We need an after-school kid looker-afterer! Our boys say they don’t need nannying, they don’t want to be babysat, and they don’t much like the sound of being minded. But they do need someone there when they get home from school, to ask about their day, stop them bingeing on biscuits and fighting, kick a ball around sometimes and gently bully them into their homework and chores. You’ll need plenty of patience and the ability to be firm when they push it… Continue reading “Nanny status”
“It’s too early to be getting up,” say my sons, dragging themselves out of bed in the 7am dark: these boys who till recently rarely slept past six.
The first week of January comes as a minor shock to us all. Surely we can’t be expected to go back to work and school so soon after Christmas? Continue reading “A new groove”
The boys start school, and I am paralysed. Days pass, weeks, and I’m held in stasis by two equal and opposite wants: to be writing, really writing; and to maximise our family adventure. Continue reading “Crisis. Crux. Crossroads”
The Free-Range Writer furiously hammers out the last third of her 103,000-word first novel draft, hands it in half an hour before the final deadline, necks a pint at the Old Government House faculty bar, collapses into exhausted sleep on beanbag on her own back deck. School holidays. The FRW takes a much-needed break from writing, survives Christmas, enjoys a fabulous summer free from deadline pressure, realises her children are actually really quite lovely, even manages to write a short story or two. Hapless, fed up with the poky Auckland job market, leaves for London. The FRW reluctantly re-enters her battery cage and spends three months working at capacity, an experience not enhanced by solo parenting, and remembering why she gave the whole lousy gig up in the first place. Late at night she shops on the internet for London flats and schools; during the weekends she packs up the household box by back-aching nail-breaking box. Four months after his departure, Hapless is reunited in an emotional scene at Heathrow with his family, rendered temporarily more adorable by distance.
So The Free-Range Writer went cold turkey. Five months which I’ve spent extruding novel, a strange, lumpy substance of highly variable quality and texture. Continue reading “One month to go”
It’s a seriously long slog. Early on I set myself a goal of a thousand words a day, at least four days a week. Some days that comes easy; some days it’s like pulling a thousand teeth, each with the root pulp still attached. Continue reading “The fifty thousand mark”
Sorrreee, I’ve been busy.
“Not for profit work,” I say, when people ask what I’m doing ‘these days’. Which sounds better than, “Something that takes all my time and mental energy and will never earn me a cent and probably won’t ever even see the light of day.” Continue reading “Dolphin wrestling and alien abduction”
“You’ll laugh about soon,” they said. And, “It’ll make a great blog post!”
At the time, writing about it seemed highly unlikely – it felt too quailingly awful even to be grist to the colourful-story mill – though even then I was half-laughing about it, in between the palpitations and the tears. Continue reading “Comedy of ewwww”
Awww, don’t be sad, people… I’m not sad! It’s been an amazing year, and I wouldn’t have traded a minute of it, but like I said earlier, a year has been exactly the right length of time. And now that we’re getting ready to head back, my thoughts are turning daily to the things I’ll love about being home. Continue reading “Tempus fugit”