No drawing started as yet for Catch Him by His Name, my graphic novel that has been in the works since 1988. Sorting through my diaries and other material is like swimming through a kelp forest with floating strands pulling me one way or another.
I am drowning in possibilities, some worthy others egocentric, in my pursuit of my story. I don’t say this as a boast, it is a more about my commitment to an idea, and the personal struggles associated in deciding if this or that tells the story.
I am my own editor, at the moment.
My psyche is taking a bashing sorting through my life and the lives of others dear to me; selecting, discarding, and reselecting, only to discard again. Progress is slow.
We all have stories. In the end, it’s what you want to say and who you want to tell it to.
“In 1949 my mother I boarded the Oransay to travel to London. The ocean liner ship was huge. The engines always rumbled and the decks smelt of tar. There were men in blue uniforms with stripes of gold. The quoits were too heavy for me to play without humiliation. Each throw falling short. The fun things were for adults like the racing racks of mechanical horses- players winding their favourite jockey colours along hidden wires. Money must have been involved.”
Do I keep or do I discard?
“I know this happened: Boys swimming up to the side of Oransay in the bay of Bombay, Ceylon (Mumbia/Sri Lanka). Black haired heads bobbing in the dirty water waiting for passengers to toss their foreign coins into the water. Some passengers decided to ‘make’ the boys work for their coin by tossing dull pennies instead of shiny shillings or sixpences into the murky water. Each time, the duck-diving swimmers would rise from the water with a coin between their teeth no matter its gleam. This reminds me of a story GS told me when he was in Vietnam, of soldiers amusing themselves by throwing lollies into a crowd of kids, laughing as they scrambled for a share; or the story of Charlie C’s of the priest in his orphanage who handed the children one unshelled peanut if they were good little children.”CATCH HIM BY HIS NAME. DRAFT SCRAPS 1988
Do I keep a bit or discard all or sleep on it? Tick tock.
And while I decide about past moments sitting at my computer tapping at the key board I live the pandemic of 2020. I was lucky enough yesterday to travel 100 kilometres to Melbourne for one of the allowable reasons in the Covid-19 Lockdown of my home state, Victoria. During that round trip I was able to briefly visit my children and grandchildren albeit with face masks and across the bonnet of my car rather than across the airwaves of 4G. The virtual world will never replace the feeling of proximity and shared space that I felt yesterday after so many weeks of separation.
And just incase someone gets the strong idea: A shoutout to Dan Andrews for his leadership, and thanks to all the men and women on the front-line caring for our community, including the navy and police personnel at the checkpoint on my return to country Victoria.
Back to sifting my papers.