I’ve been tangled up writing about home front dissent during the Great War – the peace movement, the International Workers of the World, socialists, feminists and other anti-conscriptionists, and I’ve been thinking about what it is that leads one to get tangled up, as I have at various stages as I work through the drafts of NSW and the Great War.
Here’s what I think. It’s hardest to write about things we know best or feel the most strongly about. How to cover all that we know and love in just a few words? But these are the words we really must write. We spur ourselves on, telling ourselves that no one else can talk about these things the way we can, that it is a duty and a mission, and end up putting so much pressure on ourselves we can barely breathe. Creating is hard, because you are constantly staring at the gulf between what you want it to be, what it needs to be, and what it currently is. The joy comes when you manage to cast a slender rope over that gulf, and start to think you might have the beginnings of a swing bridge and that, one day, you’ll let people walk along it.