Thursday 29 November 2012

Why you should write...

In the foreword to AWAW 2012, Mark Tredinnick has this suggestion for those of us who love to write, on why we should keep going: "Write, as the writers in this anthology have done, to make beauty, to make sense, to make prayer, to make love ... about who we are, and what is real, and what counts, and what one can do to help."


Thursday 22 November 2012

One with Birds

I climbed a tree once. About ten years ago. A beautiful twisted grandfather tree, with a sparse thatch of small green leaves. A rainforest veteran too old to put up much of a fight. I never was much of a tree climbing kid. Fell out of a few. Branches never seemed to hold me like they did other kids. But I climbed this tree – the old Booyong, burdened with a couple of climbing accessories – part rotting trunk, part steel ladder and part Strangler Fig.

In thirty seconds I was one hundred feet in the air. I stood in the old man’s canopy, on a small steel platform, underneath one of his surviving branches, now twisted and gnarled like arthritis. Vines and air ferns draped across the sky like exotic curtains. Pallid question marks of mist rising from between distant woolly green hills. A King Parrot whistled from somewhere close by, and at my level. For a few minutes I was in his space. A beautiful space. I understood why his calls always sounded so joyous.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Fair and Fear

It’s a sunny November afternoon. It’s mild and still, inside a room that’s pink and blue and green and gold. Outside there’s a sea breeze that’s lost most of its momentum, trying to reach this far from the sea. The trees do little more than shiver. Not me. It’s perfect. And on this perfect afternoon I find myself in a place I’ve known for almost half my life. In the middle of a conundrum. Two companions. As different as you could imagine. And I’m wondering which will bite me next.
To my left is Antaresia stimsoni, two years old, sleek and perfectly designed for task. Immobile, but never motionless. Eyes like polished beads. Movements deliberate Рlike liquid stone. To my right is Oryctolagus cuniculus, five years old, soft and round. Never really still. Pelt like the finest velvet. Movements almost a clich̩ Рlike a character on a TV cartoon.
Both have tried to bite me – one tried yesterday. Both will try again, given the right circumstances; given the provocation. One has succeeded. A deep painful bite – drawing blood. The other is yet to make me bleed. May not even be capable. Yet I wonder – even worry – which of my two companions future visitors to this room might fear. Might loathe. Maybe demonise.
I suspect it won’t be fair.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Watch this Space

Keep your eyes out for the results of this annual Australian Writer's Competition. I think I might know the winner.