I know that early December might be a little too soon to give a wrap up of the year but 2013 has been a strange one. Poetry and writing-wise it has been my most successful yet. I’ve had heaps of book, film and art reviews published and even a feature article for Adelaide’s online newspaper InDaily. I hosted a Writers’ Week style interview with Mark Tredinnick, one of Australia’s most celebrated and internationally acclaimed poets. I’ve had poems accepted in Ireland, the US and Taiwan and even back here in Australia a few poems have found respectable homes. I’ve had my first full collection of poetry published and was shortlisted in one of Australia’s most prestigious poetry prizes. Any reasonable person would be celebrating. But otherwise life has held its share of counter-balancing nasty surprises this year. We’ve had family issues and drama. A bushfire threatened our community. Our gorgeous dog Luka developed an aggressive carcinoma and we had to put her to sleep. I’m not going to harp on the negatives – suffice it to say that despite holding the opinion that the calendar (whichever one you follow) is just a construction by which humans happen to measure the passage of the Earth around the Sun and thus New Year’s Eve is just an arbitrary marker which could, in fact, occur at any time – I’m actually looking forward to the year ticking over. I can’t explain why other than a hope that perhaps the assigning of a new number to the next loop of the Earth will somehow stimulate a change in fortune. I know. Not terribly logical. But I’m really keen for a change in personal weather.
Anyway – the whole point of this post was to mark and celebrate a significant milestone. Last week, I was invited to read in Sydney on the same bill as Mark Tredinnick. The Rhyzomic readings. Very cool. I booked flights and spent a couple of days drinking the place in, revelling in the glamour and gorgeousness that just oozes out of Sydney. I’d even packed a frock, heels and my only pair of sexy tights (Andrew wouldn’t be there, so what would it matter if I tripped around in heels in which I easily topped 6’1”?)
Then Mark called to tell me that our gig was scheduled to clash with a Bob Adamson lecture and a couple of book launches, so I shouldn’t get my hope up about a big crowd. To tell you the truth, this came as a bit of a relief. I could feel the anxiety over the reading melt away. Actually, I think it melted a little bit too much because now I was so relaxed about it, all plans to glam up went out the window and I rocked up to Mr Falcon’s cocktail bar in Glebe in pretty much the same gear that I’d been out sight-seeing in all day. The number of people I know in Sydney I could easily count on one hand and none of them are poets, so basically I was counting on the only person who knew me being Mark Tredinnick. Hmm. Big mistake. There was a whole roomful of people and I’d forgotten that one of my less-than-a-handful of Sydney friends is James Kell. As in James Kell – adventurer, skipper and professional photographer. Yep. Photographer. The professional kind. And he came to see me. And I was wearing sandals with trousers.
James, it was completely lovely to see you and a brilliant surprise. But shit, dude. I was wearing sandals.
Andrew and I met James when we went to Antarctica earlier this year and James was the professional photographer and expeditioner on the trip. You’ve got to check out his website – not just for the Antarctic shots but also his portraits and landscapes from all over the world. Gorgeous stuff. Click here for some serious armchair adventuring. Thanks so much for the beautiful photos James. It was a really important night for me so thank you for both sharing it with me and giving me something to remember it by. But next time, I’ll definitely frock up.