Tag Archives: Memoir

Playful child and iron teacher: the two halves of the writer

I was nine when a new games mistress arrived at my school. She was a grey-haired woman, although she wasn’t old; I could tell because her eyebrows were black. Her bum was boxlike, giving an impression of very little waist. … Continue reading

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What happens when a character’s skirt gets hitched in her knickers?

Character is arguably the single most important component of the novel…nothing can equal the great tradition of the European novel in the richness, variety and psychological depth of its portrayal of human nature. David Lodge    When I was ten, … Continue reading

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Try to get ahead too fast and you might end up with your trousers round your ankles

When I left drama school, I expected to become a successful actress immediately. I sent my headshot to directors and agents. Every time the phone rang, my heart convulsed, but usually it was my mother, wanting to know about my … Continue reading

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First drafts: allowing the worm to navigate the soils of your mind

I decided to go on a retreat a few years ago. When people asked me why, I tried to explain, but always got a sense I’d left something out; I circled back to the beginning, tried again. Words followed words, … Continue reading

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Trying to submerge a plastic bag with an air pocket

I have several recurring dreams. In one of them, I’m at university, faced with having to find a group to move in with for the coming academic year. But I’ve left it too late. Everyone has already made their plans … Continue reading

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The boy whose butter I ate: writing from the inside out

When I was fifteen, I wanted, with a desperate force, to fall in love. This desire was mirrored over a decade later – though it wasn’t love I was urgently wishing for, but a career as a writer. In the … Continue reading

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This is the year to land on your feet!

New Year’s Eve 2011, Dan and I are on a bus from Mount Barker to Perth. It’s full. People are already drinking, even though it’s not yet midday. Outside, the sun is vivid, passing through the window with ease, warming … Continue reading

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A bus is at its best when it’s a taxi

Dan and I are walking over the bridge to the bus stop. It’s not yet six o’clock, but the winter darkness has the river hidden. Only the streetlights can cut through the black, casting golden beams across the sodden streets. … Continue reading

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A collage of trees

My father says that he’s going to chop down the pines in the corner of the garden. They have grown beyond the space, their silhouettes distorted from pruning over the years. Still, this has never stopped the pigeons roosting and … Continue reading

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When you find yourself in a room with two strangers, having to fake an orgasm, it’s best to leave the country and change your life

I’m in the upper gallery of the Sheldonian Theatre, watching a graduation ceremony take place in Latin. Ad honorem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, the Vice-Chancellor intones, but I’m distracted by the fact that a few hours earlier I had to … Continue reading

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