a reader writes

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UPFRONT - Claire Jol­liffe

Think­ing about Qweekend’s 10th birth­day, my first thought was, “only ten years?”. It feels as though there wasn’t a time when Qweekend was not a part of our lives. This pow­er­ful mag­a­zine packs a punch, reg­u­larly span­ning the gamut of hu­man emo­tions – with sto­ries of brav­ery, loss, hap­pi­ness, achieve­ment, dis­cov­ery and hard­ship. And the comedic, in the form of that ne’erdo-well Mike O’Con­nor.

Bunch of Fives is also un­fail­ingly cu­ri­ous, in­for­ma­tive and funny, and the won­der­ful snap­shots sent in by tal­ented pho­tog­ra­phers (YourShot) never fail to ad­dress the sub­ject in a clever way. Then there’s the let­ters page, grant­ing read­ers the op­por­tu­nity to air their opin­ions.

Sto­ries of quin­tes­sen­tial coun­try Queens­land, where I was born and raised, are favourites. I par­tic­u­larly liked “Desert high­way” in May with its evoca­tive pho­tos of the de­tri­tus of hu­man ma­te­ri­al­ism lit­ter­ing the land­scape and, fur­ther on, the re­mains of an un­for­tu­nate bul­lock seep­ing in­ex­orably into the scorched red earth. A fu­ture delight for an ar­chae­ol­o­gist per­haps?

Mary-Rose MacColl’s column in April men­tioned a rather pre­scient truth passed down from a Bud­dhist teacher: “To die is sim­ple – you breathe out and don’t breathe in”. The wis­dom in Mary­Rose’s col­umns is some­times un­ex­pected – hu­man in­ter­est sto­ries to which we can all re­late along with com­pas­sion writ large.

One of Jan­uary’s sto­ries, “Born to be wild”, helped fill in the gaps for me af­ter see­ing Wild, the movie. Ch­eryl Strayed (she changed her name to match where she was in life at the time) was in­spi­ra­tional in her will to change her sit­u­a­tion for the bet­ter. At a point where she had reached rock bot­tom in her life, Strayed un­der­took to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. She was a to­tal novice at marathon walks, and was weighed down with bag­gage of both the emo­tional and ma­te­rial kind. Her ef­forts proved mon­u­men­tal and paid off. What a woman.

John Tyson’s strug­gle to sur­vive (“Cruel cross­roads”), af­ter los­ing his wife and son in the 2011 Toowoomba floods, made for a par­tic­u­larly mov­ing ar­ti­cle that left me shak­ing my head in frus­tra­tion as to how a per­son could be left so alone and re­ceive such un­fair treat­ment. We can only hope he is able to re­build and even­tu­ally move on to help­ing oth­ers, as he would de­sire.

The ar­chi­tec­ture of the homes, units and cot­tages pic­tured in Qweekend each week never fails to in­ter­est me. As a per­son of a cer­tain age, I’m al­ways on the look­out for re­fur­bished homes that re­sem­ble the Queens­lan­der of my child­hood, and this sec­tion does not dis­ap­point. It is fas­ci­nat­ing to see how own­ers can give a whole new com­plex­ion to a house by virtue of cre­ative re­con­struc­tion.

To all at Qweekend, thank you for the il­lu­mi­nat­ing and in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries and pho­tos of the past decade. Happy birth­day, good luck and, as they say, may your best years be ahead.

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