I’d fixed up the emails, made the soup and seized the book. There were still a number of things on my Wednesday list but I should be able to fit in a couple of chapters before lunch called.
Tempted to start just one more chapter, I said out loud, ‘That’s enough Carmyl. Do something!’ and suddenly I knew what my memoir topic would be.
When I was at primary school, I didn’t have a deadline to get out of bed. But I did have an inverted deadline. No reading before 7 o’clock. We had no clock in our bedroom so I’d call out, ‘Is it 7 o’clock yet?’ My mother would reply from the next bedroom, ‘Not yet’. Eventually the magic hour would come and out came the latest library book. I always seemed to get to school on time so I guess I did fly around after I’d whipped through a few chapters, but there’s a very special place in my memory for, ‘Is it 7 o’clock yet?’
When I was about eight, my mother produced a book which she suggested I read. I couldn’t remember any other book that had been thrust upon me but I was quite open to anything with a cover and pages to turn. Its name was The Cradle Ship and I found out some time later that it was supposed to cover any sex education needs. It started with plants and moved on to insects and animals with a small closing chapter on humans and I found it quite uninteresting and certainly didn’t get any message it was intended to convey.
On to High School. I can hardly believe it as I was always a very obedient student except on the odd occasion I took it upon myself to correct the teacher, but one day, in year 8, I was reading a book under the desk when the teacher came along and confiscated it. It was all the more embarrassing as its title was ‘Always Love’. The fact that it was a Sunday School prize and far from a hot romance didn’t seem quite appropriate to explain at the time.
I delayed joining the CAE book group at Tallangatta because of the yearly fee at a time of our lives when money wasn’t plentiful, but after a year I decided it was a priority. I realised that the group forced me into reading books I wouldn’t normally choose.
My favourite authors include Barbara Kingsolver, Tracey Chevalier and especially Geraldine Brooks. A few of these books are non-fiction but many of the others are historical fiction, based on real events or people and discovering which parts are true is a bonus.
The brilliant Benalla library and its ability to order virtually any book you ask for has sufficed my appetite for now and I have resisted rejoining a book group.
I am so grateful for books and the learning, the comfort and the joy they have brought to my life.