I went to GOMA today – the Gallery of Modern Art, in Brisbane. It didn’t have one of its blockbuster displays, but every so often I find I need an input of Culture, perhaps to offset the outputting I do when I’m writing. And for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of my next narrative non-fiction manuscript. Working title? Still a secret. No, that’s not the working title; what I mean is that I haven’t made up my mind and/or I want the title to be a surprise when (if) it hits the bookshops. Besides the (potential) publisher might want to change it. Watch this space.
Anyhow, here are a couple of pics of me at GOMA, one with a moover and shaker (sorry, couldn’t resist that), made from empty beef tins, and one in front of a clever bit of work by Robert MacPherson that he dedicates to a group of fisherman known as the ‘Swamp Rats’. Note how some of the words on the signs slide down to the next line, as if he ran out of room.
Earlier in the week I attended the launch of Books From Our Backyard, an initiative of the Queensland Writers Centre, with state government funding, to try to list all the books published the previous year that were written by Queenslanders or by authors resident in that State. Commercial, self-published, e-books, all get a go. I’m fortunate to have two listings in the glossy catalogue: Hustling Hinkler, and Extending Your Use-By Date. More movers and shakers there, including author Nick Earls, but no cows.
I was pleased to see that my Perth-based friend Dawn Barker’s book, Let Her Go, has hit the bookshops, and no doubt will sell as well as her debut book last year, Fractured. I picked up my copy of Let Her Go at Dymocks Bookshop Indooroopilly, a couple of suburbs away. Another writer friend, Charlotte Nash, will be at the Indooroopilly Library on 15 July to talk about her recently released book, Iron Junction.
My next piece of non-fiction (apart from my academic publications, which are constantly on the agenda) is an essay in the forthcoming issue of the literary magazine,Griffith Review, whose theme is ‘The way we work’. My article is called, ‘Working Late: creating encore careers’, which is a bit more laid back than the title of another article in the same issue, by Elizabeth Woods, ‘Fit in or f**k off’. Needless to say, there’s a range of fascinating and sometimes provocative articles. In my paper, I argue that as so-called Baby Boomers come to recognise their increasing longevity, and that that cognitive and physical decline for many is generally not as rapid as they feared, this large cohort of older people are increasingly looking for meaningful activities in the third age of life that will make use of their years of life and work experience. Which includes me.
That’s probably enough culture for now. Back to the manuscript.