Jolley Times

I wrote a short story recently – over the last few days actually – but the idea for it has been brewing for a while. I haven’t written a short story in ages – it was fun. Fun not to be locked into the backstory of the characters like I am with the novel. Fun that it doesn’t really matter that the central character isn’t likeable. (One the protagonists in the novel is rather un-likeable and frankly, it’s a concern!)

Elizabeth Jolley was a lecturer of mine when I studied Creative Writing in my Arts Degree at University and her criticisms of my short stories were somewhat unflattering. (Truth be told, I’m fairly certain she hated them.) She was a sharp-tongued woman with a pointed nose personality that reminded me of a witch, especially when she handed me back another valiant effort with Not really good enough, Simonne emblazed across it in red pen.

God rest her soul and all, but… Sigh.

I wonder what she’d say about my latest effort, some 16 years later: Not really good enough, Simonne. Tim Winton studied here you know?

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14 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Humour, Women/Feminist, Writing

14 responses to “Jolley Times

  1. Simonne – you’re back! Some of us would like to have our poor efforts scribbled on by Ms Jolley (or even better, Tim Winton!). 🙂 Good to see you return anyway!

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  2. Hey Simonne,
    I love the people who try to stop your from writing. I find them very inspiring, if only out of spite. Chances are, she is not good enough, which is why she taught. Screw her, I’m sure your stories rocked.
    Annie

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  3. Hey Oscar, thanks for the visit 🙂 Yes, I guess I shouldn’t bemoan having such an important Australian writer as a teacher!

    Hey Annie – it’s true, they can be the inspiring ones afterall! And actually Jolley is a pretty important figure in Australian literature, I just didn’t much like her as a teacher!! 😉

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  4. isn’t the art of writing defined, in part by the subjective nature of ‘good?’ while the technical ‘goodness’ of writing can be evaluated and corrected, there is an art of expression that begs to stretch and live beyond such technical frames. good writing is found in this alchemy…or so i believe.

    i am delighted to find you returning to blogging. Namaste’

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  5. Hear hear Theo! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  6. romi41

    The pointed-nose ones are usually the most free with the red pen….incidentally my mom has a pointed nose and marks me up with her proverbial red pen whenever I see her: “have you put on weight?”….hahaha 🙂

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  7. Maybe we should get into face reading?

    Just tell your mum, yes, you have put on weight, you’re getting smarter so your brain is heavier… will she fall for that??

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  8. Dawn

    I know one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead but there are quite a few of us who didn’t like E J or her writing for that matter either – there seemed to be a sameness about it. We’ll take yours any day!
    Dawn and Rose

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  9. Oh, thanks very much D and R!

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  10. Whiti

    Hi Simonne,

    “Good enough” is a pretty vague goal post to me. Mind you, I’d find it hard to be a creative writing teacher; because there would be at least one person that would rub me the wrong way. Probably the person I felt the most threatened by and I’d torture myself about being unprofessional; and as I marked with my red, red pen the Pyscho “reeh! reeh!” would be playing in my head.
    But that’s just me. I’m sure EJ was entirely professional!

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  11. Hi Whiti, I’d be a hopeless CW teacher too, I’m absolutely sure of that!
    Yes, EJ was professional in her snippiness 😉

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  12. Dawn

    Good reply to EJ! I concur heartily.

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  13. my favorite english prof. said she stopped used
    red ink when “making notations” on a student’s
    work , after handing back a student his paper he
    said “oh, my paper is bleeding”.

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  14. That’s classic Jade, love it!! Well EJ certianly made my papers bleed! 😉

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