I’ve been leafing over short stories lately because I’m time-poor. I can commit to a whole story without knowing I’ll have to tear myself away and wade back in repeatedly. Earlier this year, I picked up two books of short works simultaneously: Shooting the Fox by Marion Halligan, and The Invisible Thread, an anthology celebrating 100 years of writing in Canberra, edited by Irma Gold. Halligan’s short stories entice me to keep the book by my bedside. I’ve read the collection one story at a time, often aloud to my partner before sleep, and always in the same setting. It […]
Archives for July 2013
A few years ago I stopped keeping books by my bedside. I could no longer bear the constant reminder, last thing at night—a time when the mind is vulnerable to suggestion—that I was a failure; principally because of a then-inability to finish reading a book. Every night was the same, with an unfortunate compulsivity attached to the process, not dissimilar to falling in (and out) of love. Night would fall and the time for reading seemed ripe. I’d carefully select a new book, caress its spine in readiness for a little under the covers fun, thinking yes, this is it, […]
Kim Mahood returns to Tanami desert country.
I’ve just finished The Go Between, by L.P. Hartley, which begins with the timeless: ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ It’s a line that has been endlessly appropriated, reworked and plagiarised over the years, and the perfect start to a book, so perfect that it carries the book for another 180 pages of a rather turgid study in English manners. I have this theory that if you start strong and finish strong, you can get away with almost anything. The world forgets Tom Buchannan but will never forget Gatsby’s green light. With ‘Lolita, light of […]
The unending battle between superhero and villain
I’m reading, yes, but first I’m tossing coins. They must be three coins of the same size and weight so when they are thrown in the air fate has an even chance. If there’s a shortage on loose change, three flattened bottle tops will do, though coins are better. Here, heads have a value of three and tails have a value of two. I’m consulting the I Ching or Book of Changes whose first layers of text have been traced to the end of the 2nd millennium BC. The version I have in hand is the one you would find […]
A few weeks ago when I was first asked the question: What are you reading? I had a really, really good answer. I was reading a contemporary Australian novel, and I was loving it. I would write a nice feel good piece about new Australian writing, the type of writing assignment that when finished makes you feel like you’ve swum twenty laps or eaten a particularly good sandwich. But this feel good experience was taken away from me in a cruel turn of events when I received an email from a producer in Sydney saying we had funding for a […]