Friday, 7 August 2009

For Chris

Hi. It's the day after Chris Wheeler's funeral and I want to write about him. It was a huge water shed day for me, the impact has been tremendous. Today, I feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under my feet and my heart is sore. And I dreamed about Grant Chapman and myself opening a hotel all night, so I can guess that is why I am feeling a little wigged out as well : ) Chris taught me: It's never to late too late to follow your dream

Persistence in the face of all odds

Always ask "why" and then find out "why"

Read, Read then read some more


Writing is lonely and hard but incredibly rewarding and challenging

I always felt, and Chris was so good at this, that he had faith in me as a person and faith in my abilities. There is something that I have told Shannon and Glenn but I will put it here as well, because it means so very much to me. Shannon, myself and Chris went through a period of time where we would go and hang out in a coffee shop in the spanish street in sydney. I can't remember the name of the street because today my head feels like its wrapped in cotton wool, and because I know it so well I'll remember it in the middle of Cai's play date today and swear like a trooper. Anyway, we used to go to this one coffee shop on the corner just down from the Spanish Club. We would sit there and argue, laugh and spend hours and hours just talking about all things big and small. It as a wonderful, wonderful time in my life. One afternoon after Shannon had left, Chris asked me to come with him. So I did, and we talked and talked some more. Before long we down at the bottom of Druit Street , I think or the one past that one. There was a little script shop down there, it's not there now but you could buy a shoe box flat off the plan if you feel so inclined.

In we went, the guy who owned the place knew Chris and they both smiled and then Chris turned to me and said, "pick one, one you think is really really good." I was floored. I wasn't working and neither I might add was Chris, but he wanted me to choose a script so I did, and then despite all my shock and protestations he bought it for me. He told me that he wanted me to go home and read that script and learn from it, study it, get to know it inside and out. He wanted me to do this because he said I could write, and he wanted to me to just "do it". He believed in my ability to write so much that when he had nothing he willing found the money to buy me something he felt would encourage and inspire me to write.

Well guess what, it did. I have an agent now, a really one! She can't sell my books thanks to a financial world wide collapse, but she's still trying and that's cool. I have been working on my third book now for coming on to well over a year. I have been in and out of the Jewish Museum, I have been interviewing and reading and researching and writing but over the past three months, I have been going through a bit of a "dark night of the soul". I have been really questioning what I have been doing. writing has had my in a haze, my brain is always churning about with the deeds of the characters and my internal analysis of why they are doing what they are doing. My book is for teenagers, and it felt as if the clock had been turned back to me as a teenager, it bought back a whole bunch of stuff. Some good and some bad. I was eating, dreaming, sleeping my book. I was wondering if it worth it, if I was fooling myself that I could write in the first place. I wanted to ring Chris, and I should have. He really would have understood.

BUt he isn't here, and we are all the more poorer for it. But I would like to think that he is in the halls of Valhalla watching us and waiting for us to cross the rainbow bridge to Asgard. And when we get there, he'll be so overjoyed to see us because now ... he'll have someone to argue with, laugh with and hang out with. I don't think Vikings "hang out" but Chris and his Viking spirit will be filling the halls to the rafters and introducing Thor to the finer musical nuances of" Aqau Lung".

I am finishing my book, I am finishing it. Chris in his final act of inspiration has lit a fire in my belly. He believed in me, along with Glenn Fraser. And that's enough, that will keep me going until the day I stop breathing. It's a bit of a trite saying that a dead loved one "Is all around us", but the way I see it, Chris will be in every word I write.

Thank you Chris, you will never, never know how much your support and belief meant to me so I am letting all our friends know. We all miss you.


  1. Beautiful, Jo.

    Thanks for sharing. Those days are lit bright in my heart also.


  2. Hi, I was a pal of Chris Wheeler, now living in London. Someone at Kennedy-Miller emailed me and told me he died recently.
    I co-wrote an animated feature with him, for George Miller, some years ago.
    We had a great time and we got on very well together. I lost touch with Chris about 3 years ago, and I could never get a viable email address for him.
    Last time I saw him, he was living the inner-city life in Redfern.
    I was sorry to hear that he passed, that was far too young.
    Any news on Chris, from the last few years would be appreciated... Did he ever get any movies up and running?
    My sympathies to his family,
    Brendan McCarthy


Thanks so much for letting me know what you think?