The Sound of the Invisible

Main Article Content

Linda Neil


My father, whose name was Ben, loved telling stories. It was from his storytelling sessions with my Uncle Charlie that I first understood Pythonesque one-upmanship. These competitive narratives consisted of colourful descriptions of shoeless boys collecting firewood in the snow while daddy became emphysemic in a coalmine and mummy planned their exodus to Australia. In these sessions, matriarchs fight back tears while burying a succession of choleric children, patriarchs swear off the booze in a pact with God that involved, at the very least, the survival of the remaining offspring. These were the first ideas I formed of life in another place and time, and from these two old raconteurs, who liked to outdo each other in their colourful and not altogether nonfictional retelling of their shared history, I learned not only about making stories but about listening to them.

Article Details

New Writing (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Linda Neil, University of Queensland

LINDA NEIL is a multi-faceted artist whose work includes essays, stories, scripts and documentaries published and broadcast Australia-wide and internationally. As a violinist she has toured Australia and Europe and her album, The New Passion Club, was released in 2001. She is currently a Creative Writing PhD candidate at the University of Queensland.