Suite101 article on Bill Coperthwaite’s *Handmade Life*

I published a review of A Handmade Life, by William Coperthwaite, on    It took me a long time to write this review, simply because I wanted to do the book justice. And 700 words are not enough to do it justice. There was, for instance, no space to treat Coperthwaite’s fascinating views on education […]

Philip Lorca di Corcia’s picture, again

That picture, again…: the tensions. We are looking at them, intensely, but they have their backs to us, unaware, busy. They are public now, in all their nakedness, but their interaction is most private, hidden from us. The mother is washing the child (a foot), but no one (but the jet of water) is washing her. The water isn’t […]

Who Remembers Ernestine Huckleby?

A photograph I was leafing through an old National Geographic compilation book called As We Live and Breathe, The Challenge of Our Environment, when I chanced upon a two-page spread devoted to the Huckleby family and a large photograph that took my breath away. I reproduce it here, not knowing who the photographer or copyright […]

“Amie is all finished”. And a picture (not by me)

This morning, after a rare full night’s sleep (and blissfully no hypnopompic sightings for me!), we cuddled for 15 minutes before getting well and truly up. Amie was enacting “Baby Amie”: she cuddles and coos and you have to hold and shush her like a baby. Then I asked her: “Do you remember what Baby Amie used […]

Wait a Moment

There is something about this photograph… The soft pools of light, the ghost of herself, the movement of her arm. The door standing open, fixed and hard. Her downcast gaze, concentration. Just another split second in our front hallway (/front hallaway/): captured, though not quite… She was fitting grown-up shoes. Not yet, sweetie, not yet…