Rel­a­tive Val­ues

“I quite sim­ply love his work, and I find it dif­fi­cult to de­scribe how much I ad­mire him and what he cre­ates.”

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT -

Mar­ried cou­ple Ralph & Suzy Wil­son

I’m the youngest of three girls. I was born in Syd­ney and we moved to Bris­bane when I was seven. Dad [Don] was an en­gi­neer; Mum [Jean Arm­strong] was one of the first women to be­come a so­cial worker. She started one of the first women’s shel­ters in Queens­land, Ga­reema at [Bris­bane’s in­ner-south] High­gate Hill, now run by Save the Chil­dren.

I was an early child­hood teacher but ended up teach­ing sec­ondary for a while and then I be­came a lec­turer in the ed­u­ca­tion fac­ulty at Queens­land Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy be­fore Ralph and I started River­bend [book­shop] in 1998. I was 22 when we met [they mar­ried in 1986]. We con­nected through our mu­tual love of sail­ing – boats, sail­boards, pretty much any­thing to do with coast­lines and the sea. Not long af­ter we met, I dis­cov­ered he was an artist and be­came ut­terly fas­ci­nated and in­trigued by this part of him. It’s part of the at­trac­tion; I think be­cause I’ve never had tal­ents in that area, I’m im­pressed [by those who do]. I don’t think peo­ple un­der­stand the dis­ci­pline re­quired when you work in a stu­dio at home. Cre­at­ing some­thing beau­ti­ful and real that will con­tinue to ex­ist be­yond our life­times seemed al­most fan­tas­ti­cal then, and still does. I quite sim­ply love his work, and find it dif­fi­cult to de­scribe how much I ad­mire him and what he cre­ates. His drive, dis­ci­pline, and the all-con­sum­ing na­ture of his work played a ma­jor role in inspiring me to forge a ca­reer that I could be equally ob­sessed by.

My love of books and read­ing, and my de­ter­mi­na­tion that lit­er­acy is a right, in­spired both the birth of River­bend Books and the In­dige­nous Lit­er­acy Foun­da­tion [ILF]. We’ve been very lucky to have a mu­tual re­spect for each other’s pas­sions and ob­ses­sions.

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