August 10th, 2016

A few mostly unlinked thoughts

The temperature crept above 15 degrees for almost an hour, so my windows are open and my flat is airing. Winter's at that endstage where it's regretting its temperament and apologising nicely. Overnight it will more often be cool than cold and, but by bit, we'll have warmer days. Today I really notice the difference a few degrees makes. I've already done almost as much exercise as I get done by dinnertime on a colder day and by late night on a very cold day. In-between weather is healing.

I'm partway through my last Stella Gibbons. I shall miss her books when I'm finished.

I'm still reading slowly (for me) but I can now read while I walk again. I can also talk while I walk again. This was a cool discovery, for I did most of my post-hospital interview today unexpectedly, while I walked home from class. Both the very bad and the utterly amazing is now in writing, especially my admiration of the nursing staff.

Doing it all by phone enabled me to be frank, and I was able to talk about both the exceptional job Emergency did in diagnosing me and the not-so-excellent job the specialist did before then, which landed me in Emergency. I also discussed how to make hospital easier for people with allergies (labels on food! that was one of the various things we discussed, the other critical one was the need to trust the allergic person to have knowledge of their condition and to listen to them) and the big problem of single people under 65, for our system assumes that they do not need help. I was extraordinarily lucky in having the friends I do, but not everyone has these wonderful people in their lives: post-hospital care (or its lack) can undo the work of the hospital if it's not sorted more clearly. We also talked about the difference in how men and women are treated, for (since Gillians remain Gillians even ill) I analysed it the whole time I was in hospital. When I was asked whether the religion was an issue, I'm afraid I pointed out that I was expecting to have to compromise on those grounds, so I didn't make any requests. This is Canberra, after all.

The interviewer thanked me several times, for I apparently gave them really crunchy material to work with (their words). The hospital has some major concerns (for which they became a bit notorious not so long ago), and so they're sensibly sorting them.

This morning I taught my usual class, but we did slightly unusual stuff. I've been thinking about reading aloud as a tool for writers, and I've also been thinking about children's stories as giving writers insights into language and structure. This means that the class read aloud short stories from one of my favourite books when I was under 7 (and later - I owned my own copy, so much did I love this book when I was in primary school). It worked magically.

I gave my class a reading project, since reading for oneself is also critical to develop one's writing, and was delighted to discover (during tea break) that my students loved last week's exercises using art so very very much that they've assigned themselves more art and more exercises to be done over the next few months. One of my students is a gifted photographer, and they're using her work as a springboard for their creation. This and the reading project are on top of their regular homework. I love it that ten years in, my students are working harder than ever.