This is my second incarnation, as a mother of two extremely busy little girls living on a farm with my husband, in Tasmania.
My previous role was slightly more glamorous – you could even say sought after – here you would’ve seen me in the midst of a hectic existence in the city, punctuated with lots of flying around the world, interviewing and writing. I travelled with the most delightful boys and together we would tell stories. They with the pictures and sound, me with the words (and music). It was often a magical job, though sometimes more Brigid Jones with jetlag. Quiet moments were rare but when I did have one, I would envisage the romance of a future in the country, near the sea, (not too near); I did it daily, for years.
The movie in my head would begin as a gentle glistening mist (back-lit mist actually, not a San Francisco fog or anything) this mist clears beguilingly to reveal birds singing, as they flit in and out of trees laden with fruit. The angle changes to reveal children frolicking through the most stunning of all known or imagined vegetable gardens; an equally perfect scarecrow is smiling down upon their sun kissed (with invisible zinc) faces. Gentle dissolve to still beaming children upon manicured lawns, sharing a picnic (tartan blanket inherited from Great Grandma) with the freshly baked goodies I so frequently bestow upon them … they suggest a game of bocce (in Italian) “non Boule!” they cry (French) and scramble camera left. Enter husband sauntering through shot smiling and waving in his waders as he heads down to the burbling, positively glistening river to catch a trout (rainbow). The music swells … The trout also glistens upon the bank when landed with the fly (hand tied using age old methods gleaned from a leather bound tome I found in the most mystical of second hand bookshops -yet to be discovered) phew, pause… …the music swells againnnn and I, pleased with all of my imaginings finally coming to cinema quality fruition, would, with blossoms wafting past the (sparklingly clean) windows of my book lined study, write and write and write… uninterrupted. Except by blossoms.
I never write. I am interrupted by being interrupted. Is this possible? I believe so. I certainly don’t have time to be interrupted by blossoms. Apparently, to be a writer, writing is what you must do. Ignore interruptions. Writers write. Every. Day. (I write so infrequently I don’t even know if that is correct punctuation). I talk about it, I do writing courses (sometimes twice), I think about it, I even dream about it. I pen ideas, I read about writers, I research writers – how they write, when, and so importantly where.
I once explained, to my shame, “Girls, Mummies need to be able to think, to think of stories and ideas” or some such waffle. They would then pipe up with “Excuse me Mummy, am I interrupting you thinking?’’ Thinking about what? What to make for dinner? How to stop the lemon tree from listing (must research).
It was when I was staying at a friend’s shack that I had a defining moment. I was arranging towels on hills hoist and (it has to be confessed) admiring the clothes pegs, that ‘mental note to self, ask her where she bought them’ (Howards storage world) actually popped into my head, and then ‘don’t those backlit towels and nonchalantly draped wetsuits look positively beastly carelessly beachy’. It was then I realised I may have taken over-thinking, imagery and research a little too fruitlessly far. Darlings don’t interrupt Mummy, she’s admiring the light on the towels, or is it the pegs? Dear God (apologies Father Terry).
My darling Mother Molly has exhausted every avenue to encourage me to write (she also gave me an early appreciation of pegs, will share another day). Mother would send stories of her own in the mail for me to continue; picking ten random words out of the dictionary that we must include in our story to be posted weekly. I didn’t make it to the Post Office very often. Apologies Mother, she is a far better writer that I, she reads voraciously, taught me to recognise and love a wonderful story (and peg). I still search for them both, but stories in particular.
I interview complete strangers constantly at length, to the embarrassment of my children who are old enough now to know why Mummy takes so long most anywhere they go. I research subjects far and wide in order to fulfil an insatiable need to understand. I see stories everywhere and in most everyone, they fly about just beyond me so that I can’t seem to capture any of them because that, Dear Reader (I’ve always wanted to say that) would involve that seemingly elusive discipline – to write.
I once Interviewed the very distinguished gentleman in charge of the Queen’s Horses and Guards who’s name escapes me ( will investigate) I asked, with breathless anticipation at my carefully worded question, how important it was to maintain discipline amongst these highly polished ordered and ship shape young men, as well as their steeds. “Well”, he replied in a very measured Queen’s English, “if one doesn’t have discipline, well one would be in a muddle, wouldn’t one?” I nearly dropped my Royal Doulton cup on his super shiny boots. More than twenty years later by George that man was right! I won’t say too much about my linen closet, but it, and my inability to write, reflects a lack of discipline.
Meg, on the other hand (who swept into the school carpark on a blossomy breeze proving to be the most kindred of spirits), Meg writes. She publishes. She has a bloggg, (I’ve done a blogging for beginners course even registered a name with a sweaty top lip, to no apparent avail).
Maggie, who now sweeps into the car park also, (sometimes with a horse float containing a dishwasher) and is equally kindred, writes prolifically, is published, in fact is an authorrrr. Did I mention the writing courses, sometimes completed twice? Maggie teaches those as well. It’s like the showdown at the OK Corral having these two in town. These Girls are simply full to their smoking guns bursting with stories (as is Mother Molly but she is interstate and English as well; probably can’t see her in this scene).
When Meg and Maggie suggested we write together in the most romantic of all structures, the old school house in Richmond, on Tuesdays, togetherrrrr, I was starting to gather the camera crew in my mind for the enchantment of this new imagery! To then be confronted on that journey by images such as this: It is a thing of beauty and a joy to again find souls who understand your quest. Imagine me as I slip into the kitchen to make another cup of nourishing and refreshing tea to fuel us forth or open the front door with the key Meg had made for each of us… I simply cannot contain my Anne of Green Gables type joy! It is just like “The White Way of Delight” of circumstance and architecture (I studied that for a year as well – architecture that is). It is in fact so exciting to spend Tuesdays in the School House that one must remember that one is there to write. I don’t even need a passport to do it.
When the plot thickened and Meg suggested so graciously that Maggie and I contribute words to her most excellent and well-loved blog, on top of school house bliss, I saw a connection and a collaboration that is the most generous of gifts, and now, as you can see, Iamwriting!!! (even though I have a child in bed with a cold who is hungry and wants a hot water bottle and a lamb screaming to be fed on the verandah. He requires a hot water bottle as well).
I had imagined Chinese White wisteria (researched before planting) fairly dripping off that verandah (back lit also)… rather than dripping lambie deposits which cannot look romantic in any light. The wisteria has stopped growing, needs pruning, I am told (the girls gorgeous piano teacher provided that research. She also pointed out that purple wisteria is Japanese. The things you can glean from the most unlikely sources, if only you ask, and she brought a perfect pumpkin and prune cake! Who knew!)
On that, I can’t bake. That picnic scene has hit the cutting room floor as well, along with the aforementioned ‘babbling’ river, which turned into a torrent, flooding a few years ago and taking out all of the river flat fences. Said husband spends more time fixing those than fishing. The ‘area designated for vegetables’ as one can hardly call it a garden, needs fences fixed also to keep out the rabbits and the possums. When I last attempted to tame that part of the jungle, my shovel unearthed a wasp nest. A cartoon like swarm chased me back to the house biting me as we went (I researched wasps they bite rather than sting). It was then that I realised my dog was not in the same danger as I, not in fact behind me at all. He was instead waiting faithfully in the fatally hot car hours (ominous music swell) after school drop off (I had previously researched how quickly a dog dies in a hot car to inform other people). He was hoping – if he hadn’t Iost all hope – I imagine, that a swarm of wasps would send me to his rescue.
My horror at being so foggy, indeed memory lapses that seem like someone had cut the film and forgotten to join it again, sent me packing off to see a psychologist (whom I also interviewed as he was French and very interesting) to discover why my memory was so misty. It was on that very day fresh with all of my misty memory questions answered that I first met Meg and Maggie together. I blurted out the entire soap opera, which is an odd first encounter by anyone’s reckoning. They were still there when I finished. Perfect too I believe as storylines go – things unfold as they are meant to. I have most fervently decided that if the wasps hadn’t been unearthed, our much loved dog would have had a steamy departure. Just as I was supposed to share that crazy day with these girls there and then. It’s the way this adventure ‘rolls’ (I never say that but it works in a film context). That misty first shot of my imaginings is beginning to clear and although the scenes in my film are different, they are still playing out a story I am grateful to have a part in. Wasps and all.
I do live on a beautiful farm, sometimes I see those opening scenes in real time when I least expect them. I have gorgeous children who are up trees terrifying me more often than on the less than manicured lawns. They have dropped boule/bocce balls on toes and don’t speak Italian or French, French emersion class scared them, may have been too early (must research). Chinese in the car wasn’t a hit either, although it must have sunk in as one of the girls blurted out a word which shocked both me and my very interesting Chinese Grocery friend. They get grubby to unsoakable Shannon Lush levels. That should have been in my original script, it’s not a perfect life. But if I need cinema quality vegetables, Tasmania abounds with fabulous growers whom I can interview about both them and their produce until the fences are fixed. I find that enormously satisfying.
Something else has happened in this cinematic extravaganza whilst Meg has been pacing the hills waiting for me to finish . Ahem … Ihavewritten!!!
Red carpet waves and dearest thanks to Mother Molly, those boys who know who they are (they shaped patient long ago stories), now to Meg and Maggie even Father Terry (keeper of the school house blessings and general goodwill). I feel a drum roll of excitement! Where is my trailer? Bring in the cherry picker-Spielberg too !!!
Dear Tuesdays in the Schoolhouse Readers If perchance you have read this I am even a ‘read’ writer. Where will this excitement end?!!!!! Hopefully soon you are thinking – because now I actually can’t stop writing which could be concerning what with the lamb and daughter number two still waiting, along with a countless array of domestic chores which were researched long ago … and there is dear patient Meg.
Turn Off the fog machine, it’s beginning to clear, revealing a glistening backlit mist!
And the Oscar goes toooooooo .…
Categories: Kel's Words