Thursday, 13 March 2014


I was huddled together with two architects in a small meeting-room going over plans for a total refurbishment of the library space.  I'm no architect, but when spot-pinned for suggestions by these two architects I was apt enough to proffer some idea or other that seemed to go down well.  There were moments where I noticed my hand brushing into my hair as I gulped with the pressure of knowing that a lot of changes were underfoot that I had no control over.  It's all going to be different; less space, new colours, and if I have it my way, a new software management system.  One year's time from now - a totally new space, probably a totally new everything.

Last December I walked into the university's bookshop and went straight up to the sci-fi section.  I haven't read sci-fi since my early teens and my was, for whatever reason, longing to read some sci-fi again.  A book called 'Dust' which had a "Staff Recommended" tag at shelf's edge caught my attention.  I glanced at the blurb and thought this'll do.  Then my contact/supplier from the bookshop, Emily, walked up to say hello.  I immediately solicited her opinion about this 'Dust' book.  Emily told me that 'Wool' was the first in the trilogy, that it was a massive hit, and had something to do with a futuristic scenario where people were forced to live underground in a massive silo.  There was something about Emily's explanation that caught my interest and excitement.  Taking a risk, I bought Hugh Howey's 'Wool', and walked out of the shop into the languid early-summer haze of the pre-Christmas out-of-session campus.

I loved 'Wool'.  And I loved its prequel, 'Shift', too.  I related to Donald, a central character who was intimately and intricately swept along with a terrible movement of events beyond his control.  I want my project to go well.  I know from my own experience in this job I've been with for 18 years that big changes or movements at work are invariably reflected in full in my personal life.  I wonder what's going to happen?  I wonder if that halfway through the beginning bit of the project, when the roof is blown off before the uppers levels are constructed that some event will occur that will delay or blow off the project.  I'll be anxious.  I'll want the refurbishment to be over, to walk into a safe place and reset my digs, if that's to be.  It might not be meant to be.  What is certain, everything will be different.

I loved the Juliette character in the 'silo' series, Howey's heroine.  She was brave, clever, sharp, and she was compassionate, human.  A true leader with a discernible charisma, or as Howey described her, "...she had a fierce intelligence that could be measured from a distance."

Sometimes as I'm gliding around on soft shoes inside the facility or when I shift my gaze in different directions as I'm walking stealthily ahead I think of the place a silo of sorts.  Sometimes I feel as tactile as a Juliette, as furtive as Donald, and sometimes as much a slayer-type as Thurman, someone who knows too much and holds secrets.

And when I walk outside and look up at the clear blue sky I feel so consciously thankful for the air I'm breathing, moreso since I read 'Wool'.

Paul Hewson shooting star

i'm in the sunshine A mate of mine produces a monthly songwriter newsletter which goes out to a hundred or so mainly Sydney-based...