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Monday, December 29, 2014

Landscapes of my childhood
Along the white, dusty ribbon of road that runs past the front of the Kirkpatrick farmhouse there   are eucalypts.  One is a battered rather crooked old apple gum.  It is still there now, it has been there as long as I can remember sitting so close to the road it is almost growing from it.  If once white settlers could not bear to think of these tough trees as worthy subjects for the artist’s brush now their sparse beauty is all we need to bring us home.  My child’s eye saw this tree, was drawn to it.  I was soothed by its thick sturdy branches and familiar drooping leaves.  It’s white trunk and leathery leaves claim the stories, hold the history, hint at memory, hope and dreaming for us all.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Writing the Ghost Child

Writing the Ghost Child

I was not planning this trip back to my childhood. I have not yearned for nor wanted to return to the memory of those days. I left the Nulla Nulla Creek in 1951 as an eleven year old and I did not look back.  When I did go back more than fifty years later and walked across that same ground -  the paddocks, the banks of the Creek and the white ribbon of road that is Nulla Nulla Creek Road - the same spaces and places my parents and grandparents and great grandparents and I had once traversed I saw it differently of course.  I saw it through layers of my own life and living, and the memories of that childhood had faded. As a consequence I  have had to re-learn my own life history to write this memoir and I have had to research the history of the small dairy farming community that once thrived along the banks of this small tributary of the Upper Macleay River. My memory of childhood is blurred and uneven. But memory is like that, it pulls us into spaces and places that we remember, vaguely or well, and from that somehow we shape a version, our version of the past.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ghost child:  a memoir
Noeline Kyle's latest book out in early 2015
Noeline had to trawl through family histories, school records, newspaper reports, oral histories, museum data, and library and archival material to fill in some of the blank spaces left by a childhood lived so long ago; a childhood whose history was scattered, lost perhaps in the ghostly landscape scarcely able to be remembered at all. This childhood, her childhood, is partly a paean to the many myths, misunderstandings and misconceptions now clouding that past.  It is also a story of how the history of childhood, any childhood, cannot be any more than the sum of its many wavering, ghostly and almost unknowable events  Her childhood story begins as World War 11 looms and ends as she closes the school gate for the last time. Her father, an itinerant worker, is often out of work, is sometimes just away somewhere.  It is an uncertain, ever-shifting family environ and her mother is unhappy in its rough and wild spaces.   The family moves often, there is constant upheaval and no safe haven from the misery of it all. But on the farm of her Grandfather Billy Kyle the child finds a brief sanctuary from the insecurity of her parent’s unhappiness. And it is her young aunts with their generous hearts, the steady support of grandparents and friends who provide the tiny pieces of warmth, laughter and hope to leaven the bitterness and hurt of an unhappy family life.
Forthcoming 2015, more details soon.......