So pleased to see my poem BIMBILLA in The School Magazine ORBIT May 2021 with a vibrant illustration by indigenous artist Leanne Watson.
This poem is a tanka sequence, written in 2006. In the same year, I wrote a short story for children with the same title, Bimbilla. Bimbilla is a Worimi word for a pink cockle shell. I discovered the word on an information sign at a beach north of Port Stephens, New South Wales, where the story and the poem are set.
So often a visit to a place, and encounter with an object or word, will provoke some new writing.
My story was a finalist in the Ginninderra Press short story for children competition, and was published in the anthology SECRETS. That was the beginning of my association with Ginninderra Press who have published my two tanka collections and two fiction books (Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby 2019 and Divertimento 2021).
I’d love it if an indigenous artist would collaborate with me to make an illustrated book of the story. Writing is a long game, and publication sometimes comes after a long time. A story like this has longevity, and I think there is still more to come.
I don’t know if you realised, but there is a mouse plague in New South Wales.
The latest news is that the most intellectual of these critters, showing excellent taste, have reached the literary epicentre of the universe, namely Castle Hill! (Patrick White at Dogwoods, me in Forest Knoll, who else could you want?)
Yes, these sweet little connoisseurs of literature have been leaving calling cards on my tastefully arranged, carefully selected, eclectic black bookshelves. Apparently, there was a mouse-sized gateway into this reader’s paradise from the cosy roof void. Now sealed.
My desk has also been cleansed of suspicious debris. Anyone who has ever seen a desk of mine, at work or at home, will know that this is no mean feat. The resident canine, who sweetly alerted me to the presence of the invaders by insistent nuzzling and silent pointing, has been rewarded and his cheese-laden food bowl moved to the outer reaches of our domicile.
Will these measures be enough to restore peace and tranquillity?
I’m sorting through so many books and papers, it will be a while before peace and order truly reign once more. But I have discovered some treasures on the shelves, mercifully un-nibbled, that I had saved for a rainy day.