WILLIAM McInnes is just ‘‘muddling along’’. Good days roll into bad and back again in the first few months of life following the loss of his partner of 20 years Sarah Watt, who died of cancer in November last year.
‘‘You have your good days and your bad but you keep plodding along and you’ll get there in the end,’’ he says. ‘‘We all get there in the end some way or the other.’’
For the interview with the Weekly, the actor, author and West Footscray resident has taken time out of his busy schedule on the eve of Sunday’s first episode of Auction Room, a 10-part series that follows the journey of ordinary and not-so-ordinary people as they put their treasured possessions under the hammer.
McInnes uncovers the tales behind the sales and to capture the theatre and charged atmosphere of auction night.
‘‘The auction room harbours the whole spectrum of humanity. You can have a fellow who owns half of Sydney standing next to you and on the other side you’ve probably got a bloke who just came in to get out of the rain there [they are] very interesting places [these] auctions rooms.’’
And there’s no slowing down: he has a new novel Laughing Clowns due for release in October and he’s shooting the ABC telemovie Dangerous Remedy.
‘‘I’m a bit busier than I’d like to be but you know that’s the way it is sometimes,’’ he says.
‘‘There’ll be a time when I can lie fallow and do not much but it’s just the way it comes out of the hand, that’s how you have to approach it.’’
McInnes is born and raised in Queensland but the western suburbs has been his home for the past two decades.
He still lives in the family home in West Footscray with their two children, Clem, 18, and Stella, 13.
‘‘What drew me to the areas was we bought a house I could afford. I would never have seen myself living here but I have for 20 years and I enjoy it immensely. The western suburbs gets a whole heap of bad publicity, some of the hot-bed of crime and poverty or it’s full of would-be uber groovers stuff but that’s just a lot of rubbish. Every stereotype has some grain of truth but most of the time it’s just some sort of heated-up clap-trap and the western suburbs is a pretty good place to raise a family and live because there’s lots of good folk around here.’’
Some years ago McInnes was chairman of the advisory council of the Museum of Australian Democracy. A mouthful of a title certainly, but at the time he wrote about the ‘‘simple and the most generous’’ of things: hope.
He returns to the subject now, more than two years after Watt’s cancer returned as secondary, terminal bone cancer.
‘‘Hope is, I think, intrinsic to being human, it’s what make us different to other forms of life on the planet. It doesn’t mean we always do the right thing but hope is a wonderful, optimistic and affirming way of looking at life.
It’s hope that keeps him ‘‘muddling along’’ and without it, there’s not much reason getting out of bed in the morning, he says.
‘‘Sometimes you’re just miserable, everyone is, but it’s much better to look at life as a glass half full than half empty. It’s something that arms you against the ups and downs of life.
‘‘I’m not the first person or first family to go through through this and as I said you just plod along. Not everyday is fantastic but you can’t just hand in your chips because something awful happens.’’
Besides, the way McInnes remembers his wife, she wouldn’t want that.
‘‘She was a mighty person and she always looked at life by counting what she did have and what she didn’t have and what she always used to say was, ‘well, if you count what you do have and what you don’t have you always end up on the plus-side of the ledger’. I think that’s the perfect way of looking things.’’