Metabolism in real life

Ah, paper. There’s something about you. I’m keen on technology and I love the potential for communication that the internet brings. Even love my iPad.

But there’s something about good ol’ paper. As I remembered this week when my copy of the Australian Poetry anthology ‘Metabolism’ appeared in the mailbox. I’ve had the downloadable version for some time, and I’ve blogged about that before, but there was something nice about getting the printed version.

It was a bit damp from the rain we’ve had, and the cover was a bit bent where the postman had jammed it in to a slot that was not meant for poetry books, leaving a crease in the front and back cover that’s never going to squash away. But that’s paper. And part of what a book is.


It probably isn’t all that logical (or healthy!) to be interested in the inner workings of writers, the construction process, the notes that are behind the books, but most like writers I have a bit of an obsession in these things; the pens and the process, the original images, the notes that came before the poem or the novel.

So, I was interested to see Random House releasing Murray Bail’s Notebooks, and I’ll probably buy it. They describe it as:

Six small notebooks, yellow with blue lettering “Spirax No. 561”, bought in Melbourne 1968 – the Indian and Afghanistan notebooks; one smaller with pink cover, bought in Bombay, now lost; eight shorthand notebooks, caramel covers, London 1970-74; one, used during the first American visit, 1972, lost. Entries here have been taken, with some corrections, mostly from seven “London” books.’ A privileged and fascinating glimpse into a writer’s life, taken from the working notebooks of Murray Bail, acclaimed author of EUCALYPTUS, HOLDEN’S PERFORMANCE and HOMESICKNESS, encompassing three continents and spanning thirty years. From overheard conversations, to favourite aphorisms, to brilliant observations of people and places, to Bail’s musings on art, literature and landscape, Notebooks is a feast of beautiful words and intriguing thoughts from one of the world’s most original and important writers.

Book of the Year

Announced my book of the year awards – you can read them at the link below. Also, had a few days away where I got some poetry written, which was good. It was funny because I forgot my computer chord, so couldn’t use it all week, meaning that I had to write by longhand. It was different, and I liked it, it was nice to write on paper and feel the pen across the page, and looking back on those early writings, which I’ve now added to the computer, they’re still there; whereas early computer drafts just keep getting written over on disk.

The 2002 Warrick Book of the Year Awards