Resilience (update)

Kurt Edelman is full of contradictions: a Buddhist who wears leather and plays violent computer games. A social worker who likes to have everything neat and tidy. The year: 2009. As Victoria burns, Kurt is facing disasters of his own, that will rock him to the core of his being.

Resilience is set in Melbourne in 2009. Thematically, it draws heavily on my work with child protection and public mental health services. And while the main character is a Belgian expat, the novel is definitely not autobiographical…

Other central characters include Gecko, who has been in and out of foster care; Libby, an intelligent and sensitive girl who is having a diabolical year; and Caitlin, a psychologist who is in a strained relationship with a self–centred academic. And who is the sinister bikie who keeps appearing?

Resilience is my first novel. I started planning it in 2011 (yes, I am that kind of writer). My writer’s toolkit consisted of Scapple (for brainstorming scenes) and Scrivener (for plotting, drafting, pretty much everything short of making toast). Truly a writer’s best friend.

I should also acknowledge my grotesquely eclectic ‘writing’ playlist in iTunes. It includes Neil Young’s soundtrack for Dead Man, Philip Glass, Pink Floyd (The Endless River), Bowie (Blackstar), Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack for Guild Wars 1, some Mozart, Brian Eno — you get the idea. Vive la dissonance.

I felt mixed emotions after I completed the first draft (102,000 words) in July 2015. A sense of pride and achievement at having written a full–length novel. A tinge of sadness that an intensely creative process had come to a halt, or at least to a point where it needed to morph into something more rigorous, analytical.

Over the past eighteen months or so I have let my manuscript ripen, like a pungent cheese… And if conjuring up a fictional universe was tough. I am now discovering the exquisite masochism that is called editing your own work… Maybe I need a different playlist.

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