It’s August, 2020. Armageddon is upon us. I know I wrote a mocking piece about the Rapture a while back, but honestly, this is feeling like the real thing. Fires, plague, comets, insect swarms, Donald Trump … sh*t’s getting real. I’m sorry I mocked it, okay? Stop already.Continue reading
Picture this: You’re in a bookstore, and you see the cover: the Marion Chronicles. Marion? Sci-fi? You pick up the book, turn it over and read the blurb to decide whether or not it’s worth the effort. Except we’re not in a bookstore, and there’s no back cover. Therefore I don’t have to follow any of the rules about how long it has to be. This is the why you should read the book blurb.Continue reading
It’s May, 2020, several weeks into the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m struggling in my efforts to write about Marion, even though I have a deep conviction that it’s something I must do. This is partly because I don’t know anything about architecture and partly because I don’t know much about her. Most of what I do know is derived from her memoir, the Magic of America, a 1400-page behemoth full of images, letters, poetry, and long diatribes about government and bureaucracy.
So far, I do know this: She was frustrated that people did not share her view of the world, a struggle echoed in structure of the memoir, which is divided into four separate “Battles”. She hated the Australian bureaucracy, thought the people were uneducated and short-sighted and didn’t appreciate beauty. She was pushy, opinionated and dogmatic, a lifelong teetotaler and vegetarian. She did not suffer fools. She commanded respect and made strong, lasting friendships (e.g. Miles Franklin, Vida Goldstein, Anna Ickes).Continue reading
The Marion Chronicles, Chapter 1
Sometimes late at night if I can’t sleep, I walk out onto the deck and look up into the branches of the big gum tree in our yard and watch the tips of her long, fingerlike branches bend to catch the passing breaths of air. Her latin name, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, is much more dignified than the common one, river red gum. She’s leaning at a seemingly precarious angle, but it’s understandable when you look towards the street and see the massive dead trunk of another eucalypt that must have been lording it over this spot when she was just a baby. She had to grow sideways to catch the light. Once the big boy next door had died, she was free to stretch back upright, reclaiming the sky for herself.Continue reading
The Marion Chronicles – Chapter 2
Six months have gone by since I last wrote about living in our tree house. Marion’s birthday went by a few weeks ago. She would have attained the ripe old age of 150 on Valentine’s day had she managed, in some magical combination of obstinacy and vegetarianism, to defy death. There are some noises being made out there about “celebrating” her life. So far nothing has even come close to revealing the Marion I have come to know. I had better get on with this.
In addition to the usual excuses — the pandemic, a broken wrist, too much chocolate — I blame my lack of progress on a mental block concerning the topic that is up next. I cannot go any further in telling you about Marion’s life until we talk about her mother, and mothers in general. Mothers. I am still not certain I understand the concept, even though I had one and I am one.Continue reading