Sunday, December 20, 2009

Music from another Country: Reader reactions

Now that my book Music from another Country has reprinted and been read by quite a number of people, I have been receiving reader feedback. Mostly, this has been very positive and even when it hasn't been, it has been constructive.
It is gratifying for writers to receive readers' comments on their work. One card said: "I sat up in bed the other morning, and cried as I finished your beautiful book. It made me think about relationships that I've had and secrets that I keep . . . Thank you." That helped make the years of writing the book, the research and the many rejections before the book was finally published worthwhile.
And the indignant reader who was put out with me because she started crying on the train when she was reading my book has started me off on a story about a woman who starts crying on a train while reading a book.
There are some storylines on Music from another Country that some readers may find confronting, but I don't apologise for that. No-one has to read the book. But I hope those that do find it was worth it to persevere.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anita's New Book Manhattan Dreaming

My friend and buddy the multi-talented Dr Anita Heiss took me out to lunch yesterday as a sort of personal farewell from my role as Executive Director at the Australian Society of Authors. I tried to pay my way, but Anita insisted, and so we enjoyed a very pleasant chit-chat and meal in the air-conditioned space of Cafe Otto in Glebe. It was a 43 degree Celsius day, so the air conditioning was very welcome, if environmentally unsound.
I couldn't help but remember that I was sitting just a few doors down from 67 Glebe Point Road, where Gay Liberation had its headquarters in 1973 when I turned up at the door and my life took the course it has. That was a major change, and my relocation to Armidale to teach writing at the University ofNew England in 2010 will be another one.
It's a relief to have friends like Anita to help keep everything in balance. Her new book, Manhattan Dreaming, is out from Random House next year. I'm looking forward to reading it. Anita has so much style and wit in her writing. You laugh even as she's (metaphorically) slapping you about the head.