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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.

What people believe is essentially what they wish to believe. They cultivate illusions out of idealism – and also out of cynicism..

- Simon Leys, quoted in Ian Buruma’s wonderful review, “The Man Who Got it Right” in The New York Review of Books.

Wonderful short story writing in The New York Post from George Saunders with “Jon”.

..and I will turn to her and say, Honey, uh, honey, there is a certain feeling but I cannot name it and cannot cite a precedent-type feeling, but trust me, dearest, wow, do I ever feel it for you, right now. And what will that be like, that stupid standing there, just a man and a woman and the wind, and nobody knowing what nobody is meaning?

.. And I wrote a little about my observations.

But first, what makes the findings of the Westpac Report especially interesting is that this survey only looks at professional women and men with a minimum yearly income of $85, 000. In other words, these are Sheryl Sandberg’s women ‘leaning in’ and the men in the survey are those to whom they are leaning towards in the name of power and influence in the business world. Together, their attitudes are important signals about changing values in the corporate and managerial landscape when it comes to combining work and family.

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