|This statue at Gallipoli commemorates a|
brave and decent bloke, a Turk, who
strode out into No-Man's Land, picked up
a wounded Brit, and carried him back to his own lines.
|Statue of Major George Armistead,|
the commandant at the fort.
After that, it was off to Worcester Massachusetts to look through the papers of rocket pioneer Robert Hutchings Goddard, so I could see how he fended off spies, and then to Sacramento California to talk to retired rocket chemists and engineers. I would not have had all that if a good friend, Theta Brentnall, had not been able to set it up for me. Aspiring writers are advised to cultivate friends!
Home today to find a small feature on Bittersweet in the magazine section of The Australian. The book is now released, and I await the first reviews with some trepidation. I have a schedule of radio interviews for the next few weeks. Writing may be fun, but to make it work, you have to be willing to go out and talk about it . . . as I said, you have to be a bit of an egomaniac to be a writer, so the talking is no great burden. In the US, I encountered a cable channel, CSPAN-2, which offers talks and readings by writers, sponsored by bookshops and videotaped for replay.
Not all is brightness: among the parcels of books and papers I have been sending home to myself was one that I had not sent: a package of copies of two of my children's books which have been remaindered. Seeing a book remaindered, taken out of circulation, is a real blow to any writer. Seeing two remaindered at once is cruel indeed. Still, they had five or six years in print, and will have touched a few minds — and some copies will probably be used for another five years or so, until they wear out and are discarded.
*About those Gallipoli pictures: they aren't credited, but they are mine. I have the full-size (not all that large, given that they were taken in 2002) copies that I can provide. I am generally happy to grant permission to anybody seeking to use them, and given that so many people gave their lives there, I'm not in the least bit interested in taking money for them. Contact me!