Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Today I decided to transcribe every word that Charlie said. As a first step in deciphering his language. At breakfast time, I ate Special K with strawberries, and Charlie ate mango-flavoured rice cereal with banana. Between mouthfuls, he said the following:




[Deep sigh through the nose.]

[angrily] Um!

[with resignation] Um.

[with interest] Um!

[unexpectedly] Eeyaha nutting!

The telephone rang and I gave Charlie a drinking straw to keep him entertained. At this, he murmured, “Um.”

I answered the phone. “Yes, hi,” said a brisk and friendly voice. “Is that PMM Media?” I apologised and said that it was not. “Okay! Thanks! Bye!” said the voice in the same brisk, friendly tone.

As I returned to Charlie I realised he was genuinely chatting to himself. Syllables were running together like strings of lanterns.

But I’d left my notepad by the phone. He was quiet again when I sat down and I offered more banana.

After breakfast, we played with various things. I played with the musical toolbench and Charlie played with the box of Kleenex. I recall that, at this time, Charlie said, repeatedly, “Yeah!” with intense excitement. Also, repeatedly, “Yeah,” with a kind of depressed resignation (something like the sound that crows make around these parts).

I moved on to playing with the plastic dump truck while Charlie played with my bedside chest of drawers. Now, I recall, he said, repeatedly: “Yay!” and “Yay.”

It was a time of affirmation and celebration.

We went for a walk and, from his pram, Charlie said, “Ji Ji” and “Hm”. He began to fall asleep. “Don’t fall asleep!” I said, alarmed. “You have to wait until we get home and fall asleep in your cot so I can write a novel!” But Charlie regarded me a moment, and fell asleep again.

I went to a convenience store, bought an exercise book and three different coloured pens, and took Charlie to a café. He slept in the pram for half an hour while I worked on ideas for a short story.

The story is for an anthology called Does this Book Make me Look Fat? It’s being edited by Marissa Walsh. I wrote a story for another collection of hers last year. That one was called, Not Like I’m Jealous or Anything. Some of my favourite young adult writers, including Susan Juby and Ned Vizzini, also contributed to that one.

We came back home, ate lunch, and the new babysitter arrived. She is here now, with Charlie. I am in my study. I am supposed to be writing a novel. But I am writing a blog. I should say what my next book will be, and what I am working on now. A lot of people e-mail and ask me those questions.

So, I will start another post now, and answer the questions.

Charlie is playing down the hall right now. I can hear the babysitter’s gentle murmur and now and then Charlie says, “Yee.”


Post a Comment

<< Home