Thank goodness the rhinoceros is launched. Thank goodness the tour is over. Thank goodness we don’t have to see any more ‘arty’ photos of the book by the beach, or in a boat, or framed weirdly by random sticks. Thank goodness we don’t have to humour any more of Meg’s crazed attempts to draw rhinoceroses in tutus/jumpers/both at once.
Maybe she’ll go back to her cave now and stop shouting LOOK! MY BOOK!
Yes, well. About that.
There’s a little more shouting to come, my friends. Because if September was rhinos, then October is:
It was the best of festivals, it was the best of festivals.
Last week I spent five days as a guest of Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival, which takes place annually in Geraldton, an hour’s flight north of Perth.
I love flying to Gero, not only for the glorious vistas but also because I love watching the flight attendants try and somehow cram meal service into the approximately 35 minutes of level flight time.
I love Big Sky for other reasons, and they are many.
For years, fellow writers and illustrators have been enthusing about Big Sky. It’s the bestival of the festivals! they say. Because they are punsters like that. If you get invited, you absolutely have to go!
It’s been a busy few days. It began on Friday morning when I sat bolt upright at 3am and realised the year was drawing to a close and my annual carbon footprint was altogether too small.
Happily, this was easily remedied. I rolled out of bed and drove immediately to Perth airport. I flew across the country and all the way up to Brisbane. Then I drove to a hotel, stayed overnight, and at the crack of dawn, flew home to Perth again. And just like that, I was back on track.
While I was in Brisbane, a ridiculous thing happened, and it looked a bit like this:
A Single Stone was announced as the winner of the Griffith University Children’s Book Award at the Queensland Literary Awards!
We gathered, we laughed, we launched! I’m delighted (so very delighted, Amanda Betts!) to announce that the official launch of A Single Stone went off swimmingly on Thursday, 7 May.
Against the backdrop of a stunning Fremantle sunset at Kidogo Arthouse on Bathers Beach, a lovely host of friends, colleagues, and other possibly-soon-to-be-one-of-those-things folk ate, drank and were generally merry as Amanda (AJ) Betts launched the book in characteristically hilarious style.
Yes, I know he isn’t exactly Mr Curly. That would be like saying I’m Ruby, or Cassie, or possibly even Max.
But last weekend at the Perth Writers Festival, I met the maker of Mr Curly and of many things duckish and otherly delightful – Michael Leunig. I’ve made no secret of the fact that the original inspiration for Duck for a Day came from an interview Leunig did with Andrew Denton, but beyond that, I’ve been a long-time fan of Leunig’s work, which my father shared with me from a very early age. The corkboard above this very desk is dotted with tattered Leunig cartoons, snipped from newspapers here and there over the years.
Here beginneth the second in what appears to be a biennial series. It’s my own personal poetry week, very much like the one I held back in February 2010. It’s being held for exactly the same reason: I’ve been invited to guest at Perth Poetry Club and really need some new material to read.
But more than that, I really need to work on the hundreds of fragments that have been accumulating in notebooks and files for years, the many beginnings of poems that sit quietly, waiting for my attention.
In my quest to have some of them ready for this Saturday, when I’ll be reading, I’ve identified a handful that look promising. I’m going to throw the (current) opening lines down here in order to hold myself accountable in a semi-public way. And also because I’m narcissistic like that. I did this last time, and it worked. And I’m all for whatever works, narcissism and all.
The last couple of months have been a busy time for me. As other writers will attest to, Book Week seems to have turned into Book Month somewhere along the line and I’ve only just finished a steady stream of school and library visits. I could give you a bunch of stats here but I’d rather sit down and get some writing done, so instead I’ll just say that I drove a lot, talked a lot, listened a lot, and laughed a lot. It was energising and exhausting, all at once. And bookings are coming in for 2012, which is lovely, but also a little alarming.
I am always amazed by the creative and insightful ideas kids come up with. There was a great wealth of these this year, but I have to say that my favourite comment from a student was: “Meg, you are the most expiring author I have ever met!” Coming at the end of a long day, this was at once motivating and accidentally apt.
In Japanese, that means “It’s been a long time”, and it has. I spent some of the last month travelling in Japan, some of it travelling home, and the rest of it trying to get used to being in Australia again and catching up on the many jobs which seemed to pile upon me the moment I touched down.
I should do a post-Japan wrap-up, but I’m not quite in that space yet. And I have a formal Asialink report to write which needs to take priority.