Hello From Canberra! Cold (freezing!) but beautiful Canberra – Australia’s capital city, on the other side of the country from my home in the West. I am here writing, and researching and, in between times, walking and exploring. Why? Because I have been given the gift of time to write by the very generous May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, in the form of a Creative Time Fellowship. What this means is that for four weeks I have a little apartment at the Australian National University to write. How magical!
And, after a very busy first half of the year I am really delighted to have the time to write. While I’m here I’m hoping to complete two projects – the verse novel I began in Hanoi last year, and a chapter book I started earlier this year. After 8 days I can say I’m tracking pretty well on the first of those, which I’ve prioritised. Mornings are for this project. I won’t do much to the other until I get the verse novel done – because they both have ten year old girl protagonists and I want to be sure I keep their voices unique. But, I do have some other projects that I toy with later in the day. I have been researching two different historical stories on and off over the past year, and have made progress with both of these since I was here. I love the unexpectedness of research, which can take me on journeys I did not expect. Both of these ideas come from specific little known people – but the research has left me really determined to make them more known.
When I’m not writing or researching I’m walking. I really love exploring places by foot and Canberra is perfect for walking. The amazing Lake Burley Girffin is very close to where I’m staying and is delightful to walk along and around. I’ve walked over kilometres a couple of days and, although I got myself a public transport card on my first day, so far I haven’t used it – I just point myself in the direction of where I want to go and walk. The weather has been kind for this – although it is very cold, it has been fine every day, bar one with a few showers.
Here are a few glimpses of what I’ve seen.
The little swimming critter is a rakali – a native water rat (though I think she is more otter like than rat like). I’d hoped to spot one but was lucky enough to see two in one day – and get this one on camera. If you want to follow my adventures, you can follow me on Instagram.
I realised when I sat down to write this post that I’ve not updated here on the blog since March. Oops! I did say I’ve been busy this year. Will try to get time for an update soon. In the meantime, back to work for me.