Author shares her favourite place

6am: Fed cat and chooks. Walked slip slop in thongs and sarong to tank off workshop – house tanks polluted by dead frog – supposedly clean now, but can’t forget little pale sliver of frog flesh in mouth – and fetching water lovely in early morning.

6.15: First cup of tea of day with fresh sweet frogless water, a sneaky, solitary cup all alone in kitchen from little spotted tea pot with chook comb knob by Renee, drunk from lake-sized tea cup with black chooks and flowers.

7.30: To creek to feed ducks – Little Duck old now, 10 years since went to creek in drought of ’99. Water assorted plants.

9-ish: Make coffee, go to bathroom mirror and snip bits off annoying fringe. Drink coffee. Let out chooks.

9.20: Climb ladder to loft.

9.21: Hello little white apple laptop! Put away a week ago after emailing edited version of next novel to editor – a horror (and fun!) month of deadline and peering into screen, relieved by reading favourite writers: Allen Ginsberg, ‘Howl’ (“the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors”); and ‘Kaddish’, for his mother Naomi (“Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes”); Windblown World, the Journals of Jack Kerouac, 1947-1954 – he counts every painful word finishing Town and the City (“WEDNESDAY JAN 21 – Got up early, almost desperate about this week’s output, and wrote in slow torture 1000-words.”), then rolled on to On The Road: The Original Scroll – love the scroll: it’s urgent, written without pause or paragraph. Compare with first published version of Road. Mostly the same, but the most scandalous sexual refs have been omitted (can’t quote in Echo: family newspaper), and his expression has been ‘normalised’ in many places. “Me seems I heard coyotes” became “I thought I heard coyotes” (curses on sinister intelligent editors!). Soon will finish scroll and get back to reading Simone de Beauvoir memoir, Force of Circumstance, flung aside when the Scroll appeared (a present!). Find Simone hard going. She’s very abstract and theoretical, where Kerouac is all immediacy and full of life detail. Have never been able to get Existentialism. When she mentions something concrete (her curtains are red; her desk is shabby and worn) I cling to it as to a life raft.

My curtains are white venetians. My desk is shabby and worn, vinyl top cut and covered with splotches of model paint (son’s doing).

I see dust, lip balm, a duck pencil sharpener, scraps of paper. A big rubber band for holding mess together. Pens.

A tanka written while revising novel: (magnolia unfurls/scented petals/with slow, steady grace/while I deadline my odd syntax/into publishable form.)

Things to do: a piece for Echo on ‘My Favourite Place’ and a new bio for next book (publisher v. amused that I want to write new bio – imagines me rewriting my life). Easy! My favourite place is at home and my mind. New bio: Joanne Horniman writes young adult novels. She lives outside Lismore and in her head.

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