Thursday, July 05, 2012

Retreating into history

Tonight I'm retreating into history, the writing thereof. It seems easier, somehow.

As I write this short post, the printer beside me is spitting out the present 44 page draft on New England in Aboriginal Times. That is, up to 1788. Doesn't that sound grand? Not really, it's a very rough first draft. All that I have been doing is going through past material, pasting it, then editing and re-ordering so that I have a rough working draft.

This section of the book will be around 20,000 words. Its on 18,000 at the moment, with a lot of material to be added. But then, I'm cutting too as I go along. Looking back as past posts in particular, one of the constant themes is the need to give Aboriginal people access to their own story. That idea remains firmly fixed in my mind. I try to keep the Aboriginal people I know from New England firmly fixed in my mind and write for them.

On a related matter, I think that one of the reasons I was so depressed at the story of Father F (Four Corners, the Armidale Express and Father F) is that I know that he shared my love of giving people access to their past. As I said in response to a commenter on the post, I had no idea of the back story. When I last had dinner with Father F some two years ago on one of my now rare Armidale visits, we talked about our shared historical interests.

My printing is finished. I will do the next rough edit on bus and train tomorrow. Mind you, I keep getting distracted on the train. The people around me are just so interesting!

Postscript

I had just finished this when I was alerted to tonight's ABC 7.30 report on the matter. You will find the transcript and video here, at least for the moment.  

2 comments:

Robert Clarke said...

G'day Jim
If you don't already know of Bill Gammage's book 'The Biggest Estate on Earth', I do recommend it. It is not specific to any pne area but New England gets a mention. I think it is an extraordinary work of scholarship.

Trust you are well and congrats to brother David on his grandfatherdom.

cheers Bob Clarke

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Bob and thanks. I'm sorry for the very slow response to your comment. I missed it. Grandfather David. Hard to believe. I haven't read the book, but will try to do so. From the descriptions, I'm sure that he is right.