On being born.

[Today is Allie’s birthday. She usually asks to hear her birth story at some point, and I was about halfway through, when…]

I really love my Origin Story.

On history.

[Steve was talking about how the US’s natural enemy switched from the Nazis to the Soviet Union after World War II, and then I mentioned something about the nuclear stockpiles/deterrent.]

[Affects a serious look.]

Ahhhhh, the Cold War. Yes.

On being excited for puberty.

DAD. I want to show you something!

Ok, give me your hand. Now curl your fingers inward to make a vagina.

[Produces tampon.]

Now, what you do is push it in, and then press the plunger – like this.

[Successfully propels tampon into hand-vagina.]

On blue.

This little dog has a lovely cyan collar.

On posterity.

You know, Mum, it wouldn’t be too bad to die* because then I would go down in history as a hero who fought valiantly. Just like Coriolanus, but with more zombies and skeletons.

*In Minecraft.

On Hamlets.

Mum, Benedict Cumberbatch is officially my Number 2 Hamlet. He was quite good.

On stuffies.

Mum, you know what?

What’s up, kid?

I wish I had a Kenneth Branagh stuffed animal. You know, just to squeeze.

On parental supervision.

MUM. I’ve been trying to surprise you every morning, but you keep noticing me.


On precision.

[Allie is gently squeezing clementine pieces and then moving certain ones from the pile to a neat stack on the other side of her plate.]

What are you up to, kiddo?

I am palpating each segment, and then filing them. These ones [indicates the tidy stack] require further attention because they contain seeds.

On my work here is done.

[I start the car, and CNN lights up on the satellite radio.]

You know, Mum, just for future reference, I really do prefer the BBC.

On revelations.

You know what, Mum? I feel like I’ve been so focused on the potential for walking the dog with our neighbour that I’ve been letting the days pass by without enjoying them properly.

[Becomes deadly serious.]


Which is particularly bad, because I don’t think she really even meant it when she offered.

On plans.

Mum, can we talk about my sleepover at Gram’s this week sometime soon?


I feel it is important to come to a consensus on a few points.

On amusing oneself.

Sometimes I mentally rotate rooms or entire buildings inside my head – I try them out at 45°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. It’s useful if I have a minute or two to spare.

On being a weirdo.

I’m taking my dictionary to camp today.


Sometimes there’s a little time before things get started and I’d like to get in some new words while I wait.

On new friends.

I made a new friend at camp today.

Oh, cool!

She’s from France. Which is lucky, really.

How so?

I’m very interested in the history of France, with a particular emphasis on the Battle of Agincourt.


Unfortunately, she didn’t seem to know much about that.

On Lawren Harris


Lawren Harris’ “Mount Robson”

On William Carlos Williams.

[The assignment: write a poem in the style of William Carlos Williams.]

The New Book

I sit in my room
and open the book.

The spine creaks and groans
and the pages flit-flit-flit as I turn them.

I wonder
about the strange names and places
as I study the map in the front.

The smell
is so reassuring, and as I breathe it in

I think
this is going to be

On solutions.

Mum. When I’m older I’m going to construct a gun that knocks people out.

OH. Uh, when would you use it?

To help you sleep. Whenever you wanted to go to bed, I could tuck you in and just put you out.

On tidying.

Hey, dude! I noticed you put away your laundry – nice work.

It’s no big deal. I did it last night, at Dad’s behest.

On opening lines.

Allie is apparently writing a novel. This is the opening line:

Once there was a Universe. A universe that abhorred superheroes.”