Sunday, 3 June 2012

Where do stories come from?

I was out watering our garden by 4.30am this morning. The scent of the frangipani, mint, sage, thyme, zaatar was wonderful. It's relatively cool at that time, and quiet, and a good chance to start the day peacefully before braving the roads on the school run. At least with insomnia you get to enjoy the sunrise, and pigeons cooing up on the roof serenade your first coffee. Not sleeping terribly well at the moment is perhaps understandable.

Grief is a strange, limbo state. Beyond my own loss, our small expat community has been rocked this week. The huge, Italianate mall just a minute down the road from us caught fire a few days ago. Tragically, nineteen people died - thirteen of them very young children trapped in a second floor nursery. Two firefighters died going in through the roof to save them - along with four brave teachers who had stayed with the children. There's a strong community group of mothers here, and everyone is devastated. One NZ family lost young triplets, another Spanish family lost three of their four children. Where do you begin to express condolences, to try to make sense of such brutal loss? There have been vigils and tributes - the most moving of which was a haka performed by NZ rugby players, which summed up all the raw anger and grief everyone is feeling.

I've been amazed time and time again by the fortitude and strength these families are showing, and the way the community is coming together to help one another. All of us are holding our children closer, aware that it could easily have been them dropped off at the nursery for an hour while you're in Carrefour. This week our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their beautiful babies.

Life, and work goes on. There are still lunches to be packed for school, and dogs to be walked, and gardens to be watered. There are deadlines to meet, and editing to be done. Which is as it should be. There's a comfort in routine, and doing good work. The first reviews and guest posts are going up on The Perfume Garden, here, and today I'm guesting over at Reading the Past about where our stories come from. Maybe our stories come from the huge events that devastate cities and countries, or maybe they come from closer to home. Writing is a funny old job, sometimes, but perhaps that's what we are here for, to record the stories that shape our lives, and to try and make sense of them for everyone. Take care x



  1. That is just so Kiwi family lost triplets and another lost four children? That's just so hard to conceive. I am trying to work out where you live that would have so many rugby players living there...(I'm a Kiwi myself)

  2. Such a sad event You told us about the community's shared grief in such a beautiful way.


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