Tuesday, 9 January 2018


There is such an immensity of sources that I could go to for advice about how to write fiction that I feel quite proud of myself for having thus far managed to avoid them all. I suppose it won't last and one day I will inadvertently overhear or read something that'll be so compelling that I won't be able to set it  aside. What's helping me make progress is just thinking about how certain novels are put together and how they work. I've also mostly resisted the temptation to read, whether to refresh my memory of how books I admire meet certain challenges, or whether it's to find new models. I do plan to reread some of Mary McCarthy's memoirs and fiction but I've decided to wait until specific questions present themselves.

The question of whether it can really be called fiction when it's drawn so directly from my own experience is not as agitating as I thought it might be. I'm aiming for a kind of tapestry with a quite artificial (purposeful) design but it's woven of natural materials. Some of what is currently on the loom involves representations of real people, naturally, and I suppose I'll need to think all that through. Ethics & that. They were and are real but I'm treating them as fictional. I used Facebook to investigate two men who I knew, separately, when I was about 18 and they were five and ten years older. I barely recognised them and they looked disorientingly old and unremarkable. It seemed that the versions of these people that I remembered belonged all the more completely to me to do with as I please, but at the same time it was a peculiar thing to realise that they'd continued on with their lives.

This morning I spent some time cruising around some of the nearer addresses where events I'm working with took place. More or less what I plan on doing in Warrnambool tomorrow (in between meals) and the next day (likewise, in between meals). Today was a practice and a trial to see what might come of obviously unnecessary "research" consisting of going somewhere, looking at it and thinking about it, but also about thinking over how these places were connected and how they contributed to the back-and-forth oscillation between Warrnambool and Melbourne that defined my life during some important and interesting years.


It was surprisingly hard to find the last one.

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