The Story Behind The Steel
What follows is straight quote from my journal from January 1, 1995.
Yesterday afternoon Hyone and I were getting ready to go out to a new year eve party. I had been talking to a friend, Brenda Blake, on the phone an hour or so before. I was standing in the kitchen looking out of the window and suddenly felt a wave of emotion and love. Tears came to my eyes as I felt that I was in love with Australia, although at the time I was planning to return to the UK. The strange thing was though that it wasn’t the Australia I saw out of the window, but Australia as it was in the past. I had a deep sense of knowing the countryside a long time ago. I had fallen in love with it, and the emotion was because now I was finding a love I thought had gone for good.
I asked Hyone to be with me while I explored these feelings. Gradually great gouts of pain and sobs poured out of me as I told ‘my’ story. I was a woman with husband and family living in Australia. But something had gone wrong and I had lost everything. As I recounted this, bit by bit, the painful sobbing was intense. I felt some natural disaster had claimed my man and my children, so I had lost everything and was alone in a place without any family at all. I said at one point early on that in those days, because of the way things were you had to love much more entirely than you do now. And in this way I had loved my man and children.
Slowly I went on to feel, say, that I had survived and used what I had at hand to survive. I could have died, because there was nothing to live for, but I didn’t want to commit suicide. So being a woman I accepted that I could either work as a prostitute, or get a man, and do what ever was necessary to be his mate and give him children and food. So that’s what I did. But because of my hurt I had most of myself hidden, so I was there in body only, doing what was necessary sexually and in actions, but that was all.
So I had left my seed, or children from my body here in Australia. They were now part of the people here, but I had no connection with them. Now I had come back again to reclaim this lost part of me – the woman and the pain she felt, and the experience she had lived through.
Lastly I felt the reason I/she had loved Australia as that woman was because I had come from a place that was so dirty – London. Not only dirty in a physical sense, but also in religion and socially. To me all that went on in the land of my birth, England, felt unclean. In Australia I had a sense of the country being untouched, and I found a cleanness I had never experienced before. Out of this my love had grown for the country.
I felt that I as Tony accepted this woman as my family, and this healed her spirit, which had felt so alone and bereaved of family. But intellectually and even inwardly, I find the experience difficult to comprehend.
January 2, 1995 – The experience I wrote about yesterday I explored a little bit more with Hyone last night. I also realised that even at the time I felt this was a story that needs to be told. Since then the idea of writing it as a novel has grown. I find myself today while relaxing, imagining scenes in the woman’s life. One such was her talking to a ‘lady’ at a time after her loss. She is saying to the lady, who is well meaning and wants to help, but also secretly wants to understand how or why the woman is so angry and independent, that she doesn’t even begin to understand. How can she help if she doesn’t understand. The lady asks why the woman is rejecting her. The reply is that she isn’t rejecting HER, it is all the stupidity the woman is living that she rejects, though sometimes she can’t find the words to say exactly what the stupidity is. But the relationship is about finding out.
As I understand it at the moment, the woman has been pushed into being aware in a rudimentary way of how the class system pushes women of lower birth into a terrible dilemma. In the time I explored with Hyone, I stood in the role of the woman and described how those in positions of authority, and that meant almost anyone born into greater wealth and education, all used it to manipulate the lower class. It was used like a pressure to push women into taking a man in one form or another. As the woman I felt that I had avoided prostitution by accepting that men wanted sex, so I could choose either to have it unwillingly with one man or with many. I chose the one man option, and did what was necessary to keep myself in that role, as the other options were worse. See The Steel