You are Invited

Once upon a time a redheaded warbler sang a song to a crowd of people gathered to hear her and readings from a book about two redheaded twins. As she sang the crowd chewed on antithetical foods – carrots and Jaffas, small, red spheroids of joy.

The singer was Clare Bowditch, songwriter, mother of twins-plus-one, social activist, actor, philosopher and articulate introspector.

The reader was Howard Goldenberg, author, marathon runner, marathon eater, marathon talker. He read (affectingly) from his new book, a novel about “Jaffas” and his identical twin “Carrots”, two boys who grow with souls enmeshed. One is kidnapped and the two must struggle to find how to lo live as individuals. The author makes them and their parents suffer; he makes the reader suffer; and after adventures in the Aboriginal outback (in ‘country’), Howard allows all (or almost all) to trace an arc of redemption.

The crowd had come to Readings in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, not to eat lollies, nor to chew on root vegies, but to hear and see Clare, to be near her in the intimate space (one of Melbourne’s sacred sites) of Readings bookshop.

Why Clare? Becauser of her twins? Because of old friendship between singer and author going back to her teen years? Because the singer – like the boys in “Carrots and Jaffas” lost a sibling in early childhood? Because of red hair?

The true reason is the Bowditch heart, the same that pulled in the crowd. The heart that can say, “I’ve had enough claps” and “I’ve always drawn from the pool of suffering for my art.”

As Emily Dickenson says: I like a look of suffering/because I know it’s true.

Clare Bowditch sings true songs. In the same way “Carrots and Jaffas” is a true story.

Did I say the event has taken place? That part was not true. It is still to come:


4 thoughts on “You are Invited

  1. So there I was in Dymocks this morning on the NSW South Coast looking for a book for my partners Birthday tomorrow. I came across one called Carrots and Jaffas which drew my attention because it is set in the Flinders Ranges. I flicked through it and discovered that it mentioned Leigh Creek, Talc Alf and the Hospital. So of course I had found the perfect gift because I used to be a relief postman for Talc Alf as well as the Maintenance person at the Hospital and Teacher Aide. My partner was the NUM and later DON at the hospital.
    Then I realised who the author was and that he also worked at the hospital at the same time as us.

    Small world and now to wrap the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dean dean
      you have been
      where Jaffas, then Carrots
      once were seen

      dean dean
      you have been
      in those desert places,
      those haunted places,
      where yellowfoot wallaby
      (rarely seen)
      unless in stillness
      and with eyes that are keen

      dean dean
      Carrots and Jaffas
      could not have been
      a story, without ‘country -‘
      if you know what i mean

      dean dean
      my best to you
      and to your queen


      Liked by 1 person

      • Brilliant Howard. Really miss the desert and my Queen is itching to get back and secure a Remote Area Nurse position somewhere in South Australia. I am dying to give her your book in a few hours time. I might even let her read it first and I notice in Raft that you mention One Arm Point. Melissa did a 4 week stint at Lombadina after we left Leigh Creek.


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