Monday, February 1, 2010

32. The tyranny of long distance


“Truck drivers are mad, you know?” the middle European twang readily apparent. “I used to drive a truck, from Dapto to Adelaide. Stupid things we did in them days.”

Wry shrug.

“Didn’t have much choice, you know? Me wife was alive then, and I had two little kids and a mother. I brought her out not long after I arrived in ’64. I came here when I was 24. No point staying in Macedonia, wasn’t called that then, was part of Yugoslavia, with Tito. Who wasn’t so bad really, but I wanted more.”

“Mmm ...”

“Driving trucks was no good. Too long without sleep. Too many rules. Too many cops. Me wife’s gone now. Three years ago. Cancer, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink. Now where’s the justice in that?”

Looking down at “The Book Thief”, I was still on page 200. The darkness had been stroking Max for over twenty minutes.

9 comments:

Ms. Fiddlesticks said...

I like this. Have I got it right. You take a photo. Look at it and derive a story from it. Very cool. I may have to try that if you do not mind.

I like the girl and older man sitting on the bench. Funny how she is hunched over just like he is, but even a bit more. Hard to tell how tall she may be.

Joan Elizabeth said...

oooh I had a giggle reading this one ... remembering your companion on the train trip ... at least you got some practise at recording vernacular from it! You must have wanted to dive for your notebook during that conversation.

Julie said...

Pinged! That was exactly the aim with this Riff: to record how he sounded. There must be a way of writing accents that are brought into Engliah.

In this it was also important to me to be able to indicate just how desperate he was for conversation. That it did not necessarily mean much, but he had to keep talking.

And the fact that the listener was not really required to respond, but I was not the only one who felt impelled to stop what they were doing and listen to him.

Funnily enough, i don'thave a notebook. My daughter has and records such a variety of things. I try to memorise ... actually I think I try to live in their shoes and photograph it into my head.

Somehow ...

diane said...

I could here his accent but I'm too thick to work out the last sentence.

Julie said...

That is what I was reading, right? If you go to that page, you will understand instantly.

Vicki said...

I really like the pared down style of this riff, Julie. The voice doesn’t need any embellishment at all.

But I have to confess, the mention of darkness in the last paragraph threw me. I had to go back and reread the riff. I worked it out eventually, though.

Julie said...

So, I need to remain as universal as possible, rather than have cute little internalised asides that leave readers on the outside looking in.

diane said...

I'm also too thick to spell hear correctly. I should go to bed earlier or read your Riff in the mornings. Next week I start work for an 8 week contract so I will be asleep early.Thanks for the explanation.

tapirgal said...

A perfect composition!