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:
READINGS HAWTHORN, THURSDAY 22 MAY AT 6.30 FOR 7.00 PM. ALL WELCOME