March 2020

Hello again, and thank you for dropping by.

What a dramatic beginning to 2020 with fire, flood and pestilence - one can only hope the remainder of the year is free from disasters. I sincerely hope you all stayed safe and remain so.

For me, the year got off to a busy start, as I prepare for the Seniors’ Week presentations at Sunshine Coast Libraries later in the year. Despite the workload there is much to look forward to.

Work is also progressing with my On-line Memoir Writing Course. At the moment there are two people testing it out for me to see if it is easy to follow, and if they are comfortable with my direction. There are still two more places open until the end of March if anyone is interested in being a guinea pig for me. There are five modules which will be totally free for the first two people to get in touch. I just ask for some feedback on the content of the course. It is based on my latest book, and if you check out the video on the front page of this website, you can learn more about what it will entail.

I sometimes wonder who coined the term ‘retirement’ for the time when one leaves the paid workforce. One of my memoir writing groups voted to begin an additional class this year, and decided to try their hand at fiction writing. I was blown away by the standard of stories they produced. Far from relaxing and taking it easy over the summer break, it was obvious they had put a great deal of time and effort into their writing to produce some outstanding short stories. ‘Retirement’ does not mean lack of enthusiasm for that group. They certainly set the bar high, and I need to lift my game to keep up with them.


To begin my book recommendations, for the year I thought as a change, I should choose something humorous, so here are the two books I purchased with the gift card I received from my writing group for Christmas. Both totally different in content, but both had me laughing out loud in places, and that has to be a good beginning to any reading year.

The first one is Tall Tales and wee stories by Billy Connelly. I have always been in two minds about his comedy, mainly because of his overuse of the ‘F’ word, but I do admire his sense of the ridiculous, and his ability to tell a good monologue. Anyone who can make an audience roar with laughter as he can is surely permitted a wee fault here and there. Most of the stories here are from his stage shows and are written with the same spontaneity. Conjure up Billy’s Glaswegian voice as you read, and you become a privileged audience of one. Just don’t read this book in public - particularly if you feel embarrassed about laughing out loud.

The second book Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James was one I read some years ago, but prompted by the death of the author a few months ago, I felt it was time for a second read, particularly as memoir is my chosen focus now. I was not disappointed even though much of the content had remained familiar to me. Packed with laugh-out-loud stories, Clive’s astute and gentle humour brings alive the Sydney of the fifties and sixties, to the point where one wishes to be back there in a time when life was simpler, and fun was self-made. Who could not roar with laughter at Clive’s description of the billy cart derby? Who could not read his comments of self-depreciation and not recognise their younger self? But perhaps the last word should go to Clive himself as he comments on the book he wrote in 1980.

I was lucky enough to write a book which drew upon Australia’s uniqueness. So really a nation, and not a growing boy, is the book’s true subject; and the secret of why something I wrote on the spur of a moment has never been out of print in all this time.

May you rest in peace Clive – your brilliance will be greatly missed.

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