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Sport 7: Winter 1991


When my newly-married friends returned from their honeymoon in Australia in the final week of February 1989, in the time between my third and fourth visits to Melbourne, they told me of looking in the phone book for the phone number of the writer who is the subject of this story and then of visiting his house. They told me of the shelves of books which lined the walls of the rooms of the writer's house and that of all the books only a few were paperback books. My newly-married friends told me that the writer had spoken to them of the advantages of a hardback over a paperback book. He spoke to them of often approaching his many shelves of books not for the purpose of reading or re-reading from cover to cover the contents of a book but simply to find or re-find certain sentences which, having been found or re-found, might allow him to return the book to its place on the shelf for another two or ten or twenty years until he could imagine himself again approaching the shelf for those sentences. He spoke to them of sentences while pouring my newly-married friends several glasses not from the gold-coloured cans of Castlemaine beer, nor from the blue-coloured cans of Fosters beer, nor from the tall bottles with the blue-coloured Fosters label, but from the brown-coloured bottles of Coopers beer, dark as soil, as they sat in the backyard of the writer's house, with the writer's wife sitting not a little way away but close to the man she had married some thirty years page 32 before, when he had been a young would-be writer drinking beer alone in his room for whole days while reading books which he sometimes dreamed he had written.