It’s such a lovely thing to have met one of my heroes of decades – they say don’t meet your heroes, however the first thing I noticed about Adam Elliot was he is less human and more creature. And I love creatures more than humans. And if you look closely he has an invisible waggy tail. It’s a dog tail.
This book accidentally began when I was sent by the dole to a resume writing course in 2008. I was indignant so wrote a resume that just listed my interests (most have bush walking) but I included interests such as pushing buttons with really smooth push button action; comparing data with completely irrelevant other data; getting a little bit wet in the rain then quickly running inside … then I applied indiscriminately for every single job in The Age with it over a weekend – 2500 jobs. From engineer, to lawyer to bridge-builder.
And people called me to see if i was serious or crazy and the truth is I am a little bit crazy – but in the way that I’ve always treated life as an opportunity to play a long continuous prank on myself so i end up in interesting places, not expected places – like this situation right now where I’m talking to a small crowd about this book I wrote.
So, I ended up in advertising because of this resume. They decided I was a copywriter. I said I wasn’t and they said I was and I said I wasn’t and they said I was and so I became a copywriter. My boss asked me what I read, I said I don’t read. He said you can’t write if you don’t read. And I’m here in Readings bookstore saying this.
So, I read poetry and fucking loved it. It saved me. And for some reason I thought I’d start writing it too. And I did that for 10 years sitting by the train tracks at night in the bushes, under the moon the local creepy guy – watching trains go past writing poetry as my monitor blinded me, helping stealthy foxes try to steal my backpack sitting beside me. I ended up bringing food for them. And this book happened because of it!
And because of this book, this gathering has happened.And what’s weird about having this book is it took a lot of being alone and writing alone – writing is a deeply alone activity yet it has led to this! I’m an introvert so this is my version of hell.
But it’s probably the loveliest problem I’ve ever had.
So, thanks for coming.
Readings Books, St Kilda
23 August 2019
Falling Upwards can be purchased here.