Sweet snow seconds

December 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, but I refused to admit it.

I went walking down Sydney Road, my feet burning in ballet flats. I was wearing a halter neck dress covered in pictures of cowboys, their little lassoes flying. I hadn’t smeared my back with sun block, though the sky was so blue it hurt to look up. I didn’t even bring sunglasses: I could barely see down the shimmering bitumen stretching into the city as I walked. I was headed to a beer garden for cider and bluegrass, but still, my arms weren’t quite opening in welcome for summer.

In my head, every time I open my front door I expect, just for one sweet second, to see snow.


I spent October on a writing residency in a tiny Icelandic fishing village. I wrote in my studio every day, practised my Icelandic on blue eyed horses, and saw the northern lights snake over my rooftop.

It was one of the happiest times of my life.

At 6am on my last day there, I dragged my suitcase through the snow. It was still dark outside. Alice and Siggi, the residency’s owners and directors, were waiting to drive me to the bus stop on Aðalgata. We sat and watched in the rear vision mirror for the bus headlights to appear through the falling snow, and take me away from my beautiful new home, my cosy bedroom with its taxidermy dove, my studio with its view of the mountain, and the horses on the hill. The only way I could pull my suitcase out of the car was when they told me I was welcome to return, and they would have my studio waiting.

Those were the sweetest words I’d heard in a long time.

I am officially back home in Melbourne. And it’s already hot. The trees outside my window are a riot of green, and the tip of my nose is already looking a touch sunburnt. But still, I write of snow, as though by shaking my words onto the page I can rewrite, revisit, and relive this adventure.

VWC magazine Dec 2014

I was asked to write about my residency by Writers Victoria, and I’m happy to say it’s just come out in the December issue of their magazine. If you’d like to read an account that manages to include both Mont Blanc pens and thermal hot pants, pick yourself up a copy in Melbourne bookstores, or order online.

Another place I love, Berlin, has fallen out of my pen and onto the Stereo Stories website, along with a dose of the ever wonderful Nick Cave in my story ‘The Mercy Seat.’


For now, I’m back to writing with the windows wide open, and my hand dipping between my breasts to wipe away the sweat. On my bookshelf I have a small felt elf, a bottle of Icelandic schnapps fondly known as ‘Black Death’, and a wooden horse’s head to remind me of my journey north.

But I know I also have a hundred reasons why I keep returning down under, to this hot as hell land I tried when younger to flee. Turns out though that the red dirt can get deep into your blood, just as surely as snow.



  1. loopsta said,

    oooh exciting! Where can you buy it online? Can’t find it on the writers Vic website

    • inkymouth said,

      They seem to be closed for new year, Lou, so haven’t put it on their website yet. I’ll let you know when they do!

  2. gretchen said,

    This melted my heart, even in the cold of New York. Happy belated solstice darling. x

    • inkymouth said,

      You too, honey…wish we were jumping into snowdrifts together x

  3. Leith said,

    Let it snow.. let it snow.. let it snow..
    Merry Xmas Miss B! The contrasts of two continents so far from each other. The snow may melt and the memory defrost a little but the experience is clearly etched in ice. Like whiskey on the rocks right? 🙂

    • inkymouth said,

      Indeed! The contrast of the two continents is the stitch that sewed my application together, and will hopefully work wonders for the book that will follow.

      Yes, yes, ‘the book’…think I’ll just leave that term here, and tiptoe quietly away…

      Have a wonderful new year, Sir Leith, full of merlot and visits from the muse 🙂

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