Eight not-so-random facts about ME ME ME

I have been tagged by the very funky, brainy, Simmone Howell but my weary mind is so cluttered with a million random facts, fishing out anything personal seems almost impossible. Then again, life is pretty random in the end and everything folds back upon itself so here goes:

1. The very first book I borrowed from Brighton Beach Primary School Library was called ‘The Boy and the Magic’. I remember it as a big, darkly illustrated picture book about a house full of objects that come to life one night and torment the cruel little boy who had treated them badly during the day. I can still recall the thrill I got tucking that book under my arm and taking it home, even though it was a freaky story. As a tiny kid, I never noticed who the author was but writing this blog, I looked it up and discovered that it was by Colette. Very freaky. Because ten years later, when I was a teenager, Colette became my favourite author. I’ve read all her books and visited her grave in a cemetery in Paris. Nothing is as random as it seems at first glance.
2. The first book that I read twice was Mark Twain’s ‘Tom Sawyer’. I think I was around eight years old. When I got to the last page, I turned straight back to the first and started again.
3. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with white rabbits. I loved their soft, fluffiness and their sharp, scrabbly paws. I kept them as pets until my mother got sick of them escaping. When I was in high school in Canada I sewed white rabbits onto some of my clothes, which is how I wound up with the nickname ‘Bunny’. It was also because I was pretty hyperactive, like the White Rabbit from ‘Alice in Wonderland. I identified with the White Rabbit more than Alice.
4. Tove Jannson, the children’s author who invented the Moomintroll family and wrote heaps of books about them, was a sculptor’s daughter. So was I. Someone gave my sister a copy of the book when I was about ten years old and I loved looking at the cover of a little girl standing in a studio full of white plaster figures. I wondered if I’d ever write a book and give it the same title. I wish I knew what happened to that copy of ‘Sculptor’s Daughter’. Apparently it’s a collector’s item these days and is worth over $600.
5. My house is full of puppets. I love Mr Punch the best, even though he’s pretty scary.
6. When I read Jane Gardam’s ‘Bilgewater’, I imagined that I could easily fall in love with a puppeteer in the same way that Marigold Green (aka Bilgewater), the teenage girl protagonist, fell for a brilliant teenage puppeteer. A few years later, it happened. But neither of us were teenagers.
7. I am good at losing things. Especially earrings which are always getting caught in my hair and then falling into mysterious cracks. One day I would like to write a book about Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, though he’s never proved very helpful to me personally. Eleanor Spence has already written a very good one called ‘A Candle for Saint Anthony’, though it’s not specifically about losing things – more about finding true friends. Maybe my characters could be a bunch of girls who find their lost earrings.
8. On Sunday I am flying to Bali to attend the Ubud Writers’ Festival. It’s a fantastic event in beautiful surroundings with crowds of interesting thinkers talking about writing, life and love. I went last year and had a fantastic time. This year, I’m speaking on a couple of panels and running a few workshops. I’m meant to be helping write questions for a late night love quizz too but it’s harder than random facts. I came up with a couple of pages worth but I want them to be wittier, more salacious, topical… Anyone out there with random ‘love quizz’ questions, drop me a line! (Witty, salaciousl, topical or otherwise).

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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