Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Way we were

In the Rangoon garden, Darlinghurst 1981

The opening lines of my first magazine story popped out to bite me yesterday ... 'I'm having a love affair with Asia. Maybe you are further in than I am.'  If I knew then ...

The past is ever ready to hop in the cot as we cosy-up the future. The trick is to focus in the present. Be aware. No befores. No afters. Light the bonfire and on to the pyre go heaps of faded magazine stories and loads of old tear sheets. Travel light!

Today's burning issue for writers and most other creative folk is to build visible 'platforms' to out their talent - thus creating auras of success. No more waiting in the wings in Schwab's Hollywood Drug Store. We are now expected to front a raft of seminars, consult with gurus, and curry our way into inner sanctums of editors, publishers, and publicists. Where do we find the time to write? What happened to the Aquarian dawning? And where did Andy Warhol's fifteen minute throwaway line get us? Not far. Like most media grabs it was - is - feel-good stuff and nonsense, falling far from the mark.Love something I say, and go write about it. Screw the rest.

Things may have been easier back in the 80s. Sketch pads, camera, and a load of Yoken coloured felt pens paid my way around the Orient very nicely. Home again, home again, jiggety-jig, I'd work up travel and garden stories - mainly about orchid encounters. Nowadays, cell phones and laptops encourage writing on the run. Chasing hot hotel deals becomes the now and multi-tasking the norm. Information overload blocks the way to who we are, how we feel, and what we do best. Excessive amounts of higher education does not necessarily supply the answer and can cloud the issue when it comes to telling a good story. Numbed, we absorb newscasts and wallow in bureaucratic clap-trap that should scare the pants off us. Fascinated, we concentrate on the et ceteras. Where, oh where, did that love affair go? Beats me.      MaX

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