“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of fictional dads that doesn’t lead with Atticus Finch, so here he gets a category all of his own. This guy had it all. A lawyer raising two kids, teaching them to be real humans (the audacious character of Scout alone is testament to his fathering abilities) and defending the indefensible from the vilest aspects of human nature, all the while dispensing ageless advice to his children on the front porch of their Alabama home.
Last weekend Byron Bay hosted one of the largest writer’s festivals in Australia, with three days of marquee action in the Byron Arts & Industry Estate and many more satellite events and workshops in the surrounding area. Writer’s festivals are a sublime experience, crammed with ideas and reflections on culture, politics and current events as well as the wonder of fictional worlds and the nuts and bolts of the writing profession. As usual I returned home with a stack of new books to add to my bedside pile, all bearing the scribble of their maker and some rare insight into their creation.
For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops.
– Karl Ove Knausgård, Min Kamp
It seems, beyond all reasonable conjecture, that the latest literary sensation is not epic fantasy or young adult drama or even adult colouring books, but something altogether new and unexpected — a Nordic fictional memoir in six volumes.
You heard right. A six-volume memoir. Why, you may ask, would anyone’s life be worth six volumes of text, let alone someone who is only several decades into his life? And then, more to the point, why on earth would anyone want to read the whole damn thing?
In 1816 a cohort of England’s finest writers, who also happened to be great buddies, spent a summer holidaying in the countryside near Geneva in Switzerland. Little did they know that the leisurely cross-pollination of their immense creativity would bring forth some of the darkest and most extreme concepts of humanity the world had seen, spawning works that would go on to change the literary landscape forever.
Let’s start at the beginning.
That’s what you want, right? That’s why we’re here?
Damn. I’ll be honest, that still hurts. Got a nice swing to that left, haha.
Ok, you’re right. You ask the questions, I’m the one in the chair with the broken nose. Pretty sure it’s broken anyway. You been practicing?
Hey, all I’m saying is, it’s been a while. Hasn’t it? It’s been a while.
So I’m reading Martin Amis, because we all have to at one point or other. For some reason considered part of today’s ‘canon’, his name gets thrown around with the likes of Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes, company that should already set the alarm bells ringing.
At the moment I can’t seem to get away from thinking about the barriers people erect against their own intrinsic desires, and I find myself returning to this idea constantly as I write and think and observe the people around me. What I see, mostly, is the main barrier to people’s happiness is themselves.
Chris Rock hosts a night of notable whiteness. At least there are some controversial topics explored in the films on the table, and some tension in long-nominated artists we’re all hoping will finally go home with a golden boy tonight.
My pre-ceremony thoughts:
- Mark Ruffalo is brilliant. Spotlight is brilliant. They need to win.
- Leonardo DiCaprio saw me through my youth with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Romeo & Juliet, and Titanic. He is LONG OVERDUE for this award. For goodness sake someone give it to him.
- So many Australian nominations, mainly because of the highly acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road. Let’s see if it can be the next Ben Hur/Titanic. Hooray for us!!
So, have you heard the news?
Maybe not. I stumbled across it accidentally on Twitter just this morning, but publishers and marketing departments the world over are scrambling to declare that this hitherto unexpected event has broken the internet and set millions, if not billions, of hearts a-flutter right across the known muggle universe.
In another long list of ill-informed ‘facts’ about Millennials, today’s edition of The Weekend Australian leads the front page with an article declaring that Gen Y would rather bow to the queen than a republic, or something like that (I would link to the article but it’s beyond their paywall because, you know, their rock-hard research is so valuable).