Countdown to Christmas
Updated: Nov 2
Towards the end of each year, I like to do a round-up, a reckoning – a reflection on the year that was. Successes and stuff-ups, things I’ve learnt, things I need to learn – a pulling together of loose threads.
This past year has been another doozy of uncertainty and underlying anxiety. Although, being the adaptable humans we are, we’ve adjusted somewhat to this new state and despite the challenges of restrictions, people have found creative ways to keep things going
The artist run initiative I've been involved with since 2019 managed to sneak in a few adaptive events during the year. One of them was Reclamation: Exploring Memory and incorporated a visual art exhibition, a live music performance and a twice-postponed flash fiction afternoon. The flash fiction part finally went ahead on 30 May in a small window before stay-at-home orders sent us scurrying back to our burrows! It was a fabulous afternoon of sharing stories based around the theme of ‘memory’ and with so few live events able to happen, both writers and audience appreciated the experience even more than usual.
After that, Mounted was temporarily forced into hibernation. Behind the scenes, the Mounted Team continued to work and plan for 2022 via Zoom. There is a fab new show scheduled (fingers crossed) for February and March that involves 16 poets and 16 visual artists and the program of exhibitions, events and activities for the rest of the year is getting us all excited. Follow www.mountedari.com to keep up to date.
Despite the postponement of an anthology publication and the cancelling of many events, I’ve had a few recent publications, with a poem from a previous Mounted ARI project in Poetry for the Planet (Litoria Press, 2021). The anthology was curated by Julia Kaylock and Denise O’Hagan and comprises the work of 97 Australian and New Zealand poets. There's tanka and sijo, found poetry and remixes, free verse and formal rhymed forms. Some poems explore the dire state of our fragile planet while others encourage an appreciation of how precious (and integral to our survival) the natural world is. For many people, a new or perhaps rediscovered awareness of nature has been a lifesaver during this time of pandemic.
Order Poetry for the Planet from your favourite bookshop or buy online via the retail links on the Litoria Press website. Great Christmas present and with all profits going to the Australian Conservation Foundation - it's for a good cause!
One of my microlit pieces ('Who What Where When') was also Highly Recommended in Spineless Wonders’ #100wordsforbutterfly competition in September. I read it at the Zoom launch of Sophie Masson’s new audiobook, A Hundred Words for Butterfly (Spineless Wonders) which managed to be a very entertaining event featuring cocktails, Basque food and even an online Quiz! Check out Sophie’s book at https://shortaustralianstories.com.au/product/a-hundred-words-for-butterfly/
ZineWest 21 also came out in October, it’s fifteenth year of publishing and supporting the work of Western Sydney writers. I have a short story in there called, ‘Meeting Magda’. Congratulations to this year’s competition winners and the indefatigable editor Sue Crawford, Carol Amos and judge Dr Luke Carmen.
Like everyone, I’ve been doing lots of Zooms, both reading at launches and listening to other writers read and discuss their work and even though it’s not the same as real face to face connection, it’s helped to keep things going until we can back to live events. Let's hope 2022 will be a time of recovery, regeneration and reconnection.