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I don’t particularly relate to all of this but man, I loved her turn of phrase:

Cooking! Aren’t we past that? In 1982, Jessica Lange as Julie, the glamorous single working mother in “Tootsie,” became my ego-ideal when she sexily told Dustin Hoffman’s character that she was a “born defroster.” Lord, how I loved that expression. Women of the ’80s did not sweat meal prep for their little Amys and Scotts. They defrosted. They took children to diners and bars. They ordered pizza.

That was ages ago. And I imagined that matters would only improve from there. By the time my son arrived, I vainly believed that I should be able to not just defrost food but conjure it — by means of the web or a 3-D printer or at least a game male, close at hand, whose ego had been serendipitously formed by Emeril or “Top Chef.” But instead, to my horror, home cooking had made a hideous comeback. Noble food philosophers preached the retro virtues of slow, real food instead of the quickie, frozen stuff that had once spelled liberation to me.

And worst of all, as the mother-cookbooks make painfully clear, the daily work of feeding children doesn’t fall to the sages. Neither does it, notably, fall to the dads, whom the cookbooks commend for having signature dishes or being grill-masters, but not for punching the clock at breakfast, lunch and dinner. No, cooking belongs, inevitably, to the moms. I’ve tried to find outrage among my sister mothers about this reactionary development. But here’s the unkindest cut: It turns out that other women — traitorously — now like to cook. They find cooking expressive and fascinating. No one but me wants to be a born defroster anymore. “I hear you, but I like to cook,” said one feminist the last time I tried my bold association of foodism with rank misogyny.

- Virginia Heffernan’s “What if you just hate making dinner?” in The New York Times.

Wherever I went

“Wherever I went I felt like the last person awake in a room full of sleepers”

Tim Winton’s Breath (2008)

ff weekend

ff guineapigs1

ab crepe making1

ab crepe making2

ab crepe making5

ab flowers3

Oh my god, this poem by Dean Rader.

Relational Self Portrait

The universe has not been built to scale—
everything is bigger or smaller than
it seems: the sea, the hole, a ship, a sail,

your line, the hook, your heart—that’s where the nail
of desire drives deep. Sorrow can span
a universe that is not built to scale

even though rungs are strung from star to shell
and back. We end of course where we began
(that ship, that hole, that sea). And so we sail

full speed toward the iceberg—too fast to tell
if size or scale or course is plot or plan.
The universe will not be built to scale.

The dead in heaven, the living in hell,
blaze and burn in the blue of all that can
rise and fall. The ship of this life will sail

until its stern snaps beneath the stretched swell
at the end of the end. We find out then
the universe has not been built to scale
and that our want expands like wind not sail.

What do you do if you’re 5 and your computer time is up for the weekend and now you want to sneak back on for some watching of favourite youtube clips while your mother is off reading in bed but you can’t spell much? You ask your mother, very innocently, if she can write the phrase “Lord of the Rings, War in the North” on a piece of paper cos no reason, really.

I was on a panel in The Guardian on Friday with john Quiggin and Celeste Liddle and others reflecting on Abbott’s first year as prime minister.

Selfishness and writing

This is a terrific essay from Helen Addison-Smith in The Overland, “Yes, men are better writers”.

Recently, I received an email from a literary publication asking me to comment on why ‘women are underrepresented in major publications’. Since I’m a single mother, working six days a week, and I wasn’t going to be paid, I didn’t respond. But I thought I’d reply here, so Overland will give me cash.

It’s simple, really. Men are published more than women because men are better writers than women.

Do I need to say that there are great female writers? Maybe I do, because you don’t know me, and I might just be a misogynist arsehole. And do I need to say that there are boatloads of very bad male writers? No, you can just go to your local bookshop and peruse the new releases to prove that to yourself.

‘Good writing’ does not emanate from the penis but it does emanate from material conditions. Writing takes time – great swathes of clean, empty time, unsullied by children or housework or deep worry about money or skincare routines. To be a writer is to be selfish enough to grab time and spend it churning words around, even though you are not getting paid very much, hardly anybody cares about what you’re doing, and even fewer people think that it’s any good.

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