Written 5 June, 2020.
Days of torment about my chapter. My tormentor my editor has said it’s like a re-write of my book The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady: a Novelist Looks at Creativity and Neuroscience and he’s right, it is; a re-write; then he says it needs typo correcting and the removal of my florid novelistic flourishes and he’s right, it does; a re-write; then the sections under each heading needs to be evened up: they don’t but I even them up any way; a rewrite; I send it off, and studiously avoid any email from him until suddenly my eye is caught by the word “tooth” : he’s needed an urgent operation on a tooth, and none of us writers will hear from him till 14th June, when he’s finished his antibiotics. A few hours ensue and then he texts in a most friendly way that he’s sent my chapter off to my heroine, the famous neuroscientist Liane Gabora who I’ve followed for months- in one of my beach videos, I quoted her extensively – and suddenly, it’s all been worth while. And he adds that when it’s been refereed by her, I can put back my florid novelistic bits.
At the post office, the postmistress holds in her hand the envelope full of masks for my friend in the UK who works without any protection in hospital admin; she asks me what’s in it, and, heart beating, fearing the worst, I tell her, because I can never think fast enough to tell lies. She says it’s illegal to send a mask out of the country. I remember 77 days ago, a Chinese man tried to send tens of thousands of masks out of Australia and it was declared illegal because masks here were in short supply: I cannot believe that now masks are everywhere, it’s illegal to send a paltry six. Besides, they’re not commercial masks, they’re home-made by a theatrical costumier. In my reasoning,that makes a vital difference. I ask if I could send it, how much my envelope would cost. She answers my question as if she doesn’t suspect me, though her eyes flash. $8.30. I ring GG and ask if he has $8.30 in stamps: he does. I rip open the envelope, find another, put the masks inside, decide as a compromise to cut it down to three masks, and at a post box on the footpath outside, post them with $8.00 worth of stamps for luck. I might be arrested but my friend’s life is at stake.
In the afternoon, coffee with my dear writer friend Libby at Coogee. She’s comforting and warm-hearted and I don’t know how I’ve done without her up the river. I cannot watch enough of the shining green caves of breakers that I could hide in,until they like everything else topple, I hide in them, they topple. I struggle with homesickness for my own brooding river. Libby says I should send my rejected novel to another publisher who six months ago said she’d love a manuscript from me. Libby’s right. She’s a fellow-writer and wants the best for me, and I feel I have the courage to do this until I get back to Marg’s, when I know I can’t. I must re-write it. Sometimes, many times, I wish I didn’t live my life. Someone else, wiser, smarter, should. A life seems too big for one person to live.Too large, too many angles, too many protrusions. It’s like stumbling along carrying a vast, unwieldy, flapping shape, and you’re teetering on a cliff edge. If only a group of smart people could do carry it, and decide to go this way or that- watch out for stone, watch out for hillock. A committee- no, that wouldn’t work… But at least i upload the video, shot on Dy’s beach: