My Extraordinary Life and Death by Doug Macleod: an extract

Doug Macleod says…

When I was asked to do a blog for The Centre for Youth Literature at The State Library of Victoria, I realised that my life is depressingly undramatic. I have never done anything that might endanger my life, save for living in St Kilda.

How could I make my life more interesting? I did what many writers do, and cheated. For an earlier book, I’d collected a number of Victorian woodcut pictures from the famous Project Gutenberg website. I ended up dropping the pictures from the book, which was a rambling satire of Nordic sagas and already quite long enough without woodcuts. It meant that I had hundreds of these images tucked away on my computer. When it was clear that my life was too mundane to blog about, I invented a fake life, using these pictures as a demented form of inspiration. I called it My Extraordinary Life and Death. It was originally intended to be just the one installment, and I died at the end of it. But people seemed to like it so I effortlessly came back to life for the three additional chapters.

Paul Collins at Ford Street wanted to publish it as a book. I didn’t. In the end Paul convinced me. Bringing designer Grant Gittus to the project was a good tactic. Grant wrote the funniest part of the book: the instructions for use on the inside backflap. He and Paul also gave the book a distinctive style, which I like. There are so many different versions of this story, I’m not even sure which is the best one. Visit the book’s website. You can examine all the stuff we deleted and decide for yourself if it’s funnier or less funny than the final volume. Humour is entirely subjective, after all. I like the bits with the bear, and they stayed in the book, so I’m happy.












My Extraordinary Life and Death is published by Ford Street. Find out more about Doug Macleod (whose real life is pretty damn interesting, but less funny) here.

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