The kids are all right


(Detail from one of boyfriend’s sketches of me. Never be too idle near him or you get sketched). 

Celebrating this week when a doctor thought she found a lump in my breast and I spent four days thinking I had breast cancer before the tests revealed it was not cancer, not even a lump.

I hope this anecdote brings you some relief if you should ever be going through your own cancer scare. False positives.

This, “Breakfast at Bethany’s” is such a thoughtful short story on dating (and re-partnering), by Craig Billingham in Verity La.

Things were going well – Martin could feel it – so why not press on, take another step? They were enjoying each other, like adolescents with age-spots and pre-crimped skin, but infinitely more interesting. They had so much to avoid talking about.

Life is an ambush

This graphic novel style telling of two birth stories is gorgeous and compelling at The Nib by Leela Corman.

Strongly recommend (unless you’re pregnant at the moment and don’t need to read any birth drama).

This, “How American politics went insane” in The Atlantic by Jonathan Rauch is the MOST interesting political article I’ve read in years, and it has broad application to the chaos of Australian politics, too. I don’t agree with it all.. but it’s right about many, many aspects and it’s a difficult conclusion to sit with. Thrillingly challenging.

Parties, machines and hacks may not have been pretty, but at their best they did their job so well that the country forgot why it needed them.

our society is currently gripped by a pervasive ideology of work. It is continuously preached to us as the pinnacle of human virtue. If you’re not doing superhuman stints at the office then something is wrong with you. And don’t even mention the word unemployed … that’s blasphemy.

The most worrying facet about the ideology of work is this: we are obliged to toil even when it’s not really necessary in concrete, economic terms. Appearing super-busy becomes more about fulfilling a societal expectation than doing something useful to society.

From Peter Fleming’s “The way to a better work-life balance? Unions,  not self-help” in The Guardian


Mummy, when I’m older I might dig you a little pond – Cormac (aged 7yrs).

(For some reason this really charmed me.. the idea of my own little fish pond, and my son building me things with his strength).

On evil

JF: I find it interesting you say wild behavior or irrational behavior, but you don’t say things like evil. Do you believe in evil?

HG: Yes, but I think think people have recourse to the word evil much too quickly when they’re talking about terrible behavior. I’ve given this a lot of thought, because when I wrote that book This House of Grief about the man who killed his three children, I was surprised to find how many people would ask me what I was working on. I would say I’m writing about Robert Farquharson, and they would look shocked and disapproving and say, Why? Why are you writing about him? I’d say, Well, there are obvious reasons why you’d want to write about a murderer, and people would get angry with me. They’d say, What sort of bloke was he? How does he strike you? I would start to describe his life and his formation as a person, and at a certain point the person’s face would harden and say, You’re making excuses, with this accusing gesture. I got used to that. It happened to me very often; it was a very frequent thing.

I realized that people protect themselves against thinking about stories like that by saying,This man is evil, therefore I don’t want to think about him, and nothing that he’s done is connected in me in any way. There is no darkness in me that could possibly connect with the darkness in him. People would say to me, Was he mentally ill, or was he just pure evil? There were these simple concepts you could slot into place to make it possible to contemplate such a person. And so I got less and less interested in the term evil as a way of talking about human behavior. Because it’s really a way of blotting it out. Stopping yourself from having to think about it.

From “Helen Garner on Court, Burning Diaries and Violence of Love”, in an interview with John Freeman in LitHub.