The Great Cooroibah Novel

Bernard is living in a cottage near Lake Cooroibah. It’s a little place he’s got with a small shed nearby which is perfect for his painting except that it’s so hot inside. So hot that he can only work for an hour or so before he has to retreat. It’s not as bad at night. He’s working with paint and gravity. This was how he did those remarkable paintings of cows that are a bit reminiscent of Sydney Long trees in the fawn picture, black and white pieces in which he has held up the canvas, he says, and let the paint fall this way and that, not using a brush but instead turning the backboard around, performing a sort of dance with the paint and the canvas.

This new set I’m doing, he says. I’m starting with a painting of a Hills Hoist and I’ve got these skins, these cow skins hanging on it. You know that place down on the highway near Aussie World, that has the skins hanging on the fence. Like that.

Bernard has an expressive forehead. There are deep horizontal parallel grooves in it that form and disappear as he talks, working as intimate contributors to his conversation. Adding nuance. We start talking about one thing and the next moment we’re onto another and then another. Hardware barns, Soirees, running away from boarding school in Ireland and Scotland. A comparison of escapes and the lessons learned.

He tells the story: when he wanted out of boarding school at eleven years old he’d pretended to have a stomach ache so consistently and effectively that eventually they took his appendix out.

I’ll never trust a fucking (the Irish comes out in him when he swears, fooking and shite) I’ll never trust a fucking doctor again in my life, he says.

But back to Lake Cooroibah:

I sometimes think I should sit down and write a best-selling novel, he says. I don’t know how else I’m going to live, that’s for sure. I’ve been there for five months you know and I’m thinking that the Great Cooroibah novel probably hasn’t yet been written and maybe it’s up to me to write it. I wonder, though. I mean, if I start, will it happen?

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One Comment on “The Great Cooroibah Novel”

  1. Bernard Says:

    Love that Steven. May I cut and paste and quote and send to my family and friends and neighbours and all and we can share the ‘last post’ mit der bugellen unt mit der carfallen unt zo. Ja.


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