lt’s so hard to keep to a decision. Especially this one. So hard to be brave. I know nothing about e publishing . It’d be so pleasant to sink into the warm comfort of a publishing house once again, where other people do the things i’m not good at, that Ican never never learn. It’d be like getting into a warm bath. Floating. Sinking.
Then I went to a dinner for Women Writers. They’re held every month or so at an Indian Restaurant in Sydney. I’d arrived late, just as everyone had finished eating. I was surrounded by writers whose work I love, and whose minds I admire – Bem le Hunte, Libby Hathorn, Louis Katz. They’re much-published. From the talk, i realized that they had all recently completed, or almost completed, new manuscripts. Just like me.
Louise poured me a glass of her white wine. The thought came to me that I’d be braver if I didn’t take this step alone. But it wouldn’t be right to ask them to join me. Just because it suits me, it doesn’t mean it’d suit them. Is this something i can ask of someone? Would she feel pressured if I asked her? I kept silent.
The wine was chilled. I’d rushed to get to the restaurant. I was hot and sticky, and the wine was light and sweet, and when I held it up to the light, it glowed green gold, like the silk of a beautiful dress. When I’ve drunk down to the bottom of the glass, I’ll ask her if she’ll join me When I was about half a glass in, the gree-gold wine prompted me to ask all of them.
They all said “Yes”.
So now we’re going to form a co-operative to take this risk together. We’re having an inaugural dinner on my back balcony, to work out our name. We’re word people, so the name’s the first thing. It’s early autumn, and the evenings are still balmy. I’m planning the dinner, the naming dinner. It’s to be Greek lamb, slowly cooked the way my friend Marianthi from Greece cooks it, browned with onions, then simmered for hours in tomatoes, pimentoes, and cinnmon. Slowly roasted potatoes, the way I watched her do them, standing at her stove in her kitchen shining with Greek coffee pans and bottles of crystallized orange peels and dark home-made fig jams and home-marinated black olives. (Marianthi plans to start a traditional cooking blog describing the ways of food she’s inherited from her mother and grandmother and great-grand-mothers – going back to ancient times on the island of Lemnos, where I wrote “Leaning Towards Infinity”.) I’ll do her slowly roasted potatoes, taking all afternoon in a moderate oven. And a huge Greek salad, in case someone’s a vegetarian, because I forgot to ask, with lots of salty feta and sweet red capsicum, and herbs from the garden. And a rice pudding to follow, the way Jamie Oliver does, it, but topped with slightlyl tart passionfruit. And my friend Mindy’s mixture of black currents and slivers of chocolate to go with coffee.
If the food is right, the naming talk will go smoothly, or so I hope. And in their company, I’ll be brave.