On the edge of the saltbush …

When I was a child, my family moved to a country town, a job transfer for my father, and from there, regardless that I imagined I would return as a grown-up to live in the city, I began to meander in all directions.

Although I was only nine, I imagined I would travel to Abyssinia and Kathmandu … I had only a vague idea where these place were, but I liked the names. I never made it to the former, long gone by that name, but I twice visited Nepal, in 1978 and 1980.

Most of my adult life has been in drought-affected country, west of the Great Divide. I seem to have spent years carrying basins of water from the kitchen sink to the garden, likewise from the shower and the washing machine.

I’ve lived in Nambucca Heads 4.5 years – a town described on the tourist information website as ‘the southern gateway to sub-tropical Australia.’ I prefer to call it ‘frequently tropical’ as the previous 2 summers its rained almost every night and the heat during the day has encouraged mildew to grow in my house – ceilings, furniture, leather belts and shoes. paintings, both sides of the glass! Every morning the insides of the windows run with condensation.

And spiders… in every crack and crevice, impossible to dislodge with a broom, these jet black little spiders seem to live beneath every weatherboard on my house. Daddy Long Legs choose to live indoors, almost impossible to catch once they start to vibrate, thus becoming invisible. I like to catch them and put them outside, as I don’t like to kill anything. I might make an exception if a snake curled up on my doormat (yes, its happened a couple of times at a previous dwelling out west).

All those early years in the bush provided plenty of background for my short fiction. Two stories are here: ‘The Burial’ which grew out of the 1980 drought in the Hunter Valley, and Hard Grain … set in the NSW wheat country. ‘Without’ typifies love and loss, not uncommon emotions wherever you live, regardless of reasons. All have appeared in literary journals and on ABC RN.

My previous posts have been about ‘The Midnight Pianist’ and progress on the new edition from ETT Imprint. Please check my Facebook page [The Midnight Pianist book] for updates and various posts.


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