new-year

Every year at about this time, I have this conversation with at least one person. ANNA: Happy New Year! PERSON: Oh, happy New Year! [pause] Oh no, I shouldn’t have said that to you. I meant to say, try to have a happy year. ANNA: What? PERSON: You know, I hope it’s not too bad. I hope your year has happy moments in it. And then I buy another box of shortbread or whatever, and the other person in the conversation goes away and presumably thinks about how insensitive they were before managing to rectify it without being caught.

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…

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…

aami-stadium-638

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…