I handed in my thesis today for examination. It's taken me nine years. As I checked it over before submission, I thought how pristine it all looked. In fact it looked as though I really knew what I was doing and, really ... why had it taken nine years! What will the Examiner's think? I'll find out in a few months and no doubt it will rebound with, I hope, not too many bits and pieces to tidy up. What they won't see though is the life between the lines. As I readied the manuscript, I thought about all that has happened in nine years. I've already alluded to some of those things in previous posts, and I don't want to appear as though I think I'm the only one who has the lion's share of life dramas and highs. Quite the opposite. Reflecting on what had been happening in the foreground of my life while the thesis sulked in the background just makes me realise how very frail and beautiful it is to be human. For my own record I'm recording some of those things here, just to remind myself that I have achieved a personal monumental milestone. Here's what lies between the lines of my spotless manuscript: births of five grandchildren; full-time care of two of them; death of my beloved father; the publication of my first novel; the death-defying feat of my daughter; the jump from the mothership of full-time employment; good times with my mother; my beautiful mother's death; good times with family; Barkly times with good friends; love; food; simple and greater pleasures; the joy of teaching creative writing and yoga; the gift of brilliant supervisors; the excitement of starting a third novel; the recognition of the preciousness of the extended family and any who come under that umbrella; my home; my pond; my cat; my books; my children; my partner. How blessed I am. No, the Examiners won't see what lies between the lines.