Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Leaving the attic

Of Emma Goldman I have only the slightest memory. To me, she was just a dowdy woman who did not know how to get along with children. She loved them and wanted to make friends, but like people who spook horses she had the wrong sort of aura.

Kenneth Rexroth, An Autobiographical Novel

(Rexroth had met Emma Goldman when he was a child.)

I bought this book in Wentworth Falls in January this year and am only just getting round to reading it.
It's enlightening, reading snippets about people from other people's books. I re-read Goldman's two volume Living My Life about a year ago, and my biggest regret is that she missed out on meeting Oscar Wilde in Paris in the final years of his life.  She went to a meeting instead!!!
It would have been nice to get her impression of him.

I'm nursing a bung ankle and packing up my house. There are no longer any books or shelves in the attic, and this book by Rexroth is one of a few left in the remaining un-packed bookshelf. You need to leave yourself something to read. I spend my time packing up crockery, lying on an unmade bed reading, and generally enjoying the squalor of a house being dismantled to go elsewhere.

The bung ankle comes, I think, (for I don't remember doing it) from stumbling on a walk around town with my friend Faye, who wanted to do the walks that Sophie did in My Candlelight Novel.

So we started at the house I called Samarkand in that book, and went down the path under the tunnel of figs and then to the bridge with Planet Music on the corner, and across the river to the Winsome and down Wotherspoon street.  It was Faye who first introduced me to Wotherspoon Street, a shabby, treed, wonderful enclave of old houses. We went to the park where Sophie slept the night, and Faye quoted me bits of the book I'd forgotten because she'd just been reading it in preparation for our walk.

After a rest at a cafe we did another of Sophie's walks, on the day she was feeling grumpy and disgruntled, and Faye saw the stone lions at the entrance to the park near the railway station, because she'd never been there before on foot, only passed it in a car.

Faye was the person who took me up the tower of the Catholic Cathedral in Lismore, which I later put into Mahalia, and when I needed to look at things  through a microscope (for A Charm of Powerful trouble) she set it all up and showed me pond water and potato starch and other ordinary extraordinary things. She's one of those people who often say things that go into one of my books.

I don't know when I'll get to the attic again. I mean this virtual attic. And in a little over two weeks I'll be leaving this attic too, where I wrote some of my books (the others written in a room overlooking the creek.) End of an era.

Moving house for the first time in 25 years is stressful. Friends keep ringing me to see how I'm doing (because Underground Man is currently 700 km or so away looking for a place for us to rent), and calming me down, telling me to drink wine in the evenings, take valium when necessary, clear my head of negative thoughts and think of the long view.

Maybe I'll be back after I move. Or maybe not.  But for the moment, the madwoman is definitely in the attic, and she is as mad as all get out, and that's the way things should be.


  1. I shall be sorry to never get to visit you up north, but perhaps one day in those blue mountains?

    may the rest of the packing be painless! (also your ankle)

    1. You're always welcome Kate. And I think you have my gmail address. My final address is uncertain (though I will soon be a resident of Blackheath for 6 months!).