Words from Memory
A brief memoir of my father and his lifelong love of the printed word, from Griffith Review edition #33 titled 'Such is Life'.
'Here is my father’s dictionary, the one thing of his I felt I had to have. The Webster’s Collegiate, fifth edition: 1,274 pages, dense as a big old brick in its dark green binding. On the flyleaf is his name, John C Veitch, signed with panache in black ink, and beneath that is the date: Nov 2 1945 – the day the book finally became his. Dad was eighteen. At fifteen he’d started working for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph as a copyboy, and by the time he got the dictionary he was a graded journalist. When so many older men were away at the war, those were the kinds of opportunities open to a bright, eager kid.'
An essay about taking – and not taking – photographs while travelling, from Griffith Review edition #37, 'Small World'.
'Still shaking my head, I made my way to the room where the Mona Lisa hangs and was confronted by a seething zoo of people ten metres deep, all yelling and jostling for position as they clicked and flashed and flashed and clicked. I think my jaw may have actually dropped open. Gallery attendants stood around with their ineffable Gallic expressions, all but smoking Gauloises. The din was incredible, and there was simply no way you could get more than a glimpse of the Mona Lisa herself, who was in any case, or at least as far as I could make out, in an alcove behind a sheet of armoured glass. The crappiest postcard would've offered a better image than any of those frenzied photographers could possibly have got.
I think of that as the first time I witnessed travel photography gone mad. And that was twenty years ago, in those antediluvian pre-digital days when people tended to ration their snapping. Yes, before even mobile phones existed, let alone phones that could take photographs.'
This essay, from Griffith Review #40 themed 'Women and Power' explores the ways women experience solitude, through history, across cultures, and today.
'Grace fills empty spaces,' Simone Weil wrote, 'but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.' Now, Simone Weil was a philosopher, and religious, and French, three things which make her difficult for me to understand, but I am drawn to this thought. I find that when I substitute 'the creative impulse' for 'grace', I feel like I'm getting close.'
Best books... Kate Veitch
Kate talks about six of the books that have most influenced her.
The Week, July 16, 2010
Better a beaut bloke than a great guy
Kate's account of the sometimes baffling experience of being 'translated' into American.
Weekend Australian, January 12-13, 2008
A goss fest? Please! I'm a serious writer
A light-hearted diary of the week preceding the launch of Kate Veitch's debut novel Listen.
Sunday Age, September 3, 2006