Laying down fossils: writing the spinster's life

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Donna Ward changes lanes from a career as a publisher to write a collection of meditations on living life alone. Here she looks at getting motivated to write.

It is the harshest sentence I will ever write. I will approach it cautiously, sideways, like a blue-skinned crab, claws ready to pinch. It arrived today and heralds more to come, for that’s how it is with me, a sentence springs like Athena from the head of Zeus, fully formed, adult.    

Sometimes it’s days before I write it. I hold on to that sentence until I sit with my notebook and one of the $6 throwaway fountain pens I’ve come to love. Hopefully there’s wine nearby, and exquisite food. Tonight, here, in a winter restaurant on the Great Ocean Road, it’s a piquant Roquefort, and a big shiraz from Heathcote, Victoria. I’ll need plenty of wine.

Touchdown. The sentence rolls out. I watch the ink slip onto the paper. It’s the first of a string seeded in my DNA, threaded through my muscles, and now aching to run like unfettered children across the page. I let my hand do the writing, let the words dart beyond my focus before I absorb their truth.

Donna Ward

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