In a Word provides editing by a writer; I have had my own creative writing published, as well as journalistic articles and book reviews in various conservation magazines. During (too) many years working in the federal and Tasmanian public services, I wrote countless reports and briefs. In the last five years I have produced a PhD thesis on climate change and consumerism. In 2015 I published my first novel, The Sea Pool.
Here are extracts from some of my writing.
The Trees of Antarctica
‘The sheer snow slope beckoned to me – I could fall into it, become part of it. I stayed out of the hut as much as I could – it was cosy in there, but the weather was clear outside. I had never been in such a beautiful place. I saw a snow petrel nesting in a nook in some rocks. I watched the sun setting over the slope behind the hut; everything – the hut, the tall triangular tent next to it, the snow, the rocks – was glowing orange-pink.
‘When I’m thinking about that vast luminous landscape, I want to be back there, alone, on the cliffs, looking out to sea.’
Illustrated version: stART Books, Melbourne, 2007.
Abridged version published by Island Magazine no. 101, Winter 2007.
‘Water and the Mountain’
‘I run my fingers over damp silken moss. Some individual fronds have only three branches, reminding me of a wallaby’s foot with its long middle toe. Others have eight or more frondlets branching off to the sides. Many are a very pale green: they look malnourished.
‘This place soothes. The murmur of water flowing over, between rocks, plunging down tiny falls – it’s not something we hear very often. I could stay here all day, breathing slowly, deeply. I don’t notice any smell – just freshness. Pure air. I lift my head, poke my nose up higher, and catch an earthy whiff of detritus.’
Famous Reporter no. 36, Feb. 2008.
‘Needing to clear her head, Iris walked towards the beach. Fairy penguins were tentatively reclaiming the dunes – white splashes spotted their tunnels through the boobialla. Iris stopped and looked down: white and grey penguin feathers clung to a low branch. A few feet away lay the broken body, its head missing. Dogs. Or feral cats maybe. She moved on, brushing angry tears out of her eyes. The wind met her head-on as she left the track, whipping hair across her face as she turned to walk along the beach: the calm of the morning had given way to a brisk south-westerly.
‘A pair of pied oyster catchers and a kelp gull stood stoic just above the tide line. A group of tiny hooded plovers skittered along the beach, as if driven by the wind. There was an amethyst core to the waves, like a dirge reflecting the deep mass of clouds that had settled over South Bruny across the wide expanse of Storm Bay. Iris hurried, hunched over in her light jacket, back to her car just as the first squall hit.
‘She drove home to a still empty house.’
Published by In a Word, 2015.