Photo by the amazing Fe Lumsdaine
This photo was taken two months ago – hard to believe time has passed so quickly since – at the Digital Parent Conference in Sydney. When I spied it among the gallery of others on Flickr, I confess I thought to myself “Uh-oh. Sprung”.
You see, I’m not paying attention. Not to what was happening around me, anyway. Not for that little bit of time. Although it might appear that I’m doing the regular delegate thing of writing down notes as to what was being said, what I’m actually doing is drafting a poem.
It was for this competition. While, at that point, the submissions closure was still a good three weeks away, I knew what laid in between: Easter, the program launch of the EWF, I was to teach my first class at the Australian Writers’ Centre (on ‘Blogging for Beginners’) and a few other things besides. I knew if I didn’t do it then it wouldn’t get done at all. Even if it was bad, it was better than nothing. I wrote two poems in all; I knew one wasn’t special, but the other one came together quickly, and was a more authentic response to the artwork.
(This was an Ekphrasis competition. To quote the website “Ekphrasis is a genre of poetry that explores works of art and seeks to ‘gets inside’ its visual subject.” At the time, I was judging a similar competition for another council, so it was a case of blessed timing.)
Anyway, so maybe I wasn’t being the ideal audience member. Whatever ‘ideal’ means: these days, with everyone tweeting or blogging, I wonder if there is such a thing. But I was ‘present’. I liked writing with others around me, my kindred, who get that being productive and creative is soul-nurturing, leaving aside all other monetary and career-climbing aspects of blogging for a while.
I didn’t have time to revise either poem very much, but I sent them in anyway, and today I got a call informing me that the better one was just awarded a Highly Commended. It’s going to get published on a postcard, which I think is very cool.
(If you’re curious, I wrote it in response to ‘Silverton Cemetery’. Click the link above if you’d like a peep. I like cemeteries, even when I get recognised at my dad’s plot. That story has a grim humour about it I’ve always appreciated.)
I realise I didn’t win, or place. But a Highly Commended is an achievement, and if what it took to make it meant taking time for myself, then I’m okay with that. As I said in my opening talk during the Digital Parents Conference, I’m done saying sorry for what I’ve been able to accomplish. And if any of you out there ever make similar apologies, I want you to stop as well.
Just keep writing/blogging/painting/creating/photographing/whatever-your-pleasure. Please.