The Witness

Image by Lunasol Photography for the book From This Place.

Photograph of Indigo Perry by Lunasol Photography, from the book From This Place: Inspiring Women Artists of the Upper Yarra Valley, by Lindy Schneider & Angela Rivas.

 

A couple of weeks ago I finished writing a new memoir. It focuses on my childhood, before the events that I wrote about in my first book, Midnight Water. I am not quite ready to tell you the title of this second book as it’s possible that it may change, and, well, it’s still my baby and you don’t always want to share the name of a new baby with the world right away.

I did something that was very special to me upon finishing writing this book. The book was difficult to write – some of the material is about parts of my life that I have hardly been able to bear thinking about for a long time. Those parts were worked upon towards the end of the writing process and it was difficult enough to write them that I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to include them. I considered shifting the book’s time frame so that it ended before the events of the last few sections. But that did not feel right. I knew where the ending would be and it became unavoidable to write those sections. Leaving them out would have left a distinct hole in the narrative. When I did write my ending, I felt a sense of quiet satisfaction. But I also knew – it was on my mind over the last few days of writing – that I wanted to create a playlist for myself. It’s a playlist of songs, one for each of the sixty sections of the book. A few of them were songs that  had power for me at the time covered in the sections, but most of them are songs that were from the era that I was writing about but  hadn’t been accessible to me at the time. I lived in a small town in north-western Victoria and it was pre-internet days. I had no access to alternative music, only to what was on the Countdown TV program or on the single country radio station that I could pick up. If I’d had access to these songs, I know that my life would have been different. I gifted my younger self these songs to help her through. Working through the process of creating the playlist, I really finished my book. As I allocated the last song to the last section of the book, I re-read it and suddenly understood something. I won’t tell you how my book ends, but I will tell you that I recognised a ghost in my own writing: a ghost who had been with me through childhood and adolescence. Like the songs, she had helped me to get through.