Hobart sits on the edge of two great emptinesses.
This is what fascinated me in the writing of The Slipping Place and it’s something I tried to convey.
Tasmania is surrounded by vast, dangerous, icy oceans. The European settlers crossed these to arrive here.
In a way I think we have inherited a deep sense of loneliness. At some level we are aware that we are miles away from anywhere, at the cold edge of the world. You can see this in our pure light that seems to reflect straight up from Antarctica. Certainly as a child I felt this. I yearned for an elsewhere that was warm and fast and important and a long way away.
We also live on the edge of vast, glorious, precious, inhospitable wildernesses. Walls of rock and deep impenetrable forests. In a way Hobart can seem like a refuge, a place of protection. In the early years, we built thick stone walls. I imagine the oldest buildings turning their back on the mountain and what lies behind it.
These – the wilderness, the mountain, the ocean air, the Antarctic light, the danger, the past – these are fundamental to Hobart’s profound and complex beauty. Nowadays, in many ways, we embrace and celebrate our wilderness, the coastline, the sea and the mountain. But at the same time, I think there is something deep in our psychologies of sheltering ourselves and turning away.
3 thoughts on “The Lonely Edge of the World”
Hello Joanna I just read your post about Hobart and Tasmania. I so enjoyed it and your blog piece closely echoes some thoughts I have been having recently about my time in Hobart. And the call to return and the urge to escape. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Lovely to hear from you, Mary. Thanks for taking the time to engage and best wishes for your own writing!
Hi Joanna, great to meet you yesterday at the Richmond market. The reason I had never heard of you is because I generally don’t read murder mysteries. (Which is feeble excuse, I know.) I do hear what you say about making them more than page turners, about exploring man’s own mystery, his multi-layered psychology, and all that. I am looking forward to reading The Slipping Place!
You have an excellent tidy website. I started doing a blog on mine, and gave it up, rather messily – it just does not seem to be my medium. At the same time, I got off Facebook, also. So mostly I communicate by email, these days. I would love to hear more of your journey, maybe catch up if you have the time.