A Letter to You, From Felicity Volk, Just Checking In

A Letter to You, From Felicity Volk, Just Checking In

Dear Reader

I feel very Jane Austen beginning a message in this way, but there’s something about our times – the visitation of challenges we haven’t faced for over a hundred years, the reminder that we remain vulnerable despite our technological sophistication and the call to treat each other with particular kindness and in a well-mannered way – that makes me feel a little bit Jane and a whole lot olde worlde.  So…dear Reader…are you safe and well?  Are people looking after you kindly and are you reciprocating? I sure hope so.

You’ve likely heard of C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia Chronicles, whose character in the movie representation of his life, Shadowlands, says, “We read to know we are not alone.” He meant this in the existential sense, but it has quite practical import as we move into a time of quiet seclusion while the pandemic waves washes over us. People are in retreat from the danger of the virus, which – painfully for a social species – is present in the threat of contact with family, friend and stranger. We are witnessing the fear and stresses of this manifest in extremes of both beautiful and exceedingly ugly human behaviour.  So how do we encourage the former and keep the latter in check?  I think by actively nourishing the goodness in ourselves and the world – people, pets and physical place – and creating positive connections in all the ways available to us.

That might mean a whatsapp group for your street or apartment block, collecting groceries (but, please, only as many as are actually needed for a few days) for neighbours in need, tending your veggie patch and sharing its largesse, or listening to music and devouring books (dear Reader) that tend your soul, transport you to better times and reinforce your experience of being connected in that miraculous and peculiar way offered by the arts.

And I’m compelled to share another of my self-care tips. Creativity – telling stories in whatever way works best for you – is therapeutic.  Most authors write because it heals them. It is cathartic, it makes sense of the world, it creates order out of chaos and it fosters a sense of being part of something bigger and purer than self. In short, dear Reader, especially at this time, I encourage you to be a dear Writer, or a dear Gardener, or Singer or Cook or Dancer (though I recommend 1.5 metres away from your beloved if you’re a tad feverish in a bad fever way, rather than a ‘you give me fever … fever when you hold me tight, fever all through the night’ fashion).

If you’re not quite ready to ‘write’ your own story, there’s a stack of great ones to read.  Sing out if you’d like a recommendation. If you read mine, Desire Lines, and feel like a chat about it, I’d love to talk to you through the usual socially-distanced but nevertheless social channels.

Please take care – of yourself and others.

Yours from the raised garden bed Santa brought me for Christmas, from the healing that comes with making good things grow and the promise of fresh zucchini, capsicum and rocket when my non-stockpiled pasta runs out.

Felicity Volk

Reviews

Desire Lines by Felicity Volk: Your Preview Verdict

Review | Preview

11 March 2020

Desire Lines by Felicity Volk: Your Preview Verdict

    Preview Reviews: Desire Lines by Felicity Volk

    Review | Preview

    10 March 2020

    Preview Reviews: Desire Lines by Felicity Volk

      Publisher details

      Desire Lines
      Author
      Felicity Volk
      Publisher
      Hachette
      Genre
      Fiction
      Released
      25 February, 2020

      Synopsis

      An epic story of love and the lies we tell ourselves, from an extraordinary Australian literary talentAre you still a liar? The crafting of those five words, even without dispatch, left her chilled.Arctic Circle, 2012. On a lightless day at the end of the polar winter, landscape architect Evie Waddell finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen mountain vault - insurance against catastrophe.Molong, 1953. Catastrophe is all seven-year-old Paddy O'Connor has known. Shipped from institutional care in London to an Australian farm school, his world is a shadowy place where lies scaffold fragile truths and painful memories. To Paddy's south in Canberra, young Evie is safe in her family's embrace, yet soon learns there are some paths from which you can't turn back; impulses and threats that she only half understands but seems to have known forever.Blue Mountains, 1962. From their first meeting as teenagers at a country market, Paddy and Evie grow a compulsive, unconventional love that spans decades, taking them in directions neither could have foreseen.Set against the uneasy relationship society has with its own truth-telling in history, war and politics, DESIRE LINES is an epic story of love and the lies we tell ourselves to survive - and a reminder that even truths which seem lost forever can find their way home.
      Felicity Volk
      About the author

      Felicity Volk

      Felicity Volk studied English literature and law at the University of Queensland before joining Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). After diplomatic postings in Bangladesh and Laos, and following the birth of her two daughters, she began writing for publication while continuing to work at DFAT. An award-winning writer of short stories, her first novel, Lightning, was described as 'astonishing ... a propensity of storytelling talent, a bolt of brilliance'. Felicity lives in Canberra, dividing her time between the world of foreign policy, writing, painting murals, tending the family menagerie and a forbearing garden and the gentle contemplations offered by a soothing pot of tea.

      Books by Felicity Volk

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