More please

In writing, as in physics, once things begin to happen, they keep happening. I’ve just had another story accepted and it’ll be out next month. It will be the second published from my once upon a time ex-almost collection, so at least some of it was on the right track.

Artistic interpretation of author waiting for responses from publications.

Artistic interpretation of this author suspecting a response from a publication is due.

A lot of time is spent sending stories to markets, or sussing whether particular markets are right for my narrative efforts. It’s about finding them a home. Recently, it turns out that home is in North America, whose population, it seems, craves stories to fill the its vast literary opportunities for the likes of me.

‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled writers, yearning to breathe free’, isn’t that the poem of the Statue of Liberty? I’m certain it mentions writers:) From where I am, the US seems full to the brim of literary vigour and energy. Not necessarily money, but there is a helluva lot of endeavour going on. Things feel like they are happenin’ OS. But in Australia, the arts arena is on the defence, hedged in by cuts to funding or threats of cuts, belittled by the diminution of copyright and undermined by the attack on study as well as on professional pathways. It’s also typified its total absence from the current political and Australian national conversation taking place on ‘innovation.’ Yet, if there is no innovation in art, there could barely be art.

Lyre Bird. I have seen one once in the wild, but they are not considered rare. They are a great metaphor for writers. They can imitate any noise - mechanical or natural, local or foreign, but only have one natural habitat.

Lyre Bird. I saw one, once, in the wild. They can imitate any noise: mechanical or natural, local or foreign, but only have one habitat. Like some writers.

Meanwhile, Australian publications and competitions are closing or going on hiatus, because the cents and goodwill that fuel their existence are exhausted, as are the very dedicated few that run them. All of this is our loss. Not just mine.

America is big, and like its flora and fauna,  you have to compete, but there is space enough if you work for it. In Australia, with its small pool of opportunities, the rare and unique creatures that people the literary world either have to go niche, or go wide, to survive. And often they don’t.

So, I’m celebrating the fact my story about extinct Australian mammals will soon be published and found an appreciative editor in (to me, far-flung and exotic) Alabama. That this happened is remarkable, but I did try to match my story to a place that would be receptive to it. Thus, there’s the traditional publication happy dancing going on. However, I’m also a lil introspective about the fact my fiction didn’t find a place first in its small and cut throat, but ultimately natural, habitat.

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