Interview with Nicola Shill

What are ten things you couldn't live without?
0. Food, shelter, water, oxygen – let’s get those out of the way straight up, but they can be number zero. I’m not wasting one of my ten on them.
1. My husband, five children and a very small group of ‘best’ friends who keep me constantly entertained and glad to be alive.
2. Yummy food – particularly cake of any sort.
3. My Breville automatic tea maker. Stops me eating cake all day.
4. My writing studio that my husband and his mate transformed from an old garden shed especially for me. It has a desk nestled into a huge bay window looking out over bushland filled with kangaroos, horses, kookaburras, cockatoos, rosellas, possums and the occasional echidna. Oh, and snakes …I suppose the kookaburras have to eat something.
5. Tablet and smartphone, mostly for keeping in touch with friends and the wider world. I love the slow, often hilarious text conversations with friends that can stretch over days. I also rely very heavily on the “just give me the info and leave me alone” sort of texts, particularly with my kids who have recently taken to sending me web links for birthday and Christmas present wish lists. I also love to read eBooks on my tablet or phone, particularly the phone – always there, unobtrusive and a great way of getting through boring concerts, presentations and such. (It’s only rude if someone catches you at it.)
6. Touchscreen laptop. Maybe should have been higher up in the list, since I couldn’t write without it. I also occasionally revert to my previous line of work as a computer programmer. I am that ludicrous woman at the swimming pool with a laptop perched on her knee during children’s swimming lessons. I’ll combine my tablet and laptop when the technology improves.
7. Bed. I love my bed: the sink down and die of bliss, king sized variety. This is my second favourite place in the world after my writing studio.
8. Videos. I love to watch videos in bed. I freely admit to a particular fondness for chick-flicks, and don’t even come near me with unhappy endings. I lost sleep for months after Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I have also been known to watch entire television series in a single sitting, often in pyjamas (with persons who will remain nameless for their own protection).
9. Travel. That’s a lie, but I wish it wasn’t. I don’t get to do much of it, so clearly I can live without it. I have to admit to not being a very intrepid traveller: airports scare me (the security, not the terrorism – I live in constant fear of being arrested (or shot) for doing something wrong that I didn’t even realise I wasn’t supposed to do), but I love being ‘somewhere else’ and feeling myself becoming wiser and more broad-minded. I don’t like crowds and queues but I love bright lights and big cities – figure that out for me if you can. I end up visiting major cities under snow.
10. Did I mention my husband and children? Yes? Well, everything begins and ends there.
Published 2014-04-10.
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