This week we talk to Hunter Valley writer, Amanda Berry about her piece ‘As We That Are Left’ which appears in Landmarks, the latest anthology curated by Spineless Wonders. During this interview, Amand talks about who inspires her writing and what inspired her micro-lit piece.
Tell us about a landmark that is significant to you.
The landmark I wrote my microlit piece about was the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. It is a memorial that commemorates Australians who fought in all wars, initially World War 1. My father fought in WW2 and although he lived with the mental scars, he remained silent about his experiences his whole life. He instilled a great respect in me for war veterans, even when it was unfashionable in the 1970’s. My mother grew up in Melbourne and that’s where my parents met.
What inspired you to write ‘As We That Are Left’ ?
I simply wrote about an incident that happened on a recent visit to Melbourne. My husband had a stroke several years ago which damaged his ability to lay down new memories and I thought there was great irony being in a place dedicated to remembering, when he couldn’t remember that we had been there before.
How do you find the experience of writing to a theme?
Writing for a reason is the only thing that makes me write at all. As a writer there is inspiration everywhere, but I need motivation and a deadline to write to, so a theme is perfect. With a word limit you have to consider each word… it takes me a long time to write so few words.
I have the great fortune to live in the country, in a house that overlooks mountains and farmland, with kookaburras, blue wrens and king parrots for company. Most writers would be envious of the solitude. My study is ordinary, my keyboard old, but it’s everything I need.
Tell us about a writer or work that has inspired you as a writer
I am the same age as Tim Winton and I love his fiercely Australian writing and I enjoy the brevity and intelligence of Les Murray’s poetry, but the work that made me see that you can write about anything at all, was the poetry of Raymond Carver and Philippe Delerm. Mark Tredinnick introduced this work to me and I’m grateful that he also gave me confidence to write.
Amanda Berry says of herself: I live in the Upper Hunter valley of NSW and work as a primary school teacher, although I am nearing the end of my working life. I think there is magic in reading and writing: how it can transcend time and place, how the written word can speak quietly or with power, how you can create meaning out of a jumble of letters. I’ve found great joy in watching children master reading and writing, but now I am trying to prove the idiom ‘Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’ wrong. I have three adult children who’ve left home and a man who married me thirty-two years ago, who hasn’t.
Feature image via Flickr.com