All I ever really wanted to do from a very early age was write, and by the time I left school, I hadn’t changed my mind. But this was a very long time ago when children still listened to their parents’ advice, and mine pointed out that it might be wise to go to university first and rack up a few qualifications, to help me keep the wolf from the door until I acquired fame and fortune as a literary genius.
So I did (for a while, though not long enough to rack up the qualifications, but that’s another story), and while I was there, I verified once and for all what I had always suspected: that I would never write The Great Australian Novel.
This knowledge, I have to say, didn’t fill me with great despair or a sense of failure. I didn’t want to write The Great Australian Novel. In order to be The Great (Anywhere) Novel, your precious opus must be acclaimed by the literati and the intelligentsia, and to achieve that, it must be so deep and meaningful it borders on the opaque – if indeed, it doesn’t fall right over the edge.
This is all well and good if literary opacity floats your boat, but it never did float mine – much to the horror of my eldest sister, who lectured me long and often on the subject. She seemed to think that since I had the intelligence to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this stuff, I owed it to (someone/something unspecified) to do so (but that is also another story).
As for writing deep and meaningful opacity – I don’t have it in me. Deep as a puddle – meaningful as pollie-speak – opaque as clear glass – who knows. What I do know is that if I sat here trying, I’d be bored so rigid I’d be spending any potential profits on visits to the chiropractor.