Helen Garner does the housework, coquetamine, after publication comes depression, "Instagram mama" scandals, disaster collectivism.

Dear friends,

Here is a new edition of RLT, still experimenting with how to lay it out. Thank you for the feedback on the last one.


The most special, most important thing you can read is Helen Garner’s Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I 1978–1987. A flavour of this beautiful icon at work:

We fought about housework. I saw red and smashed a plate and a bowl. ‘There are more plates here. Why don’t you break them as well?’ ‘Shut your face.’ He went upstairs and turned the TV on full blast. I swept up the mess. I bawled a lot as I swept, and then as I washed my plain, spotty, forty-year-old face and looked at it in the mirror and thought that I couldn’t bear having to go through another bout of this BATTLING. I also thought, I am about to get my period. It absolutely shits me that this should explain anything. I objectively do most of the housework and it’s NOT FAIR. After I’d washed my face I took off my pants and they were stained black with blood.

Her essays are on Audible read by her. She has the perfect Australian voice.

November 2, 2019

For writers, after publication comes depression.

“… sometimes it’s so hard, and you really don’t know how to make your work work, and it feels like months or years of may have been wasted and you continue to be, beyond all heroic efforts, right smack in the middle of the job, rather than at the end, as you had so brightly hoped.” 

“People in real life so often do not know what they want. People trick themselves, lie to themselves, fool themselves. It’s called survival, and self-mythology. […] I don’t do the big hand of God placing people around the Kriegspiel board and claiming to see into their deeper motivations.” Rachel Kushner.



Can a woman who is an artist ever just be an artist? Rachel Cusk on the artists Celia Paul and Cecily Brown. The muse at her easel: Zadie Smith reviews Celia Paul’s Self Portrait.


Alison Roman’s kitchen. | You don’t really look to me usually for make up content but I have found a wearable SPF that’s nicer than a foundation. | Cooking this aubergine parmigiana as we speak. | “He asked the tiler to use tea instead of water to mix the grout so it did not look too new.” A flat in East London decorated with salvage finds. | Every Australian born in the 80s went to university thinking it would be like this sparkling gem of a small budget film, now on Amazon Prime: Love and Other Catastrophes. It stars Helen Garner’s daughter, Alice! It was directed by a 23 year old woman! | Kate Jinx has perfect taste in film — and now, a newsletter.


I highlighted about twenty bits of this discussion in Granta about politics in psychotherapy/the consulting room:

Once you acknowledge that there are other people in the world, then you have to acknowledge the fact that you can’t control the other people on whom you are dependent. And then you’re in political life. The end of solipsism is the beginning of politics, presumably.

The slim book that overnight turned me from a centrist dad into a radical: Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi The Second Coming.

“They have disaster capitalism. We need disaster collectivism.” An interview with Naomi Klein.

Remember this piece: It’s so much more than cooking? (It features this horror story: “I'll make dinner!” he said. “You don't have to do a thing.” That evening, he waltzed through the door from work, bubbling with enthusiasm. I met him in the kitchen, exhausted and hungry. “Okay, I'm ready to start cooking,” he said. “What do we have in the fridge?”) Here is Laura Hazard Owen’s response: Eat alone. On a couch. Mostly carbs.

A functioning constitution should be able to cope with the odd charlatan and bullshit artist, steering them gently away from the levers of power like a friend removing car keys from a drunk.

People buying things because they saw an ad is “even rarer than cystic fibrosis.”

If you haven’t been following this scandal, google “Clemmie Hooper” and then read this: Instagram is allowing white mommy-bloggers to silence black women. Related: the education of Natalie Jean. Also: Loneliness is Instagram’s biggest trend.

“When I see someone issue a posturing, blustery “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks!” speech, I can see the pain dripping off their 12-year-old self.” Brené Brown on coping with social media cruelty.

Research shows posi vibes can win the online campaigning war.

A good thread:


Resistance is first of all a matter of principle and a way to live, to make yourself one small republic of unconquered spirit. You hope for results, but you don't depend on them.

― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark