Wednesday, April 7, 2010


It's pretty obvious that my writing explores *stuff* that has happened to me over my lifetime, and while it can all seem quite gloomy and depressing, it is my way of telling the world that survival is possible. Something else I truly believe is that no-one like a victim, so instead of dwelling on the past, and enabling a 'poor me' mentality I use my life to explore the nature of being human, and hope that my writing prompts others into taking the 'exploratory plunge'.

To be honest, I struggle to read novels that are 'autobiographical' (I'll explain the inverted commas, I promise), because they seem to have a little bit of the 'and then' about them. And then this happened, and then I said ... and then, and then, and then. To quote a great literary source, 'There is no and then.' Autobiographies should be factual, but their very nature, that is being written about and by the same person, more often than not, makes them a 'filtered' version of events. Getting the audience on the side of the protagonist is often achieved with too many details about the selfless nature of the protagonist; a 'look at me wasn't/ isn't my life *%#@' attitude, that assumes we want to hear about it.

I much prefer something that makes you think. Something that asks you to question your own values and morals, something that doesn't try to force you into having feelings or emotional reactions about a particular person and how grand they are.

That is why my writing has cryptic elements to it. Yes it explores ideas and events, but the aim is not to feel sorry for the protagonist, the aim is to ask, 'What would I have done in this situation?' or 'How can we, as a society, ensure that these things never happen again?'

Do I do that?

While you ponder that question I will explain the last two pieces of writing.

Patient X is a short story that I wrote in January for a competition. I didn't submit it, because I felt the ending seemed to lose momentum. However, I would love to submit it, so welcome any feedback on improving the ending. Does anyone else think the final stages of the piece aren't as strong as the beginning?

The narrator is Patient X's conscience, but a few people have seen the narrator as Patient X's daughter and a couple have seen the narrator as Patient X's wife. At the end of the day it doesn't matter, because the voice is trying to get Patient X to acknowledge the damage he has done in his life. The story reflects on the fact that so often terrible things happen to others, yet we, as a society, ignore it as the situation has had no impact on our life. When this happens the victim is left to pick up the pieces, and we all know the baggage they have the carry from then on. One of the biggest hurdles to get over is the lack of remorse, and/ or apology from the perpetrator of the crime (whatever the crime may be), so the story gives hope to victims, suggesting that even though an apology was never gained, justice will be served.

Via Crucis is a personal exploration to the religious upbringing I had, prompted by some comments made by the Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell. Now I know we should avoid discussing the big three (sex, politics and religion). But it was Easter, a time of great reflection, and to be honest I am a bit fed up on people's religious beliefs being used against them to explain the ills of society. It's a bit hard to see religious beliefs as the only way to lead a life without sin, when I was raised in a family where my parents 'taste tested' a multitude of Christian varieties. Via Crucis is my 'Way of the Cross', a poetic exploration of the religious upbringing I had, and how it impacted my life. It also reflects what I have seen as the impact of didactic beliefs on others. One of the most interesting (*a totally hammed up euphemism*) times in my life was when my parents because involved with an evangelistic faith healer from the United States. Won't go into too much detail, but this you tube link certainly puts the experience into perspective. It is certainly easier to laugh about things 20 odd years later, and, well, Australians are known for an 'interesting' sense of humour. No offense intended by the clip, and my family had a great laugh.

Faith Healing Clip

You might be interested to know that the first paragraph covers the first month or so of my life. I was so sick when I was born that I was Baptised (Catholic) pretty promptly, and then issued with the last rites. It certainly is an interesting piece of trivia to tell!

Until next time, adieu.


  1. Sometimes the worst thing a person can hear is "Sorry". As a word I loathe it. Sorry is as sorry does, and sometimes wrongs cannot be put right.

  2. The best sort of autobiographical fiction takes something that happened to the author and looks at it in a completely new way. It doesn't mean that zombies are space aliens need to be thrown in, just that it should tell it's own story with the autobiographical bit just elements of the story and not the story itself.

  3. It amazes me how many publishers actually are looking for memoirs. I always thought most people who wrote memoirs were delusional to believe their life story was SO important, the world would want to read it. Because, actually, many of the people I've met who were writing memoirs were kind of pompous. The ones I've met were very wealthy bored people who thought they'd lived an exciting life. Like J. Peterman on Seinfeld, when he hired Elaine to write his memoirs, then had to steal Kramer's stories!

  4. Agree with all of you lovely ladies :)

    So true Elaine that some wrongs can't be made right, but they can be dealt with and that's important too.

    Alissa, thanks for visiting. I love stories that take the essence of an event and turn it into something we can all relate to, those types of stories definitely make for less critical reading on my part.

    I really shouldn't be amazed that memoirs are on the want list. A bit like those living libraries, where people can sit with actual strangers and be told their whole life history. It is actually quite amazing some of the lives people have led. My main bug-bear is with stories that drone on about how good "they" are, and nothing about the situations, politics, idealogy etc of the time.

    Love Seinfeld too, really highlighted so many things that society views as normal, but when seen on Seinfeld, we could see it for the farce that it actually was. Thanks for reminding me of that episode :)