One grey August Saturday (it was rainy & cold – hey, it was in Melbourne) I read in the newspaper about Arthur Boyd’s (the very famous Australian Painter and Australian of the Year ) struggle to donate his property Bundanon to the Nation of Australia.
It made me consider: what might my gift to this nation be?
Would it be the collective works of me, Jane the writer; and would my children be the price I would pay?
Would I raise great kids, never taking up my creative pen again for the duration of my life?
Does that seem extreme? At the time of these thoughts I did not know how long I might live.
Back to August, I hauled out some A3 sized paper (that’s large) and in purple inked calligraphy I wrote a poem.
Then I wrote a letter to Arthur Boyd, about the impact the photograph had upon me.
I went to the library and sat on the floor in the resource section. I looked through an Atlas to find the nearest town to Shoalhaven. Then I searched for an address, almost at the point of giving up I thought this though: Arthur Boyd is such a down to earth person why would he have some fancy named address.
Sure enough I found him listed in the local town: Arthur Boyd.
I photocopied the purple prose & then sent it all off.
I don’t recall how much time passed. Or even if I wondered what happened to my letter etc
But one day a letter arrived from Arthur Boyd himself. Handwritten.
He encouraged me. (I feel all teary recalling it) He said he had placed my poem in the archives of Bundanon. I was stunned by that.
He invited me to apply for a residency/retreat to the Property.
I never have. I was busy being a mother. (That was the choice I made) . Busy trying to be alive, to be well.Time has passed.
When I relocated to Queensland (Beautiful one day, perfect the next) I made sure we stopped in the town closest to Bundanon. After breakfast we set off to the Arthur Boyd’s property. Along a road, off a road, up and down & through the bush, all in a city car. Finally we reached the gate.
A sign confirmed we were in the right place. The also indicated the Property is closed to the public, except on the 1st Sunday of the month. We had arrived in the wrong day. I had not known.
A few years ago, I felt my season-to-write had arrived. 11th January found me writing…I wrote 10,000 words. I was astounded. I kept writing. I have about 110,000 words now. I had a couple or 3 readers, a volunteer editor. I wrote a chapter from a male perspective; I submitted it to a writer’s forum. They said I had it right. *Gasp*
My mother became old & ill. By choice I set my writing aside to be a good daughter. Nothing I ever ever write will be of a worth greater than those months; weeks. And last minutes. n o t h i n g.
Read what excerpts from what has become known as ‘The Avalon Journals’ Book 2.