This week, for the first time in a long time, I am getting house mates. I'm a little nervous about this - as it has been my very own space for a long time. There will need to be some compromises on my part - no whole evenings spent in the nude, no smoking inside, no washing up left for weeks on end, and the removal of around four thousand precariously wobbly piles of books. I live in harmony with meat eating slugs and ants. The ants and I have already had to compromise. They avoid the kitchen and I avoid their four lane highway that runs along the step into the toilet. The slugs I have no power over - though they will not slug the way through bicarb.
The ants in the loo are quite lovely, and often I linger longer to watch them streaming back and forwards. They don't sleep, or if they do, they sleep in shifts. There used to be a lithe resident spider in the corner of the toilet too - until my mother visited - and cleaned the room up.
I read Keri Hulme's Booker winning 'The Bone People' many years ago and, when I remember it, my heart leaps in a good way. One of the aspects of the book is that one of the protagonists, whose name eludes me, lives in a magic castle of a house and has fungi that glows on her staircase. I remind myself of this when I welcome spiders and ants in to my toilet.
What else do I remember about 'The Bone People'? and is it really true:
the story of a woman taking refuge a long way from home, a denial of her past that somehow comes back to her. A young boy called Simon. He was force-fed heroin. There must be love somewhere too. The child is damaged, but is redeemed or saved. I remember that the language was not ornate but the images I created from the book were rich rich rich.
I gave this book as a present to dear friends, which means that I truly valued my time reading it.
I will re-read it. Is it still in print? I wonder. The ants scurry.
PS - please note - this is NOT a plea for remedies to remove slugs and ants from indoor living. Do not send suggestions, however well meaning you are.
The Memory of Genocide in Tasmania is a daunting, exhausting and devastating book that examines genocide and modernity and the attempt to d...
A few writers I am loving at the moment include Lidia Yuknavitch and Lucia Berlin. Yuknavitch’s novel, The Small Backs of Children is ch...
A few years ago I had the absolute pleasure and delight of interviewing Richard Fidler on the art of interviewing. You can hear the full int...
Waaay too much going on to allow space for any chitchat banter or personal rhapsodisations on recent reads. (I took Paul Auster with me to...