A portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man

Do you find it slightly irritating when someone over-shares what they’re doing or how well they’re doing it?

We all encounter that person more often than we care to remember. Maybe, the word irritating doesn’t quite nail it. How about, ambivalent? Ambivalent, because although you find their infernal braying utterly tiresome, you’re also magnanimous enough to be somewhat pleased for them.

This brings me to the subject of rivalry. We’re all a wee bit competitive, aren’t we? Okay, maybe some of us more than others. How about, jealousy? Which mortal hasn’t gone a day without coveting some of that magic gold-dust other lives seem to be sprinkled with? Who amongst us, including the pious, can resist giving in to the smouldering embers of envy?

Jealousy is a perfectly natural affect that if channeled in the right way can be remarkably productive. Think of all the art, discoveries and inventions, both good and bad, that wouldn’t have happened without it!

Anyhow, with an exegesis on envy summarily dealt with, I want to share something personal with you. It’s about how well I’m doing.

I’m on my millionth draft of a true story about the experience of playing two-up (a peculiarly antipodean form of gambling that is legally sanctioned once a year on the 25th of April, Anzac Day). It’s nearly ‘finished’. Actually, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received about writing, was at a well attended essay writing seminar held at Macquarie University, way back in 1996. It came from a bookish young lady in the audience of the newly minted lecture theatre in X5B (now, 29 Wally’s Walk). With a touch of whimsy, she said something along the lines of ‘writing something is never finished. You just let it go.’ Simple, and yet elegant advice. To my own detriment, I haven’t always heeded it.

Someone recently convinced me that my meagre attempts at writing should be inflicted upon a wider audience; wider than the minuscule-in-number but wonderful readership of this eponymously named blog. For a while now, I’ve baulked at this suggestion. However, an idiot can only be saved from himself so many times. Far be it from me to buck that trend.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to send my non-fiction piece about gambling to a few publishers, to get a sense of whether there’s currently any appetite for my particular brand of vanity writing. It’s more than likely that it will be politely ignored. But rest assured, dear reader, it will eventually wend its way onto these humble pages.

Until then.

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