Published: Dec. 19, 2011
Words: 58,269 (approximate)
A delightfully entertaining cocktail of short stories born from half a century (and counting) of memories and musings. Two parts comedy and one part drama, with just a dollop of farce, this book is best enjoyed while curled up on the couch with a box of chocolates.
There are certain moments studded throughout our lives where events embed memories that last the distance. Not just the obvious, like births, deaths and marriages, but also the smaller, less overtly impactful ones, which glue our past to our present to our future. The minutiae that solidify us. It may be as inconsequential as a conversation, a meal, or the sun-speckled image of a six-year old running ahead, blonde hair becoming iridescent as it whips across her shoulders. Jogging behind is her mother, pushing the stroller with a baby who is laughing with that uninhibited glee peculiar to the very young (or the very odd). For me, the latter is a mental snapshot that has persevered despite having no particular significance, or repercussions. There was no skidding, screeching accident requiring CPR from a stranger who turned out to be a long-lost brother, or future husband, or psychopathic killer. No unexpected thunderstorm with a drenching that left pneumonia in its wake, or sudden pho.. (Read more)
There are certain moments studded throughout our lives where events embed memories that last the distance. Not just the obvious, like births, deaths and marriages, but also the smaller, less overtly impactful ones, which glue our past to our present to our future. The minutiae that solidify us. It may be as inconsequential as a conversation, a meal, or the sun-speckled image of a six-year old running ahead, blonde hair becoming iridescent as it whips across her shoulders. Jogging behind is her mother, pushing the stroller with a baby who is laughing with that uninhibited glee peculiar to the very young (or the very odd). For me, the latter is a mental snapshot that has persevered despite having no particular significance, or repercussions. There was no skidding, screeching accident requiring CPR from a stranger who turned out to be a long-lost brother, or future husband, or psychopathic killer. No unexpected thunderstorm with a drenching that left pneumonia in its wake, or sudden phone-call with dreadful news, or fantastic news, or even a hint of more to follow. Just us running down a hill into the sunshine, laughing.
A few years later and another memory has me sitting at the computer when an email arrives from my editor Cate, with the proposed cover for my first book. There is a picture and a title and a name – my name, in huge-ass red font. I am staring at the full-screen image, fizzy with pride and pleasure, when in rushes my youngest, the one from the stroller, and the following conversation ensues:
Her: “Mummy! I need something for show ’n tell and it hastabe good! Coz Zoe did a really great one yesterday and I hafta be better! I hafta!”
Me (glancing from the monitor to her and back): “Well, have I got something special for you. Look what just arrived! No other child will have something like this. You can tell them all how your mother is a writer. And that she’s written a book. Hang on, wait there, I’ll print it off for you.” The printer whirs into action and spits out a wonderful cover reproduction. I hand it over reverently.
Her (after examining it expressionlessly for a few moments, first this way and then the other): “Nah, maybe I’ll just tell ’em how we went to KFC that time.”
I am left to stare at my cover, rejected before it has even reached the shops. But a little while later she’s back with a piece of paper of her own, which she holds out as an offering. Jerky red words litter the top half of the sheet with endearing uncertainty, first her name in letters just as large as mine and then what is clearly to be the beginnings of a story: Ones a poner time. I slide my grin into a smile as I meet her expectant gaze. Writers, both of us.
Fast-forward again, to me putting the finishing touches to this collection of stories and searching for a title. Something reflective of what they are: an eclectic melange of musings and memories amassed across a lifespan. Born of a childhood that began in the sixties, when crystal ashtrays sat on doilies and a hard drive was a difficult journey, and meandered through the seventies to finally splutter into adulthood during the eighties, that hedonistic decade when taste was an optional extra. From the barely-recalled frustrations of 'How to grow a penis' to the fresh apprehension of 'Terror on the steps' or the sheer mortification of 'The Headache', they form an organic photo album, if you will, of images; slices of time. Just things that happened… ones a poner time.
, domestic violence
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on March 17, 2012 :
I first discovered Ilsa Evans books when I picked up a copy of Spin cycle at the library. I enjoyed the book so much on my next visit I searched for more of her titles and was delighted to discover Spin Cycle was the first in her lighthearted short series which also included Drip Dry and Odd Socks and found two other books as well (Each Way Bet; Flying The Coop: A Free Range Tree Change or Has She Made the Worst Mistake of Her Life, all of which I read in a week. It was a some time later I believe before I stumbled across Broken) which was a marked departure from her previous novels, dealing with domestic violence, followed by The Family Tree and Sticks and Stones with similarly serious themes examining family tragedy.
'ones a poner time' gives some context to the seemingly radical shift in focus for Ilsa's fiction. A melange of humour, tragedy, joy and sorrow, Evans reveals her phobia of hair ribbons, the nightmare of an abusive marriage, her grief at the loss of much loved family members and and her pride in raising three lovely children on her own.
The book is divided into titled chapters providing a glimpse into Ilsa's life. Some of the vignettes had me laughing in recognition and sympathy such as when Ilsa was caught truanting by her mother, cowering on the floor of the bus, defrosting a guinea pig who miraculously survived a flooded pen and the trials (offset by the joys) of motherhood. I can see how these types of events were the genesis for Evan's lighthearted family fiction.
Evans is very candid about the more difficult parts of her life including her father's tragic illness, an abortion and miscarriage, a chilling childhood abduction attempt, and most notably her experience of domestic violence. It seems to me that her later published work, is a way of processing the emotions and memories of these events, perhaps buoyed by the confidence gained in her earlier publishing success. Evans is quite matter of fact about the tragedy she has experienced, sharing it not to garner sympathy but to acknowledge that she has moved past these seminal events to become a stronger woman.
A collection of 'memories and musings' this self published title tells the story of Ilsa's past, and how it has shaped her present as a woman, a mother and an author. Well written and very readable, I found 'ones a poner time' entertaining and interesting and recommend it, especially to fans of this talented writer.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 15, 2012 :
Those familiar with Ilsa Evans' fiction works will find the same humour and heartbreak in 'Onse a poner time', a memoir that exposes both the good and the not so good times of Ms Evans' life. This book does not shy away from those things that are often judged harshly by some in society, from exploits in the armed forces to issues that are deeply personal in life, love and relationships. It would be easy to brand this book as an example of the triumph of the human spirit, the strength of surviving the sometimes awful things that life can throw at people. Instead I would call it an example of how our experiences can shape us without being the means by which we are defined.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)