Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wilds of Toowoomba2

Okay here I am out in the middle of nowhere. Now I'm sure Toowoomba is a nice place if you have friends here, cool and crisp and surrounded by the kind of Australian landscape you see in art galleries. The Heidelberg School of Australian landscape. You know that triptych of the couple in the bush - it looks like it's the turn of the century, she's in a long ragged dress and he looks like a woodcutter or something. In the first picture she's holding a baby, in the third she's kneeling in front of a grave. Both the baby and the woodcutter are missing from the third image. Who died? Both of them? Or have they just gone for a walk and left her at the grave of a much loved kitten or something?

I have a pile of reading and jobs I could be doing tonight but I suspect I will just go and get takeaway and read my very trashy novel. It's about a fashion journalist who's trying to solve a crime. Poorly written, overly flowery. No one says anything, it's all 'he exclaimed' and 'she gasped' and 'they chorused'. Tiring, all that declaiming with great energy.

I'm not sure whether I came up with this thought - i suspect not, I suspect it's something i read in one of my 'how to write' books, but I think good writing is like a window. You don't notice it unless it's all grubby or bad quality. The reader should be able to look straight through the writing to the story beneath.

This leads me to Jeanette Winterson who is a beautiful writer, her writings are works of art. But I can't see through them to the story behind. i like her stuff anyway, it's like looking at a stained glass window. but it's the writing I'm reading, not the story.

I want to write a trashy novel. Not trashy as in badly written but trashy as in popular. None of this high literature for me. I want a lot of people to buy it and devour it, not be able to put it down, stay up til 2am turning pages, their partner crossly mumbling, 'Turn the light out, wouldja?'

The group I was training today was fine. I only had nine. i find once the group gets below twelve, it's much harder work - there's not enough variety and energy to keep the conversations flowing. As alwyas, I'm teaching them stuff they basically already know - principles of working with people with mental illnesses - even if people haven't had much training, they don't stay in the field for long unless they are basically on the right track. although maybe I'm getting a skewed sample. Probably the duds self-screen out - they sya, 'training ha! I don't need training' or words to that effect.

I'm already fantasising about my evening curled up with my book and takeaway dinner - maybe Thai. I will do some of my jobs but not enough, not as many as I should. I always have too many jobs on.

I'm the organiser of the film night this month. The film is ordered (although I can't remember what it is), organising basically means doing the publicity and setting up on the day. Unfortunately it clashes with something else i really want to typical. It's strange. I don't have things on every Saturday evening (those days are well and truly behind me!) but the film night always seems to clash with something else.

The films are held in a draughty little hall in the nearby town. It's very cute. The seats are incredibly uncomfortable so we all have to remember to take cushions. We get in old films (partly because new ones are prohibitively expensive - I wanted to get some foreign recent releases but they cost thousands to use for a night) like original Pink Panther or 2001 Space Odyssey or Alfred's a good way of watching some films that I wouldn't otherwise borrow. But mainly I go to connect with the local community. Living in a country area is not the hive of connection that it is reputed to be. We all live on our properties hidden from view and drive everywhere - down to the shops, to visit friends and so on. I try and go for a walk each morning so there are a few people I regularly bump into, the other walkers. But mostly we are all in our little hidden away worlds. There is only one local shop, a general store that sells one of everything, so people drive half an hour to shop in the nearest town. I suppose the people with children would meet people through the schools, but even then, many of the people I know don't send their kids to the local 35-kid school, but to the bigger schools in town.

My point is that I imagined that living in the country would be a lot more connected than it is. I had an image of everyone knowing each other...Lovergirl and I went away for a few days last week and we were wracking our brains trying to think of someone nearby to come and feed the goldfish! We have lots of friends, I don't want to give the impression that we are sad sack loners sitting at home polishing our home made bombs and planning the next high school massacre, but all our friends are a decent drive away. Half an hour is a long way to drive to give one flake of fishfood to a goldfish (probably cheaper to buy another goldfish than spend the money on petrol....)

I'm wishing i had some deep insight into the world to offer right now. i'd love to do one of those sharply observational satirical columns, on the existential angst of the modern person, but tonight there is no depth to me.

Best go and get my takeaway Thai then I think!

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