Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Faking It

Last weekend I met up with some friends I hadn’t seen in years. One of them, since Goondiwindi State High School, at the other end of the state. And it turns out that now she lives only two blocks from me. Weird.

It was a lovely winter's morning. We met up at The Strand, and then we went to brunch.

The Strand. Last weekend. 

Anyway, it came up during brunch that I’ve had books published.

Wow. A writer.

And here’s the thing. I don’t feel like a writer. Because, despite being a published author now, I’m doing exactly the same thing I was doing in high school, back when I was writing a scurrilous, possibly slanderous, fake high school newsletter called Tales of Dungadindi High.

I’m still making stuff up to entertain people.

Rose says she has copies of Tales of Dungadindi High somewhere. I hope she’s lying.

It was a newsletter produced mostly during typing class. (I did all my best work there… including the open letter where I compared our new principal’s moustache to Hitler’s. Also, his management style.) It was photocopied on the sly either in the school library or in my dad’s office, and distributed around the school on a Monday morning.

Names were changed. Slightly. Embarrassing incidents were related in excruciating detail. Terrible things happened to teachers.

I like to think Tales from Dungadindi High enjoyed brief popularity. I know I wrote at least three issues before it fell into the hands of teaching staff and questions were asked. I’m pretty sure those teachers knew exactly who to blame as well, but I threw in my burgeoning career in literary satire to avoid bringing attention to my other burgeoning career – fraud.

Fifteen dollars was a lot of money to write a senior’s English assignment. And, for only another five, I wrote his acceptance speech for school captain. That kid was an open wallet to me that year.   

So maybe I’ve always been a writer, chasing both praise and a paycheque.

Maybe, like we all decided last weekend, none of us have grown up at all. We’re not really adults with commitments and jobs and mortgages and superannuation. Mentally, we’re still fifteen-year-old kids, freaking out in case someone notices we’re faking it.

But of course, unlike when we were fifteen, we won’t get in trouble nowadays if we drink cheap wine.

How about you? What was the first time you shared your writing, for love or money?


  1. You so have to write a novel called Tales of Dungadindi High. :-)

    And yeah, getting published doesn't change who you are or how you are. It's just that more people are listening.

    Also, that photo is not of a lovely winter's morning. That is a beautiful summer morning faking that it's winter. : p

  2. I'm not sur eI'd want to revisit my high school years, even in fiction!

    And no, that's winter. I promise. :)

  3. I used to make up scenarios for the neighborhood kids to play. We called it "ten like." You know: Ten like Jimmy is the sheriff and ten like Maggie is his girlfriend and ten like Joe is the bank robber. Then ten like Joe robs the bank and kidnaps Maggie but ten like she gets his gun and shoots him and takes the money and runs off with his gang. Okay -- GO. :-)



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