Tag Archives: Dear Madman

BACK ON THE HORSE THAT THREW ME

The horse that threw me

The horse that threw me

 

I’ve been writing a long time now. In 2002 when my children were small, I first dedicated time each day to a creative writing practice and used to spend naptime typing in a fury to complete a novel.

Since then my beautiful babies have grown into young adults and I’ve written another five full length manuscripts, one of which has been published.

Not for want of trying.

Much as I try to convince myself that rejections hurt less over time, it’s a lie and I know it.

The elephant hide I’ve tried so hard to develop has worn as thin as an old cotton sheet in places, tearing at the slightest tug. I’ve tried to chuck it all in, get a normal job like other people. But that hasn’t exactly gone to plan either.

I want to write. I still want to write. It’s how I make sense of the world. How my brain works best, what I enjoy most, get most satisfaction from, what I’m best at.

And so today, I’m dragging out the last half-baked rewrite of “Dear Madman” and seeing what I can salvage. If I can figure out how to give it the voice and form it longs for.

I’m scared of that horse, it’s big and fiery-eyed and stomping its hoofs. But I’m getting back on, goddamn it! I’m going to cling to its mane as it bucks and twists; it won’t throw me again. I’m going to ride it, as fast as I can, as far as I can, wind in my hair

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WRITING ABOUT FAMILY

Here’s a great blog post on Jane Friedman’s site by US writer, Benjamin Vogt about digging deep to find the richness of your family stories.

In it he talks about how recent research is discovering how the emotional lives of our ancestors, the life events that shaped them and their psychological traits, can be passed on from generation to generation.

This is exactly the reason I am writing “Dear Madman”, a story that springs from the tragic murder of my grandmother’s sister as a child in rural South East Queensland. I researched not only my own family history, but also that of the man who killed her, discovering that there are indeed many sides to every story and most importantly – that if we wish to protect our children from the imprint of such trauma we need to understand and forgive the perpetrators of crimes, not for their sake but for ours.

Laidley Corn Day

Laidley Corn Day

I learned that, more than the horrific crime itself, it was my family’s inability to forgive the madman and God for allowing such a thing to happen, that had the most impact on future generations. On me. When I learned that my Great Aunt had never again entered a church after the death of her sister, I understood that feeling deep in my being. However, I’ve learned enough now to know that distrust and anger at Life only hurts ourselves. The madman found his own way to forgiveness and a kind of peace, my ancestors unforgiveness imprisoned them forever.

And so, back to work on it!

 

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