FLOOD | So it is written

Posted on 02/02/2011

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In a couple of my posts, I’ve considered journalism, particularly long form journalism, as a practice of writing place. With its necessity of slowness and unfolding, long form journalism evokes and enlivens places in surprising ways. Even in times of crisis. On the weekend after Brisbane was struck by floods on 11 January, the weekend news magazine of the metropolitan newpaper, QWeekend, carried several features exploring that event, seeking perspective, appreciation and understanding. Through the elegant prose of Matthew Condon, Leisa Scott and others, readers could ride the currents as the flood waters rose and peaked – this time from a safe distance and with the benefit of hindsight. The journalists skim across a landscape of culture, urban planning, environment and science. For all its emerging city-ness, a rough jewel in the South East, Brisbane is ordinary – suburban and sprawling wrapped around a slow and placid winding river. The writers picked at sores as well as revealed some cultural blindspots. “Why are we surprised?” wrote Condon, musing about Wivenhoe, weather and geography. “Water runs, time and again, down its wrinkles and creases and furrows. This is us. This is where we live.” Through these writings, we can recall the buried and forgotten dimensions of our city and its vulnerability on the banks of the brown river.

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