The first piece of education I remember receiving was in Year One, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School in Greystanes, Western Sydney. I would have been six. Mrs Szukalski – a tall, blonde woman in her early twenties, coincidentally (or not) my first crush that wasn’t fictional – told the class that for homework we had to write a one-page story about dinosaurs. My story was four pages long, and probably included dragons and space ships. I was an early reader, an inquisitive, imaginative child, and that creative task fused everything into a clarity of purpose. I became hooked on the power of words.
Before I picked up my bag of washing from the laundromat this afternoon I went into Gleebooks to pick out a present for the 30th birthday party I’m now going to tonight. Four steps in the door I saw a hardback of Haruki Murakami’s new work, 1Q84. Murakami’s one of my favourite authors (eternal thanks to my sister for introducing me to his books) and he writes beautiful passages, like the following from Dance, Dance, Dance:
At times like this, the telephone becomes a timebomb. No one knows when it’s going to go off. But it’s ticking away with possibility.
I read an interview with Murakami a couple of weeks ago and had filed IQ84 on my list of books to buy.
I don’t actually know if the birthday girl –Lauren – likes reading or not, but I bought the book anyway, walking wide-eyed into that chestnut of buying someone a present that I actually wanted myself.
I also bought something for myself, a copy of The Great Gatsby, another book which had also gone on my list recently.