I wanted to be a journalist, well not really, but
I couldn’t think of a better way to get paid to touch pen
to paper. I knew most writers were poor; how I knew this as a
12 year old, sitting on a Holly Hobbie bedspread in a middle class
tree-lined suburb, is beyond me. So I set about becoming a journo.
At school I studied the literature of the world, the classics
by Austen, the Brontës, Keats, Shakespeare and Wilde, then
more contemporary works such as those by Orwell and Beckett. (Only
in recent years have I discovered an orchestra of imagery from the hands of Arundhati
Roy, the wild but compelling reality of Yann Martel, the tones
of Australia depicted by Murray Bail and Robert Drewe.)
After school I went to university, studied communications
and history. For four years I slogged away at my studies, buried
myself in books and newspapers, took on a thesis. I worked three
jobs to finance my studies, one in a bookstore, another in a library
and the third working as a copy person at the biggest newspaper
chain on the planet. You’d get no cigar for guessing I was
obsessed with all things publishable; hence the nickname, ‘Bookster’.
One day arriving at work at the newspaper I found
reporters from 60 Minutes, film cameras, blazing lights,
cables, the works, sprawled across our open-plan office, following
some of the copy people around the building.