Writers are made, not born, by investing time and money (usually their own) in their development, Forge says. They buy time to write by reducing paid working hours, writing hundreds of words for underfunded literary magazines and other outlets for a nominal fee (or for nothing but “exposure”) and spending every spare moment “practising their scales”. And support comes from a small, low-paid or voluntary army of workers: editors, festival directors, editorial assistants.
By Jane Sullivan; more at The Age, 12th November, 2016.
Too often I hear (usually from men) that women never did anything in history to write about. What they are generally referring to are those ‘great deeds’ of men who were able to dedicate their lives to and sustain an uninterrupted focus on their area of specialisation. Women’s yearnings were sidelined and their lives circumscribed by multiple childbirth.
A.H. Chisholm wrote a ‘complete’ biography of Elizabeth Gould in 1944. In contrast, Melissa Ashley has written a fictional biography, or biographical fiction, of her in The Birdman’s Wife, which revitalises Elizabeth, colouring in her passions, her struggles, her continual negotiation of the demands of being a working artist and a mother.
This beautifully written novel presents a ‘complete’ picture of a family unit—that one man’s crowning achievements were in fact a family enterprise. John Gould may have been able to strut about like a peacock, but his ‘story’ his more complete when put in context alongside the female of his species, their young, and the materials from which he made his nest.
Donald Knowler first heard of the Glass Bottom Bus tour when he came to Tasmania more than a decade ago. The idea of tourists viewing vast numbers of animals squashed on the bitumen – an ironic in-joke among the wildlife and tourism fraternity – inspired him to compile his own checklist of what lay flattened on the island’s highways and byways. The journey led him to dead Tasmania devils and quolls…but also to the work of scientists researching the scale of the toll and looking at measures to reduce the carnage which results in an animal dying every two minutes on Tasmania’s roads. Riding the Devil’s Highway presents an itinerary for such a tour and a field guide to the flattened fauna of Tasmania – the roadkill capital of the world.
(Apologies … video quality’s not as high as I’d have hoped. Ralph)