A 55th reunion – without me

You know I was born in Perth, Western Australia, and lived there till I was 21 …? – well, a lot of you do.

So, obviously, I went to school there: in fact, I and my four sisters attended the one school from kindergarten to Leaving|Matriculation (the last year). Loreto Convent, Claremont, called Loreto ‘Osborne’ for the hotel it once was; but it hasn’t existed since the mid-’70s (and where it once stood is now a classy residential condo kind of place). It has often occurred to me to wonder what the nuns thought as each little Dunphy girl arrived in kindy, face scrubbed and shining and plaits in doorknockers … perhaps something along the lines of “Dear God, help us withstand this one, too ?”.

Like most schools, class reunions according to the final year of study are arranged. I don’t know why, but I suspect it has to do with the woman organising this year’s 55th – she who was Head Pre in 1959, my first final year (of two); Mary was e’en then an excellent organiser – but I received an invite. I should genuinely have loved to go; but I can’t sleep away from home, because of my cactus lower back and my need for either my own adjustable bed or a BIG recliner chair, so I couldn’t. That didn’t stop me from emailing her and demanding photos, though …

And in due course, they arrived !

And NOW you see why this post is relevant to this blog ! – aren’t they wonderful ?  I was|am so touched and so grateful … and yes, I did cry a bit. I remember them awfully well, even if I didn’t recognize some of them. I had to wonder who would recognize me:

And here’s Mary’s card that was part of the parcel sent:

I can only hope that those who get to read “Atlmd” don’t faint: it’s not a very Loreto kind of book.

Still, that was then, eh ?   :D

Here is the photo from the linked article, slightly improved on by me:

That was my school, alright: taken from the rear, probably from ‘the avenue’. It must’ve been some time after ’56, as the roof of the new classroom is seen on the left. It was a very fine old building, and my schooldays up to ’59 were equally fine: it was just my second final year of ’60 that wasn’t (and that wasn’t ALL bad !).

The photos from the reunion were not among the best Mary has ever taken, I think (without any wish to insult her ! – everyone knows I am the world’s worst photog. !); so I scanned ’em and sent ’em off to my invaluable friend Pike, up there in Finland. She did her thing, and that’s why you can see them without swearing.   {grin}

Yaaay for Pike – again ! Thank-you, you clever thing !

Addendum: how about two more photos, eh ? The first is the ’59 B&W class photo, in which you can see eleven of those in the big photo above. Test: pick ’em !   {grin}

The second is a photo of a few of us in, I THINK, ’76: whichever was the year that Stringer and I drove across the Nullarbor from Sydney to Perth to visit my mother to test-drive our new Toyota 4Runner. This time, there are sixin the color shot who are also in that big group shot. Do your best with that one, too !

On being published


Now that I’m done with the spruiking side of Atlmd, I have more time than ever to reflect upon – well, what’s gone down …

In all the talks I’ve given, I’ve been asked in the Q&A part afterwards about being published as opposed to doing the publishing oneself, and I’ve told the truth: the only difference is that it doesn’t cost the writer but the publisher.

In which case, you would think, said publisher would pull out all stops to recover outgoings …

Such is not the case – not only with me, who am the least self-effacing of clients, but with every single published writer whose work doesn’t instantly shoot to the top of the charts upon being released to the world. (And how this happens remains a mystery to me: I can only think that either the writer or the publishing company knows someone whose opinion carries weight and has ensured that it’s plastered everywhere upon the book’s release …) The enormous majority of we first-time writers are, simply, left to do our own thing as best we might.

But it’s even more negative than that in Australia.

Being up to me to try to arrange to get my book displayed within bookshops, rather than merely added to their shelves in whatever they thought was the appropriate area, I spent an unenviable time ’phoning them, all over the country. I was bold enough to ask them, too, to give me a venue for an author talk ! – more fool me. It was fairly soon obvious that no bookshop in the country had the slightest interest in even talking to me, let alone in going along with my suggestions. Bookshops don’t want to be badgered by authors: they want to (when they have to) hear from the publicity people from the publishing companies; and who could blame them ?! – that’s why there are publicity people, after all.

When I eventually realised that I was on my own, and decided to start trying to get myself accepted as a speaker in the Sydney area library circles, I found to my amazement and disgust that some libraries think as the bookshops do ! I could forgive the bookshops, because their income depends on attracting large numbers of people to come along, listen, and buy the book; but the libraries ? – they have no such excuse. Those that kid themselves that their reputations allow them only to invite famous writers to speak … well, not to put too fine a point upon it, they are delusional. And they are not doing their readers any service at all. Happily, there were many libraries with no such ludicrous ideas of their own importance, and felt that theirs matched mine.   :)

Then there were the reviewers: I approached a whole shitload of the known ones. And got nowhere. They, too, expect to be dealing with publishers’ publicity and marketing people. I was able, when sending along copies of my book to every ABC radio presenter whose show ever reviews or talks about books, to point out that I have been employed in several different areas of the ABC, in my time. Nothing interested them; and no-one could remember having received the book when I followed up by ’phone.

I was even told by some reviewers I met at Library Talks that s/he was in the process of writing up Atlmd – but nothing was ever seen. This I found a remarkable kind of lie, without anything to give it meaning.

You will, by now, think I’m a miserable whinger. Such is not my intention.

I wonder why this is the known pattern for first-time authors, all of whom have gone from the ecstatic joy of being contracted to publish their books to the utter misery of not knowing why their publishers ever made the offer. I am completely puzzled by the thought of the publishers’ outlays on the printing and distribution, followed by (apparently) a total lack of interest in even covering those outlays, let alone in making a profit.

For me, who outlaid something like $1,500 in undertaking a postgraduate degree, having my ms assessed and structurally edited AND joining a couple of writers’ organisations, and all because I wanted to present only the best possible version of my story to anyone potentially interested in it, it’s money down the drain. I don’t give a shit about that: income was never my motivation in wanting to be published. All I’ve ever sought is for people to read the book to understand what kind of man Stringer was – there aren’t too many like him.

But on the upside, you now comprehend how wonderful, thrilling, exciting, tear-jerking and utterly SUPER have been your reviews. Without them, and without the lovely comments from those still intending to read Atlmd, all would be as nought. I am in your debt forever.

Book clubs

I’ve just discovered that we have one in Pyrmont.

My experience of a book club is limited to one that I tried a few years ago, whereat I found that the opinions expressed were without exception entirely contrary to mine.

You’ll be amazed to learn that I didn’t give ’em all a spray and say as much: I merely kept my mouth shut and never went back.

If I went to this one, it would be for the porpoise of getting them to read MY book at some stage: is that simply too selfish for words ? Would I be being manipulative ?

I suspect I would.

Sighh …


Because of completely stuffing up the creation of my new blog in EXACTLY the same way that I did it last time !!!!!, nothing has yet happened on that front.

This one remains alone, alone-ee-o, pro tem.

Paula arrives tomorrow, staying for roughly 17 hours – during which we shall probably be glued to our computers in order for her to instruct me re Office 365, and me to instruct her re some fine details on WordPress.

I hope that before I age very much more, said WP will have been able to transfer my upgrades from the incorrectly-set-up-and-therefore-useless second blog to the finally-correct-but-now-only-semi-functional second blog.

If not, all I can say is

“Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
La-la how the life goes on;
And if you want some fun
Take ob-la-di ob-la-da …”

News of the day | week | month

I’m shutting down this blog’s activity level to … hibernatory ? Yes, that’s the best adjective. It should let you know that there won’t be a whole lot of posting happening in the foreseeable future (a phrase that most definitely should NOT exist, but does).

It’s time to let all that – stuff ! in those screengrabs wind down; but it doesn’t mean I’m going to leave the blog to die slowly.

Good grief, no ! – that would indicate that I cared nothing for all the history associated with my book about Stringer and me … all those people who have read it and reviewed or commented on it. As if I’d let all that rot down into nothing !

But from now on I shall be posting here ONLY when I have something genuinely relevant to the book or to Stringer to post about. Which means, of course, very much lessening of input.

You’re laughing at me, I know: saying “Yeah yeah – we’ve heard it all before !”, aren’t you ? And no-one could blame you. I’m someone who’s cried “Wolf !” once too often, and now you’re on to me.   ;)

Well. I mean to start another blog for the porpoise (the smiling one – remember her ?) of just … blogging. Nothing at all to do with the book. You’ll have to look for me, popping up somewhere. Maybe in your Reader, whose nose ?

I’ll still be here, just a whole shitload less. And I still love youse all!

CS monthly photo #14

Chic took this at an historical site near one of our gîte stays in a GORGEOUS town called Montrésor; and the site itself is called La Corroièrie (not frightfully easy to pronounce).

Not 100% this-morning, so I shan’t ramble on about this wonderful shot; other than to add that the whole of our stay in Montrésor was … heavenly.

The Smallening (7)

This-morning I weighed in at 98.8 kilos, dammit !

I say “dammit !” because the last two days saw me slowly cutting back on a lovely big drop. Sighh … That’s how it goes with losing weight, eh ? – in fact, as you can see from the spreadsheet, it was a whole week of strangeness, with the end result’s being a fairly pathetic 200g loss – not even the desirable 250g ! Still, I’m not suicidal or anything weird, largely because of a most amusing realisation that occurred at yesterday’s library talk …

I decided to wear a pair of black pants I’d had dry-cleaned a while ago. When I donned them, I thought “Oh, it must be these ones that need a belt” and found a black one. It did up, more or less, on the same hole; although I could’ve used the next one. Off I went on my nearly hour-long bus ride (yesyes, I did add more clothes !) and, duly arriving at the Castle Hill Library, set myself up. Hitched the trousers a bit; thought “This is irritating …” but forgot about it. Then.

After the talk – during which I sat – there was question-time, and I got up to come nearer to those who asked questions. And as I strode about a bit, waving my arms, I realised that my bloody trousers needed hitching. I hitched ‘em. Throughout the next 20 minutes I hitched the bastards every other minute and was infuriated by the fact that the crotch was half-way down my thighs. I wondered if my audience thought I was trying to look like a rapper, as the cuff area insinuated itself under the toes of my sandals and I nearly tripped for the umpteenth time.

I had to stop moving, and I found that difficult: I do like to walk around when I’m talking on my feet. But at the same time I was secretly hugely gratified by the realisation that me bum’s got a bit smaller. If ever there was a consummation devoutly to be wished, that’s it.



The ultimate address

Today is my final author talk.

You can read about it on my ‘Atlmd’ Events page, right down at the bottom, where you will find the Castle Hill Library’s very nice publicity poster about it.

Yup, this is IT – there will be no more unless someone pops out of the woodwork and puts in a request that’s irresistible.

It’s been a most interesting year of talking about my book, with the starting point being my total lack of knowledge as to what one actually talks ABOUT … I decided at the outset that people coming along to their library to listen to an author of whom they had never heard were very probably there because they, too, wanted to write a book; and that’s what gave me the framework for my talk.

It’s been absolutely successful, she said modestly. Well, it bloody HAS ! – from the audience reactions, not a single library could possibly have regretted having had me along to do my hectoring best; there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t been thanked by several (what does that word indicate, max., I wonder ?) of their members.

I haven’t heard a peep from Sutherland, btw, regarding the video. Makes me think that maybe I broke the camera’s lens …? Naah: it’ll turn up, at some stage.   :-\

Anyvays … When I get back home this-arvo, there will be some weight off my shoulders: no more lengthy train or bus-rides, no more starving because I forgot to have breakfast|lunch. No more being far too embarrassed to even try to sell copies of the book – DEO GRATIAS !!!!

Today’s birthday (Sucheta)

Sucheta lives in the western area of India, pretty close to Pakistan. I’ve been following her blog for a couple of months now; and so, of course, I’d be really happy for those of you who don’t know her to pop over and say hello, as well as wish her a happy birthday.

And those who do know her may not know it’s her birthday – so there you go !   :D

She has introduced me to several new blogs through her own interests, which means she must have damned fine taste, don’t you think ?   {grin}

So: a very happy birthday, Sucheta – and here’s your cake to share around:

The greatest punch-line ever

Kanzen’s re-blog from someone she follows relates, a little, to a short video I saw many months ago; now found in lots of places, it was through my subscription to Open Culture that I discovered it.

It’s from the late, amazing Alan Watts, a British philosopher who was (and still is) described as “a zen philosopher” – hence the music over the opening titles. This was a man who could speak in such complexity as to bewilder; but mostly did so with such simplicity as to fascinate.

Even though I, in my usual fashion, forgot it, it had insinuated itself into my mind; for reading the start of Kanzen’s friend’s post let me hear an echo … and I spent a good while searching for whatever it was I’d read on Open Culture. And, in triumph, I found it.

A young Italian man has posted it in HD, so of course I direct you to that version … And if you think it looks familiar, that’s because the accompanying animation was created by the men who make “South Park”. But I vastly prefer to close my eyes and simply – listen …

Talk about camouflage !!!

For we Aussies


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