Ask Carroll

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Nick Carroll
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:10 am

saltman wrote:Nick how does a mature man repair his family - he has made a poor choice (or series of them in my :oops: friends case)
Yet is a sensitive, articulate and intelligent (most of the time) person. And 200% remorseful

Any tips on navigating the road to repair family relationships, particularly of say his daughter, who holds him somewhere between derision and contempt - bearing in mind she is a young adult around 20 yo And makes it very clear she prefers to have no communication with him anymore
Well there's a lot of better people than me to ask that question.

It's a lot harder and takes a lot longer to repair those relationships than it takes to blow 'em up. So your friend really needs to know that it will take a long time and can only be done in bits and pieces and with the eventual co-operation of all involved.

Just from my own experience, your friend should begin with himself -- understanding and resolving the issues around his poor choices, and finding ways to support himself in getting beyond 'em.

As he makes progress with this, he should try to find practical ways to make amends to those people he's clearly hurt through those choices. These might be as simple as always being where you say you'll be at the time you commit to. Or never missing a family support payment if that's what he's having to make. Sheer reliability is a very powerful sign to people over time.

As the people closest to him (i.e. his daughter, perhaps ex partner, etc) begin to let down their guard around him, he should invite them to tell him how they feel about his actions, and learn to listen to what they have to say. This can be very difficult, because if they are honest with him and he is really listening to them, their words will rip away any and all the shards of self-justification he may have built up around his actions. He will feel naked in front of them, possibly irrationally angry, be tempted to react, act out, all sorts of shit. People are terrible at hearing criticism, the instinct is to protect yourself, but if your friend wants to make amends he's going to have to listen to this and respond out of his best self -- really understand the effects of his actions on others. He should get some advice about how to handle this from a professional family therapist.

He will feel deep senses of shame and worthlessness and should try to find ways to replace these feelings with better stuff via practical demonstrations of his value in the world. These don't have to have anything to do with his family, they might involve volunteering in some way, or simply learning to acquire a new skill - a musical instrument, a new language etc. He should also make sure those feelings of shame etc don't develop into spirals of self-loathing, at least not too often, I mean if he is halfway a decent human he will hate parts of himself for what he's done. But if that becomes the dominant feature of his life, he'll be no good to anyone, least of all himself.

Along with that, no self damage, i.e. no habitual drinking, drugs etc, that's a male nightmare in waiting that one.

Time and be good to himself and others, in the end that solves a lot.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:16 am

Oh and one more thing, from my own experience, when dealing with this stuff myself, I would often come down to a simple idea of faith that it was worth the effort. Not evidence, just faith in the love and shared effort that'd built the marriage and family in the first place - that it wasn't a waste of time, or wrong somehow in the first place. It doesn't sound like much but it felt like my last line of support in my own heart. Lose faith and you lose hope, and when hope's gone, you got nothing but to put one foot in front of the other. That works too.

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MrMik
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by MrMik » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:08 pm

Great advice.
Thanks!

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swvic
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by swvic » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:30 pm

I'm interested in how much personal stuff you seem to willingly share in here. I can't really frame it into a proper question, but do you derive a benefit or is it enough to think you may possibly be helping others (which I acknowledge might also be a benefit)? There's also the aspect of revealing the personal lives of those close to you. How do you do that without a pre-approval from those people? I imagine you might have an acute sense of where the line is, but that line seems further away for you than it would be for me. When I reveal anything even remotely personal, I'm hiding behind anonymity
marcus wrote:and that vicco dude, whatsisname?

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Drailed » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:05 pm

I have previously asked this question SWVIC but didn't put it as eloquently as you and unfortunately Nick took it as an insult which in no way was it intended.
Trev wrote:I have always had a lot of time for Dick
smnmntll wrote:Got one in the mouth once, that was pretty memorable

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by el rancho » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:08 pm

Swiv are you referring to the time nick publicly shamed his son for getting the dog stoned?

Nick Carroll
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:55 pm

swvic wrote:I'm interested in how much personal stuff you seem to willingly share in here. I can't really frame it into a proper question, but do you derive a benefit or is it enough to think you may possibly be helping others (which I acknowledge might also be a benefit)? There's also the aspect of revealing the personal lives of those close to you. How do you do that without a pre-approval from those people? I imagine you might have an acute sense of where the line is, but that line seems further away for you than it would be for me. When I reveal anything even remotely personal, I'm hiding behind anonymity
Ah I think it's probably just a phase swvic. I've spent a lot of my life writing about other people, and at some point recently, when writing that book about Tom and me, I just began to think, how can I do that at all if I'm not willing to do the same to myself? Plus there might be some benefit to people who are asking me something, like saltman just did. I know from his earlier remarks that he is very worried for his son around drug issues and I feel a lot of empathy for him, so I want to answer him truthfully -- it's an extra reason to do that. I do have a sense of where the line is both for me and for members of my family, I don't try to speak for them here.

At times it has made me feel very stupid and sorta young in the head, specially when it's turned around and bitten me as it has done a couple of times, but I'm not all Daily Life about it, like I don't do it in a confessional way nor in an attempt to seek a readership, like how many people look at this thread, maybe 40 or 50? Instead I am trying to be with you guys as I would be with a group of friends, straight up and trusting and not scared of myself in your presence.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:59 pm

Oh and I may also be trying stuff out, not super consciously but writers do that, sort of test the waters a bit with ideas and suchlike. I'm not doing that deliberately here but I know how that works, finding a new way to write about things etc.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by BRE » Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:23 pm

Ok Nick, did you read Ulysses (assuming you did) without a break, that is, without a lengthy break between readings? Myself, I had to read it twice over ten years to take it all in. It's hard work. Do you ever read your own stuff back and identify devices and patterns that you have subconsciously put into your work? Is the time right for a Joyce-like stream of consciousness novel based around Newport or any other beach for that matter? It could be the basis for the great Australian surfing novel. Oh, it would leave Puberty Blues and Breath floundering in its wake.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by swvic » Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:30 pm

Thanks, Nick

Not sure about eloquence, Loof. I've written that question a few times, but never posted until now. Including this version, they've all seemed a bit weird - sort of like invading Nick's privacy by asking about him being quite unguarded about it, but it does interest me and I feel slightly fortunate that asking didn't seem to phase him

er, I missed the public shaming, but if you're gunna get your dog stoned and your old man's a journo .............
marcus wrote:and that vicco dude, whatsisname?

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:17 pm

BRE wrote:Ok Nick, did you read Ulysses (assuming you did) without a break, that is, without a lengthy break between readings? Myself, I had to read it twice over ten years to take it all in. It's hard work. Do you ever read your own stuff back and identify devices and patterns that you have subconsciously put into your work? Is the time right for a Joyce-like stream of consciousness novel based around Newport or any other beach for that matter? It could be the basis for the great Australian surfing novel. Oh, it would leave Puberty Blues and Breath floundering in its wake.
Ha ha Ulysses, I had a few cracks at reading it the way I read most books, i.e. in a few big gulps, this did not really work out. I had to read it over several months quite intensively with short breaks in between. I didn't think it was difficult to read, just that when you went in you couldn't get back out. It's the most I've ever been immersed in a book. Cities Of The Plain dragged me into a similar place but not with so much sheer human warmth and sense of place and just revelatory use of language.

I don't know about identifying devices and patterns etc, I am a very conscious writer in the sense that I work at those devices and structures and I'm very aware of 'em, but if I am writing something solid then I'll surprise myself as I go along by what emerges. Like the unexpected happens as I write, not as I read later. I layer and structure stuff into some writing that nobody ever seems to pick up on, which I take as a good sign -- they're probably getting something subconsciously from it. But I do forget quite a bit of what I write, and get little surprises from re-reading it, some good, some just awful.

I think the days of that stream of consciousness writing are past now and anyway none of us are James Joyce, who was a very strange man indeed, not that there aren't strange surfers. But I am gonna have a crack at that book that shearer and I discussed a while back, a book about nothing but surf experiences, and I will have to try new things in that book. Like I don't want it to have any "lessons" in it or for it to have a sense of being a long metaphor for anything, I want it to be rich on its own, or to contain the crazy richness and fear, and joy and bleakness and slowly gained yet unrecognised knowledge and sense of water that arises within surfing experience. And I don't want to care about readers who don't surf, I don't want to explain surfing to them at all, I just want to say it and remember it the way it was felt. So I have to find a different language or structure or something for it.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by BRE » Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:29 pm

Thanks Nick. I've never actually got around to Cities of the Plain, I'll make it next up after 'Paper Towns'. Wouldn't have picked it to read myself, but my daughter insisted, so we can then watch the movie together. Gotta keep the kids interested and stimulated. It also opens up conversations about Walt Whitman and Woody Guthrie, which is a good thing.
Look forward to the surfing book. Good luck with it.

Nick Carroll
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:34 pm

hint: read the other two first before Cities

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Monty » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:59 pm

The Mighty Sunbird wrote:Oh and thank you for recommending Robert Graves' Goodbye To all That a while ago. It blew my mind and I would never have heard of it otherwise.i shall seek out the Hiroshima text.
It's a tremendous book isn't it.

I because interested in Graves after reading the Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker, voted one of the best historical novelists by the Observer. I'm sure you would enjoy them, she's one of my favourite authors and born in the North East like myself.

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by pinhead » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:40 am

Nick,
I saw this photo in the Age today, of Australia's first domestically designed and built tank. I'm wondering if you can provide some insight into the unusual piece of equipment mounted on the front of the vehicle directly below the turret.

Image

Nick Carroll
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:21 am

ah yes, well as you will guess, sometimes the tank crew has to stay inside the tank for long periods, past their bedtimes etc, and certainly past the point of no return regarding their toiletary habits. So this is a device designed to expel urine. Tank crew just wee-wees inside a container attached to a pump and it's eventually squirted out through the small hole you can see at the tip of the device. Cleverly it is designed to soak enemy troops with the crew's urine if they dare to approach within "pissing range". In honour of the man who invented it (who just happens to be our current PM's paternal grandfather) the device is known as the Abbott Head.

Nick Carroll
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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by Nick Carroll » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:23 am

for everyone who missed the preceding post
pinhead wrote:Nick,
I saw this photo in the Age today, of Australia's first domestically designed and built tank. I'm wondering if you can provide some insight into the unusual piece of equipment mounted on the front of the vehicle directly below the turret.

Image

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Re: Ask Carroll

Post by chrisb » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:25 am

Nick, your military knowledge further encourages me to ask this question.

As the ghastly Bronwyn Bishop will likely be Mackeller's standing Liberal member for re-election there is a chance that a strong independent candidate could knock her off, Alex McTaggart-style.

Have you considered running for politics ? Alternatively, do you think young Tom would make a good politician? Does he share similar political viewpoints to you?

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