Tag Archives: Dorothy Dix

On John Greens, Will Graysons and Dorothy Dixers

Speaking of publishing phenomenons, YA uber author John Green (@realjohngreen to his one million+ Twitter followers) has done a turn as Dorothy Dix in his latest vlog.

I’m embedding it here not just because the advice on campus culture and romance should be tattooed on all arms, but because John also speaks the truth on novel (re-)writing. I trust General John’s army of nerdfighters take heed of their fearless leader.

I’m a fan of John’s work and looking forward to reading his collaboration with another YA luminary, David Levithan. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is out now and both authors are on the publicity trail, judging by this report in the LA Times.

The new novel tells of two characters with the name Will Grayson – and reminds me of the time when I worked for another John Green, a sheep farmer with a property about an hour’s drive north of Melbourne.

I have many memories of working with Farmer John, who was a generous if eccentric and tough employer. One story involves his aversion to rocks. I assume every farmer aspires to improve their paddocks by digging out and disposing of the surface stone but Farmer John took it to extremes. On some of the days I worked for him our main task was to lift rocks onto the back of a flat bed truck, drive them to a cliff and throw them into the creek below. Then start again. The thing about digging up rocks is you tend to find … more rocks.

As we dumped each truckload, Farmer John’s catch-phrase used to be, “Don’t straighten your back, boy, there should be two rocks in the air at all times”.

During winter, when the paddocks got too wet for stone-hunting, Farmer John’s wife asked me to construct a rock garden around her beloved rose bushes. I spent a couple of days doing so before returning to university. When I ventured back to the farm the following week, the garden border had gone. The man with the rock allergy had dug up all the carefully placed stones and thrown them in the creek.

I offered to start again. His wife just rolled her eyes.