Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dear Author, I feel like I know you because I read your book.


What am I talking about?

Well, you know that moment when you first read a book and you just completely lose yourself in it? You know that feeling you get when you think of that book long after you closed the last page, and you remember exactly when and where you read that book?

I remember reading John Marsden's 'Tomorrow' series when I was a young teenager, and I remember reading the series for the second time and thinking "fuck, I wish I could read this part again for the first time", as there's nothing quite like not knowing, and then knowing, and the pleasure of feeling that for the first time.

More recently, earlier this year, in fact, I read a book and I can tell you where I was when I read it, and while the author may not have any association at all between the book and the place, those two will always share an intimate relationship as the place I first read that book.

Dorothy Porter's 'The Monkey's Mask'. I was on a plane going from Perth to Melbourne. I first heard about it last year at uni, it came up in my creative writing class and we read the first probably half dozen poems from the book. I'd been keeping an eye out for it when I went book shopping. It was quite the coincidence that I'd find it in a book store at the Perth domestic airport.

So I bought it and I started reading it in the terminal, waiting for the flight. I got through most of it on the plane, and I finished it in the hotel that night. That flight to Melbourne was running on Dorothy Porter time. That time was all about her words, her poetry, her made-world.

And now, as I attempt to write a verse novel of my own, I find the sheer possibility of it all rather comforting, that, maybe, with some dedicated hard work, maybe a bit of talent, a bit of luck, maybe someone will see my book in an airport bookstore and read it on the plane, and forever associate my words with that flight...


  1. Nice sentiment. I know the feeling really well. Lord of the Flies for me will always = a balcony in the Swiss Alps. Bliss.
    And verse novel? I'd never even really considered the style... Sounds really interesting.

  2. Tomorrow? Yeah, I need to see it too. I hope they didn't fuck it up. And I hope people aren't all like OMG I LUVVVV THE TOMORROW SERIES, which book is your favourite? BOOK? IT'S A MOVIE RETARD.

    Also, I think I did this link right:
    That's an excerpt of the Monkey's Mask. I've got nine poems down, finished the prologue last night. I really like it because it's not as strenuous as writing a novel and you've got more room for word play.

  3. Nope, link fail: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=ztk_gfDfyWAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+monkey%27s+mask&source=bl&ots=zZMe6e0-n4&sig=62Gkj3kuF3OqYOQ48cLPUD90plQ&hl=en&ei=HKl9TO3qE5CjcY7bhcgJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

  4. I didn't know you studied Monkey's Mask at uni too...I always figured you just read it coz I told you too :P

    I had one of those wish I could read it again for the first time moments when I read Little Women. I read that book once a year for quite a number of years. Then I lost the book. Actually, it was at the beach house, and now I have it again. Mine, all mine... muhahahahahaha.

  5. It wasn't an in depth study, it was just the first few poems from the book when I was studying poetry in creative writing last year. And my tutor made his recommendation for the book, and, yeah, you too.

    I haven't read many books more than once. Book change when you read them for the second time, and while you pick up things the second time around that you don't on the first run, I feel the first time is always the most exciting, it's all so new and maybe I think I'll tarnish that image of the book, that first impression of the first reading? I don't know, but I've got enough books to read through once as it is, let alone read them again and again.