I was prompted to pull this book from my personal library just the other day when I was struggling to find an appropriate field study for my MFA program.
The book was first copyrighted in 1976 which meant it took my father, ostensibly, seven years to write it given that we moved to the Sapphire Fields in 1970. In truth, though, it took my father little more than half his life to get back to what he understood at fourteen was his destiny: to write and in doing so to indulge his love of history.
My father’s struggle to return to the work he loved required a drastic move to a life off the grid, a life of renewed courage, independence and enterprise. Or, as he once put it, “…where you can’t just be running off to the shop every time you need something.”
The resolution to my own struggle, I have realized, has been a matter of letting go of, tuning out, even ignoring the many distractions and side tracks that living on the grid can produce. Only then did the path to my field study show itself.
One day soon I’ll set my own work of non-fiction beside that of my father’s on my library shelf. A greater ambition, though, is to one day receive the same rejection letter his Aussie mother received after submitting her first and only novel to publishers in England: too risqué!
Australia though time. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government
AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. The University of Queensland
National Library of Australia