By Annabel Winslow
Recently, a colleague recommended, Aspiring Daybook; The Diary of Elsie Winslow by poet Annabel Winslow. This is the story of a young woman’s return from Europe to Wanaka to help care for her terminally ill brother. The diary covers a year in her life; her memories of and yearning for Europe, a former relationship with a local called Frank (whose son she now teaches) and the pervading grief easily recognisable to the many, many of us who know ‘cancer’.
This book is wonderful as much for its form as for its content. It is told through poetry, notes, Facebook messages, emails, newspaper clippings and photographs. We catch small parts, snippets and glimpses of an entire life story—along with what is a distinctly recognisable place and landscape—until, in what feels like no time and with little actual text, the structure of the tale and the characterisation has become unexpectedly strong.
I am incredibly grateful that this gem of a book has come into my life.