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5 books by Australian women that I loved in 2014

December 19, 2014 | Leave a Comment

I read a bunch of books in 2014, most of them written by Australian women. Big ups to me. A lot of them were excellent. Most of them, probably. However, choosing five favourites from my pile was not difficult. There were clear standouts. Remarkable books that have burrowed into me and stayed there.

I love Australian fiction because so much of it tells ordinary stories through magic. There’s been a lot of debate this year about the acclaim-worthiness of the work we produce in this country – that maybe it’s a dull, cynical circle-jerk. But in many of these books, the potency of our varied and diverse society lifts right out of the book.

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Mentals

Brain training

December 11, 2014 | 3 Comments

My brain is flooded with memories: things about the school lamb that left droppings all over my dad’s car, and nanna’s porch full of orb weaving spiders, and the time a couple of louts stole our lawnmower while we were on holiday.

Here’s a thing: I have now been going to my counsellor every week for four months. Some weeks I think I don’t need to go, but I go anyway and we find something to talk about, and sometimes we go 45 minutes over time but she doesn’t charge me any extra. I’ve been seeing her since 2009, when I had a major crisis of confidence and wanted to pack it all in. I’ve grown a lot, obviously. Now I only want to pack it all in on Saturday mornings and sometimes around my birthday.

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Storytelling

My first boyfriend

November 24, 2014 | 3 Comments
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My first boyfriend’s name was Christian, and I met him on the internet. I was 14. I know this because my nick on Internet Relay Chat was Anna14. His was Chrish. I would later learn that this had something to do with the fact that he couldn’t spell very well; not even his own name. We met under a palm tree by the river, with my friend who had also come along to meet a boy from the internet. She was 16. Her boy was an overly large redhead, and he stood heavily on one corduroyed leg and his glasses fogged up.

Christian was tall and skinny, floppy brown hair. I want to believe he had an eyebrow ring. He was 15, and he had come along with his friend Adam, I guess in case I was a psycho stalker, or a middle-aged man. Ultimately I was a psycho stalker, but I had worn a cute top and Tencel jeans, so by appearances I was a real girl. He was from the south, near the beach, and I was from the Hills. It was a modern day West Side Story, probably.

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In the news, Mentals

Stop risking people’s lives for clicks, please

November 20, 2014 | 20 Comments

You might already know from Twitter that about 35 years ago, my dad’s dad took his own life. I don’t know if dad is thinking about this more than usual, but we’ve talked about it twice in the past two days. 35 years ago, men were mostly not meant to be depressed. I mean, men are still mostly “not meant” to be depressed. That’s a big part of the reason men die by suicide at a rate of more than three times that of women. The stigma surrounding men’s mental health is massive, ill-informed and also deadly.

Anecdotally, it seems to be improving, at least in people I know. I talk to the men I know about how they’re feeling. I’m not sure if this is because I talk so much about how I am feeling, but they sometimes come to me and ask for my support and even advice.

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