Good Reading : May 2015
GOOD READING MAY 2015 59 It’s a bittersweet tale, laced with glimpses into life behind the silver screen BEHIND THE BOOK someone play you on TV,’ she said. I replied that the word ‘infamous’ would better descr ibe me. I had never really spoken with my children about those years, so my daughter began researching Bunkie King. She found bits and pieces, and she mentioned an interview that Jack Thompson had done with Andrew Denton. I had long admired Andrew Denton, so I was interested to see what was said in the interview. I became very annoyed with Jack’s dismissive comments about our 15 years together. This interview, my daughter searching the internet for infor mation and a shocking remark that my son had made a few years earlier made me realise that I needed to wr ite my truth for poster ity. Those 15 years of living with Leona and Jack was a time of constant journeys, both within ourselves and across land and water. The places that we had the privilege to stay in and the people we were honoured to meet were beyond my wildest dreams. Filming around the world meant staying off the beaten track, not being a tour ist, which allowed us to exper ience living in these places. Having dinner with Kirk Douglas and his wife in their home, meeting and dining with Tina Tur ner and spending time with Dennis Hopper at his place in Taos, New Mexico, were some of the incredible experiences I had. I ended my jour ney with Jack and Leona in 1984, when I left to try my luck in the big, wide world – alone. I have barely had any contact with either of them since. On the rare occasion that we are in the same room we don’t chat or acknowledge our shared time and exper iences. I left and forged a different life of marriage and children which, after almost 20 years, evolved into me being a single parent. I have had to learn what it means to survive in the real world without much money and a whole lot of heartache. My book is an Australian take on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but there’s so much more to it than just meeting big-name movie stars and musicians. It gives a perspective on some of the difficulties found in most relationships, which where magnified in a complex relationship involving three people. There were the usual insecurities and jealousies, but there were also compensating factors, such as companionship when living away from family and friends. My mother always said that everything that happens to us contains important information, and we need to understand and learn from it or be forever fated to repeat the same mistakes. I have tried to see the lessons in my life, but this has not always been easy. While writing this story I learned to look at why a situation was happening instead of focusing only on what the situation was. It’s a bittersweet tale, laced with glimpses into life behind the silver screen. I hope the story inspires anyone who has had to overcome not just their own demons, but also society’s misconceptions and prejudices. I have read and observed what many people thought of me at that time, but the truth is a whole different story. It’s time for my voice to be heard. Somebody That I Used to Know by Bunkie King is published by The Five Mile Press, rrp $32.95.