Living in the Everywhen

In early 2016, an age ago now, I went to the northern hemisphere to gather material for a book called The Expatriates; which was duly published towards the end of 2017. I kept a diary of my travels, with a view to writing them up later. I did do that, under the title The Road to Entepfhul, (‘entepfhul’ is German for ‘duckpond’); but the account was wordy and dull, with far too much ‘I did this, I did that’. I put it aside for a year or so and then took it up again but in a different way. I excerpted some of the more interesting passages from the narrative and tried to re-construct them as stand-alone pieces; preserving the chronology without the tedious need for linkages. This gave me nine essays, not enough to make a book. So I added nine more, all concerned with travels in Australia and New Zealand after I returned from my research trip. I called the two sections ‘North’ and ‘South’ and retitled the work Living in the Everywhen, after one of the essays in the second section. ‘Everywhen’ is anthropologist W E H Stanner’s rendition of the concept more usually translated as ‘Dreamtime’.

I offered this collection, in the first instance, to a Sydney-based publisher; who responded by saying the material was too New Zealand-centric for the Australian market; but if I could find a co-publisher over there, they would consider a joint edition. I was preoccupied with other matters at the time this advice came through and I didn’t follow it up straight away. When I did, earlier this year, the New Zealand publisher I approached said they would like to read the ms but warned they were already over-committed to works of literary non-fiction. They were also, it seemed to me, uninterested in an Australian co-production, unless it involved one of their authors being published over here. In other words, they didn’t want to piggy-back ‘Australian’ books into their market. I didn’t send it to them. Subsequently I approached another New Zealand publisher, who said it was too soon since my last book (2020) so maybe next year? But I already have a commissioned work coming out in New Zealand in 2023, so 2022 is too late for me.

Given my slender resources, self-publication really isn’t an option for a book of 80,000 words; and how would I distribute it? So I decided instead to put it online. Each of the nine essays in ‘North’ is now up, to be read by whoever wants to; and I’m posting individual links to the pieces. I didn’t put them up in chronological order and anyway blogs operate a reverse chronology, with the latest post always at the top; but the links are numbered in the order the essays should be read, starting at the beginning and going through to the end. They’re not exactly light reading but there may be something of value amongst their solemnities. Also I’ve been able to illustrate them, which I couldn’t have done with a book. I haven’t yet posted the essays in the second part, but may do so later. In the meantime, if you are interested, here’s where to go:










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