• I know what’s meant by “cost of living”. I know it’s about money, the economy; inflation, interest rates. But don’t you think those words, so often chanted in the news, could be taken from, or used to make, a poem?

    Cost of living. I think less about the rising price of rent, of petrol, milk and bread, than of parents sick with worry, up all night, waiting for their teen to return home; a grown man, helping a father who no longer knows his name, to bed; a schoolgirl, who sees her friend “forgot” his lunch, again, and pretends to not want hers. It reminds me of the always worthwhile, often costly task—of loving.

  • In Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s 2019 novel Fleishman is in Trouble there is a scene where the main character, Toby Fleishman, is having dinner with a woman he found on a hookup app, but has only ever met for casual sex.

    As she studies the menu, Fleishman studies her: “If you looked closely, she had about two centimetres of gray hair at her temples. She had said she was forty-five. She might actually be forty-eight. That’s almost fifty… She reached across the table to take his hand. He squeezed hers back. He never realized her arms were so hairy…

  • A few years back, I set myself the challenge of interviewing twelve of my friends and combining their stories. I was astonished by how much I learnt in the space of one uninterrupted hour.

    One friend talked about how trapped she felt during her (planned) pregnancy, another recounted a narrow escape from an abusive relationship, while a third talked about the moment he realised, for the first time, he didn’t actually have to do what adults told him.