For the last ten years, since moving to Hobart from Melbourne (and before that London and before that Adelaide), I have been doing what I, and others, call Life Writing.
This means that I look at the fabric of daily life and think about what it means and how I might make sense of it in a way that is of interest to others. I have a background in publishing and education and psychotherapy – all of which feeds into my work.
When I write my blog, the source of everything for me when it comes to material, I have three rules. I write each post longhand in one sitting, usually in a cafe, before transferring it on to the screen. I choose a subject that has been on my mind and is in some way unresolved, often emotionally. Lastly, I don’t court readers, preferring that people seek out my blog for their own reasons.
Living in London, as a young woman, my focus was on career and a bit of travel – with no real thought for what might come next. Moving to Melbourne with a young family in the early 2000s, seeking a better quality of life, presented me with challenges that I wrote about in my second book, A Slow Childhood: notes on thoughtful parenting. Since that time, after moving to Hobart, I edited a lifestyle magazine called Tasmanian Style which eventually went pear-shaped (I was hopeless at selling advertising), but thankfully not before I got the chance to write 30 decent stories. I also wrote a website for The School of Life called Food as Therapy – food, in my mind, being completely essential for any kind of good life.
Since returning to Australia it struck me that the biggest challenge that family life has presented me with, housekeeping, never got a look in when it came to the hot button issues of our times. Why, I wondered, not? For years I kept a notebook of my musings about housekeeping and it’s sister, homekeeping, to prove to myself that it really was a thing worth thinking and talking about. Out of these notes came countless blog posts and two manuscripts, now in the pipeline. One is my own personal journey – Homekeeping – spanning 30 years. The other – @home – is a book of 50 stories based on interviews with people who kindly – and frankly – shared their domestic thoughts and feelings. I hope you get to read something from these soon!
My other project, to which I am devoted, involves nudging would-be writers to take their work to the next level. Through a series of one-to-one sessions – which I call Eating The Elephant – we sit down and take the nucleus of an idea, flesh it out, create a structure to house it, and move it towards an, if not finished, solid text.
I am married to a writer, live in a big demanding house, and have two grown-up children and a dog.