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Editor's Diary

In this special episode of The ABR Podcast, Peter Rose reads the second and concluding instalment of his 2021 diary, taking us from July to December. These entries continue his chronicle of life under rolling lockdowns – not only for himself, but also for his mother, Elsie, who had moved into aged care earlier that year because of her declining health. Against the arrhythmic schedule of closures and prohibitions, faint tracings of the pre-pandemical world appear: birthday celebrations, an English batting collapse, email trouble, a high five. Written under a cloud of personal and collective uncertainty, these diaries record a son’s observance of his mother’s last days. Elsie Rose died at the age of ninety-five on 15 March 2022.

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For his sins, Peter Rose has always kept a diary. Over the years, ABR has occasionally published extracts, which have tended to consist of annual highlights laced with gossip and humour. The 2021 instalment is rather different in tone. The lockdowns occasioned by the pandemic also coincided with a marked deterioration in the health of his mother, who moved into aged care in March last year. 

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January 1 Hindmarsh Island. Rose early and sped across the water to inspect the wetlands where hundreds of ibis were roosting – a marvellous sight. But we won’t be going to New South Wales in the middle of the month, following a Covid outbreak in Sydney. Victoria has closed the border, causing much predictable lamentation.

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January 21

I am roaring through Edmund White’s memoir of his Paris years (Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris), much better than his New York memoir (City Boy). But there is a problem: one doesn’t believe a word he writes. His is possibly the laziest approach to autobiography. Still, this one ...

January 8

Read Henry James’s early tale ‘Poor Richard’. When the eponymous dissolute learns of Gertrude’s unsavoury engagement to Major Luttrel, he descends on her house, determined to end it. Finding her wan and failing, he condemns her attachment to the venal Luttrel: ‘You have suited – God knows what! – your despair, your desolation.’

Did James ever cr ...

January 5

Dmetri Kakmi has landed himself in hot water with his Age article on the disgraced cricket writer, Peter Roebuck, who committed suicide late last year because of his penchant for spanking African boys. The Pharisees are livid bec ...

by Peter Rose

January 6

Such high standards the American magazines maintain, with their enviable resources. Fine valedictory article in the New Yorker by Joyce Carol Oates on the death of her husband of four decades. Slightly uneasy, though, to realise that Oates, in her forensic way, was gathering data for such an artic ...