Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 7, 2011

Monday, 7th November 2011 – reflections!

As I’ve noted previously, I have so many plans of things I need to do, want to do, and for all intents and purposes, have ‘all the time in the world’ now to get on with them. Yet it seems there is something I’m going to have to come to terms with –  the feeling of guilt when I get up on a Monday morning, [a time that for 46 years has been a working day], and sit down for the first hour or so with a cup of coffee, and a book. I love reading, yet at the moment, I still find myself feeling I should be doing something else right now. I guess that kind of ‘mood’ will pass as the days and the weeks themselves pass. Admittedly, as in the past, it is always difficult to put down a novel of Di Morrissey. I bought this particular book last Friday, and now only have about 80 pages to read. It’s a story that creates lots of emotion, and in line with the theme itself, is giving this reader much to think about, in terms of what I have done with my life, and what I would like to do with it from hereon in!  Perhaps Di’s novel has come along at just the right moment in my ‘new’ life!

I stopped reading for a couple of hours, and went out into the front garden, where I tackled some more weeds. Good for the garden, perhaps not so advantageous for my back! J  Meantime, I’m a little surprised I’ve not heard from Jackie for a few days – my understanding is that she wanted me to assist with the interviews tomorrow for my replacement – if that is still the case, I would have liked to have had copies of the applications of the prospective interviewees before now  –  Jackie works by doing everything at the last moment. I’ve always taken the opposite approach!!   Will have to contact her later, if I’ve not heard anything soon!

Late this afternoon, after another spell in the garden [back this time], I eventually came to the end of Di Morrissey’s book ‘The Opal Desert’, which is in fact her 19th novel in 20 years of publishing., as one of this country’s most successful writers. I recall seeing a documentary about her a few weeks ago, more of a personal reflection of her lifestyle as an author. She was quite responsive to her readers, as I discovered a couple of years ago, when I wrote to her after reading one of her books. I didn’t expect a reply, but eventually, one came. Just 10 days later –  “Hi Bill…not sure if I answered your lovely email with all the festive onslaught! Glad you enjoyed The Silent Country and hope you work your way through the rest of them! There’ll be a new book out this Nov. cheers and Happy New Year.  Di”

Di Morrissey began writing as a young woman, training and working as a journalist for Australian Consolidated Press in Sydney and Northcliffe Newspapers in London. She has worked in television in Australia and in the USA as a presenter, reporter, producer and actress. After her marriage to a US diplomat, Peter Morrissey, she lived in Singapore, Japan, Thailand, South America and Washington. Returning to Australia, Di continued to work in television before publishing her first novel in 1991. Di has a daughter, Dr Gabrille Hansen, and Di’s son, Dr Nicholas Morrissey, is a lecturer in South East Asian Art History and Buddhist Studies at the University of Georgia, USA. Di has three beautiful grandchildren: Sonoma Grace, Everton Peter and William James Bodhi. Di and her partner, Boris Janjic, live in the Manning Valley in New South Wales when not travelling to research her novels, which are all inspired by a particular landscape

The Opal Desert by Di Morrissey

Anyway, after reading ‘The Opal Desert’ I sent her another brief message, this time   –   ‘Hello Di,   Thank you for another beautiful novel  – have just finished ‘The Opal Desert’, a great story, and one which came along at a significant point in my life – just retired and busy reflecting on what I have or haven’t achieved, and where my life will go from here. Your story of Shirley, Kerrie and Anna was the perfect form of inspiration to help me deal with the next stage of my life.  Thankyou again, so many passages in this story, left this reader quite emotional and reflective,  from Bill Kirk, Sunbury [Victoria]’

Di Morrissey returned to outback Australia with The Opal Desert. It follows the story of three women from three different generations with unresolved issues in their lives, Kerrie, Shirley and Anna meet in the fictitious NSW town of Opal Lake.  Kerrie, in her 40s, has just lost her famous sculptor husband who had been the centre of her existence and for whom she made many sacrifices and she now finds her life has lost direction. Shirley, approaching 80, was betrayed by her lover many years before and has retreated from the world, becoming a recluse living in an underground dugout. Anna, 19, has a promising athletic career but is torn between the commitment to her sport which could carry her to the Olympics, or enjoying life like other young people. The friendship that develops between these three women, who meet in the strangely beautiful but desolate landscape of the opal fields, helps them resolve and come to terms with the next stage of their lives. And it was that very theme  which had quite an affect on myself, and the kind of doubts, or apprehensions that I currently have following my retirement from employment.

It has been a warm day, and the time I spent out in the garden left your writer, a little sunburnt, and a little back weary as well. It might have been nice to be able to spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting up with another book – in fact I found two of Di Morrissey’s other novels, in the form of paperback editions which I’d not yet got around to reading. While there were other books in transit that I really should get back to, I was tempted to stay with the same author for a few days. However not tonight –  I had a spot on air at the radio to attend to, three hours from 9pm, and that would go ahead as per normal, with the program having been drafted up last night.

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