Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PETER WARING: Dreams, Youth and Possibilities

1. When you were young what did you envision your future to be? And as a follow up, how does it compare to where you eventually arrived?

Strangely, I always thought that I would end up in politics or working as an actor. The cynical might suggest that there are few differences between these occupations! When I was a kid, I wrote several ‘audio’ plays and recorded these as well as wrote and acted in school plays. I was also school captain at primary and later high school and liked the idea of having some kind of leadership position in the future. Instead I became an academic and lawyer which probably compares poorly with any grandiose dreams I had. Though lecturing and appearing in court is essentially ‘stage work’ but often without an appreciative audience!

2. If you could go back and become yourself at a certain time in life which time would you choose and why? And if you could only take one bit of knowledge or one trait you’ve gained as you’ve grown older (but not too old!), what would it be? And why again?

There were two golden ages - when I was between 10-12 years old and 18 to 22 years old. Between 10 and 12 my childhood was in full swing and I lived to play with neighbourhood friends in our make-believe worlds. The second, between, 18 to 22, was my first time at University which I did not treat too seriously but had a wonderful time with a good group of friends. Both golden ages were carefree and characterised by little money but an amazing sense of freedom and optimism. Do I feel this way now? Somewhat but I also have many more responsibilities.

The one bit of knowledge I would take? Perhaps to be less risk-averse and be willing to consider different possibilities for my life.

3. Were you a reader as a youth? If so, what kind of books did you read? Who were some of your favorite authors at the time?

The anecdote my Mother still tells of my childhood is of me being so obsessed with books that I would read in the shower. I would prop the book up outside the glass shower screen so that I could peer at the pages through the glass!

I read initially Enid Blyton (The Famous Five), Hardy Boys books, The Wind in the Willows, JR Tolkien (Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) and then Robert Ludlum, James Clavell etc. I was lucky that I developed a passion for reading at early age which has served me well throughout my life.

4. I’m wondering if there are any dreams you had which you did not achieve but are still working on, or hoping to achieve?

I’ve given up the prospect of becoming the Australian Test Cricket Captain but I would love to write a comedy/sit-com or film script.

5. Please share a book that has meant something to you, and tell us why.

There have been so many but James Clavell’s ‘King Rat’ – a story of POWS in a WW2 prison (Changi) in Singapore is a remarkable tale of the power and resiliency of the human spirit in extreme and oppressive circumstances. I still read it every few years or so. The second is ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ which holds special significance since I my son’s middle name ‘Atticus’ comes from one of the main characters of this book – a quietly proud, rational lawyer of great personal courage.

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