The Attachment: Letters from a Most Unlikely Friendship
Dear Ailsa, Sometimes I wonder whether the friendship that has caught us both-a most unlikely friendship I must confess-might find an echo in a far off Irish village somewhere in the wild, windy hills of old Donegal. Or am I allowing that uncontrollable imagination of mine too much slack? This is the story of an unlikely friendship...When priest and Sydneysider Tony Doherty emailed Melbourne-based writer and performer Ailsa Piper to say how much he had enjoyed her latest book, he was met with a swift reply from a similarly enquiring mind. Soon emails were flying back and forth and back again. They exchanged stories of their experiences as sweaty pilgrims and dissected dinner party menus. They shared their delight in Mary Oliver's poetry and wrestled with what it means to love and to grieve. This energetic exchange of words, questions and ideas grew into an unexpected but treasured friendship...Collected here is that correspondence, brimming with empathy, humour and a fierce curiosity about each other and the worlds, shoes and histories that they inhabit. Described by one reader as 'a demonstration of how to have a conversation and a friendship', The Attachment is an intriguing, entertaining and moving celebration of family, faith, connection-even the correct time of day to enjoy rhubarb...Dear Tony, Funny how our ears tune in to things. How our priorities shift based on who and what we know. How we come to care about such abstract or remote things through the experience of another. Lovely, somehow, but so serendipitous. All the other things we might care about. All that we might have missed had we not stopped to care for this person. I'm glad we stopped for each other.
Ailsa Piper has made her life in the arts, having worked as a writer across many mediums, and as a director, actor, teacher, speaker and broadcaster - but for her, the most important labels are 'walker' and 'friend'. Ailsa was co-winner of the Patrick White Playwright's Award for her script Small Mercies, and her passions for walking and poetry were reflected in her memoir Sinning Across Spain. She is a collector of postcards, a student of three of the Romance languages, and a hopeless swimmer - but she is taking lessons...Monsignor Tony Doherty has been parish priest at Rose Bay in Sydney for twelve years. Before that he was Dean of St Mary's Cathedral, which saw him oversee the erection of its spires in 2000 and also the visit of a Pope. This followed decades of work in adult education. Throughout his fifty-plus years as a priest, he has written and published widely, in a quest to demystify religious language. He is a lover of good conversation, a passionate reader and swims daily in his beloved Sydney harbour...Both Ailsa and Tony are inspiring speakers and regular media contributors. They perform brilliantly as a double act, and can also see the text being performed on stage.