The funniest thing happened today. After lunch with my Grandparents and my Mum and my two aunts and my cousin and my cousin’s cousin I wandered not very far down the street to Mostly Books. As it’s around the corner from my Grandma’s house, which is pretty much the hub of Adelaide life so far as my extended family are concerned, I’ve been going to this bookshop all my life. (There’s a sign on the wall of my Grandma’s kitchen that says: ‘There’s no place like home. Except Grandma’s.’ Which pretty much sums it up. ) The bookshop used to be in the lower level of the shopping centre, and had a side room just for children’s literature. It was next to a toyshop and opposite a bike shop. There was a fibreglass whale outside that as kids we adored clambering over. It’s funny how clearly I remember it all – looking at the books and then going next door to buy a bouncy ball or marbles or a ring of sparkly plastic. Since then the shopping centre has burned down and been rebuilt on a grand scale and is almost unrecognisable. The bookshop’s upstairs now, as is the whale, which looks much smaller and scrappier than I remember. Anyway…
I browsed around and picked up a copy of The Lamplighter by D. M. Cornish, and Undine and Breathe by Penni Russon. They didn’t have thirdcat’s book. I’ll order it next time I’m in. As I went to pay, the shop attendant asked ‘excuse me, do you write a blog called Northern Lights?’
Turns out she came across it by googling Randolph Stow’s Tourmaline, and has been reading since then! I must have blushed bright red, and held up the queue of customers behind me long enough to discover that she did her undergraduate degree at Adelaide University, like me, and wrote her honours thesis on David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life (one of my favourite books in the world) and Ovid’s poetry, which is a marvellous idea for a thesis if there ever was one. So, Rachel, if you’re reading this, hello!
I also spluttered something about how Penni writes a blog too…
So that was pretty funny and made my day. It also made me wonder how many other people are reading this but never comment. So if you are reading this, you are officially invited to say hello!
And I thought – how strange, how my blog interweaves with my past and present homes and lives. How, in that one encounter, so many threads came together! I wouldn’t even have been looking for Penni’s books if I hadn’t discovered her blog. There is a blog connection with D. M. Cornish too. He is a friend of a friend of mine, and after I left a comment on his blog, he looked at some of my photos and asked if he could use one of them as inspiration for a scene in one of his books!
A couple of days ago, this blog was two years old. Over that time, I’ve reconnected with old friends, and made many new ones. People I have never met, but whom I cannot describe any other way than as friends. Some have asked to read bits of my writing, and Clare Souter even sent me a beautiful painting. So. Here’s to blogs and the internet. Social and creative spaces which are not removed from reality, but refract and transform it.