It has been a bit more than one year now, since June Perkins contacted me to illustrate Magic Fish Dreaming, a series of poems describing, with softness, mystery and humour, the beauty and richness of a region of Australia: the Far North Queensland.
This project immediately appealed to me for four reasons.
June’s approach suggested a rich and elegant personality which, I felt, I would have a lot of pleasure to work with.
I like poetry especially when it targets children. It is a wonderful way to tell things, and a book of poetry is full of stories to be read and listened to. Words play with sounds and images play with words.
I love Australia, a country I discovered 5 years ago. This is one of the few countries that still offers completely wild and pristine areas. A country in which we can be easily and…
A cathedral attracts me
Day by Day
To find the way light
I see gaps of darkness
How I long
For my garden
Waves in ponds
Bridges suspended over
Of a garden in water.
Lotuses form lilies
Whispering to me
Mocking my blindness as
I look through glasses,
See strange tints
I think you would have painted the cane
And built a garden in tropical terrain.
Your canvas would have contained the Ulysses
Fleeting life frozen on canvas.
You would have captured the Misty Mountains at every time of day
The golden gumboot would not have been your choice.
You would have liked a hut I see on the way to Cardwell
Or a tiny church I know that’s tucked away in the cane.
“Where in 1945 it was thought that the way to solve the problem was to create wildlife parks and nature reserves, that is no longer an option. They are not enough now. The whole countryside should be available for wildlife. The suburban garden, roadside verges … all must be used.”
I agree. We have bush turkeys, ibis, crows, and cockatoos frequent our back yard. They enrich our lives.
The down side is that we can’t start a vegetable patch outside because of the bush turkeys digging holes everywhere. However the upside is that they love eating all our scraps and it’s kind of cool they are protected and have the run of the neighbourhoods. We are going to start a vegetable patch on the veranda. I’d love to attract more butterflies to the backyard, perhaps because I miss the beauties we had in Feluga and Murray Upper.
I was thrilled this week to discover an interesting and attractive new plant not far from home. In my ecology quest I’m making a point to find out the names of unknown plants and animals. Today I present to you the Bat Wing Coral Tree – and here is a photograph where it does look like a bat wing! A friend who lives in Mission Beach, but who knows heaps about the natural world, helped me identify it from a photograph I posted.
I hope to use my ecology quests to develop my poetry and stories. It will be fun and empowering to look at things and be able to name them.
Whilst living in North Queensland I learnt a lot about the variety of palms – which prior to living there I had a limited knowledge and interest in. Being surrounded by them I could see so much variety, it became intriguing.
Returning to Brisbane after an eight year absence I am determined to know more about the more obscure looking plants in the garden, parks and streets.
(c) June Perkins words and images
Postscript – A friend has suggested that I can create raised vegetable patches and bush turkeys won’t touch the vegies. Looking into this and may post the garden in process. Spring is in the air.
There were some industry people and members of the Queensland Writers Centre who were very welcoming and friendly. It was good to put faces to names commonly seen in emails or online and receive helpful information and invitations to critique groups and workshops for writers.
You can see the books in display for the next twelve months at the state library Queensland.
Nick Earles, a highly accomplished Queensland author, gave an address encouraging everyone to purchase and promote the purchase of books by Queenslanders. Even purchasing just one book a year by a Queenslander could have an enormous difference on the production and sharing of literature created by the writers of Queensland.
He expressed his hope that many more people would be enabled to be career writers through such initiatives.