I’m pretty feral. Writing novels suits a feral lifestyle. I can write wherever I am. I wrote parts of One Dead Seagull at Tarra Bulga National Park. Parts of the sequel were written under gaslight in the Outback. The tools of the trade are simple – for me it’s a pen and paper for the first draft then I take all the papers and stuff them into my computer. The technicians at Apple said that ‘damage caused by inserting hand written manuscripts into a CD drive is not covered under warranty’ so I had to learn how to tipe’;k.
I started writing when I was in kinder. My name… a few swear words like ‘Collingwood’ and ‘Religion’. My first talked about piece of writing came when I was in Grade five at Grey Street Primary School in Traralgon. Mrs Clavarino (name not changed because I thought it was a great name then and still do) intercepted a note that someone else wrote to Kerrie. It said, ‘David wants to give you a truck’. I edited it, trying to give the note the spice it was looking for. Mrs Clavarino showed the principal and I got a stern talking to and a note sent home that had to be signed by my parents. I was shit scared of what my mum and dad would do if they found out that I was writing swear words at school. Maybe cut my 20-cents-a-fortnight pocket money. Maybe ban me from watching ‘Monkey Magic’ or worse… ‘Dr Who’. I staged this elaborate ‘signature collecting assignment’ where I folded the note over and got Mum to sign it. Mr Principal Dude asked me what Mum and Dad thought and I garbled something about them being disappointed.
Dad and I walked to the library and on the way he asked me how everything was going at school and that. Yeah cool, great. Doing great work and that… good friends. What was this thing Mr Principal Dude was talking about? he asked me. Whu? The thing about swearing at school… My face went purple and I started bawling. Sprung.
So I’m making up for it now using real stories and language from the mouths of young people to put a spin of realism in my work. Writing is good and clean. Sometimes it’s bloody hard. Sometimes I can’t keep up with my thoughts. When it all comes together it feels like jumping off a really high ledge into water and the buzz can last days. When it turns to shit, I wish I never gave up life modelling.
Write brutal, write brief.