Welcome to Mike’s Memoirs,
Here you’ll find info on One of Its Legs are Both the Same, A Pocket Full of Days (Parts 1 and 2), and An Ordinary Boy… mostly (Part 1).
In brief, One of its Legs are Both the Same centres on my time living in a deserted fruit-pickers’ cottage in the southern highlands of NSW through the 1970s. The story it tells is one of changing and turbulent times and facing personal challenges until eventually discovering that ‘feel the serenity’ really is a thing. An homage to times, places and people now past, Legs is also a reassessment of how I got to be who I am from someone who was only recently diagnosed with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. More about ‘Legs’ here.
A Pocket Full of Days is a two part memoir that is ‘sorta, kinda’ the sequel to Legs, but which tells it’s own story about my relationship with Jo, a young woman I had an on and off again relationship over twenty five years. It’s a tale of a pair of Hansel and Gretel misfits and a classic story of ‘can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em’. Dramatic comedy or comedic drama, take your pick, but definitely very real. More about Pocket Full here.
An Ordinary Boy… mostly is both an homage and an honest recollection of being a kid growing up in Wollongong on the south coast of N.S.W. during the 1950s and 1960s. Part 1 centres on the ‘big, pink place on the bend’ that was home through most of that period. Light-hearted in the main, Boy also doesn’t shy away from some brutal truths. Part 2 is due to be published early next year (2024). More about Boy here.
Herewith, then, among these pages more about my memoirs, including how to buy copies, some questions and answers, some relevant photos, a selection of reviews, my music, some further interesting links and that ‘contact me’ stuff.
‘One of Its Legs are Both the Same’ is my memoir of being, as my mum would say, ‘different’. It’s an intriguing and rollicking tale of the ‘hippie’ era of the early 1970s, centred on my shared experiences at ‘the cottage’, a close-set pair of small fruit-pickers’ cottages in Mittagong, New South Wales, Australia. The story features murderous rats, painfully low door lintels, angry spiders and a rabid duck, and is interspersed with earlier recollections of relevant, if at times irreverent, childhood events. Forced to face demons of my own making, and finding guardian angels in unexpected places, I eventually find understanding of my life of difference amidst trauma, bizarre happenings (including being sexually molested by a glowing cat), serendipity and near misses, as well as beauty and much laughter.
Oh, and a lot of no sex.
While my memoir is about my experiences as someone with high functioning autism, it doesn’t focus on or provide explanations based on my condition, but readers may do so if they choose. ‘Legs’ is an open and frank recount of what was happening at the time, with no attempt to pigeonhole either myself, my condition, or any particular event.
‘A Pocket Full of Days’ is a two part memoir which in the main follows on from the first, ‘One of its Legs are Both the Same’, in a ‘sorta, kinda’ way. It’s about my twenty five year odd (very!) relationship with a young woman called Jo and seeking an answer to the question ‘Am I my brother/sister’s keeper?’, i.e. am I responsible for my life and you yours and that’s an end to it? While these are murky waters to peer through to find meaningful answers, ‘Pocket Full’ is my attempt to at least find answers for myself, and to find personal truth in one story. While the heart of ‘Pocket Full’ takes place immediately after the events of ‘Legs’, it also recounts events from periods that overlap, e.g. childhood, teenage years, to provide context for the main story, particularly for those who haven’t yet read ‘Legs’.
I recommend you read my first memoir before this one as you will bring insights that I hope will enrich your experience. However, it’s not necessary for you to have done so, and it might be interesting to read this memoir first as ‘reverse engineering’ is one of my favourite things.
Milk was delivered in clinking glass bottles to your door, you went to the ‘outhouse’ to go to the toilet (even in mid-winter), you wandered anywhere with your mates until your tummy told you it was teatime, and the only ‘webs’ were ones on the ceiling your mother took a broom to every Monday.
An Ordinary Boy… mostly is a light-hearted tale, yet also honest and revealing, of what it was like for one ‘mostly ordinary’ boy growing up in the 1950s and 60s. At the centre of events is the ‘big pink place on the bend’ – the large, three storey house that was concrete edifice, rabbit warren, dance hall, and a good place to bang things with hammers. It was also where tales of jungle drums and cannibals were woven through humid, summer evenings and mighty concrete steps lay in wait for the unwary. But above all, it was home, and one like no other.
At its heart, this is really a timeless story about growing up and learning one of life’s fundamental and hardest lessons: you don’t miss the water until your well runs dry.