Whaling Station © irene waters 2013
I was four. My cousin Jenny came to stay. I hated her because my brother preferred playing with her than with me. She had already shown herself to be a scaredy-cat, having come to school with me she had cried so much that my father had to come, collect her and take her home.
We went to Byron Bay for the day and visited the whaling station. Unceremoniously, the whales arrived in the receiving bay and were pushed down the timber pallet-like slide to the concrete slab: big, black and shiny with white blubber oozing from the wounds and blood dripping to the cement floor. Jenny started to cry, ran away and was sick. I was happy.
© irene waters 2013
One technique to get in touch with the emotion that was foremost is to choose as early a memory as possible and free write i.e. don’t think about what you are writing . It should preferably be written in the child’s voice. Once written you can look at what the story signifies. In this case although I hate to admit it the overriding emotion was jealousy of my cousin and her relationship with my brother. It was obviously a very strong emotion as the sight of the poor whales didn’t seem to concern me at all, yet I would like to think that normally it would.
About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist
I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
What a great illustration of how major impressions can become a backdrop to a much smaller story. Lovely way to fit two stories into two short paragraphs! You might be interested in this essay, which uses one story to tell another. Perhaps tying the two together is how the writer coped with the second memory: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1996/06/24/1996_06_24_080_TNY_CARDS_000376447
Thanks Johanna. I have just read the link – loved it. Carmel Bird wrote “writing and life are sometimes very hard to bring together” – perhaps this is one way of doing it.
Reblogged this on Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) and commented:
Throwback Thursday is where I reblog early posts from the archives. I grew up near this whaling station whilst it was still operating and this is a child’s memory of one visit.
My Dad took me to see a dead whale down on the Cape when I was little. It was pretty gross – the smell was horrible. I felt sorry for the whale.
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I know I would now too Noelle but at the time I was to busy with cousin conflicts. Hopefully most of the world has stopped this kind of slaughter. Have just been down in the harbour in Wellington and the Sea Shepherd is docked. It is the anti whaling vessel that attempts to stop the Japanese taking hundreds of whales in the Southern Oceans.
I’m not sure anything can stop the Japanese; there are problems with whaling in the Atlantic, too. These magnificent, intelligent creatures should not be killed!