On the Couch with Jo Peck

Jo Peck - photo by Darren JamesWho is Jo Peck?
For the best answer to this question, I would steer you towards my memoir, Suddenly Single at Sixty. That tells you everything you need to know about me, and quite possibly a bit more. In fact, when I started writing the book, I was asking myself the very same question.

My identity, the person I was and the plans I had were all shattered when my husband abandoned me for a much younger woman. Writing became my salvation and my exploration of self. I used it to record my transformation from annihilation to emancipation. From partner to single. From acquiescent other half to fully formed individual.

What would you do differently from what you did then?
I would never allow myself to become compromised in or by a relationship. You see it everywhere, not just in marriages, but in any relationship where a controlling person and a people pleaser are paired.

I would fiercely preserve and protect myself, and I would advise others to do the same, without so much concern for the consequences. Because I know now that the consequences of not standing up for yourself, and of not calling out bad behaviour, though scary in the moment, are far preferable to the long-term damage done by avoiding conflict.

Who inspires you and why?
Strong women inspire me. The public ones like Julia Gillard, Jacinda Ardern, Grace Tame. Even more so, the unsung ones, like good mothers, inspiring teachers, caring nurses, who just go about their business making our world a better place and setting good examples for future generations.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Oh, that’s an easy one. I would solve the crisis in the Middle East. I would assassinate Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. I would end climate change. I would create a safe home for all displaced refugees. I would free Julian Assange. I would make assisted dying legal. I would ban jet skis.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere I go in my camper van with my new partner. No agenda, no deadline, no expectations and no end to the wonder and variation our amazing Country has to offer.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
My great nieces who live in Margaret River (WA) are coming to visit in July. They are twelve and fifteen. The younger one saw a picture of my partner and me in the snow and she said Why are you wearing all those clothes on the beach? So, I’d love to be the first to introduce them to snow and the fun to be had on the slopes. But for that to happen, Victoria would have to come to the party and turn on a decent ski season.

What are you currently reading?
I read a lot! My last 5 books have been: Phosphorescence by Julia Baird, Tom Lake by Ann Patchett, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens by Shankari Chandran, and The Conversion by Amanda Lohrey. And a good old crime thriller: a Thursday Murder Club mystery – The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman.

What are you currently listening to?

Happiness is?
No traffic.

What does the future hold for you?
Death inevitably. But hopefully some good times between then and now. And, if I’m honest, I’d be thrilled if my book reached a lot of readers and made a positive difference to their lives.

Jo is the Author of Suddenly Single at Sixty – which is published by Text Publishing and is available from all leading book sellers including Booktopia.

Image: Jo Peck – photo by Darren James