As you may be aware, I have decided to publish my writing in a hard copy format and offer it for purchase, with Joe and Maggie to be the first available. A great deal of time, research and love goes into my writing, and I wish to see my work (and Joe’s life) on people’s shelves. After being asked how people can purchase my stories, I decided it was time I stepped up from WordPress and created something that was tangible. This has taken courage as I am someone who is quite humble when it comes to the worth of my writing. After all it is for Joe that I do this, and I feel that sense of devotion in telling his story clouded my own self-worth as an author. This often resulted in me spending weeks researching and writing a part of Joe’s story, only to click ‘publish’ and that would be it, with the weeks of work being measured solely by the number of “reads” garnered. However, I have come to realise I can be Joe’s voice and also be rewarded for the hard work I do.
What are the booklets about and how many will there be?
Each of the booklets produced will portray a different part of Joe’s life, with them being separate from the An Outlaw’s Journal novels, which will share the complete story, rather than fragments. For example, in the first booklet, Joe and Maggie, Joe’s relationship with Maggie is explored within the context of his outlawry. We see the young man beneath the armour who risks everything to be with the woman he loves. This story relies very much on historical truth and depicts the known events from a new perspective. In the second booklet, Ah Nam, we explore Joe’s relationship with the Chinese, and the broader context of early 1870s Beechworth and its inhabitants. We see the racism and violence that is inflicted by both the Europeans and the Chinese in a story that is again based on actual events in Joe’s life. While in the third booklet, A Question of Loyalty, Joe’s relationship with the Sherritts is examined and through it we are shown the difficulty he is faced with in knowing who to trust when trust is the only thing allowing you to sleep at night. Of course, there will be more, but these three will be the first to be published over the coming months.
Why these stories?
Anyone who has read my writing, or heard of what I do, will know I place a large degree of emphasis on capturing realism. For me, this is vital is understanding who Joe was, the context in which he lived and why he chose to act the way he did. I realise for some this may be confronting, as the themes included within all my writing is very much for adults only. However, Joe lived a life that is not for the faint hearted and it was certainly not a life that can be watered down to suit personal prejudice. He was addicted to opium and alcohol, “borrowed” horses, spent six months in gaol, openly enjoyed sex, was proclaimed an outlaw, robbed banks and committed murder. I will never censor any part of Joe’s life, as to do so would be hiding the man he was, which goes against everything I stand for in my work.
To look at it another way, he was a man who, even with a price on his head, rode to the Woolpack Inn in Jerilderie for the sole purpose of spending time alone with Mary Jordan and left in such a drunk state that he had to be helped onto his mare. In a time of strict Victorian values, where the pursuit of carnal pleasures was frowned upon, Joe stands out as a young man who not only sought it, but openly enjoyed it. The themes depicted in my writing are a reflection of Joe and serve as a mirror to the man whose character is often distorted by the smudgy fingerprints of others.
While many of these booklets are of pieces previously published on this site, the versions printed will be expanded and edited with additional material. There will also be new artwork made especially for these publications that will not be available online. Even if you have read the previous version online you will get a new experience with the booklets. It is important to me that my readers have the option of something tangible that is easily read. A highest quality product that readers can actually hold to appreciate the artwork and the story as much as the hard work that went into them. I want readers to have something to experience while reading that staring at a screen can’t give them.
Georgina Stones – August 2020.