I never expected that my first trip back to Papua New Guinea, since I moved to Australia as a one year old, would be in my fifties and via zoom and would be working with writers based in three different countries.
Yet, none of us knows our future, and so it was that the last week my first ever Book Week experience, occurred this way.
I was invited by Tina Marie Clark, to join a CYA team, including her, Albert Nayathi, Phil Kettle, Caroline Evari, (and works from Michelle Worthington and Dannika Patterson) that has been mostly going to the Higaturu Oil Palm International School there in person for the last ten years.
The last two years they have had to conduct the visit via zoom, because of COVID19.
Although I haven’t done Book Week before, I have done several workshops in libraries, environmental centres, and schools, to mentor creatives of all ages from kindergarten through to people all backgrounds in their seventies, in poetry. Something which became such a passion I ended up writing and publishing a poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, for children.
I wrote Magic Fish Dreaming, to express a sense of the place I was living in at the time, which was the Cassowary Coast, in Far North Queensland, as well as to demonstrate different poetry techniques which might appeal to children but also extend them. At the time of composing this work I was facilitating workshops in the community and needed to create original materials with a sense of the place I was living in, not just use what was already out there.
Magic Fish Dreaming, represents all the beauty, grandeur, magic, and heartache and I saw whilst living in that area, all captured for families to relive some of that and hopefully fall in love with poetry.
During this visit, I was able to bring all the experiences of the last few years, in designing workshops, as well as my recent enrolment training as a teacher (although for highschool) together into my contemporary practice.
I was delighted to see the effect of the workshops on the students and their teacher and teacher assistant. I can truly say I had as much of a feeling of joy out of this as out of being published.
My heart soared to see them engaged with the activities and WRITING! And finally confidently performing work they had collaborated on composing together.
What did we and the school do during the week to reach this point?
To be continued . . .