inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #76 of 186: . (wickett) Mon 23 Aug 10 11:20
    

Given all the interest in footie, why, Kate, did you choose tennis as the
sport for _Trust_?  What social and class ramifications are suggested by 
chosing one sport over another?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #77 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Mon 23 Aug 10 15:04
    
I've asked my partner, Phillip, to weigh in on the public bad
behaviour of footballers in the media -- and in private. But here's my
two bob's worth:

 Ah, Brendan Fevola! That's the drunken player <rje> has posted the
video of. Let's not forget that after that performance, Fev's team,
Carlton, dumped him. (Fittingly, when he was picked up the Brisbane
Lions, this was announced at a press conference at a Gold Coast theme
park called "Wet and Wild".)

Footballers used to be able to get away with treating women
appallingly -- as did men in other areas of society, and not only in
Australia. And let's always remember, as men do in more parts of the
world than not, to this very day. Starting about 10 years ago, there
was a huge campaign to combat both sexist AND racist behaviour among
fottballers. Now, footballers accused of assaulting a woman, whether
physically or sexually, can expect to be immediately suspended from
play pending the outcome. 

Something that you won't see so much media attention paid to is things
like this: a yoga teacher friend of mine in Geeling teaches Iyengar
yoga to the majority of the Geelong team, whose incredible teamwork,
fitness, and calmn demeanour on the field (calm for Aussie Rules, I
mean) has seen them among the very top teams, consistently, over the
past few years, winning the Premiership in 07 and 09.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #78 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Mon 23 Aug 10 15:13
    
Great question,<Wickett>. I do think it's kind of weird that I've
written two novels set in Melbourne and not a footie fan amongst them. 
Next time, maybe!

I chose tennis for the game played in "Trust", not because I play it
(I don't play any sport at all, and had only watched Aussie Rules on TV
until Rafael Nadal came on the scene, giving me a reason to watch
tennis) but because I wanted a sport that would suit the family I was
writing about. A doubles match seemed the perfect way to introduce
Gerry's competitiveness, his "jokey" bullying of his wife, and
Susanna's own self-doubting, compliant inner voice. 

Also seemed exactly the sport that Seb would have come to excel at,
urged on by his father.  We haven't talked about Seb much yet, have we?
 How do people feel about young Sebbie?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #79 of 186: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 23 Aug 10 16:00
    

And likewise we haven't talked much about Finn.

I loved young Sebbie.  Not having been a young gay man, I don't know, of 
course, but his struggles seemed so real to me.  I think I knew he was 
gay before he did.  And, I love Andrew!  But, what a way to meet someone!
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #80 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Mon 23 Aug 10 16:26
    
Heh. Rory knew a long time before he did. I have a theory, only
marginally supported by the text, about Rory and her previous boyfriend
who looked like Johnny Depp. And I think "I never came like that
before," is, under the circumstances, a very funny, tactful thing to
say.

Seb is his daddy's boy in the same way that his mother is her mother's
girl. Gerry calls him a poofter, he has to kill himself; Gerry says
it's OK, it's OK. 

What I admire about him is that as soon as it's OK, it's OK. He starts
heading toward what he wants in a straight line, though with his eyes
squinched shut a lot of the time. That is very like a teenager, and why
they are admirable: they just go for it.

There's going to be trouble about the tennis, though. Tennis was about
becoming one with Clarence. Clarence is gone. It's not clear that he
will find a reason to climb back up the long hill. That would be a
pity. Athletic excellence is good in itself. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #81 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Mon 23 Aug 10 16:46
    
>I'd be very interested to know whether other readers share Wickett's
doubts about whether Susanna will be able to continue to make art, or
whether her "well" of creativity would dry up once her life crisis was
over?<

W.H. Auden says that each time poets finish poems, they have no idea
if they will ever get to write anothere. I have no idea whether that's
true. Let's suppose it is, and that it is true for artists too. Let's
suppose that Susanna's art may be taken from at any time. 

But this was Jean's objection to Susanna's becoming an artist: it's
not steady, not stickable. So, Susanna, good girl, become a teacher, a
wife, and a mother, and held on hard.

And this, I think, is the narrative function of the crash, the fires,
and the betrayal. It turns out anything at all can be taken from you at
any point: your mother, your children, your husband, your past with
your husband, and your trust in your life.

To which Susanna responds, well, then, in that case, hand me my paper
and pens. If it is not possible to play it safe and smart, I am at
least going to leave a mark. 

That's my reading, anyway. As a reading, it has the advantage of
saying why the fires and the crash are in there.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #82 of 186: die die must try (debbie) Mon 23 Aug 10 16:48
    

Just recently the Sydney newspaper had a bunch of articles about how the AFL
and the police had a special agreement about footballers accused of rape. I
think there is more bad behavior and it isn't just the newspapers using a
microscope to find it.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #83 of 186: Pamela McCorduck (pamela) Mon 23 Aug 10 16:58
    
I'm with <ckridge> on Susanna's future creativity--maybe, maybe not.
It hardly matters. Though I also agree that this is a fountain that has
a deep source, and will continue to flow. 

The sports-daddy side of Gerry was problematical for me. While
children need to learn discipline and tenacity, Sebastian is too old
for that kind of manipulation on the part of his dad. It seemed so much
about Gerry's ego, not about Sebastian's accomplishments.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #84 of 186: PhillipF (diggerslowdown) Mon 23 Aug 10 19:01
    
Hi everyone.  Back to that sidebar about preferential voting.  It's
usage is growing in the US where it's called instant run-off voting or
IRV. According to FairVote.org, "IRV will be used for the first time in
elections in three California cities, including Oakland and San
Leandro in  hotly contested races for mayor,and to elect several judges
in North Carolina. After recommendations by charter commissions, it's
on the ballot in Maine's largest city (Portland) and Tennessee's
largest county (Shelby)."

As to the AFL aka footy, it's occasionally on ESPN2 cable, and every
week online at http://espn.go.com/espn3/index where you register for
free (not available in Australia). It's true that players now earn 6 or
occasionally 7 figure salaries, but they also have to keep
astonishingly tough fitness regimens and stay outa trouble.  Like most
17 to 17 yr-old blokes, they don't always succeed.

Back to Trust:  I reckon Kate's writing is genre-bending.  It's not
high art but nor is it chick-lit, hen-lit, or soap opera, mostly
because she sources deep and wide to create her characters, and her
plots are woven around a profound understanding of social forces. There
again, I can't claim to be an expert in the 3 genres I just said she
transcends.  

Anyone responding to her assertion that "soap opera" is a lazy
putdown?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #85 of 186: Pamela McCorduck (pamela) Mon 23 Aug 10 19:57
    
"Soap opera" is a lazy way of trying to say that a book is about adult
emotions. If a book is sentimental, melodramatic, or something else,
say so; soap opera tells me nothing.

"Chick lit" is the biggest putdown I can think of. Must be girlie;
must be about girls longing for boys, because what else do chicks do?

"Hen lit" I never heard of until this conference, and I will be glad
not to hear of it again. 

All these are condescending, facile, and say more to me about the
speaker than about any work under consideration.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #86 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:08
    
Gotta hand it to you, <ckridge>, you're describing the internal
workings of "Trust", its plot and its characters, more eloquently than
I've been able to myself.  Thank you.  

And to everyone: thank you, as an author, for the privilege of sharing
a discussion like this about my work. I feel so ... indulged, in a
way.  A very nice way!

To quote ckridge above:

"It turns out anything at all can be taken from you at
any point: your mother, your children, your husband, your past with
your husband, and your trust in your life.  To which Susanna responds,
well, then, in that case, hand me my paper
and pens. If it is not possible to play it safe and smart, I am at
least going to leave a mark."

This is, I suspect, exactly why I turned to novel writing after the
hell year I described a while back.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #87 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:11
    
Great definition of that pejorative "soap opera", Pamela.  I'm going
to remember that.

Isn't "hen lit" incredibly horrid?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #88 of 186: . (wickett) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:16
    

Agree with Pamela.

Coming from a home where so much genuine feeling and desire was papered
over, Seb and Stella-Jean impressed me with their vibrant in-touchness.  
Seb wobbled, of course, but once given his head, he was so alive. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #89 of 186: . (wickett) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:19
    

Three slips!

If ever I hear "hen lit" again, I shall run about like Chicken Little
clucking that the sky is falling.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #90 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:20
    
Back to the characters: Seb, yes, as <ckridge> says is his daddy's boy
much as Susanna has been her mother's girl. More: I see Seb as having
inherited a lot of his mother's personality: eager for love and
approval, a tendency perhaps to be overly compliant. But I have a good
feeling about him and Andrew. Even though they've met so young, I
reckon they'll have an excellent relationship.

I'm particularly fond of the short scene when they go down to Andrew's
friends' at Venus Bay.  There is a real Venus Bay, of course, and I do
have friends who live there. I thought the name was so sweetly right
for Seb and Andrew's tryst.

Stella-Jean, on the other hand, I see as having more of Gerry's driven
personality.  I like that girl a hell of a lot, I must say.  Where
would Finn be without his feisty cousin?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #91 of 186: Richard Evans (rje) Mon 23 Aug 10 20:29
    
Lot's of fascinating things in the above posts, and, to briefly return
to the football theme, I wanted to appologise if that clip baffled
people- was thinking more of the behaviour than the language when
posting it and, while Kate's correct in that there have been a lot of
efforts to combat that kind of macho behaviour there is still, alas, a
lot to combat, especially in Melbourne.

But then it's almost football finals time which is accompanied by
saturation media coverage and which tends to jade people like me very
quickly.

As for the book I did have a question about language and the presence
of a glossay in the US edition of your first novel; do you ever see a
time coming when publisher's will assume that readers will look up any
unknown word or phrase on the net instead of requiring either the
textual substition of a foreign phrase or a glossay?

Or do you think that book publishing, which still defines markets in
terms of national boundaries, is parochial by definition?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #92 of 186: . (wickett) Tue 24 Aug 10 01:52
    

The best shock for me was when Stella-Jean's escape with Finn failed and 
he was instead helped by Australian social services.  Helped!  I simply 
cannot imagine such an event occuring in a US airport.  Child Protective 
Services in the US does good, certainly, but has an uneven reputation for 
removing children when they would be okay and leaving them when in danger.

It is quite wonderful to *trust* a social safety net.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #93 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Tue 24 Aug 10 03:57
    
Thanks <rje> for your thoughts on glossaries and slang .  I'm the last
person to have a definitive answer on the question of reliance on
search engines for info: it does seem to me, still, such an iffy thing.
 (Do Americans say "iffy"?)

I'm wondering ... isn't there kind of an attractive, even enticing,
mystery about the slang of other cultures?  Isn't that kind of ... the
point, in a way, of retaining it?  I'm just musing aloud here ...
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #94 of 186: die die must try (debbie) Tue 24 Aug 10 04:01
    

yes, I love aussie slang, I like India English slang/jargon too.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #95 of 186: Kate Veitch (kate-veitch) Tue 24 Aug 10 04:04
    
Re <Wickett> and Australians trusting social services to do right by
kids: eesh, I'm hoping I haven't given a falsely rosy picture here.
Australian society isn't by and large in the kind of dire straits that
various sections of the US is in -- though some parts ARE in a very bad
way, not least indigenous, which has been the subject of controversial
government "interventions" -- but notwithstanding, our social services
can and have stuffed certain cases up mightily.  

I wasn't meaning, here, to say that if social services here never get
things wrong.  But nor did it occur to me that OF COURSE they would get
it wrong for Finn.

Can I ask you readers: did it seem reasonable to you (albeit in some
possibly nutty sense) that Stella-Jean would try to take Finn away to
Bali? Or was that just beyond the pale?
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #96 of 186: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 24 Aug 10 04:32
    

I think it makes perfect sense to run towards a place you've always felt 
safe.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #97 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Tue 24 Aug 10 06:07
    
It's the kind of thing smart teenagers who don't know much about how
the world works do. Also, she was facing a problem with no obvious
solution. Finn wasn't going to talk. Angie was in big-time denial.
Everyone else was distracted, and didn't want to think about Angie and
her religion and her difficult child anyway. So, Stella-Jean blew
things up in a way that would compel attention, whether it worked or
not. 
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #98 of 186: Harmless drudge (ckridge) Tue 24 Aug 10 06:31
    
About soap operas, chick lit, hen lit, and what kind of a book this
is.

If chick lit is writing about families, love affairs, and marriages,
all lit is chick lit. By that definition, Dickens and Thackeray wrote
chick lit.

That said, I knew fairly early on in this novel that it was written by
a woman for women. Every developed male character is a problem for a
female character to manage and solve. To put it another way, every male
character has a female caretaker, someone concerned with caring for
them and caring about them. For Gerry, Susanna; for Sebastian, Aurora;
for Finn, Stella Jean. For Aurora and for Stella Jean in particular,
this caretaking seems to be done almost professionally, because it
needs doing and they can do it well. It is as if it is part of the
craft of being a woman.

It is true that the major event of the novel is Susanna declining to
manage Gerry's latest problem, and getting on with her drawing instead.
But this is an event. It is in some way extraordinary.

Books by men seldom if ever present either men or women this way. I am
not sure how often books by women do; though, one can much more easily
imagine Jane Rochester, nee Eyre, managing Mr. Rochester's moods and
conniptions than the other way around.
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #99 of 186: . (wickett) Tue 24 Aug 10 08:36
    

Ah, well then, perhaps the picture was a trifle too rosy.  Even if social
services hadn't come through for Finn and Stella-Jean, someone in the family
would have, so it wouldn't have changed the outcome, except for some 
extra brouhaha.

Kate, you didn't put a foot wrong in writing about fundamentalists.  Really
excellent.  I hesitate to ask how you knew it all so well, but ask I do.

As I ran away from fundamentalists on my sixteenth birthday with the 
Mounties after me, I was entirely rooting for Stella-Jean and Finn and 
thought that what they did was *entirely* sensible.

As for slang, please don't worry about it.  The minor slang in the book is 
in English dictionaries (I looked it up to make sure) and undoubtedly at 
dictionary.com.  
  
inkwell.vue.390 : Kate Veitch, Trust
permalink #100 of 186: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 24 Aug 10 11:09
    
<ckridge> , #98 is a remarkable observation.  I've never seen a post
quite like that, about any book I've seen discussed.  Very interesting
indeed.  

Now back to <wickett>'s question..
  

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