At home

11 September 2013
I've had a busy time of it while these blog pages remained silent. There were a few changes in our home and my wardrobe, a couple of large bags taken to the charity shop and spring cleaning. We're just on the verge of opening the windows again after a fairly short, but cold, winter.

 Hanno trimming the climbing rose growing through the wisteria.
 We're having this rickety old fence replaced today.
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in parallel universes. Here at home the days are slow, considered, productive, simple, plain and natural but when I go out into the multiverse it's so different. I look around and remember things as they used to be - the changes on Brisbane's roads in the past ten years are incredible. Now there are tunnels going under the city and river, and streets and landmark houses have disappeared to facilitate those changes. I went to Brisbane twice in the past week, both times to talk about how we live and my book at the State Library, the venue for the Brisbane Writers' Festival. The traffic was fierce and noisy, people were rushing around, most places were crowded and chaotic. I saw unfamiliar faces everywhere. I was happy to get home, to sit down and have a cup of tea. If I had to choose my parallel universe, I'd choose this slow and simple one, not the one that starts at the end of our street.

Having written that though, I enjoyed the festival. We were spoilt in the green room with good coffee and a view over the city like no other. One day I spoke to a woman who'd written 300 books and the next to our ex-deputy prime minister, Tim Fisher. I met Tia at the masterclass and felt reassured to have one of the forum ladies at my side. I think it was Maria who gave me some of the most delicious home made marmalade and a chicory plant. Thanks Maria!

And I really liked Antonia Kidman. I didn't know much about her until her publisher sent me her book The Simple Things. She was quiet and friendly and sounds like a very hands-on, practical and dedicated mum. She has six children, so she is certainly busy, but she's also focused on her career, which I admire.

So now I'm back here, at home, in my natural environment. I'm at my best here.  I'm now concentrating on some new books for Penguin. I'm about to sign a contract to assign world rights to Penguin for Down the Earth, my book, and with the new ebooks I'm writing now, the first one being a Penguin Special and an ebook combo, I feel I'm living a dream life. I have the productive work of a homemaker to do every day here at home and that is balanced by the stimulating intellectual work of writing.

I plan on writing my blog about two or three times a week, in addition to my weekend reading posts. I have to cut back a little while I'm writing the books because I need time away from the computer and writing. I need to continue with my tasks and focus on what I do each day because it's easy to let things slip when there is so much to do.

When I'm out and about I'm often asked about what should be part of simple life and how to structure each day. There is no real answer to that but it's given me an idea for a new series. I've been rethinking my ideas on self sufficiency and food security and the new series will be built around those two important pillars. I am going to endeavour to write about part-time self sufficiency in the city, suburbs and on a larger block. I hope you'll be back to read some of it.

It's great to be back with you.