Phillby read 'Summertime' by J.M. Coetzee this week after I was invited to read a story at the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice symposium called Provocations # 1.
I read a story called Meeting Uncle Bruce Pascoe, a serious story about using Aboriginal Literature to learn how to see and write about this country mixed up with my hilarious attempts to get Bruce Pascoe to read my unpublished novel UN-SOL-LIC-IT- TED. Nobody laughed.
Phillby doesn’t like me saying ‘good, better best’, especially when it comes to Art, but I can see his head spinning from reading Coetzee. “It is me,” he says and “It’s so honest,” like we all do in the face of the best.
He believes every word even though he’s married to a writer.
This is from Ian McKenzie’s novel Feast Days:.
“Here’s a tip, from my stint as a single woman in New York: if you are going to flirt with someone reading a book by herself, you’d better be ready to talk about the book. She’ll be less than impressed if you ask her what she’s reading and then stare like an idiot when she says Coetzee.”
Phillby reads whole passages out loud; Coetzee is the only writer he’s read to me who wasn’t me.
When I read J.M Coetzee, I literally die; not completely, obviously.