stories about diversity.
3rd March 2022
Well, it’s March and I’m only just posting my first blog in 2022. Peter and I had a healthy dose of covid over the silly season. We managed at home with no after-effects but that doesn’t explain why this blog has taken three months to write.
After the excitement of November’s post, winning the memoir prize for the Lane Cove Literary Award, I was waiting for something half as exciting to happen. Unfortunately, it hasn’t. I’m still writing, which I love, to my imaginary ideal readers.
I completed the Graduate Certificate in Writing and Literature at Deakin in January. I’m currently working on the final assessment for Children’s Literature as my first subject in the master’s. Fortunately, it is a creative writing assessment and I have an extensive selection of draft projects to choose from.
Studying children’s literature meant reading a lot of books in the Young Adult genre. I focussed on Living in London as my assessment task. I can recommend Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah. Another brilliant book is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell’s book addresses domestic violence from a teenager’s perspective.
Back in November, I read The Labyrinth by Amanda Lohrey, winner of the Miles Franklin in 2021. The book, described as rambling and meditative, is like a labyrinth.
Lohrey’s prose keeps you reading. There is tension throughout as Lohrey delivers little snippets about the protagonist Erica’s life. Lines like, ‘This is my hallucinatory world: the jutting headland in the moonlight, the ghostly palaces of glass perched above the rocky shore, the lights of the squid boat ablaze on the horizon’ delivered me to a dark beach listening to the lapping of the waves.
Erica buys a beach shack on the South Coast of NSW to be closer to her imprisoned son. Her first scary introduction with the locals is via her strange neighbour. Each visit to her son in prison releases snippets of her past as a single mother in Sydney. And as parents do, she questions where she went wrong in bringing up her son.
Living on the water brings back memories of her own childhood growing up in coastal Tasmania. Her contemplation, like many aging adults, are wonderings of how her life is so different from that chosen by her parent. Her home in Tasmania was, in fact, the estate of a large mental hospital where her father worked as a doctor. It was here, playing in a labyrinth, that sparked her desire to build one.
Lohrey’s narrative weaves a meandering tale of relationships and the impact they have on our lives. The story meditates on friendships, while a constant foreboding anticipates the inevitable goodbyes.
The Labyrinth motivated me to build the maze I’d planned ever since moving to Ironbark Flat (aka The Writers’ Block). Check out the (slow) progress via Instagram here- https://www.instagram.com/eilajamesonavey/
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