Monday, July 21, 2008

First Nations writing

On the plane coming home, I finish reading Carpentaria by the Aboriginal Australian writer Alexis Wright. It's an extraordinary book - incredibly dense in its prose, crazy in its plotting, laden in symbolism, and somehow incredibly compelling. What fascinates me about this book is the way it shifts between what a western writer would construct as different realities, without so much as nodding at any notion that they may be different. Periods of time, dream and waking, politics and prophecy, the mythic and the scientific blend into one another with total disarming ease.

While in America, I've been hunting for pieces to show at the Origins Festival. One new play, by a Cherokee writer called Diane Glancy, has a similar way of blurring what to a western mind would seem to be distinctions or layers of reality. It's called Salvage, and it's being developed with an LA-based organisation called Native Voices at the Autry. In much of my own work, including this recent Dream, and the Orientations plays, I've tried to use theatre as a way of shifting between the everyday world and something more spiritual, more dream-like, more poetic and resonant. But what this writing from First Nations people shows me is a facility in this which makes the very idea of the distinction absurd.

Back to work this morning. New copies of Toufann have been printed, and our new office intern, Ro Lane, reports for duty. We do a VAT return, and post a large cheque. Billy Hiscoke turns up with some DVDs, and Penny is on her way in to discuss the Trilogy. Back to reality, then....

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