My Books

  • Memoirs of a Young Bastard – Introduction

    Posted on June 5, 2012 by in My Books

    About the Burstall Diaries   Tim Burstall began keeping a diary in late 1953 when he was twenty-six, married with two small sons. The Burstalls and four other young families were building their mudbrick houses around a large dam on a hillside on the edge of Eltham, a ruggedly beautiful semi-rural area to the north-east of Melbourne. The husbands went to their jobs each day in the city and the wives worked at home looking after children, growing food, watering young fruit trees, milking goats, making ends meet. Tim Burstall set himself the discipline of writing 500 words a day and kept it up for three years, 368,000 words in all, observing, reflecting, story-telling and producing one of the most evocative and certainly the most comprehensive Australian diaries of modern times. Friends remember him quoting Isherwood: ‘I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking… Some day all of this will to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.’ * But diarists are not passive recorders. Burstall turned his gaze  mercilessly upon his immediate neighbours and wide circle of friends and acquaintances, the artists, writers, philosophers, musicians, academics at the parties and in the pubs of the day. …

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  • Cover of Wordlines

    Wordlines

    Posted on July 1, 2010 by in My Books

    The published introduction can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format here . WORDLINES a selection of recent Australian writing I returned to Australia not long ago after a three-year absence, much of it spent working and writing in the Middle East. This time the feeling of dislocation and disorientation lasted for months. I knew I’d brought it on myself, the price to be paid for staying away too long and becoming too engrossed in where I landed – in Amman where the azans from the mosque five times a day are almost drowned out by the roar of the planes flying into Iraq from a nearby airbase. Australia feels a very long way off. Perhaps it was At first I tried to keep tabs on what was happening in writing and publishing at home and writer friends occasionally emailed work-in-progress. I downloaded the Book Show and Late Night Live, The Australian’s Literary Review and copies of Meanjin arrived in my mailbox in the wall of the compound.  But my reading was more and more about the region I was in – its pluralism, the clotted history and layers of identity politics made worse by 9/11. The Crusades seen from the other …

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  • Other People’s Words

    Posted on March 1, 2001 by in My Books

    Chapter 4 – making books – as .pdf, available for viewing here.

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