Editor’s Note Writing is an invitation to the reader to participate in an intimate exchange: the product of that exchange, that gift, can be radical. This Edition looks at intimacy – and in particular how our relationships shift and change over time. The pieces gathered here are linked in their examination of the way we learn, and perhaps unlearn, ways of communicating beyond our separate shells.
In fiction, Emma Marie Jones’ story ‘Death in the First Person’ explores a woman’s passionate life as recounted from her deathbed:
Remember how we knew before they told us that they’d slice my breasts off – how I stood in the kitchen preparing for dinner slicing tomatoes in half and potatoes in half and apples in half and you saw me standing there surrounded by all those little half-spheres and asked me what on earth kind of salad I was making.
In her essay 'What She Could Not Tell Him' Fiona Wright shares with us the experience of falling in love:
I felt like everybody else has been doing this, by now, for fifteen years. This hurt, of course it hurt, because it reminded me of everything I’ve lost to my disease. But I realised too that it was special: first love only happens for anyone once, and for me, the memory of it wasn’t fifteen years old.
And in ‘Amour’, Emily Laidlaw reflects on representations of ageing in film and television, and her relationship with her grandmother:
Days in nursing homes are short; everything is in a permanent state of winding down. Lunch at 11am, dinner at 4pm. The nights are long. Sleeping pills offer respite. To while away the daylight hours, residents at my gran’s facility were routinely parked in front of the large plasma screen in the lounge room.
Looking at prevailing attitudes to women's ageing bodies, particularly the stigma associated with scarring, in 'Living the Beauty Paradox' Lee Kofman writes:
Family and friends of women I interviewed could also be dismissive of women’s scars. Again and again these women were urged by well-meaning people to just ‘get over’ their scars, and, in some cases, to stop concealing them. Such ‘encouragement’ proved not only to be unhelpful, but often also amplified women’s distress.
Finally in poetry, I showcase three poetic duos – friends and collaborators – and invite them to share each other’s poems.
Stacey Teague and Susie Anderson:
Izzy Roberts-Orr and Sarah Walker:
Zoe Dzunko and Sarah Jean Grimm:
I draw everything from my female friends – especially the writers – they are my heroes and I seek validation from them only. Knowing we could carve space, rather than having to wait to be offered it, was a really good feeling.
All these works were written and edited slowly, over a period of months. They were buffeted by and attended to under the stresses, excitements and other incursions of everyday life. I hope you enjoy Edition 2. Read, share, discuss and think.