I USED PENCIL to write the due date for my baby in my diary. It was one of those pocket business diaries, with times recorded at hourly intervals. On the page for 5 April I wrote ‘baby!’ in semi-large letters across a few of the lines. The exclamation mark was a nod to the audacity of timetabling the arrival of a human being to the world. The hour would inevitably be wrong and probably the day too – how was it sane to use a pen?
The pages before that date were dense with appointments typical to a late-stage PhD student, nicely positioned to their designated times: ‘supervisor’; ‘submit book review’; ‘conference’; ‘seminar’; ‘teach’. All in ink, obviously. The pages crackled a bit from where the biro had pressed in hard. The pages after the ‘baby!’ entry were smooth and blank. I was living with my husband in a London council flat, seduced from my Australian home by the promise of a life in the knowledge-worker class. All my experience to date had taught me that ink in my diary meant work. Blank space meant not-work. The ink meant constraint. The blank space meant freedom.
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