PODCAST SHOW NOTES
Episode 69 is here and we are so proud to present a super inspiring, powerful and thought provoking double interview with actor, director, producer and writer, Aaron Fa'aoso, and the soul lifting, smile inducing, amazing author Michelle Scott Tucker! Together they talk about collaborating on their brand new release So Far, So Good, which is not only a gripping personal reflection of Aaron's life but also the first official biography of a Torres Straight Islander.
Join us for a coffee in the Reader's Cafe to catch up on new books to dive into, discussions about what makes a hoon a hoon, what LSD and hanging out with emus might have in common, and the potential power of truth to help us come together. And a super fun chat with author Clare Rhoden in the Writer's Lounge...
What Country do you write on? Who are the Custodians/Traditional Owners of the land where you live/work?
Aaron: I would like to acknowledge the Gimuy Walubara and Yirrganydji nations and their Elders – past, present and emerging. Theirs is the land on which I was born and where I live (Cairns). I would also like to acknowledge the surrounding nations of the Djabugay, Gunggandji, Kuku Yalanji and Mamu and their Elders – past, present and emerging.
I acknowledge the Gudang Yadakenu, Angamuthi and Athambaya nations of the Northern Peninsula Area and their Elders – past, present and emerging. As well, I would like to acknowledge the Meriam, Kulkalgal, Kaiwalagalgal, Maluilgal and Guda Maluilgal nations of the Torres Strait region and their Elders – past, present and emerging. It is also important for me to acknowledge the seven clans of Saibai and their Elders – past, present and emerging – and my own direct buway of Samu and Saibai Koedal, and acknowledge my Elders – past, present and emerging. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my Tongan lineage of Ha’apai and Nuku’alofa and my Elders – past, present and emerging.
Michelle: The bulk of my work on this book took place on Dja Dja Wurrung Country (in central Victoria). I recognise that the sovereignty of that Country was never ceded. I express my respect for the Dja Dja Wurrung people, who are the Traditional Owners of that land, and I recognise their living cultures and their ongoing connection to Country. I pay my respects to their leaders and Elders, past and present, for they hold forever the memories, traditions, culture and hopes of their people. I express my gratitude for the sharing of this land; my sorrow for the personal, spiritual and cultural costs of that sharing; and my hope that we can walk forward together in the spirit of reconciliation.
When did you first admit that you were a writer?
Aaron still describes himself as a reluctant writer, and Michelle probably didn’t feel confident enough to call herself a writer until she had a publishing contract for her first book.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Aaron: Charlotte’s Web.
Michelle: Anything with ponies in it. Or magic. Or magical ponies.
What inspired you to write this book?
Aaron: I wanted to use my story as a way of talking about truth-telling, and as a way of talking about the Torres Strait Islander community. As a minority within a minority, Torres Strait Islander stories are regularly left out of the national conversation.
One thing I’ve learnt is that if you tell the truth, it remains in your past. Tell a lie, and it’s always going to haunt your future. And I have enough ghosts in my life already.
Why do you think listeners should read your book?
Mainly because it’s a cracker of a read, an absolute page-turner. But also because they might learn something about what it is to be a black man – a successful black man who has had many failures along the way – in the twenty-first century. And if they learn a little about the Torres Strait along the way, even better.
Is there a message in your book?
Aaron: This is a story from the heart, from my heart, and my heart belongs to the Torres Strait region. My people there are warriors, that’s for sure, but we are storytellers too. I want people to know about where I’m from, about my culture, my people, my community. I also want people to know that this is why I’m like I am. The experiences I’ve had, the decisions I’ve made, the people I’ve rolled with – all of this has forged me into the person I am today. Although I’ve fallen on my face again and again, somehow I’ve always got back on my feet – probably through the example of the incredible women who raised me. Maybe I look like a big, dumb bruiser but that’s another stereotype, another trap for people to fall into. I’m more complex than that; everyone is more complex than they seem.
What words of advice would you give an aspiring author?
Aaron: Just do it, have a go. You don’t have to have a big S on your chest and a cape to do important things. You can simply be the person that turns up – they’re the ones who make a difference.
Michelle: You don’t necessarily have to write about what you know. For me, it’s been far more interesting to write towards what I want to know.