LAID BARE: Peter Garrett will talk about his recently released memoir at Byron Bay next week.
LAID BARE: Peter Garrett will talk about his recently released memoir at Byron Bay next week.

Peter Garrett explains life’s decisions, aims in new book

FOR Peter Garrett, in some ways releasing his memoir Big Blue Sky was a chance to set the record straight.

Mr Garrett said the experience of writing his memoir was very satisfying.

"You never know how it's going to go," he said.

"I loved the routine of it - sitting down and having a certain amount of time to write."

"Some of it is cathartic, other bits are exciting, because you get to put some flesh on the bones, and gives some depth and perspective."

"I could have written another 300 or 400 pages in the end - I think my publishers were happy I didn't."

Delving back into his life and experiences to write the memoir, he said, was "interesting."

"It's interesting, because life goes very quickly,"

"I think it's fair to say I'm quite a driven person, and very serious about issues, and I never had a lot of a chance to look into things deeply.

"Having a chance to have the space to sit down and write about them was a luxury I never thought I would get."

He said the book is not just about politics, but about his entire life, however he did say that the book gave him a chance to talk about some "public misunderstandings about my role and what I was doing".

"It was nice to explain that a little more to people," he said.

While it was a difficult task to pick one defining moment from his life, he said two things stood out for him: The birth of his children ("I think anyone who has had children would say that!") and the death of his mother, who died when their family home caught fire.

"That was obviously a big event in my life and something I carried with me for a long time."

As a public figure, and a politician, negative criticism is something that comes daily for Mr Garret.

"I think in the age of social media, you just have to remind yourself: a lot the negative commentary that you see is from people who either deride satisfaction from negative commentary, or alternatively are so consumed by a negative pre-conception or they have so much shit on their liver and they have to get it off every day, but you just have to recognise that not everyone is like that," he said.

"I didn't go in politics to become better known, I did it to roll up my sleeves and get things done and come out feeling like I'd achieved something, and I definitely came away feeling like that."

People may be surprised as to what they find out about Mr Garrett in the memoir, he said.

"Well from initial reactions from people who have read the book and come back to me, I think yes, they would be surprised, but I hope also entertained and informed, and getting a sense of what it was, how I was riding through my life."

And then there is the question everyone wants answered: Is a Midnight Oil reunion possible?

"It's possible if the conditions are right, if everyone agrees, if the stars line up," he said with a laugh.

When asked if he was looking forward to coming to Byron Bay to discuss Big Blue Sky he said: "Are you kidding? I can't wait."

"It'll be a really interesting discussion, and I'm really looking forward to sitting down with David, who I really respect as a writer, and discussing Big Blue Sky and going into detail about that," he said.

"And getting to interact with people, which is what I really enjoy doing." 

Peter Garrett in conversation with David Leser: At the Byron Theatre 6pm October 28. $30 visit http://www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au/v2/index.php



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