This little doll is one made by a sensational blogger no doubt already known to many of you, Loobylu, aka Claire Robertson, who's had more than a few generous words to say about The Divided Heart, for which I am most grateful. She is one of those crazily talented crafty types who seems to have found the knack of living well and being true to herself, and yet is also wonderfully open about how tough it can be to maintain that balance (for want of a better word). Claire mentions my book in her latest post as one of the inspirations for her recent decision to start writing a novel, in the sense that it reminded her "that I had always wanted to be a part of that action". Without wanting to overstate my contribution to what I'm sure Claire would have eventually found herself doing no matter what, I feel really chuffed that someone might have found the book galvanising in that way--and that it might have played some small part in the work happening sooner rather than later. My only advice to Claire would be: be cautious about talking about the plot/themes etc of your book too early. I learnt the hard way that revealing too much to soon can have the terrible effect of killing it off. Having said that, I can't wait to see the end result when it arrives!
Talking of new arrivals, I spent yesterday witnessing the glorious birth of my new little (yet to be named) neighbour. Apart from my own, I have only attended two births--both of them the daughters of my wonderful friend, fellow community member and angelic songstress Emma Tonkin, who showed such grace under pressure--and used that voice to full and impressive effect. Never have a I heard vocal chords utilised so powerfully (as the nervous-looking women in the waiting room could testify to)! What can you say about an experience like this? It is a privilege beyond words, and the pride I felt in my darling friend, who endured what was (by any standards and especially for a second birth) a seriously gruelling, long and painful labour, brought me to tears. It was a reminder of the way birth takes us to our absolute limits, physically and mentally, and that no matter how much those in the room care and are working to be there for you, it is one in which you are ultimately alone--just you and your body (and your baby)--working through this enormous transition of becoming two from one. I was there to look after Emma's other daughter, Stella, so that she could see her little sister being born, and it was a pretty special day of bonding for her and I, too. (My kids were also pretty chuffed with the deal--my son spending the day watching movies with his best mate, and my daughter hanging out at the house of Ms Clare Bowditch, her favourite second mother, along with Em, recently returned from musical adventures in Berlin--read more here.) All round, an incredible day. It feels feeble to say thank you to Emma for letting me be part of such a significant aspect of life (her life and life in the biggest sense of the word), but I feel grateful in a way I can't find adequate words for.