An Australian author living in Norway

Author: Zoë Harris (Page 1 of 2)

Where do I even start?

Hi folks! If there’s even anyone still out there . . .

It’s been a long, long time. That’s nothing unusual for this blog, of course, but I realised when glancing back over the most recent posts this week that I didn’t even write anything for International Women’s Day these past three years! 😱 That used to be the one day a year I could think of something to write. Yikes.

But everything in the world has changed in that time, hasn’t it? I mean, that’s not even a question. Everything has been, and continues to be, super weird and The Bad Place-ish and wrong-timeline-get-back-in-your-Delorian-and-fix-this-Marty.

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Why people with depression are better at self-isolation than you are, and why that’s bad

Content warning: depression, suicide

Did you ever hear that story about a guy getting mauled by a giant panda and having to hold his own intestines in until help arrived? That’s kinda how I feel today. Just holding myself together until help arrives. Except there is no help. This is just how it is now.

At some point, my arms are going to get tired and I’m going to have to let go. Then all my guts will come spilling out like spaghetti from a can and I’ll sink to the floor.

And when I’m on the floor, I’ll know there are people on their own floors who got mauled worse than I did. Whose floors are colder and harder. And that’ll make calling for help harder.

And no one can put the intestines back in anyway. That’s my job. I’ll reel them in, wind them into a ball and stuff them back inside. I’ll peel myself up off the floor and sew myself back together. And no one will see the stitches.

I’ll do all this before 2pm today. That’s when I’ll be needed again. I won’t have achieved much else. Because it’s hard to do things when you’re holding your intestines together with both arms. But the floor, the reeling, the sewing…that will feel like a big achievement anyway.

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I almost have nothing to say today – almost

It’s the one day of the year I can be relied upon to post to my poor, neglected blog. International Women’s Day. Arguably the most empowering day of the year to be a woman.

But, this year I’ve struggled to find something specific to write about. Not that I’ve run out of things to say on the subject of feminism – far from it – but more because other people, other women, are already saying it. They’re saying it louder, more often, and with more conviction than I can remember hearing ever in my life before. Women whom I thought had permanent blinders glued to their faces are waking up, tearing off their sleeping masks and realising the battle for equality isn’t won. We’re not done yet. We’re just getting started.

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A certain age

When I turned twenty-one (a landmark birthday in Australia, despite having no legal significance), my high-school best friend gave me a birthday card in which she wrote, “Only nineteen years until you’re forty!” We laughed. I probably threw a scrunched-up napkin at her. It was so far off. It was never going to happen, not to us.

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A rambling mess o’ feminism

It’s International Women’s Day again, and as usual I have many feelings on the subject. I forewarn you that this post is likely to be somewhat meandering and a little incoherent. I want to say things like “feminism is a verb” (it isn’t, of course, but I mean this in the sense that it’s not static; we should be doing things), and I want to talk about privilege, and echo chambers, and how proud I was to be at the biggest world-wide women’s protest in history. I want to talk about the mushy mummy feelings I got watching my little girl skip off to school this morning with her beloved book about ancient Egypt clutched to her chest. I want to talk about how Mary Poppins started a conversation about Suffragettes in my house. I want to express my joy at reading our first Famous Five book together and rediscovering the fact that George defied all the female stereotypes of her day and ours. Any one of these subjects and thoughts could fill a blog post on their own. But together, listed like this in all their chaotic glory, they remind me that feminism is part of my daily life.

So, let’s talk words. I like words.

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One year on . . .

One year ago today, my life exploded. On that day, I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or what would happen next. Friends urged me to look forward without worrying about how I’d get there—to look to the light at the end of the tunnel, not at the road beneath my feet. But I like details. They make me feel safe and in control. So, I concentrated on the details, and bit by bit, I built a new life.

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When fear creeps in

A few weeks ago, my ex told me he wanted to take our daughter to Turkey for the summer holidays. This would require my written permission, as I had needed his to take her to Australia last November. With all the unrest at the Syrian border, I was reluctant, but I agreed. I told myself the resort town of Side in Antalya was a long way from the areas that were subject to travel warnings, and tried to ignore the reports that said militant groups may target tourist areas.

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Return to Djerassi

Two years ago I cracked the sads when I had to leave Djerassi. On my return home, I was bereft. Looking back, I think a lot of it had to do with the state my life was in at the time, but it was also due to the fact that it was the first time since I’d started seriously writing that I let myself be only a writer, one hundred per cent, if only for a week.

I started my first novel before I got pregnant, but at the time I was working full time as an IT project manager; writing was just something fun to do when I was stuck on an aeroplane or in a hotel room and didn’t feel like preparing for my next meeting. Then, I pretty much stopped writing for a year and a half after I found out I was pregnant, and when I picked it up again it was only for one day a week. The first time I went to Djerassi, I didn’t know anyone and spent most of my non-workshop time alone in my studio, revelling in artistic freedom and inspiration. Leaving was hard.

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Is Our Strength Drowning Us?

*Content warning: This post discusses depression, PND, and suicide.

It’s International Women’s Day, and this morning my Facebook memories were filled with wonderful, empowering posts from March 8s past, but when I got to March 8, 2013, I found some posts I had forgotten belonged to this day, and the tears began to well. On this day in 2013, I said goodbye to a friend I met (oddly coincidentally) on Women’s Day in 2009 at a company breakfast. I had only been working there a few months, and was in the engineering department where there weren’t many women. I was seated between two women I didn’t know and, as I tend to do in these situations, I kept to myself and hoped someone else would break the ice.

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