Friday, April 12, 2013

Stillness after craziness, the love of long lost fathers and the tangling of webs

I love the morning. Love the promise of it. The stillness of it. The quiet pause of it.

This morning the stillness is particularly sweet. After a crazy couple of weeks of releasing Portraits of Celina into the world (or to be more precise, Australian bookshops and libraries!) – a couple of weeks of great excitement and extreme trepidation, where I have had the pleasure of reading some AMAZING reviews, where I have had the joy of seeing nice little STACKS or teetering PILES of the book in bookstores (coupled with the worry that the piles will remain teetering and end up being returned), where I have had gorgeous, enthusiastic emails and facebook messages full of praise and good wishes from friends, relatives, booksellers, early readers and writing buddies, where I have introduced the book to hundreds of teen girls and been encouraged by their excitement and engagement – after such a couple of weeks, it is good to soak in the stillness of the morning, take stock (and a deep breath), make a vow to stop obsessing, worrying and self-googling, and to get back to my next novel.

And this brings me to thoughts about my dad and tangly webs.
My dad died when I was barely twenty. Six months exactly before my wedding day. (Yes, a child bride!) Eight years before I had that first stirring in my belly that I’d like to write, and twenty years before I had my first book published. In an interview for Magpies magazine, Joy Lawn asked about the absence of fathers in my last two novels. The question threw me. I hadn’t realised. And I had to wonder if it was due to the fact that deep down I feel like I have missed out on having a father for much of my life.

I don’t remember an awful lot about my father as a person. I think he was cheeky. I think he loved having fun. I think he was a risk-taker. I say think because I don’t really know. But when I think of him, my first thoughts are not about what we did together, my first thoughts are of love. I loved him deeply and I know he loved me unconditionally in return. And despite his early departure, he left me with some very strong “lessons” that have travelled with me my entire life. He taught me to be prepared – to do my homework – before speaking or acting or reacting. He taught me to strive, not to settle for a small life. And he taught me about truth. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive. His favourite saying. And the core of my new work. A story of love, lies and deception and a very tangly web.

So now, thirty-three years after his death, Dad is with me again. He is sitting on an orange vinyl chair at a laminate kitchen table, sipping his whiskey, chuckling and saying, Go for it, Suzie-Q; you can do it. Those tangly webs will make for a damn good story. Just do your homework and strive – don’t settle for a small story, make it big, make it shine.

And I am going to give it a red-hot go. This one’s for you, Dad. Love you. Miss you. XXX


  1. And I bet he is beaming with pride Sue! My father passed away when I was only 13.... my memories are the same. They are feelings rather than memories. I just bet your Pa and mine are sharing a whiskey together telling fabulous stories of their own!

  2. Imagine the stories! Thanks for this Kerry. You made me smile.

  3. Sue he would be so proud of you. In the short time he had to pass on his wise words, love and wisdom- he nurtured the lovely soul you have inside and gave you something to carry in your life.

  4. Oh, thank you Tracey. You're making me go all misty! Our loved ones live on, don't they?

  5. Sue, that was such a great blog. You may have had your father for what seems now like a short time. I had mine for longer but never felt that love you experienced. We all have such different lives. Best wishes for your new novel and your father's words in your heart.

  6. Thanks Janeen. Yes, I was lucky in many respects - and it is good to remember that. We all have our own stories don't we. X