Writing Month Man Booker Author Richard Flanagan Debate Addition

I liked Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan from what I saw of him in an Imagine documentary; especially leading a campaign against logging in Tasmania. Nearing the end of XaW Files, the third of a trilogy, and end of a decade of writing at the Greenygrey/greenYgrey, his view that writing diminishes you struck a particular chord with me at the time, and I included my thoughts on the subject.

Moreover, Flanagan didn’t want to ponder the ‘why?’ in the interview, and at the time of watching the documentary the greenYgrey was down to its central Y at the time as I wrote XaW Files, with green and grey elsewhere.

As I wrote in the episode and book, feeling the need to CLARIFY it in case anybody did read it, it was to add to the debate, as I’d learnt to do in university, rather than competing with Flanagan. I do think XaW Files should be up there with the ‘greats’ though!

I included it in the XaW Files story using the show don’t tell writing technique I knew after a decade of writing, although I also broke that rule sometimes writing in the first person, mixing formats in line with the ‘counter-culture’ media I’ve been influenced by, such as Banana Splits, Monty Python, Pink Floyd, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.

If you think the greenYgrey is a strange concept for writing, and to travel the philosophical mind, Flanagan’s books include one set in the mind of a drowning man (Death of a River Guide), and one called Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish.


It is the episode before one recently posted here, focusing on a Higher Form of Love, with lots of great breakfast comedy wordplay.

Chapter 8 Episode 15

We disembarked and indulged in a little sightseeing to find our land legs. Walking through the traditional wooden architecture Haga district I saw a poster advertising Kamchatka’s new album, Long Road Made of Gold.

I’d been told by my colleagues from the greenYgrey world who’d joined me along the way on this ramble that Kamchatka had released an album called The Search Goes On soon before I began my search for the ex-Andy Wolfhol.

I thought it was a coincidence, as I was searching, and Kamchatka in eastern Russia had been one of the first places I visited.

Parallel Long Gold Roads Searches

Now, Kamchatka had released a new album just over a year later, with my search still going on, and I found it after just becoming a single letter symbolising yellow. Moreover, when I looked up the band, I found that their home city is Varberg, and that Gothenburg where I had landed is the nearest big city to it; and the road between them looks golden on Google Maps.

Screenshot (175)

However, in line with our parody theme I think I must lower the coincidence level, remembering that I am a golden rambler, not road, and all the other roads on Google Maps are yellow too.

There is First G, but No Final WhY?

While Captain Dec and Dai on the Seas slept on the Rum Deal, we booked into the First Hotel G, because it reminded those who knew green and grey of them. After unpacking and relaxing, we all met up in the restaurant for an evening meal, and then let it settle in the TV room.

Funnily enough, there was an Imagine documentary about Richard Flanagan on. He’d won the Man Booker Prize, after his work was at first considered unfit to review by some Australian critics, because it didn’t fit into the correct form.

Flanagan took part in Tasmania anti-logging protests. He said he’d had a lot of dirt thrown at him by corrupt officials, but a businessman joining their cause after reading his article helped turn the tide. I thought that was particularly in line with greenYgrey thinking, with everybody welcome to protect our planet’s remaining natural resources.

Flanagan also said he felt diminished by each book he wrote and published. When Alan Yentob asked him why, Flanagan answered: ‘There is no why. There just is.’ Maybe Flanagan didn’t have time to wonder why at the time of the interview; maybe he doesn’t want to think about it, or maybe it didn’t make the cut.

Wandering Y Wondering Why

I thought that was an eerie X Files coincidence, what with the greenYgrey’s current state of diminished size, as we approach the final chapter of the final ramble; with only me, a Y, remaining to tell the story.

Moreover, I have also felt the same as Flanagan: that each book written and published, or even poem or philosophical thought, diminishes you.

With the benefit of time, I think the reason I think that is that the writer is sharing themselves with the world, so that their thoughts and experiences are not all theirs anymore; your mind life is scattered all over the pages and world. This can be good and bad for your psyche and soul, hypothetically, releasing negativity and sharing positivity.

Our books from life experience are also material evidence of time elapsed. We can write a limited amount from personal experience in our finite time. Each book tells the story of a part of our lives that has passed. It has been lived and written.

In childhood and youth we look forward, with our minds and lives to fill with experiences, knowledge and memories. Writing about them is evidence that some have been found and achieved. However, it also shows that your life is not as full as it once was. You have already lived some of your life, and the hard evidence is on your written page; unavoidable evidence that your time in this life has diminished.


Imagine: Richard Flanagan, 21/7/15. Richard Flanagan seems intelligent, successful and worldly enough to know that I am trying to contribute to his discussion and thoughts, rather than indulging in one-upmanship.

Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.

You Are The Boss of Your Own Happiness: 50 Ways to Change Your Life Today by Theo Kay. $3.99 from Smashwords.com
50 Ideas for you to change your life today. You are the boss of your own HAPPINESS!French Kissing in the U.S.A.


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