There’s a howling wind today. Just now a big branch came loose from its trunk mooring and thundered onto the roof, threatening the structure of the house and by implication my security. I’m acutely aware here at Birrarung House, of the fragile nature of the line between me and the environment. With that comes awareness of the ever changing mood of the bush. One minute angry and thrashing, the next, eerily quiet, still as the grave. In that funereal moment, the birds and I hold our collective breath, not knowing if the impending storm will reek terrible destructive havoc or simply nourish and wash the bush clean. 

Amidst this weather event, something is becoming clear. A couple of pages I wrote months ago have come back to haunt me. The theme therein is dark and broody, a lot like the weather today and also just like the weather today, there’s a great risk in exploring it further.

I’ve read those few pages enough times for the words and phrases to be repeating themselves in my head while I’m stirring the rice on the stove or pulling the dry clothes off the makeshift line. I’ve wondered what the next few pages might contain…how the theme might be developed. I’ve gone so far as to add some author’s notes in italics.   When I open up my laptop I can almost hear that file calling out “Look at me, Look at me.” I’ve been asking myself for a couple of days if there’s the genesis of a novel in it.

A local screen writer described for me, the moment the central theme for her latest film script crystalised. Such was the force of that moment, it was clear nothing would stop her from taking the project forward. Three years later, the film script is doing the rounds of Hollywood…her creative energy is still propelling the project forward.

Every now and again I see just that resolve and energy for myself around this novel idea. Then it evaporates into the ether of procrastination, self doubt and the terror of tackling a seriously challenging theme. I’m trying to stay with the idea long enough for the next step to become clear. I’ve come here with the sole aim of creative immersion, trusting that this place and this precious time will do the rest. It’s been working so far.

Ah Birrarung… you’re weaving your magic around me but I hadn’t expected that your alchemy would brew up this purity of gold.