This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

 

READING

  • Island Home by Tim Winton
  • A Field Guide to getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

WRITING Gargoyle

VISITING

  • Barangaroo for The Beach at The Sydney Festival
  • Real harbour and surf beaches to cool off as Sydney’s temperatures got ridiculously high
  • The Domain for Symphony under the Stars with Max and Lucy and school friends Gemma and Ursula and Gemma’s kids Ava and Jasper where we were

LISTENING to the Enigma Variations by Elgar and most especially Nimrod (one of my favourites) and of course the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky as we were

WATCHING

  • fireworks (some people had sparklers and Gemma brought glow sticks)
  • the bats fly over the Domain
  • Lucy turn over and over doing forward walkovers in any spare patch of grass wearing glowsticks at her wrists

HEARING about Max’s adventures travelling around town by public transport to visit numerous skateparks with his “squad”

STRUGGLING to sleep as the temperatures stay high through the nights

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This week

By Vita Forest

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A beautiful day on Sydney Harbour

This week I have been

  • READING Eyrie by Tim Winton
  • WRITING
  • PRIORITIZING some time for blog writing (school work could devour all my time at this point of the year)…
  • WATCHING The Family Law on SBS (quite hilarious).
  • VISITING North Sydney Oval for Moonlight Cinema with Vastra and Saskia and Vaucluse House with Saskia, Sui-Sui and Alessandro.
  • MAKING a collaborative artwork in class with oil pastels and two large pieces of brown paper.
  • LISTENING to my class belt out Owl City’s Fireflies (can’t help but make me grin).
  • CELEBRATING my niece Pippi’s 6th Birthday.
  • RELAXING with some restorative yoga after an extremely hectic week (thanks Jade!)

This week

It's finished!

It’s finished!  The good ship Possession.

By Vita Forest

 

This week (it’s a bit late – still having issues with my internet access) I have been

  • READING
    • Eyrie by Tim Winton
  • WRITING
  • MAKING and FINISHING my Ann Wood ship!  See photo above.
  • VISITING The Greats at the Art Gallery of NSW.
  • WATCHING Notorious with my kids.
  • STARTING Term 1 back at school, it’s busy, busy.
  • MEETING my new class.

 

The end of the affair

By Vita Forest

What's wrong with a happy ending?

What’s wrong with a happy ending?

The truth is hard and tough as nails, that’s why we need fairy tales.

from Munchhausen by Hollander

While convalescing at home, awaiting the results of a whooping cough swab, with my voice deepened to a sultry level, but missing the resonance required to address twenty-three small children without it cracking into inconsistent seal yelps, I turned in consolation to literature.

As you may know, I have recently finished reading the delightful Brother of the more Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido.  Before being laid low, I had handily picked up a couple more of Trapido’s books from the library.

I have finished Juggling (not as lovely as BOTMFJ) and have launched into The Travelling Hornplayer.  Some of the characters began to feel familiar, then I realised there were favourites from the aforementioned novels, now years later, bumping into each other across the end pages of those other books.  This was not necessarily a cause for alarm.

But then it was.

“No!” I wanted to scream in my cracked voice, as my literary crush from BOTMFJ engaged in a seedy affair in a grimy flat in London while his wife pottered about in The Cotswolds.  “No, Barbara Trapido, I don’t want to know this!”

Some books do not need epilogues, do not need sequels.  I want to think back affectionately to the “closure”, to the satisfaction of everything ending how it should have.

I want Georgie giving Lu the kiss of life in the bottom of a boat after he has pulled her from a sinking plane, not reading that Tim Winton has written a play reusing these characters in which Georgie is grieving her lover who has been KILLED.

I want Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson  to live blissfully together after she throws over that cold fish Cecil, not the future mapped out in the epilogue of boredom, resentment and cheating.

I certainly don’t want to read about what happens to Darcy or anyone else after the perfect ending (particularly from someone who is not the original author…) but when it is the author – oh, they still need to be very careful.

Melina Marchetta has done it successfully (“Of course,” I hear you say, “Could you stop going on about her!”)  J. K. Rowling too.  And I didn’t mind meeting up again with Michael Ondaatje’s Caravaggio and Hana once more in The English Patient.  But I agree that A.S. Byatt didn’t need to add the epilogue to Possession and I think that Suzanne Collins could have stopped after The Hunger Games.  Don’t even get me started about Stephenie Meyer…

So I suppose I will continue reading The Travelling Hornblower but my hackles have been raised.  I do not want to fall out of love with Jonathon.

Have you ever wished an author had just stopped?

 

I am Georgie, I am Lu

By Vita Forest

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There are books that need a second reading and there are books that you love the first time around.  This is different for everyone, but why?  Perhaps it is your own life that must be aligned to fit the book.  Do the characters speak your own thoughts back to you?  Is the emotional tenor tuned in to within a hair’s breath of your wavelength?

Dirt Music by Tim Winton is one of my very favourite books.  But it was not always so.  I used to prefer Cloudstreet – that sprawling tale of two families sharing a house in Perth.  With a talking pig and a mulberry-stained tent in the backyard.  But my preference now lies with Dirt Music.  The first time I read it, I admired it, but the second time, I loved it.

It tells the story of two lost souls – Georgie and Lu, who stumble into each others’ way.  Perhaps I love it because of Georgie – stuck in a bad place, having lost her direction, purpose and sense of self.  I am Georgie, I thought.  Another friend felt the connection to Georgie too, but found it too close to the bone, and for that reason, remained deliberately detached.  Or maybe it was because of Lu – the sole survivor of a terrible accident who deliberately provoked the wrath of the Gods (both local and spiritual).  I am Lu, I thought, as he noticed the tiniest details and avoided reminiscing.  Or was it the sum of its parts – the contrast of the brutal, ugly township and the transcendent scenes of nature, or the small poetic moments of yearning, like Lu leaving the imprint of his lips on Georgie’s window, or Georgie eating the red dirt found in an otherwise empty envelope sent from Broome.  Whatever it was, on my second reading I got it and Dirt Music became a “book to own”.

Dirt Music also contains a sense of hope sometimes missing from Tim Winton’s other books.  The characters are on a quest that they can’t articulate, but in the end, there is redemption.  I remember reading of someone finishing The Riders and being so frustrated, they threw the book across the room – before realizing what an amazing writer Tim Winton was, to provoke such a reaction.

Last year I saw an interview with Tim Winton by Jennifer Byrne.  There is something about him too.  Despite his eloquence he is very self-depreciating, an attractive quality in this world of narcissists.  When asked about whether his new book Eyrie was a change of direction for him with its urban setting, Winton ruminated for a few moments before drawing parallels to his earlier work and concluding, “It’s the same old shit really.”

Perhaps this is why, as Saskia would say, we are “a little bit in love with him.”

Do you have books that needed a second reading before you loved them?