You seemed to have received a double helping of food for thought from David Malouf’s visit. I too was surprised to hear his views on assimilation, yet I am sure his parents must have played a part in this decision. It seems odd to me having grown up with children with parents from so many different countries. Every Saturday I would see them being forced to go to school in order to learn the language and history of their family of origin. Maybe David Malouf’s parents were not interested in this for him, or maybe he didn’t have access to it. While I certainly wasn’t envious of my friends having to go and do extra classes on Saturday, I really wished I could speak another language. The usual lazy person’s lament; I want the benefits without the effort. I think it is important to know your heritage and in this day and age it is a definite advantage to speak a second language.
It is a brave act to put your writing out there these days. It seems that there is a never-ending platform for writers and your work will probably just be lost in the overpopulated chaos. One may well ask; so what’s brave about sending something out that no body will probably ever read? Firstly, the silence can be deafening. Lack of feedback can be extremely deflating and writers must be prepared for this. Secondly though is that the line I wrote was that no bod’ would ‘probably’ ever read it; which means that there is always a chance that some random person will find your little message in a bottle and you will connect with that person on a subconscious level. Someone you will never meet has read a piece of your psyche and has felt a kinship with it. How cool is that?
Keep doing what you are doing 🙂
“So here goes nothing” I love it! I have grappled with this conundrum since I was a child. I am frightened of dying and becoming nothing. How Can I be afraid of nothing? What is nothing? Can I imagine nothing? No, because to imagine is to think and that is something. That time we lose when we are asleep and are not dreaming is the best I can come up with; and that is painless I guess. It is everything-less as a matter of fact. Trippy!
It always amuses me when I ponder the lyrics of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”:
“Mamma, I don’t wanna die
Sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.”
As you have already said: before we are born we are nothing; so to have never been born at all is a form of death. Therefore we have already experienced death. What more can one say: “So here goes nothing”
I remember feeling the same way about this book when I first read it. It was tough going and I felt that the story went nowhere. The real joy came when we discussed it in class with Michael Griffith and among ourselves. So many hidden gems were uncovered and then we each added our ideas and interpretations. So much wisdom was gleaned from this rather short novel that it is now one of my favourites; just as David Malouf is now one of my favourite authors. I hope you enjoy and fully participate in the discussions that follow. It is a way of not just better understanding the book, but also adding a whole new bunch of fascinating layers to it!
A fascinating take on that multi-layered final chapter Eleanor! ” Patrick White has rooted and linked human nature with the rest of the natural world”. Such a wonderful line that goes so well with the pictures you have used. I love the idea that we are all linked, not just to each other, but to all of nature.
Death is the great equalizer and forces us all to pause and ponder our existence.
I can’t help but imagine the grandson as a kind of young Patrick White. He has inherited his grandfather’s spiritual inquisitiveness and just may also have the literary gift to be able to put those musings and meditations into writing, so as to share them with other people and maybe create a spark in others.
I look forward to more of your blogs.
“They couldn’t help you or save you because they simply couldn’t hear you.” Wow, such a creepy idea! It’s amazing how our imaginations can turn a simple walk into a treacherous adventure. I remember as a kid we would dare each other to walk through the dark tunnels of the local water canals. Logic assures us that we will be fine, but a child’s mind can conjure up all types of horrors; rats, snakes, a crazy homeless guy! The concern of being washed away by a raging torrent that came out of nowhere was always a good one.
This blog gave me an eerie sense of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”. It is truly a chilling thought to be in peril and have your salvation so close, but just out of reach. The horror movie cliché of struggling to get the keys in the ignition as the psycho killer approaches works on this principle I think.
The blog may not be exactly related to what MG’s question asked, but I agree with you that you have drawn on a connection between the inner and outer realms of a person. Intriguing.
Hahaha! Reading your post I was reminded of my impatient bewilderment waiting for my bacon and egg sandwich in a general store down the south coast. The bloke really was in no hurry at all. People wandered in and had a chat as I sat hungry and bemused; “how can it even take that long? Has he not turned the hot plate on? Do the laws of physics function differently in this place?”
My mate had moved down to Culburra Beach many years earlier and every visit was like stepping through some kind of vortex into another dimension where time has slowed down. My mate grew up in housing commission flats in Marrickville and lived in Sydney until his late twenties; he is no stranger to our fast paced and stressed city existence. After many years de-compressing on the south coast, he laughs at our hectic behaviour whenever we enter his realm. It seems he has exorcised the constant desire for activity and distraction we are addicted to in the city; and no he is not sitting glued to a smart phone or computer, nor is he on any drugs.
Maybe that same discomfort at a lack of action and stimulation is why “Tree of Man” is so difficult for us to get through. We have been conditioned to need perpetual drama and Patrick White denies us of our fix. However, if we stick around long enough we find ourselves immersed in the harmony and mystery of it all. We shake off the static of our hustle and bustle city lives, at least for a while. There will be withdrawal symptoms, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Nice to see that I am not the only one who got sidetracked. These poems seem to trigger our inner philosopher or scientist; and I use those labels for their genuine purpose, not the arrogant know-it-all sense that they sometimes get hijacked by. A true philosopher or scientist relishes the mystery and understands that hard and fast facts are almost never permanent. It is in our nature to ponder and meditate the enigma of our existence. It should be a source of joy, not competition and pompousness.
Just one possible correction. I think you meant to write lightning, rather than lighting.
The last photo is great! It’s so cool finding these oasis’ in the city.