Lessons from The Fitzroy Diaries

I love The Fitzroy Diaries.

The Fitzroy Diaries is audio fiction created by Lorin Clark and released as a podcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The narrator is a young mother in a gentrifying inner-city suburb of Melbourne.

Clark’s dense writing requires all my concentration. I have listened to all three seasons many times and still hear something new each time.

When I wake up and can’t fall back asleep, which happens often with long COVID, I often listen to an episode to calm down my mind. It’s hard to have other thoughts while I listen.

Below are some things I have learned from these stories.

Observing is participating

The narrator often walks around her neighborhood, making observations. A struggle for me with long COVID is that I used to be very active, accomplishing a lot. Now my energy reserves are so low that most of the time all I can do is watch. Clark’s rich observations helped me realize that I can fully participate in the world simply by observing it.

I can sit in a chair in my front yard and listen to snippets from cyclists and try to imagine the rest of the story. Even if I’m stuck in bed, I can observe what my senses tell me. These simple acts are full participation in the world.


One of the characters, Suzanna, is beautiful, intelligent, funny, accomplished, and housebound. Clark’s descriptions of her are loving and beautiful. I can only assume the author has intimate experience with someone suffering from major depression.

With long COVID I have spent long periods of time basically stuck at home. The narrator’s delight in meeting Suzanna is a great reminder that I’m a lot more than a sick person.

The things I love

The narrator frequently recites lists of things she loves. The list is a complete hodgepodge of simple pleasures. Sometimes well-meaning people recommend creating a gratitude journal to remind you of things you are grateful for. When I’m stuck at home and feeling terrible, gratitude can be hard to come by. I find Clark’s method easier and more satisfying. “What are things I love?” Sometimes this veers off into lists of things I’m missing right now, but I try to stay focused on simple pleasures that I can enjoy right now. I think this is an important part of the fourth P – pleasure.

Less frequently she lists things she hates. Every once in a while that can be useful, also.

Listen carefully

The Fitzroy Diaries is published as a podcast that should be available anywhere. It’s one continuous story, so start at Season 1, Episode 1. Wear headphones and don’t try to do anything else while listening.