at the Abbotsford Convent, an elegant and evocative setting - especially in the middle of winter. In terms of sales, I was fully supported by Leesa Lambert from the Little Bookroom. Leesa bought along her rather impressive Mobile Banking Apparatus and a mountain of books, and all I had to do was give a little speech, sign books and chat. The event was fully catered, my stepson worked on the 'bar' and for added entertainment Himself and I screened a short film about the background of the book. It was a brilliant evening, two and half hours of goodwill and excitement that ushered Tensy into the world with love and enthusiasm. Don't underestimate this, dear reader. There is something intangible but nonetheless very real about infusing your book with energy and love. It somehow helps to move it into the public sphere and plant it in the collective psyche. I did not have a launch for The Accidental Princess and I have always regretted it. Four years later that book is only now gaining traction and I still believe it's partly because I failed to make a fuss and give it the Magical Swish it needed. I was preoccupied when it came out and let it slip under the radar. Still, we live and learn.
The signing table. I like to add little icons from the story. Here we see Tensy's straw boater and her injured teddy bear, Mr Potpan. My outfit was in deference to Matron Pluckrose (who runs the Home for Mislaid Children).

In 2012 I launched book one of the Truly Tan series. I decided ahead of time only to launch book one and book four (which was to be the last book). I've since included book eight in my launch plan as it will DEFINITELY be the final book. As I see it, it doesn't feel right to launch every book in a series, it feels like overkill to me. But again that is only my humble opinion.

On with the details. For Truly Tan (book one) I had another launch at the Abbotsford Convent, this time in St Heliers Street Cafe and Gallery. It was in the afternoon with lots of kids invited, readers who were by now corresponding with me etc. I organised a lucky dip . It was enormous fun but took loads of time and energy to construct and set-up. Plus there was the added worry of, What if a random bunch of kids turns up and there are not enough prizes to go round? Eek! I had back-up gifts of course but still the little voice nagged. Added to this was the cost. Even though the gifts were small it was a reasonably expensive exercise. But I had set a budget and I made sure everything fell within those boundaries (more or less...). My publisher at HarperCollins also contributed a large bundle of Smiggle pens which were eagerly snapped up. Remember though, launches are not the domain of publishers. Be mindful of the costs, dear reader. A cavalier approach to a book launch can give one's piggybank a nervous breakdown, my wordy yes. 
No code of conduct was issued with the Truly Tan 1 invitations. Obviously.


Esteemed storyteller and dear friend, Niki Na Meadhra, (centre) wrote and performed her own Truly Tan song at the 2012 series launch .
At the end of last year Truly Tan:Freaked! (book four) was released. We had the launch on a Sunday afternoon at Readings Bookshop in Hawthorn. It was a public event. I advertised it on facebook and the bookshop also did their share of legwork. It was simple, fuss free and great fun. We had lollies, soft drink and three lucky door prizes (aka Tan Callahan show bags). We announced the winners after the launch but before the signing. I had a blast putting those show bags together. I bought groovy calico bags from Typo (only $2 each!) and stuffed them with goodies, all with Tan's blessing, of course: pens, notepads, halloween candy, flavoured lip gloss, fake tattoos, bubblegum, fridge magnets, Tan posters and bookmarks etc. It was definitely the easiest of my launches and I'm fairly certain my next one will follow a similar format. 
At the Truly Tan: Freaked! launch there was plenty of time to speak to each reader individually. The bookshop (Readings) took care of everything else.
The show bags. Three lucky door prizes personally overseen by Tan Callahan...
Clare Forster (Curtis Brown Literary Agent), Tan Callahan, Secret Spy, Jen Storer, author, Lisa Berryman, Publisher HarperCollins
I guess the main thing is to relax and let your launch unfold at its own pace. Give yourself the time and space to meet and connect with your readers; time to discuss the book and let the kids ask questions and tell you all they have been busting to share. Connection. That's what makes all the fuss worthwhile. In fact, that's what makes writing for children so rewarding, so joyful. xx

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Monday, 9 March 2015

the thing, you know, that thing

I'm working on a thing, dear reader. A new thing. It's big. Well, it's big for me. It's not a writing project but it is kind of. I cannot speak of it because if I do the bubble will burst. But the thing is consuming me — every waking moment and well into the night. It is also making me think long and hard about the nature of creativity and creative writing in particular (as well my place in it all). For solace I have returned to the dearest, sweetest, Brightest Button and Best Advice Giver of all, Brenda Ueland.



I had forgotten. Her book makes me cry. When she writes about Van Gogh, I cry. When she writes about William Blake, I cry. Have you read this book? It will probably make you cry. But in the nicest possible way. In an attempt to rein in my muddled thoughts and frantic compulsions, I have made a new commitment to SIMPLIFY. Himself is spinning. He has never seen the house so stripped bare and...luminous. He has hidden some of his belongings. I just know it. 'I must have serenity,' I cried, as I zoomed past him with the Hoover this morning.'I cannot abide clutter!' I declared, as I swept up the knickknacks and bundled them off to a brighter, dust-free future.  
I have worn a path to the Salvation Army bin.



Aside from that, I've had a lovely weekend. I hope you did too, dear reader, I really do.
Until tomorrow
I remain 
Yours in perpetual
Simplicity. xx



a random cupcake. for you, dear reader. xx


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Friday, 27 February 2015

girl friday

It's Friday here in Melbourne, Australia and I have been thinking about you, dear reader. Do you have plans for the weekend? Big plans? Perhaps you are going hot air ballooning or starring in your own play or riding a camel to the markets in Marrakech? I have small plans by comparison but they feel big to me because they involve quite a bit of FREE TIME. I love free time. Otherwise known as 'unstructured time' I sincerely believe THERE SHOULD BE MORE. I have been a glowing citizen this week and have finally caught up on my tax. Gosh it was arduous — and all I did was prepare it for my accountant. I didn't do any of the tricky stuff. But regardless, it was still days and days of sifting and sorting and adding and subtracting and wishing I had a Girl Friday who could simply wave her HB and make it all go away. Having got rid of the Taxation Scourge I suddenly felt light and sunshine-breezy; carefree to the point of dizziness. To celebrate I went to the nursery and...spent some money. Do you love a trip to your local nursery, dear reader? When I was younger (in my thirties) I was obsessed with gardening. My son was little, I was a sole parent and studying for an arts degree and, well, I knew I was going nowhere exotic for a long time. So being metaphorically grounded I literally put down roots. I planted and pruned and watered and mulched and every morning before the day got underway I made a cup of tea, donned my muddy Blundstone boots and clomped outside to do my Matron's Round of the garden. Just to see how everyone had fared overnight. It was a joyful, Zen-like way to start the day. My garden was popular and had countless admirers. During summer, when the day's were long, people would come by in the evenings while I was outside watering and we'd gasbag about this and that, all the while admiring the dahlias and the new woven-wire fence and the glorious crepe myrtle, a magnificent tree that always flowered early. Just as an aside, the house was a timber war service home and oddly enough its kitchen was at the front. Now that's something you don't see much nowadays but take it from one who knows, it's a prime position for stickybeaking...
Eventually, as my fortunes improved and my son and my career grew, I sold my little starter home and moved on. The girl who bought the property fell in love with the garden and I'm certain it was the MAJOR SELLING POINT (as they say in the business). Time raced by and many years later I decided to take a drive out to the suburbs to see my little house. I am sad to report that it was gone. Bulldozed to make way for two Legoland townhouses. I checked the address. I even hyperventilated such was my discombobulation — perhaps I was lost? But no such luck. And what of the garden? Razed. Replaced with concrete pavers and ONE LARGE CONCRETE POT with something spiky shooting up out of it. Even the crepe myrtle who was a dear old lady and had never done anyone any harm, was gone. As Joseph Conrad would say, 'The horror! The horror!'. I sat in my car staring at this awfulness and cried. Steel yourself, Jen, I had to tell myself. Steel yourself, for life is change and all comes to dust. This is something you must get in your head. Look at you. You've changed and so has everyone and everything around you. Embrace change. Make change your ally. Yadda yadda. And then I had an even better thought — I realised that one day the lego townhouses would be rubble. Yes, they would! (And sooner rather than later by looks of them.) And maybe, just maybe, if the next generation was savvy enough the townhouses would be replaced with a park. Or a market garden. Or an urban farm dotted with crepe myrtles just for shade and splendour. Now imagine that! Oh, I felt heartened at that thought. I really did.
Have a cracking weekend, dear reader, wherever you may be. Plant something. Paint something. Read, bake, natter to a friend. Find some time to moodle — even if it's only for an hour. Free time is so grounding. 
Until tomorrow
I remain
Yours in perpetual slow motion . xx







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