On Thursday I travelled down to the Gold Coast for the official HDR orientation day. I had arranged to meet Nigel, my supervisor, afterwards. Meeting him, and chatting about books and Bohemianism and what it means to be a writer was, unsurprisingly, the highlight of the day. Although, in retrospect, the candied almond dark chocolate I bought after lunch, and methodically consumed during the afternoon session, came a very close second.
During the orientation, in the sterile, space-ship-white lit lecture theatre, surrounded by medical experts, computer scientists and all manner of learned, bespectacled types, I couldn’t help but feel out of place. I couldn’t help but wonder how I got to be there, and why on earth I had wanted to be there in the first place – but most of all, I thought about all the work I had literally signed on to do, in the relatively short space of three years.
Listening to other candidates and students comment on their study areas, their interest in curing Multiple Sclerosis and helping Indigenous kids learn more effectively at school, and finding ways for women to better access information about Endometriosis, I felt like an imposter, a poser, a frivolous fancier of all things Bohemian, of all things!
Who needs or wants to know about what it means to be a Bohemian? Whether I am or was one at one point? Whether it matters to anyone what this curious term and way of life or stage in artistic journey means?
I do: I’ve decided on this one thing. I want to know. And that’s something more than nothing I suppose. Here’s a picture of two Bohemian writers in Paris in 1922, Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes (photo by Maurice Branger), for what it’s worth: