Sunday, 9 February 2014

Prof Tim Entwisle's Supportive Comments


Most writers devote single-minded attention to whatever book they are working on but my efforts with A Fragrant Memory regrettably and unavoidably have been spasmodic.  Here’s an example.

Before my last trip to Hong Kong on extended ‘Gran duty’ I left the Flockton manuscript with Prof Tim Entwisle, Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. (His picture is from RBG Melbourne website.) He has a particular interest in Margaret Flockton, being the former Director of the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, and his role there in setting up the current Award in her name is mentioned in my book.
I appreciate that he was quick to respond, and this is what he said, back on 30 October 2013:
Thank you very much for offering me a look at your manuscript on Margaret Flockton before its publication. I’ve made a few edits on A Fragrant Memory in black pen but nothing of much substance. … She will remain a slightly hazy character I fear but you have done a huge job in revealing all there is to know about this remarkable person. … I’m not sure if the next paragraph might be helpful or not but feel free to use it, or any other part of the letter, in seeking support for the publication of this book.
Botanical artists Catherine Wardrop and Lesley Elkan, both enthusiastic supporters of Margaret Flockton and part of her artistic legacy in Australia, noted that Margaret’s life ‘has barely been noted in any way’. That omission has now been addressed. In A Fragrant Memory experienced biographer Louise Wilson has catalogued, chronologed and celebrated the life of a reclusive and overlooked Australian. From fragments of her life Louise has been able to paint an engaging portrait of a woman ahead of her times and someone of great ability and humility. It was clearly a tough job. It seems there is almost nothing of substance written by Margaret herself and in places her life remains sketchy and unfinished. That said Louise Wilson has done her best with conjecture, inference and hearsay to patch together this narrative. I’m sure A Fragrant Memory will become a much loved and cited compendium of Margaret Flockton’s life, one that shines a light on a life until now almost completely obscure.
Three months have gone by. See what I mean about interruptions? Demands from my living family have taken precedence over the demands of those who’ve gone before, such as my great aunt Mog. I’m only just able to turn my attention back to this project, which has been dear to my heart for the past ten years.