I’m delighted to have an article in the latest Westerly magazine, which focuses on Writing and Ethics. My article ‘The Air that Falls’ is an exploration of writing about family, drawing on my own experiences and analysing Aftermath, a memoir by Rachel Cusk. Some of the press coverage of Aftermath was savage and this was one reason I wanted to write about the book. If she can write and publish a book about a marriage breakdown, can she really love her children? asked reviewers.
Also in this issue of Westerly are non-fiction pieces by Kim Scott, Alice Pung, Frank Moorhouse, Benjamin Law and Rozanna Lilley, as well as lots of new poetry and some great fiction. Here is how Moorhouse starts his essay:
“I tell new writers that the literary writer has three ever-ongoing negotiations in their life by which they gain the privilege of a literary vocation, that is, the privilege to write what one wants to write, in a way he or she wishes to write, and to spend most of one’s time doing it at one’s own pace.”
The first negotiation he speaks of is the negotiation with one’s family and friends – essentially a negotiation about resources and ethics. This, he says, is the most difficult negotiation. And this, I suspect, is why this volume (57:2) of Westerly will interest so many writers and readers.