News - Both Sides of the Story

Phil Collins released Both Sides of the Story in 1993. It was a catchy song, but I remember it more for the music video. Scenes of homelessness, domestic violence, military patrols on streets and a ghetto kid mugging a white man, juxtaposed with Collins crooning, We need to hear both sides of the story.

On the vexed question of the ideal frequency for posting to blogs, Problogger's Darren Rowse suggests it "varies considerably from blog to blog" (June 2008). I've been tardy with the frequency of my posts recently, not because I haven't been writing. But because I've been busy writing presentations.

My wife and I visited Turkey in 1988. We had endured our first English winter and spent two-weeks hugging the coastal sites and sunny beaches. We returned in 1990, venturing far from the coast, to the mountains of eastern-Turkey, where Kurds befriended us, and we learned a little of Kurdish culture.

In a recent blog post, I discussed how I'd repurposed a short story written for a writer's circle in the early-1990s. The tutor panned it at the time as "too vague", but I still liked aspects of the writing. So I cut out the "vague" bits and changed the tense from past to present for more immediacy.

In 1998 I started an eight-week evening college course, Introduction to Philosophy. I was in my mid-thirties and was aware of philosophers, of course. But I hadn't read their works and knew nothing about critical thinking. Our text was Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. And our tutor was a Marxist.

In a purple patch of writing in my early thirties, I churned out ideas and outlines for short stories and longer-form fiction almost daily. I was childless back then and had little to distract me from my notebook and keyboard. Some of my "churn" developed beyond half-baked plots — none was published.

In these heady days of Google, Wikis, forums, YouTube and social media, it's hard to believe technical books once sat on the desks of computer programmers. But old-timers, like me, recall when having a reference book at hand was invaluable for learning a language, solving a problem and keeping your job.

Award-winning author Anna Funder discussed her 2003 bestseller Stasiland on the Better Reading podcast in February 2019. Having visited Berlin in 1987 and 1995, her book on the East German secret police piqued my interest. It wasn't on the shelf at my local bookshop, but I did find All That I Am.

The Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia's premier prize for literature. And I've read four of the ten books on the Miles Franklin longlist for 2019: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, A Stolen Season by Rodney Hall, Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills and The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen.

What could be easier than writing a piece based on travel journal entries from seven nights my wife and I spent in Moscow and St. Petersburg? Well, for a start, it was way back in 1993, and I was still finding my "writer's voice". Many of the entries are inconsistent, and some downright embarrassing.

My first Tim Winton was Cloudstreet, bought in 1992, just after he'd won his second Miles Franklin Award. I've since added ten more Wintons to my bookcase. I enjoyed reading each book, but, for me, none had the wow impact of Cloudstreet. And then I read Winton's latest novel, The Shepherd's Hut. Wow!

It was my birthday recently. My brother and sister-in-law gave me a charity gift of 1000 pencils to be sent by Unicef to children in need to help further their education. The gift reminded me of my backpacking days, travelling in East Africa, and being beset by kids begging for pens and pencils.

On January 11, 2018, I launched a book covers and first sentences series on Instagram with On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I celebrated the 300th post on March 22, 2019, with The Natural World of New Zealand by Gerard Hutching. All books are from my bookcase. So much for Marie Kondo's 30-book rule!

Page 1 of 5
Load More

tallandtrue pixabay freeimages