If you said you didn’t, I know that you would be lying.
I don’t know why I do it. I mean, I do. It’s because it’s easy.
Sometimes just little lies. Big ones, very occasionally. For some reason it’s taken me a long time to realize that being honest is a lot richer than trying to build a weak force field of diversions of the truth. There is a raw simplicity to truth. It might prick. Sometimes it stabs. Sometimes it’s warm like a bath or cold and salty like a wave.
But lies are just complicated nothingness.
Perhaps that is why Michael Leunig is so widely treasured and adored. There is truth to his art and words. A tender human element that can’t be explained. An innocence. Basic emotions in a single image. Fear. Love. Desire. Despair. Emotions we know aren’t basic at all. The quirks of just being. The mystic beyond. He knows.
I’m not telling you not to lie. Just don’t go on an exhausting, long-winded journey when truth and beauty are in simplicity.
I asked Michael Leunig some questions. He says more in a few words than I could in a hundred.
Here are his answers…
WHAT SPACES ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Solitude. Quietness. Emptiness.
WHAT AURAS ARE YOU DRAWN TO?
Kind. Cheerful. Serious. Modest.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON AGE AND PROGRESSION? HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL?
Progressing into maturity feels natural, neutral and liberating. Sad sometimes. Joyous sometimes. Amazed by the apparent brevity of life and the speed at which it passes. Strange to grow older with the world in so much trouble and pain.
WHAT MAKES YOU HARMONIOUS AND HAPPY?
Being physical in the natural environment. Painting or drawing. A cup of tea and eating my porridge in the morning. Talking to all sorts of people. Listening to JS Bach or the birds singing in the morning. Planting trees.
WHO WERE YOUR TRUE TEACHERS AS A CHILD? AND WHO ARE YOUR TEACHERS NOW?
As a child: Mother and Father. Grandmothers. Dog Dinah. My school friends. A few school teachers. The butcher who employed me to clean up his shop, mince the meat and make sausages. The men in the abattoirs. Various eccentric adults. Now. One never stops learning. Most people seem to teach me something and I seem to keep forgetting. I also teach myself.
DOES EVERYONE HAVE AN INNER DUCK?
Oh yes. Either it’s in a cage or it’s waddling about and dabbling freely.
Simplicity is beyond words.
WHAT IS SOMETHING ALL HUMANS HAVE IN COMMON?
The moment of death. Going to the toilet. Worrying about America.
WHAT IS ‘AUSTRALIAN’ IN YOUR OPINION?
A person who does not own an Australian flag.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIANS GIVEN THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT?
The current government will be forgotten and Australia will struggle onwards.