an idea and a very special read


I have an idea… the idea is to blog my writing projects. The research process; how the writing evolves; shapes itself. The further that I venture into this degree and the more that I write, the more I learn about my practice. A lot of that final piece that you go to see on a stage in a dimly lit room is the product of the act of putting pen to paper but, a hell of a lot isn’t. A hell of a lot is other ‘stuff’. So I might start sharing that ‘stuff’. As my own personal exercise in clarification but also for you to get a glimpse of what goes on behind that curtain, so to speak.


A friend who’s an author recommended I read Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. If I recall correctly, she placed it in my hands and said something along the lines of, “This is how every writer should write. You have to read it. It’s the perfect novel.” Big, big call for such a little, little A1sgOu3MMCL._SL1500_book. Big, big call for any book really. So, I took her bait and read it on a train ride home from Warnambool and… I savoured every. Single. Page. I clung to every. Single. Word. I read as slowly and as mindfully as I possibly could, conscious not to tamper with its beautiful, melody; rhythm. At its heart it’s a portrait of a marriage. A simple, yet very candid portrait of a marriage. In its entirety though, it’s so much more. I cried and cried and cried so many times while reading this book. Sometimes out of sadness but a lot of the time because it was just so beautiful and technically, well, perfect (yes, my friend’s big, big call was right).

It’s one of those books that manages to capture all that real ‘stuff’ that makes your life what it is; your relationships what they are, but that you can never put your finger on for long enough to be able to express it; articulate it.

I’m not sure whether Dept of Speculation is a poem… or short novel… or symphony and that doesn’t bother me because this book occupies a very, very special space of its own. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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