Brad Shreve [00:00:00]: Garrick Jones. I am so happy to have you on Queer We Are welcome.
Garrick Jones [00:00:05]: Thank you very much. I mean, I’m very happy to be here.
Brad Shreve [00:00:09]: Well, I am so happy to have you here. I’m excited to have a discussion with you because I believe the key to success, one of them is the ability to be flexible and change your goals when necessary. And would you agree you’ve had a pretty good track record with that?
Garrick Jones [00:00:29]: Yeah. On two different levels, yes. On one level. Yet professionally, yes. Personally, maybe not so much.
Brad Shreve [00:00:36]: We’ll get a little into that. There were two dramatic changes in your life caused by accidents, yet you succeeded with three careers. First, traveling around the world as an opera performer, and then you became a lecturer at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music. And today you are one of my favorite mystery authors. And your story begins with being raised in an abusive home. So we have a lot of ground to cover. So should we get started?
Garrick Jones [00:01:07]: Sure. Let’s get going.
Brad Shreve [00:01:10]: I’m your host, Brad shreve.
Garrick Jones [00:01:13]: And I’m Garrick Jones.
Brad Shreve [00:01:14]: And Queer We Are. Garrick, as I said, you’ve had to reinvent yourself many times in your life and as you say in your promotions, you’ve gone from outback to opera and now you’re settled, or maybe not so settled in the tropics. Now, from what I know of your story, I think we should follow a linear path. It really works with your story, which we will, but I say that. But now I’m going to shake things up as part of my plan first, and I want to start with your life now, and let’s set the stage when we do that. So I want to know if the world was set to music as it should be, what song would play every time you entered the room and why?
Garrick Jones [00:01:59]: Oh, my God, that’s a really tough question. I suppose the song that immediately comes to mind is La Mer. Do you remember that?
Brad Shreve [00:02:14]: No. Sing a little bit.
Garrick Jones [00:02:16]: La mer DA DA DA DA DA I can’t remember how it goes now. But it comes. Yeah, it’s a French song and it’s all about the sea. And I suppose my life now revolves about being close to the sea, something that I’ve always loved. Except the sea. Where I live now is calm, crystal clear, blue tropical. The sea that I grew up with was suburban Sydney when I finally moved there. And when I think of it, back then, it was always dark green and choppy and a bit sort of like, ominous. But that was very reflective of what I was going through my life back then, there were obviously lots of really sunny, beautiful days, but that’s how I see it in my mind.
Brad Shreve [00:03:01]: Those are great analogies. It certainly paints a beautiful picture. No wonder you’re a writer. And with all you’ve done in your life, when did you know you wanted to become an author.
Garrick Jones [00:03:17]: I don’t know how I do. I went to school in Seattle, high school, but it was only for six months, so I can’t remember much about the schooling then. But we have a subject in our schooling called English, and it was about grammar and spelling and reading books and everything. But the part of it was called composition, which you had to write a short story or an essay once a week. And I always did really, really well. So well that my teachers to read my stories out in front of the whole school. It’s a couple of thousand boys. I got a lot of stick for that. Because one thing that you learn when you’re a teenage boy, a young teenage boy, is not to stand out unless you’re a cricketer or a football player or a sports jock. If you’re clever at anything else, you must never stand out, because you get cut down a lot. So I was really, I suppose, cowered by the experience. I got bullied a lot for being a good writer, so I didn’t write at all. I wrote letters. And everybody used to say, oh, you write the most wonderful letters, because back in the days before the Internet, that was the only way one could correspond. And then when I started doing my two master’s degrees, I got really great feedback on my writing style. And then at university, when I was submitting academic papers, I got the same sort of feedback. But it was only when I started I retired, and I thought, I wonder if I could write a book. And I wrote a story, and I sent it off to a writing buddy that I met just before you and said, can you just be really, really honest? And he absolutely loved it and encouraged me to keep writing. So when did I become a writer? When did I think I became a writer? I still don’t think that. I think impostor syndrome is the strongest thing that motivates most writers, and we hope that we write well, but we never really, really believe that we do. Down deep in our hearts, it motivates writers.
Brad Shreve [00:05:22]: I think it’s universal at the same time.
Garrick Jones [00:05:25]: Yeah, it does.
Brad Shreve [00:05:27]: Now, you don’t write exclusively mysteries, but that’s primarily where your focus has been. And I could be wrong, but I think of the stories that you’ve read, at least that I’ve read, only two of those are contemporary novels. Am I in the ballpark?
Garrick Jones [00:05:42]: Only one.
Brad Shreve [00:05:43]: Okay.The rest are in the past. So what era calls to you and why?
Garrick Jones [00:05:48]: Well, the 1950s call to me because that was the most cathartic point period of my life. So I’ve been asked to actually write about how I came to crime writing and how I came by another author. And I was just writing this yesterday and today, and I explained in it that this writing in that period helps me reconfigure the past to make it a happier past to turn bad and dark experiences into more pleasant ones. So it’s a way of really healing by writing and changing the past to what it could have been rather than what it was.
Brad Shreve [00:06:35]: And you do a lot of research, like an incredible amount of research. What is one of the most interesting things that you’ve learned? And I’m not talking about facts like buildings or that sort of thing what is the most fascinating thing you learned about attitudes?
Garrick Jones [00:06:53]: The most interesting thing I’ve found about attitudes is that history is not always kind to everybody. When you’re researching, you can find a whole lot of facts about people that are not particularly important. But the things that made those people who they are are very, very hard to find out. So we can find a lot of research about facts about people, but we very, very rarely can find out about how they became that person. It’s very difficult to find out. You can find out about what so and so did on a certain day of the week, in a certain date in the year. But you can’t often find out about what they looked out like when they got out of bed in the morning, what their relationships were like when the doors were closed with their partner, that sort of stuff which fleshes out the person, but also situations. I wrote in one of my books that history is always written by the victors, and that’s very, very true. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. There’s a new movie I call All Quiet on the Western Front, which is about the First World War seen through the eyes of German soldiers. And it gives us, Western, us people who are on the Allied side, a very different point of view of the war, the First World War. And so a lot of history is written. It’s gilded in many ways. So rarely do we actually get to see the grubby truth underneath everything. We get to see it written in a sanitized, cleaned up way most of the time.
Brad Shreve [00:08:32]: Very true. I like that other perspective quite a bit. So, listener, I’m not saying this because of my Fodness for Garrick, of which it is very strong. Even if you’re not a fan of mysteries, you’ll enjoy his novels because of his excellent characters and the story development. His secondary stories will carry just as much as the mystery itself. So I highly recommend him if you’re a mystery fan or not.
Garrick Jones [00:08:59]: Thank you.
Brad Shreve [00:09:00]: But now let’s go back in time to the outback. Americans seem fascinated by the outback, and I think many of us envision expansive ranches and desert conditions overwhelmed by kangaroos. And I know that 70% of Australia has the outback, which blew my mind. I wasn’t preparing for this. I just happened to read that week or two ago. So how accurate is our envision of the outback?
Garrick Jones [00:09:26]: I think it’s extremely accurate in fact, there was a study the other day, came out on the television saying that Melbourne is about to surpass Sydney in terms of population. And you think about Australia is the same size as continental USA, same area. So that’s a really big country. But we have 26 million people in the country, which is probably what New York, Los Angeles and Chicago put together, populating the entire country. So most of it is rural. But the big problem is if you think about some of the big desert areas in the USA, which probably take up, I don’t know what’s the largest desert in the USA, so Death Valley, San Fernando
Brad Shreve [00:10:14]: Probably the Suguaro Desert, which is down in Arizona, but I don’t really know. And that takes up it could be where I am, the Mojave Desert.
Garrick Jones [00:10:25]: It could be that. But you think about that taking up maybe 60, 70% of the entire landmass in the interior, so a lot of it is not Arable. And that’s the reason why two of our cities, sydney and Melbourne, contain over half the population of the entire country.
Brad Shreve [00:10:46]: Yeah.
Garrick Jones [00:10:48]: It’s very hard for Americans and Europeans to understand that. To understand like, for example, where I live, for me to get to the nearest big town is 4 hours drive.
Brad Shreve [00:10:58]: Yeah.
Garrick Jones [00:10:59]: And to get to the nearest city is 11 hours drive. So if you were driving 11 hours in the United States, you probably go through three or four big cities and.
Brad Shreve [00:11:09]: You’Re still in the same state in that eleven hour drive. Yeah. It’s pretty amazing. Yeah. I live in the Mojave Desert and I live in San Bernardino County, which is the largest county in California. So it’s big but there aren’t a whole lot of people here compared to the rest of the state. And I do, when I think of Australia, I think, okay, what if this covered a whole hell of a lot more of the United States? I think then I’d get an idea what Australia is like, even though I know that the desert is a little bit different.
Garrick Jones [00:11:40]: And kangaroos everywhere. Kangaroos everywhere. Yeah. There’s not getting away. They’re kangaroos everywhere.
Brad Shreve [00:11:46]: Okay, so I want to talk about you being raised in an abusive home. And I’m not going to ask you to go beyond more than you’re comfortable with. I just want to get an understanding of where things started and where you wound up today. So whatever you want to share, tell us what you can.
Garrick Jones [00:12:05]: Okay. I’ve been thinking about a lot about this because I knew we’d be dwelling on it, so I bought we won’t dwell on it. Yeah. My parents divorced when I was two years old. My mother had been engaged to another man other than my father, who was captured by the Japanese and tortured and killed in the Second World War. She, at the age of 15, became pregnant by him and gave birth to a daughter which she had adopted out. She had fostered out, she gave it away. I didn’t find this out until two years ago. So my whole life I was completely oblivious to this half sister. No way of tracking down who this is or is she still alive or anything, but my mother married my father sort of on the rebound in 1947, and their marriage lasted two years. My mother was an alcoholic, there’s no other way of putting it. And she was the female equivalent of what we call a womanizer. So I suppose the word is man hungry. That sounds terribly judgmental, but she was I mean, call it what it is. So I was more or less abandoned from about the age of two, given into the care of my grandmother, who lived in the country. So I spent most of my life going backwards and forwards between the outback and the city. My mother had moved to the city almost straight after the divorce, and life was okay up until about the age of seven, when my mother met this man who became my stepfather. And I was pulled out of my environment in the country and brought down to the city. Now, this man was one of the world’s really, truly horrible people. He was not only physically abusive, but mentally abusive. And I suppose if it had happened today, he would be in jail. But in those days, people didn’t like to ask. They didn’t like to get involved. And child punishment was so universal. But his was extreme. I mean, he he was a sadist. There’s no way other way of putting it. I was hospitalized three times between the ages of 711 with broken bones, fractures, all sorts of things. And we were dirt, dirt poor. I mean, incredibly poor. I was counting it up in preparation for this interview. We moved eleven times between 1956 and 1963.
Brad Shreve [00:15:05]: Oh, my goodness.
Garrick Jones [00:15:07]: I was determined not to let this man ruin me. Is that the right word? Turn me into a monster is determined. And I had a very loving grandmother and an aunt who were very, very supportive, and both of them fostered me to do things in a way that he couldn’t punish me because I was doing things that he couldn’t do or didn’t approve of. I became very good at tennis, so at school I was a tennis champion. I was a good cricket player. But one day, this is in beginning of 1963, the sports master called me after sports match to come to his office, and he said, I’ve noticed that you never take a shower after sports, and the boys are complaining about your bo, basically. Why are you really shy in the shower? And I didn’t know what to say, but I just remember bursting into tears, and I really slowly unbuttoned my shirt. I’m in this howling with tears pouring on the face. And he reached over and he pushed my shirt front open and he said, Jesus, what happened to you. And he saw the bruises. So all over my body were bruises in places that weren’t seen. Never my face or my hands, but I always wore long sleeve shirts and long trousers. And he went to the headmaster and my headmaster called me and he said, have you what what’s we going to do about this? And I said he said, who knows about it? And I said, My grandmother knows about it. So he called her and together they hatched a plot that I was given a I was awarded an exchange student place through Rotary Organization to study in Canada. And that was published and announced in the local newspaper before my mother and my stepfather were told, so they couldn’t do anything about it.
Brad Shreve [00:17:20]: Wow.
Garrick Jones [00:17:21]: And that’s how I entered Canada. I was sent to Canada for two years to a French Canadian high school. And that was where I not only got away from him, but where I grew up.
Brad Shreve [00:17:32]: When I really have a dislike for somebody, I always say I wished I believed in hell because I would like to know that they wound up there. Now I’m thinking, I hope there’s a heaven because it sounds like that coach belongs there.
Garrick Jones [00:17:42]: Yeah. He was very supportive, but at the same time unwilling to do anything himself except refer me to the headmaster.
Brad Shreve [00:17:53]: Yeah.
Garrick Jones [00:17:55]: I could have done with a pal, an older pal at that time. And I was really, really fortunate to be bulleted with a Mountie when I went to Canada. His name was Barney and he was a huge crime fiction reader. And I suppose that’s where I started reading crime fiction back then. There was and also he I eventually told him about the abuse and he taught me how to look after myself, how to take care of myself. He taught me how to fight. So when I returned to Australia in 1965, end of 1965 to sit my fine little exams, I’d already done exams in Canada. The first thing that happened when I walked into the house, I’d grown from like a little kid to the height I am now six foot one and I was 17 going on 18. And first thing my grand, my stepfather did was grab me a collar and I socked him to the floor. I hit him so hard he fell in his back and I kicked him in the balls over and over again. And then I went into the room, said to my mother, I’ll never see you again. Took my suitcase and walked out. And we had no contact probably for 10-15 years.
Brad Shreve [00:19:16]: Okay, you’re going everything against I believe I’m so antiviolent, but I’m hearing this story and I’m grinning ear to ear and I’m thinking, good for you.
Garrick Jones [00:19:24]: Yeah. I would never do it now, but it had been a rage boiling in me. But there was a piano and I loved it. And my great grandmother played the piano. So I learned a little bit, but one of my escapes when I came with this abusive stepfather was not far from where I live, was a piano teacher. And I loved it. And I used to sit on her front step and listen to her and her students and I used to I loved it. After about a year, all of a sudden the door flew open. She said, I got you. Who are you? What are you doing here? And I said, I’m just listening. And she was really kind. She invited me in, we had a cup of tea and I told her, and she gave me free piano lessons.
Brad Shreve [00:20:10]: And as I said, I know because I didn’t have you never became professional at it, but was that a goal?
Garrick Jones [00:20:17]: The goal was, yeah. I went on to study at the because when I got to Canada, of course, things were quite different. There was a music department in the high school, so I had really proper piano training. And then when I returned to Sydney, I went to the conservatory Music in Sydney and got a really top name notch teacher who said, you’d probably never be a concert pianist, but you could be with an excellent concert penis. So I continue with that until the first of my two major car accidents in my life.
Brad Shreve [00:20:50]: Yes, this is where you had to redefine your direction.
Garrick Jones [00:20:55]: Yeah, an army vehicle reversed over me ouch. And shattered my right elbow. And that took a long time to heal. And when I went back to my piano teacher, he said, you’ll never regain the full flexibility in that arm. He said, well, you will be able to play, but it won’t be at the sort of standard I hope for you. So he said, look, let’s have a talk with the director of the Conservatorium. And the director of the Conservatorium said, well, I’d won all the prizes in theory of music because that’s part of the research part of me. I loved all of that theoretical part. And he said, what can we do with you that doesn’t include your hands? And he said, the only thing I can think about is singing. And I never thought about it. And he sent me along to the singing teacher who said in the first section said, do this, do this, do this. I opened my mouth and this sound came up and he was literally flabbergasted. And the rest is history.
Brad Shreve [00:21:57]: It amazes me to hear you say that singing was you never even thought about it. Because having never know that you had such a long career in opera and I’ve heard some of your music and it’s incredible. But in your writing, when you see that you write something about that era, you can see your eyes gleam. Even though I’m looking at a page. So there’s just obviously this passion that you had about it and the fact that it was just like, hey, why don’t you sing. It just is so funny to me.
Garrick Jones [00:22:31]: Yeah, well, it was a bit like that. And because I’d had no exposure to it, I knew no fears. I had lots of fears about playing the piano, because I knew what the pitfalls were, I knew what the goals were, I knew what I had to do, how hard it was, how hard you practice. But singing I knew nothing about, so I was fearless with it. And because I’d led this double life, my entire life, of being this kid, beaten about, knocked about, but yet behaving trying to behave life a normal kid in public, I was very good at disseminating, I was very good at being able to put on another persona. So it came to being on the stage, it’s a real natural. I found it very easy to fall into being another person on the stage. So the thing that one of my greatest directors ever worked with, John Regg, said to me, he said, the only thing I love about you on the stage, he said, you have no ego. He said, you’re the easiest person in the world to work with, because we’re not fighting the person, we’re working with the character of who you’re performing. And I put that down to that. Trying to cope as a child, really. Yeah.
Brad Shreve [00:23:43]: You’re pretty unassuming, so that doesn’t surprise me at all. So when you got into opera, I know you sang quite a bit in different opera houses in Sydney, but you also toured the world. Were you pretty much a nomad at that time period?
Garrick Jones [00:23:57]: Yeah, I got a scholarship to go and study in London in 1972 or three. Not quite sure. 73, I think, and I got a scholarship to go and study and I did really, really well. And this is another one of those my life revolves around coincidences. I rediscovered my father, who was living in Tarrytown in New York, and I wrote to him and I said, I’m coming to Europe and I’d like to perhaps meet up if I came to New York. And I hadn’t heard from him since I don’t know, since I was tiny, when he left Australia to go and live in England and moved to America, and he said, Well, I’ve got a new life now, I married another woman. He actually hadn’t. He had married her, but vigorously, as it turned out, later on, because he was still married to someone else in Australia, but he never let anyone know that. And not long after I arrived in the UK, I went to the US. And I remember shaking when I was handing over my ticket. I was really, really nervous about this. And the girl in the TWA yeah, TWA. Pan Am. Pan Am. And my hacks were shaking. She said, what are you so nervous about? I said, I haven’t seen my father since the age of six and I’m going to have a reunion with him in the United States. She said, she upgraded me to first class. Now, this is the coincidence. I was sitting next to this sort of older gentleman and said, hello, in first class. I mean, then he pulled out a score, an orchestral score on his lap. And he started reading it and reading it. I leaned over and said that’s the Barber of Seville. And he looked at me and said, how would you know that? And I said, oh, I’m training to become an opera singer. And he closed the COVID and he showed me his name on the COVID sir John Pritchard. He was one of the most famous conduct opera conductors in Britain, going to conduct The Barber of Seville at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Brad Shreve [00:26:16]: Wow.
Garrick Jones [00:26:18]: So it gets better. He gave me tickets. He said, Where are you staying? And I told him, and he said, Give me a call. He was staying at the Ansonia Building, famous for the baths down in the basement and the steam bars. He was staying in the Ansonia. And I called him and he said, I’ve got tickets. Would you like to come to the opera? And I went and met him and had met his friends. And then he said, I’ve got tickets for the Tales of Popman. Two of your fellow countrymen are singing. That was Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonning conducting. And I sat next to him. He took me backstage, introduced me to them, and they were just delightful. And Richard said, Where are you from? I’m from Sydney. I’m in London studying. I’ve got a scholarship. And he said, well, let’s hear you sing. So I went in the next day, not having sung for a couple of weeks, standing in the wings of the Metropolitan Opera in New York while those stage hands were doing thing. And I auditioned for him, and I worked with him my whole performing career. Shortly after that, he made me sing for John Pritchard back in London, and John offered me a role at La Mana Monet Opera House in Brussels, where he was the head of music. And that relationship went on for years, too. So these coincidences that had I not my hand not been shaking, I may never have met John Pritchard. And I wouldn’t maybe not until years and years later met Richard Bonning and Joan Southern. I was young, I was reasonably good looking. I was very, very musical. I had a natural voice. I was sent to one of the best teachers in the world in Italy, Campo Galliani, where I studied with him. I had this really charm career, singing all over the world a couple of years in Boston, sang in Santa Fe. I sang all over the US. St. Louis, all over Europe and Southeast Asia. I sang at the Hong Kong Fest International Festival a couple of times. So pretty charmed. But really, Krazzle, I can’t tell you the amount of my life it consumed to the expense of my personal life, really, and how much it ached me up.
Brad Shreve [00:28:55]: You had this incredible career that you clearly loved and you were obviously well loved for it, but then you kind of had an instant replay to something that happened earlier in your life when you were in a good direction. What happened?
Garrick Jones [00:29:08]: Another car accident. My friend Craig that I met in South Africa was probably the real big love of my life. I think I’d been enamored of people before, but this was the big love affair. I suppose it’s hard to put into words the depth of that relationship, but I suppose gazillion people all over the planet have had that depth of relationship as well. And I didn’t think I’d ever do it because I really consider myself such a flawed person. I was so scared of any intimacy with anybody else that it totally shocked me that it could have developed into that. We were driving I had a performance in Stuttgart this is 1998. I had a performance in Stuttgart and we were driving from living just outside Frankfurt, and a young Japanese woman in a higher car lost control of her car and tailgated us and knocked the car underneath the back trailer. Craig was killed and I was so severely injured that I spent three, four months in hospital really having to learn to do anything. One of the results of that was that the seatbelt which I was wearing in people in Germany didn’t really wear seatbelts in Europe, caught me across the throat and fractured my larynx. So I lost the finer ability of being able to sing. And when I started practicing, it was almost out of control. So I went to see my agent, we talked about it and he said, well, look, give it a year and see what happens. All I could see, all right, it wasn’t the same as it had been. And I felt that I could no longer do it because I was not able to do what I wanted to do at the level I wanted.
Brad Shreve [00:31:21]: You could have passed, but you wouldn’t have been happy with it.
Garrick Jones [00:31:24]: Yeah. No. And I was 50 at the time. And then came one of those other coincidences. Two years before that I’d been come back to Australia to sing. And while I was here, my agent said, look, Siemens International are hosting a conference in Cairns in the northern part of Queensland, and they want somebody to come and sing a couple of arias and a few songs. Would you be interested? And it was really good fee and I had two weeks free and I thought holiday and two weeks in the Tropics. Wow. It’s not far from where I live now, so I did it. And after the concert, a woman came up to introduce she’s I’m the head of Music at James Cook University. That was just wonderful. I’ve never heard of you much back in Australia. And I said, well, I don’t sing here very much. And she said, well, if you ever get to the stage where you feel like you want to do a bit of academic work, just send me a line. She gave me a business card, forgot all about it. And then when I was going through this phase of thinking my life was over, what was I going to do? I was cleaning through some stuff, and I found this card. So I wrote to her, and I got an email. With the days of email then, although it wasn’t the late 90s, it was still pretty unusual. I got an email back from said, I haven’t got a position, but I think I know somebody who might have. And so I got an email from the woman at the university where I was working, and we did an interview. And a year later, I found myself on a plane flying into Mackay, looking out the window, saying, jesus, what the fuck have I done? But I had this is the part of my story that people think, you know, this is all fiction. In all my years of traveling the world and working and planes and trains, and I completed two master’s degrees that were ripped by research, and I started writing a PhD. This is part of my struggle never to become the sort of person my stepfather wanted me to be. It took me a long time to work out that was the reason behind it, that my stepfather wanted to grind me into an insignificant piece of dust. But I was determined that I was going to rise upon that, above that. And so I studied, and that’s how I discovered research and under. So with these two degrees under my belt, I was given the position, and I ended up lecturing. 14 years. The history of music, history of the arts, music theory, counterpoint. I love the academic part of it. I love the lectures. I love the lectures of the history of music. And I wrote a subject called A Comparative History of the Arts, which was focused on how politics, invention, music, theater, writing, all interact with each other. How each of them influences, like how a book could influence the French Revolution, how the invention of tempered steel could change the sound of orchestral strings, and how that bounces back. How the Great Exhibition, 1951 changed the way that some instruments were seen, the invention of new instruments, how that led into culture and influenced the way people dressed and the way they behave. That was a wonderful subject. I love that. And also the love of music. I was never just interested in opera. I was always interested in classical music. I soaked it up like a sponge. Once I got into it at the Conservatorium in the 1960s, I just went to everything, listened to everything, and I studied a lot. So, yeah, it was a great joy.
Brad Shreve [00:35:16]: From so yeah, I gotta say, just from my perspective, I mean, your youth just sounds horrific and you suffered quite a bit of tragedy which made you change direction in your life. But the positive I see is very few people have three careers in their lifetime that they love. Few people have one career that they love.
Garrick Jones [00:35:37]: Yeah, I think myself very lucky, very fortunate. And I think that’s got something to do with resilience. And I think it’s because I remember the initial shock of the first time my stepfather ever hit me out of the blue. No reason, just socked me with his fist right between the eyes. And I remember just being stunned and I was thinking, what’s this about? I couldn’t understand it. There was no rhyme or reason for it. And I thought to myself, I need to learn to survive. And so the philosophy I adopted during those years before I went to Canada was all about how to survive. So although I go through and have gone through terrible bouts of depression, underneath, I always know that I’m going to come out the other side. Because in whole, I describe myself as a survivor.
Brad Shreve [00:36:41]: Oh, yeah, I say you definitely are a survivor. So how do you define happiness?
Garrick Jones [00:36:47]: How do I define happiness? I’m not quite sure, Brad. It’s pretty ephemeral state. I have had incredible happiness with Craig that sharing, caring, when I was actually eventually able to open up and release. But I suppose I don’t know what other people’s version of happiness is. I suppose my version is contentment rather than real happiness.
Brad Shreve [00:37:15]: Well, I think happiness is like success. Everybody has their own definition, it’s subjective. So I’m going to lead into that. How do you define success?
Garrick Jones [00:37:25]: Yeah, this is a difficult thing. As a professional classical musician, the definition of success is actually being able to do the particular task at hand. So walking off the stage at the end of the performance going, I managed, I did that, we started, it had a beginning, it had an end, nothing went wrong that was successful. But with the other thing about classical music, which led over into my writing, is that it’s always about this unattainable goal of perfection. It can never be good enough. And that’s what drives classical musicians to practice every day, to concentrate on the art. And I feel that a bit the same way with my writing, but it’s very, very difficult to let go and send my book off to the editor and start example. So success, I don’t know, I think that’s for other people to judge rather than me.
Brad Shreve [00:38:21]: Other people to judge for you?
Garrick Jones [00:38:24]: Yes. I love people to look at my life and say, you have been really successful, but it’s not something that I would apply to me.
Brad Shreve [00:38:33]: Oh, see, I disagree because if you ask your common person, how do you get successful? They’re going to say it’s fame and fortune. And that may not be what you want in your life?
Garrick Jones [00:38:44]: Yeah, I find it very difficult. I can say I have been successful, but that’s about it.
Brad Shreve [00:38:53]: You have been successful. Garrick Jones [00:38:54]: I’m glad you know that and I.
Brad Shreve [00:38:56]: Would say right now you’re successful as a writer. Would you agree?
Garrick Jones [00:38:59]: Yeah, I wouldn’t say that I’ve failed, but I find that a difficult word to apply by myself. I prefer other people to say hey, you’re a really successful writer and I go fine, that’s terrific if you think that, but I don’t.
Brad Shreve [00:39:15]: Okay, so we’ve come full circle you were sent to McKay, to the university and you’re like where the hell are they sending me here? And you’re settled. You’re a writer. What gives you hope right now? And you got to give me something.
Garrick Jones [00:39:37]: I suppose the thing is that now I have a really quiet, peaceful life. I have no deep emotional connections with anybody else. I grew up being by myself, so I’m really quite happy in my own company. And I like the life that I’m living now. That makes me feel at peace.
Brad Shreve [00:40:01]: What is it that you life about it?
Garrick Jones [00:40:06]: I love living in the tropics. I can’t tell you how much I love living in the tropics. It’s warm all you hate the cold. How I lived through 30 years of European and American winter so I have no idea those -30 and -40 degrees garden help me so it’s warm all year round I wear I own one pair of shoes, for example. The rest of the time I live in flip flops or sandals. When I go out, as you see, you can see, listeners can’t see. I live in athletic, singlets, what we.
Brad Shreve [00:40:40]: In the United States called tank top. I don’t know why. That’s what we call it.
Garrick Jones [00:40:48]: I live five minutes from the beach and you can walk along a deserted beach and look into the Good Sunday Islands and see the islands in the distance, humbally high in the background. Does that sound track? Yeah. It’s a great part of the world to live in that makes me really comfortable. There are no great. I own my own house. I own a car, have two cats. Life is comfortable. And that’s far more than I thought would ever happen to me when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I just saw Blackness in my future so Contentment.
Brad Shreve [00:41:26]: Is Successful To you to you I.
Garrick Jones [00:41:28]: Can see that yeah, successment and I suppose that’s my definition of happiness contentment.
Brad Shreve [00:41:35]: Well Garrick I’m so Thrilled to have you on the show. I felt I knew you and then when I learned a little bit more of your story, I thought wow I know much more now and you just really told me a whole lot more. Your story is just great in both ways. There’s obviously some not so great things in your story, but you certainly have had some amazing things in your life.
Garrick Jones [00:42:03]: Yeah, look, it’s been a very there’s a book, Australia, by Australian author I can’t remember who wrote now. It’s called a fortunate life. And I suppose that’s the way I look at it. I’ve had the great privilege of seeing the world and being paid while I see it. But there were drawbacks to that, I can tell you. It wasn’t until the third time that I performed in Prague that actually got out to see the city. And as for this thing about fortune, the only sort of like plausits you get are the couple of minutes of applause when you walk out in front of the curtain at the end of the performance. The rest of the time is just your Joe blog. There’s no great glamour evolved to it. It’s just bloody, bloody hard work.
Brad Shreve [00:43:00] Thank you again, my friend.