My name is Andrew Grimes. I live in central Victoria, Australia, with my wife Mary, our son Tom and occasionally our daughter Cassandra, who helped me to set up my blog. She also has a blog at https://thingscanalwaysgetworse.wordpress.com/. It’s pretty good. You should check it out.
The thing about writing, at least for me, is that things get under my skin, like the grit under an oyster’s shell. When that happens, the only way to live with it is to put something around it and make it smooth so that it no longer causes aggravation.
When I was about 15, I saw a photo of a First World War infantryman. When I saw the puttees on the soldier’s leg – the bandage-like strips of material that wind around the leg from ankle to calf – I had the weirdest sensation of recognition. From that moment on, it became the irritant that I had to make smooth. It took me over 40 years, a period punctuated by working for a living, getting married, raising a family, working for a living, giving up and thinking this is pointless and of course working for a living. The story I wanted to tell concerned itself with men damaged by war, struggling to adjust to a world where the rules of life and death had changed in an instant – that instant being 11 o’clock on the morning of Monday the 11th of November 1918.
My novel, The Richmond Conspiracy, took those themes and placed it within the framework of a crime novel. It was published in 2012. It received good reviews and was short-listed for a Ned Kelly Best First Fiction award. It’s out of print at present and unlikely to get another run, but I’m looking at releasing it online if I can get the legals sorted. I made a few dollars out of it but nowhere near enough to quit my day job. Luckily I love my day job. I work as a gardener at a couple of Aged Care homes. I usually get up around 4-4:30am and write before work. Some people think getting up that early is tragic but on the upside I wake without duress and don’t have an alarm clock frightening hell out of me every morning.
I started my blog in response to Mary’s suggestion. She was fed up with my rants against crooked and stupid politicians, TV producers, corporate greed, Essendon Football Club and the like. She told me to shut up and write it. The catalyst was Channel Nine’s appalling involvement in the child kidnapping in Lebanon last year. I was livid. I tried to think about some form of retaliation that wouldn’t involve my arrest and incarceration. Blogging seemed safer. I can’t say that I smoothed out all the scratchy bits, but I gave it my best shot. With that tantrum out of the way I was free to move on and smooth out other irritants. I should explain that the irritant is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a desire to say something nice – I have a workmate on my to-do list at present, for example – a man worthy of an Order of Australia. I’ll get to him in due course.
The blog’s been fun and I find it useful as an outlet when I’m feeling a bit jaded from the more exacting demands of the novel. I’ve just got on Facebook too after years of resistance and am loving it. Reconnecting and laughing with friends is so addictive and writing a novel is such a lonely, relentless, footslogging march, that it’s a blessed relief to be able to fall out en route for light refreshment and good company.
On the blog there are also compilations of photos I found on the internet. I found every single one hilarious of itself, but couldn’t resist adding my own comments. There’s my Hitler collection which I called Nuremberg Nutcase, Classic Vinyl collates LP covers, while People Watching, Wedding Photos and Weird Stuff are self-explanatory. Take a look. I hope you find them as funny as I did.