What are you reading?
I have just finished Magda Szubanski’s memoir, Reckoning. I am not usually drawn to biographies and this was a book club choice not my own. I was disappointed that it wasn’t better written (or perhaps I mean differently written) than any other episodic beads on a string memoir, an approach which can render, even the most extraordinary life story, mundane. I am currently participating in a poem a day blog with some serious poets and am reading ten, twelve, fifteen poems from them each day. They are raw honest draft pieces documenting days, moments, thoughts, searching for rhythm, playing with language. They are exciting and soothing, full of kinship and the unfamiliar.
What are you listening to?
Having just organised my Mother’s funeral with my family, I have spent a lot of time listening to music that she liked; Harry Belafonte, Manhattan Transfer, Cleo Lane, Catholic hymns. I knew that she really liked a Paul Kelly song, based on the 23rd psalm, called Meet Me in the Middle of the Air. My daughter is a singer but knowing she would be too upset to sing at the funeral she recorded a version of it which is so stunningly beautiful I can’t stop listening to it. After the funeral we discovered that Kelly wrote it after sitting at his dying mother’s bedside as she took her last breaths which is exactly what my siblings and I were able to do for our mother. I wake up every morning with my daughter’s voice running through my head.
What are you watching?
I am a full time textile artist and produce quite large scale sculptures out of crochet. As you can imagine this is a laborious and time consuming process and I find I am most efficient if I have netflix or iview programs playing on my computer while I work for up to 10 hours a day. I need easy, non-challenging programs which do not require me to look at the screen or concentrate to know what is going on. My favourites are BBC historical dramas or Poirot and Miss Marple but at the moment I am ploughing through endless episodes of the completely ridiculous medical drama starring Hugh Laurie.
What have you got a taste for?
For the last 6 months I have been completely obsessed with the recipes of Yottam Ottolenghi and when I need a physical break from crocheting I wander into the kitchen and take down one of his books. But if we are being specific, I cooked a lot of my Mother’s signature recipes for her wake and one she and my Grandmother were very famous for is a teeth achingly sweet condensed milk toffee. I made an enormous batch of it and still have a lot left over. I am trying to ration myself to one small piece a day.
What scents surround you?
I am mildly allergic to a lot of floral scents so tend to only notice them when they give me a headache or make me sneeze. The house is currently, and unusually, full of enormous bouquets of flowers which are all competing for air. Outside the wattles are in bloom in the hills with their strange fizzing almost non-smell and the wood heaters are all alight and smoking. At funerals, at art exhibition openings, people are always hugging you. Their too strong perfumes attach themselves to my clothes and I have to get changed when I go home. Other people’s perfume, its like walking past houses and being barked at by every dog behind every fence. A small, but nonetheless irritating, assault.