Friday, 13 May 2011


The best little helper in the whole world has been a touch unwell. Poor bugger. I was up 'til 2am tending him yet bizarrely still woke at 6am: like clockwork.

The rain had been incessant overnight - in fact it has been raining here fairly steadily since Wednesday. The rain on the roof last night was so loud that I couldn't hear Rage. I'm reading The Man Who Loved Children in fits and starts - I can't take too much of Sam Pollit in one sitting - so you can picture me last night... Rain on the roof, grizzly son, curled up on the couch with Christina Stead, fire burning, one of my brother's Grand Ridge Moonshines and Rage. Being up until the wee hours wasn't too much of a chore.

I've tried reading Stead's novel before but have tired of the Pollits before finishing it. This time, though, I'm inspired by Jonothan Franzen's essay from the NY Times last year.  I am determined to finish...

Given that it has been so rainy I had just assumed that I wouldn't be able to see the astronomical array that is occurring this week. In the easterly sky just prior to sunup Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury are grouped in a proximity (from our perspective) that won't reoccur until the little helper is 32. I peered outside at 6 o'clock. Pitch black and overcast, an unbroken blanket of cloud as far as I could see. 

Then, as I was standing there the clouds parted, like felt that has been overstretched, the filaments clinging, clinging, then finally conceding an opening just large enough to frame the four planets. Joy! 

The hill was quiet, dark, shrouded. And there, hovering just above the lights of pre-dawn Mirboo North were the four planets closest to ours. It was almost religious, sublime. Then the clouds decided that the show was over, regathering themselves to release the next thrum 'pon the roof. 

The moment past, I allowed myself a grin to think of Sam Pollit and what a circus it'd have been if this had been the Pollits' house - the moment of cosmic serenity would've been lost beneath Sam's bluster and 'education'... And then it dawned on me: maybe the reason I'm persisiting with The Man Who Loved Children is not Franzen at all, maybe it's because it's the first time I've attempted it since the little helper was born. Fatherhood. Maybe that's the key that has unlocked this novel for me. Sam Pollit is the father I never want to be...

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