Yesterday a reader contacted me out of the blue and asked about Night Light, a story from The Age, from 1990. The reader had first read the story back then, when she was in Year 12. Her mother had posted the story to her.
”She used to send my sisters and me newspaper cuttings all the time – still does, but sadly not nearly as often – and they helped keep homesickness at bay.”
I found the story and emailed it. “Thanks,” said the reader, “the story is like an old friend. It’s just that life seems so strange all of a sudden and your piece is familiar and gentle and reminds me of a much more innocent time in my life.”
Re-reading the story all these years later I could see that it has themes that have been forever recurrent in my quiet writing life: music, grief, solitude, sport, the beach, letter-writing, Williamstown. All there in seven paragraphs.
The first, hand-written, draft was written on the 29 January, 1989. Another hand-written draft two days later. Then two drafts on the Brother electric typewriter. Then posted (or perhaps faxed ) to the Home supplement at The Age on 2 February 1989. And published 12 months later, if my hand-written note at the top of the story is correct.
Thank you, dear reader who contacted me out of the blue.