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Bryce Courtenay

November 23, 2012

No….oh no. Oh my gosh…no. Thank you Bryce Courtenay.

When I was traveling through Australia years ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to Bryce Courtenay’s literary work. I first read The Power of One, which knocked me off my feet. It remains to this day one of my favorite books ever read. Since then I’ve spent many a sleepless night devouring his prolific words, purposefully wandering through the stage sets he built on fictional lives, tainted in hardships and strife. Every book as inspiring as the last, always carrying an underlying message that the power of one can rise above the odds stacked against them.

At the age of 55, Bryce left a creative career in advertising behind in exchange for a life of literary story telling. My hero. I am grateful he chose to share his stories with us because our lives are that much richer for it. So thank you Mr. Courtenay.

Rest in peace Bryce Courtenay (14 August 1933 – 22 November 2012)

“Always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty meters through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky.’ He looked at me and continued. ‘The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking. Most people you encounter will be vines; when you are a young plant they are very dangerous.’ His piercing blue eyes looked into mine.’ Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you grow stronger. If you are right, you have taken another step toward a fulfilling life.”
Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2012 5:01 am

    I’m rather aghast at myself, as I’ve never read anything he wrote, and his name is unknown to me. I’m a wary reader…very rarely picking up a new writer; he has to come recommended by someone whose taste in literature I trust. Needless to say, your post is all the recommendation I need. Must check my local library on Monday!

    • November 27, 2012 10:26 am

      I’m so flattered. Thank you. I think quite highly of your opinions too ;).

      I hope you get as much joy out of reading his work as I have. I consider him an advocate for personal reinvention. It’s not just his stories, but also the way he had lived his life…there are too many influential moments he has had on me to sum up here. Ultimately his stories make you believe that the impossible is possible. In one of his last interviews, in response to the idea that his writing would leave a legacy behind, he denounces it by saying, “Listen…the tide comes in twice a day and wipes out your footsteps.” Even while death was on his doorstep, he humbly dismisses the longevity of his portfolio in a customarily hopeful tone.

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  1. In Memory of Bryce Courtenay and The Power of One: It’s Never Too Late to Start Writing | Travel. Garden. Eat.

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