WEBVTT Kind: captions Language: en 00:00:06.190 --> 00:00:09.720 I always knew I was going to be a writer; I never thought I would make a living of it. 00:00:09.720 --> 00:00:14.260 I didn't think there was such a thing as a career writer. I went to university and did 00:00:14.260 --> 00:00:19.039 Arts, majoring in English. I did an Honours in English. And I was very lucky I got a job 00:00:19.039 --> 00:00:25.920 at Film Australia which made documentary films. And I became a not particularly good film 00:00:25.920 --> 00:00:31.100 editor. And because they made documentaries it meant that it was unscripted. So basically 00:00:31.100 --> 00:00:34.579 somebody would go out and shoot miles and miles of footage, and you would have to find 00:00:34.579 --> 00:00:38.570 the story in the footage. In learning how to be an editor, I actually learned how to 00:00:38.570 --> 00:00:43.239 be a storyteller. And I learnt to trust, that if you produce enough fragments, and if those 00:00:43.239 --> 00:00:48.550 fragments are interesting in themselves, eventually, by jigsawing them together, in a hundred different 00:00:48.550 --> 00:00:53.479 ways, you wil arrive at a story. That was how I learned to write, by being a film editor. 00:00:53.479 --> 00:00:56.419 And I thank those people immensely. 00:01:00.050 --> 00:01:04.860 I usually begin with something I don't understand. And so it's much more interesting to start 00:01:04.870 --> 00:01:09.030 with a question, than to start with an answer. Because that fuels the writing. Writing is 00:01:09.030 --> 00:01:15.070 a long, hard, often kind of boring process. There has to be a very powerful engine to 00:01:15.070 --> 00:01:19.550 get you to that desk every day. And one of the most powerful engines is curiosity: the 00:01:19.550 --> 00:01:23.730 need to understand something that you don't understand. And so what I ended up with at 00:01:23.730 --> 00:01:28.290 the end of a couple of years was a mass of research and a lot of bits and pieces of writing, 00:01:28.290 --> 00:01:33.780 not unlike making a documentary film. And that's basically how I write most of my books, 00:01:33.780 --> 00:01:38.340 in ignorance, fear and – often – despair. 00:01:42.080 --> 00:01:49.060 When I met Jenny Sages I realised immediately that we were on the same wavelength as creators. 00:01:49.060 --> 00:01:55.030 Because she had no preconceptions; like me, she starts with a question, insofar as a painter 00:01:55.030 --> 00:01:59.500 can start with a question, and she allows the material to guide her. Which is exactly 00:01:59.500 --> 00:02:03.960 how I make art, 00:02:03.960 --> 00:02:09.060 so we had some wonderful conversations, which people who don't make art often find 00:02:09.060 --> 00:02:13.530 hard to understand, because they think it's a more sensible, process, and a more efficient 00:02:13.530 --> 00:02:17.750 process, than it actually is. It's a terrible muddle. You fling yourself in and you kind 00:02:17.750 --> 00:02:22.069 of swim for your life and you hope at the end of it you emerge with something. 00:02:22.069 --> 00:02:27.110 So we sat together and had several sessions where she drew me, and took photographs. We 00:02:27.110 --> 00:02:32.110 went up to the Hawkesbury together, which is of course where the portrait is set, and 00:02:32.110 --> 00:02:38.130 when we found that spot by the river, and the little jetty, we both knew straight away 00:02:38.130 --> 00:02:43.370 that that was it. I took off my shoes, because I very much wanted to have that feeling of 00:02:43.370 --> 00:02:48.660 being barefoot on the land. And I felt wonderfully relaxed. And she drew me, and photographed 00:02:48.660 --> 00:02:53.450 me, and then went away and produced this wonderful portrait. I'm really pleased with it.