Thursday, 17 September 2009


Pretending is fun. Last night at choir, I pretended I understood what those little black dots on lines were. Actually I do find them useful, and I sort of know what they mean, I just don't know their names. And when it comes to understanding how to find a note, or 'drop down a semitone' I'm seriously lost. But fortunately this is a community choir where there are many others in the same boat, so we all flounder along together.

Today I'll be listening to secondary school students order crepes in French. Although my paternal grandmother was half-Belgian (french speaking) and taught me a little French and I learned French at school for a few years, I retained little.

I'll be pretending.

Writing is all about pretending. For me, it's getting inside my character's head and pretending to be them, imagining what they will do next. I have pretended to be a boy who has a whole playground inside his cupboard, a girl who has six brothers (two more than I do) and a sheep who wants what's on the other side of the fence. I don't think about what they look like, just what they'll do. I'll confess to having used 'pretend' to rewrite my personal history, or even just to revisit it. I once moved a Papua New Guinea river to just a few kilometres away from a Wimmera farm. In another story, I successfully trained an untrainable dog. In yet another, I saved a healthy street tree from the chainsaw. (In life, I was too late. And I didn't mention the frontpage picture in the paper of me standing on the stump.)

Today I'm buried in early Australian settlement history. Non fiction. Yes, but I still need pretend. Only by pretending can I begin to imagine what life must have been like then.

It's all about pretending.

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