The Way Opens

I found out this morning that Annabel, Again has been shortlisted for the ‘children’s books’ category of the WA Premiers Book Awards.

Which is excellent news, of course, but has nothing to do with the title of this post. ‘The Way Opens’ is the title of a poetry book I had as a child, one of my earliest introductions to rhythm and cadence and image and all the things that make language sing. The phrase has stayed with me, in much the same way particular lines of poetry tend to. When I’ve been struggling with something and finally feel myself emerge into clear water, this is the line I hear. And this morning, it happened on the novel I’m writing. All of a sudden I can see the way forward, maybe not right to the end, not yet, but far enough ahead that I can keep the wind in my sails for a bit longer, hopefully long enough to get to the next point of departure.

And I like this, that as I open my email to messages with subject lines like ‘Congratulations!’ and ‘Woo-hoo!’ and ‘Bar$gain $ale on Genuine Swiss Watch%es’ (okay, that last one may be irrelevant), I’m happy to be nominated, glad to be acknowledged, excited, even, to pack myself onto a train at 7.30 in the morning to attend a ceremonial ‘light breakfast event’, but that in the end, what I really want to do is get back to the novel, to Em and her inconvenient older sister, to Janie and her slightly aggressive alpacas. That’s what drives me, the prospect of a new story, one with legs. It’s as it should be, I think. The way opens …

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