The first day of a new year should set the tone for how the calendar unfurls. It’s like feeding a newborn baby; while you might find yourself resorting to tinned food by Easter, lemonade by mid-year and pouring them hard liquor by Christmas, new year’s day should be strictly breastfeeding on demand.
Measured against this theory I’m a very bad mother. So far today I’ve slept in, cleaned the kitchen, hung two loads of washing and collected one child from a play date (that would be picking up a 21-year-old who didn’t come home from a new year’s eve party). I also stumbled across a supermarket trading on a public holiday, so of course I popped in to buy some groceries. The first day of the year has been gobbled up by domestic duties and not offered a moment to write. So I’m downing tools (pegs) to pen a few thoughts.
Recently I unearthed a diary I kept for six weeks when I was eleven. I started on January 1 1979 and the last entry chronicles the first day of the school year, February 5. After that it appears I became too busy to bother with non-essential writing, a portent for times ahead. The diary makes me cringe and giggle in equal measure, but mostly I’m sorry I stopped. Like reading old newspapers, it’s a fascinating dip into days past, into how kids lived in the 70s and what they think is important to document. I’m sharing the diary for the next few weeks on the Page:
I don’t have a good track record with daily writing habits. But, to harness a hackneyed phrase, it’s never too late. I think this year I can do it. I’m inspired by Helen Garner’s book Everywhere I Look, a collection of short essays which draws on life, as lived and observed, and which must be underpinned by a habit of prodigious note keeping. I want to be Helen Garner when I grow up (although I’m happy to hang on to my current husband), so perhaps I should start the notekeeping now.
For the record
Today is hot. Mid-30s hot. And the air conditioning turned up its toes and carked it in December. Perfect timing. We are all bathed in sweat, dipping into the pool from time to time, then spreading out across the household sofas to snooze. Yesterday I cooked a turkey breast, stuffed with macadamia and cranberry goodness. Later today I’ll put a similarly prepared pork loin in the barbecue to roast. If I can muster the energy I’ll cobble together a favourite salad with pistachios and orange segments. Tomorrow the first-born returns to her interstate life. Tonight we feast.