Everybody take a good look at Ben Szumskyj and Jason Crowe. See their noble bearing. Note the fire in their eyes; the strength inherent in their upright spines; the deep and mellifluous timbre of their voices. Watch as they stride across the cultural landscape like Gods amongst men, these colossi, these walking odes to the virility and dynamism of Man.

Now, come back in three months and see what wizened, Gollum-like creatures they have become after submitting their work to my tender mercies as part of this year’s AHWA Mentorship scheme.

Okay, so they’re actually extremely personable and articulate lads with whom I’ve already enjoyed spirited and intelligent correspondences, and who are already displaying the necessary humility, eagerness to learn, and critical thinking that will serve them well in their careers. But it’s much more fun to describe them this way, don’t you think? 🙂


Lucky lucky lucky jammy jammy lucky jammy lucky lucky lucky…..

As of last Friday night, we’re Erin-less for two weeks. Her Nanna has whisked her away on a once-in-a-lifetime-knowing-our-finances-and-chances-of-doing-it trip to New Zealand, where she’ll spend her time meeting the maternal branch of her birth-mother’s family, discovering snow, riding kiwis, wrestling hobbits, and losing cricket matches. We’ve equipped her with an enormous scrapbook and a mandate to fill it with as many drawings, pressed flowers, feather, snapshots and the like as she can, and we’ve been promised regular email updates.

We saw her off at the airport Friday night. The two weeks prior to the trip, it had been her only topic of conversation, and we’d made a ritual of crossing off the days on her special calendar, pinned to the fridge. At the airport itself, she was just about uncontrollable with excitement, literally unable to sit down: running around in circles; chattering non-stop to favourite doll Janice about the plane and what movies they’ll see on the plane and the special dinenr they’ll eat on the plane and how they’re going to fly up in the sky on the plane; jumping up and down and asking “how long now” every time she paused for breath…… Right up until it was time to leave us and walk through the departure gate, when suddenly she burst into tears and flung herself into Lyn’s arms.

She cried, I cried, Lyn cried, Connor asked for a drink of juice…… and then she was gone, waving to us as she walked hand-in-hand with Nanna through the gate and onto the plane.

She’s having the time of her life, I know, safe within a circle of relatives who will treat her as the special treasure she is. But I miss her like hell.