To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Ten years ago, I was feeling a bit discouraged. I’d been submitting work to publishers for a few years and had amassed a thick folder of rejection letters. There were a few personal notes in there, too — a few “Not for us but keep writing!”-type comments, a few “Revise and resubmit?” requests.
I felt like I was close, but also that I could stay close for the term of my natural life, that there was no guarantee a door would open for me, ever. I had begun wondering how much longer I could justify putting time into this writing thing for nil return. I was working long hours in academia; I had a young child. I was stealing time from all over the place in order to indulge this … whatever this was.
I knew I’d never stop writing, never stop jotting down small fragments here and there. But maybe I should stop trying to shape them into stories; maybe I should stick with poetry, which was where I’d started, after all.
Two months later, I signed a contract with Walker Books Australia to publish my first novel, Annabel, Again.
Once, there was a girl called Meg. She was a reader and a collector of fragments – pithy observations, random snippets of stuff. She liked scribbling things down, twisting words about, but she was not a writer.
One day she was driving with her four-year-old daughter and her daughter’s same-aged friend, “E”, in the back. She was driving E home after a sleepover and she started messing about, being silly. Is this where I turn, E? Or the next corner? Wait … are we on the right street? Oh, no! I think we’re lost!
Because everyone knows that four-year-olds love whimsical play. But E rolled his eyes and said, in a world-weary tone, “You know where my house is.”
Meg thought it was a shame for a four-year-old to be world-weary, so she tried again, with this: “Well, I know where it was yesterday, but who’s to say where it will be today?” Continue reading
It looks like the poetry planets are aligned for me at the moment. I just heard from a journal in Queensland that they’ve accepted one of my poems for their next issue, and from WritingWA that they’ve accepted my application for their ‘Writers in Libraries’ Programme, which means that at some point later this year I’ll be conducting poetry readings and talks at libraries in the Perth area.
More book news! I have just been contacted by the good folk at The Westerly Centre and informed that my poetry submission for their ‘emerging poets’ project has been successful. The literary journal Westerly received funding from ArtsWA to publish a small collection by a Western Australian poet who hasn’t yet published a book of poetry, and they’ve chosen mine.
My volume, entitled Cleanskin, will be published with this year’s issue of Westerly, some time in November. It will also feature a CD of me reading and discussing some of the poems. I now have to scurry around trying to choose a cover image and think of ways to sound intelligent and thoughtful.
I should probably add that this is poetry for adults, rather than children, although I do use some of my own material as a basis for teaching poetry workshops into schools.
Okay, it’s official. Or at least official enough to post here, I hope. The penguins are definitely coming, sometime in 2009. I’ve just accepted an offer for my first picture-book, The Truth About Penguins. I love picture books – they’re where I started writing for kids – and can’t wait to see what an illustrator does with my story. It’s going to be a bit of a wait for this one, but well worth it.
And (yes, there’s more!) – I’ve also just accepted an offer for another novel. This one is for boys and will be out around May next year. The working title is Going for Broke (one world record, 52 tiny bones). Anyone who knows boys can probably imagine the rest!
Both these books will be published by the fabulous Walker Books Australia, and I’m beyond thrilled.
The penguins are coming …
The penguins are coming …
THE PENGUINS ARE COMING!
Not for a while, though. In fact, there’ll be a boy in a souped-up shopping trolley arriving first. Which makes sense when you think about it, given how waddly and slow our penguin friends are.
None of that makes any sense, I know. But it’s all I can say right now.