TEXT prose


Pemela Greet

Self-flagellating narrator




Never start with an apology. It is Friday. I won’t tell you the date. My private plan indicated I would have the first draft of my exegesis completed yesterday. I haven’t written one word yet.

I have spent the last five hours re-reading de Certeau, Carter, Modjeska and my notes on Lynch. I can’t connect with any of those former thoughts. The neighbours have a crew working with jackhammers breaking up their concrete driveway to replace it with a nicer one. 

My teenage daughter comes and stands behind me, sweating words at my screen, gives me a hug and asks ‘How’s the exit jesus going?’ Then she refuses to hang out the washing. I bang my fists on the door when she walks out smirking. She’s been on holiday for two weeks now, watching movies on her lap-top, meeting friends in the city and other teenage business.

I feel like the top of my head is going to split open any moment now.

I go for a walk, leaving the dog at home.

I walk through the reserve and lie down under one of the trees planted as part of the Million Trees campaign when Campbell Newman was just the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. I look up through the leaves at the burning sun. 

Actually never apologise at all.

‘Just how self-flagellating will this narrator get?’ my supervisor’s comment on an early story draft. 

Hey, I was just getting started.

Maybe if I lie here with my eyes open staring directly at the sun for long enough, I’ll go blind and I won’t have to write my jesus.




I see myself as a kind of suburban bowerbird creating stories from the scraps and fragments that make up the everyday lives of ordinary people. I was born in Home Hill, Queensland and grew up in Townsville where I completed undergraduate studies at James Cook University. Starting out as a secondary school teacher, I worked most of my life in the not-for-profit sector with a significant period living in South Africa, the UK and Europe and travelling extensively in Africa. More recently employed as a public servant, my daily travel to and from work in Brisbane provided a fertile inspiration for years of (sub)urban story which remains largely to be recreated.  After years of eavesdropping and scribbling, I recently completed an MA in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.


Return to Contents Page
Return to Home Page

Vol 18 No 1 April 2014
General Editor: Nigel Krauth. Editors: Kevin Brophy & Enza Gandolfo