Today I turn sixty, not the day you receive my newsletter but the day I wrote it. I’m slightly befuddled that this event has occurred, and glance suspiciously at those around me, as though the dubious honour has been transferred from someone else. There must be a mistake!
Ten years ago I celebrated with a sizeable party. It was my Belle Époque, but today I would rather eat nails (as my daughter so often says) than draw attention to myself. Being a “novelist” means staying in the shadows to observe and document, rather than hurling oneself into the centre of the action and making a dick of oneself.
I’m being ridiculously dry here as I’m no more a novelist than Gustave Flaubert was a hairdresser. Actually he may have been a hairdresser specialising in quiffs for all I know, as writing didn’t pay for the candles or a glass of honey mead. For crying out loud don’t take anything I say seriously or you will have to book yourself in for therapy.
Harking back to the first five decades of my life the human landscape didn’t vary much. I’ve since nestled into a steady rhythm of work and play in Melbourne and marvel at how diverse and rich my life is for the experience. I’m honoured to know so many creative and talented people whose extraordinary humour and largesse of spirit sustain me. I would be lying if I didn’t say those people keep me alert and young – in spirit even if the body is starting to crumple slightly (a lot?).
My daughter embodies the creative qualities to which I’m referring, and her inspired BINDLE the outcome of her talents and abundant energy. I’m honoured to be involved, albeit in a humble capacity.
Curiously many from my distant past have slipped into my life again as though they had just left the room and I’ve called out “your tea will get cold”. I love them for the shared memories and our easy unconditional acceptance of each other.
So dear readers (if you managed to get to the bottom of the page), creativity is a reward in itself, but march to the tune of your own drummer and do not be seduced into doing what others expect of you. They are mercurial beasts and can never be tamed.