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October: Notes and Trolls

I know, I know – why have a column called ‘Blog’ if you only write in it occasionally? Well, back like a bad penny.

Three things:

Firstly, the Writing and Yoga retreat in the Flinders Ranges in May 2022 in which I am working with yoga and Vedic chant teacher, Sally Riddell, is now booked out. But if it sounds like your thing, and you would have liked to be part of it, we are taking Expressions of Interest for a possible further retreat in September 2022. It’s best to go through Sally’s Website at Ruby 9 Yoga.


I can happily say that I’m working on a commission with the State Theatre Company of South Australia (who’ve just released their terrific 2022 season) to adapt a recent major Australian novel for the stage for production in 2023. Wish I could tell you the name, but the company needs to keep that tight for a little longer.

Thirdly, I’ve been working through old notes and found one – a quote from Canadian writer Robertson Davies in his posthumous collection of writings A Merry Heart that stopped me in my tracks a bit (p. 166-7).

Here ‘Tis:

He starts by quoting a poem of Ibsen’s

‘To live – is a battle with the troll-folk

In the realms of heart and head:

To write – is a man’s self-judgment,

As Doom shall judge the dead.’

And goes on to say…

“…The troll-folk are everywhere and hard at work. In the old mythology they are misshapen dwarfs who work deep in the mines, and many of those mines are in our own hearts and heads. As I said, there are plenty of people who say they never see the troll-folk. Watch out for those, because they are innocent, and after a certain age, innocence is a dangerous quality.’

Ibsen’s poem is as much about the mad, bad, sad, and tough times of the writing psyche as it is about the troll-folk. But I love his brutal summation of the fact that there are troll-folk among us, and Robertson’s equally blunt acceptance of the foolishness of not facing that fact. I’m thinking the approaching Glasgow Climate summit. There‘s no time left not to call things by their name.

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