Seabirds and Labradors

November 25, 2014

Sometimes you lose sight of why you are doing something. Sometimes you get so caught up in the minute details of doing, that the beauty of doing evades you. You focus on a poem that was rejected, or a deadline that was missed, rather than remembering something that seemed to work well on the page, or an image, or a person you met through writing.

And then, suddenly, almost miraculously, you shake off that sludge. Or someone removes it from you, you miserable little seabird of gloom.

Three good things happened recently.

Firstly, I have been tutoring an on-line course in speculative poetry, that is drawing to an end. I have found the process of focusing on others’ work almost like trying something new at the gym; the muscles (or brain) scream, but new connections are made. Thank you to all the participants in the course, who have been my personal trainers.

Secondly, I undertook a one day course in writing and producing picture books, run by the expert and enthusiastic Tania McCartney, who is the author of many illustrated children’s books. Again, the brain felt its underdeveloped triceps straining, as someone who approaches writing for different people, and in a different way, took me through a (pleasurable) boot camp. Here is a photo of Tania, who is, as she said, obsessed with picture books:

Tania McCartney

Roaming around the Gorman Arts Centre at lunch time, I met a bevy of poets and other writers and performers, which reminded me how many people do interesting and creative and challenging things in Canberra. Undoubtedly many of these people has had a time when they felt seabird-in-oil sick, and each of them has found his or her way through.

A woman at the course (I won’t mention her name, as I don’t know how she’d feel about that) asked me if I would be interested in judging a poetry slam, and passed on my details to the organisers.

And that brings up Good Thing Number Three, where I’ll be judging a poetry slam for women, which is a special part of A Night of Art and Inspiration with Anthony Anaxagorou. I have seen some of this wonderful poet’s performances on YouTube. Search them out. You really should, you know. Kaveh the Unlikely Poet will also be featured at the event, which begins at 7pm, Sunday 7th December at the Transit Bar in Canberra. (Get there earlier for cheap pizza, if your stomach so desires. It’s in Akuna Street, near, but infinitely better than, the casino.)

So this is how unexpected connections can work, at times, at least for those who live in as lucky a place as Canberra. At least for those of us who also have access to literacy and educational opportunities. At least for those who are not to be denied citizenship because they are mentally ill, as if being locked up for being a refugee wouldn’t quite often make you mentally ill. Perhaps that’s the idea.

Sometimes you are buoyed up by luck and unexpected connections. I am fortunate to be able to find ways to shake off my depression like a Labrador shakes off water after a swim.

That’s my fat black dog out there, always chasing ugly ducks. He’ll come back to shore shortly.

***

Forgive this tl/dr rave; there will be poems again soon. Hopefully with metaphors a little less mixed than a fluffy duck.

5 Responses to “Seabirds and Labradors”

  1. Norah said

    May that black dog stay away for a long time.

  2. jesspoet said

    Boo to black dogs and yay for the universe throwing you both three bones 😉

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