Missing Footnotes is a year old this month. The first post, Why It’s Taken Four Decades to Tell My Story, was published on 7/02/2017 and forty-four blogs and news items have followed. I’d never envisaged having a blog, but when I finished my manuscript, All Stations to Waterfall, I had a passion to keep writing.
Did you listen to your mother’s tales when you were small? Your life still in single digits, did you snuggle beside her on a sofa or cuddle up talking together in bed? Those hallowed, heavenly days when nothing could harm you with her by your side.
I opened the door a smidgen and looked out. Coming towards me was a guy over 180cms, built like a triangle pivoting on one point, in a military looking outfit, with a gun clipped to his belt and his eyes looking straight at me. He entered, alone.
Do you have a sinking feeling and wonder “Why me?” when you’re singled out of the security line in an airport? Returning from a conference in Spain recently my son said he was pulled out for full security checks at several airports and asked “What is about me that makes them pick me out?” I had no idea. But I know why I’m dragged out every time; I’m an amputee.
We’re constantly laying down memories. The rich experiences of our lives are stashed away in our minds in a seemingly impossible way. It’s so simple, so automatic, and so much! Recalling memories is where it gets complicated.
I look forward to the Byron Writers Festival every year—a feast of ideas, books and food in an idyllic place. This year’s Festival was as fantastic as ever.
I was determined my foot would survive and I’d walk again, but the medical prognoses were guarded. My unbudgable belief was simply the magical thinking of a child—but the magical thinking of a child can be powerful; it sustains hope against hope and without that we’re vulnerable to helplessness, despair and depression.
In my second last year of high school I met with a careers adviser. She wasn’t a lot of help—saying I could do anything I wanted. I knew I couldn't. My doctor had put me on an invalid pension the year before and told me, as a result of an accident when I was eleven—when my foot went in a moving wheel of a train—I’d never have the physical capacity to work.
I’m lucky. I can have my own personal Writer’s Retreat any time I like. Let me show you a place that’s very special to me.
I joined a room full of participants early on a Saturday morning in Sydney. Winter sun slanted through a bank of windows facing east. “Put up your hand if you’ve ever felt like killing someone.” A forest of hands filled the room. “Now put up your hand if you have.” All our arms stayed low. I looked around the room. Judging by the response to the first instruction, I was surrounded by people with homicidal and suicidal ideations. We’re here to share our deepest emotions over the next seven hours.