Waiting for the Night

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Waiting for the Night began as a 195 word student assignment in 2008 for Libby Hathorn’s class on children’s literature in the Master of Creative Writing course at the University of Sydney.

It was only when I was clearing out some old files two years ago that I found the draft and decided it was worth revising. I spent a little time re-writing before sending the manuscript around to publishers.

Interactive Press (IP) responded with a positive email in 2016. The search for a suitable illustrator began. Early in 2017, Anna Seed and I signed a publishing contract with IP, and Anna began creating her vibrant illustrations.

The text went through many further drafts, changes and revisions in consultation with IP editor and publisher Dr David Reiter and illustrator Anna Seed. The flying fox was particularly troublesome! And many rewrites ensued.

At last, in March 2018, ten years after the first version, here is the cover for the published book. I hope that you and your little people will enjoy Waiting for the Night.

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Date Stamp

date due

September gone
and another birthday
I pause
before turning the fourth
corner of the year

these book-lined walls
all thought, every emotion
contained
on my calendar I schedule
a day to run free

last day of term
locking the library door
on silence
I check myself out
for a long, long loan

Julie Thorndyke

(Tanka Splendor Winner 2006)

A Stir of the Pudding

baubles

A String of Christmas Memories by the Tanka Huddle  2017

granny and me
stirring dried fruits
and brandy . . .
one nip for gran
one for the pud
          Marilyn Humbert

at the mall
for photos with santa—
I yearn
for a star-filled night
and choirs of angels
          Jan Foster

it’s forty degrees
and mum’s had enough
christmas
crackers snap
around the table
          Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti

christmas
meant rum and plum cake
childhood memory
of our annual trip
to Cochin bakery
          Rugmini Venkatraman

christmas eve
we toss and turn
quiet . . .
mum fills the stockings
we pretend to sleep
          Karen Lieversz

reindeer puppets
pranced on polystyrene snow
but the tug
on my heart-strings
was absolutely real
          Julie Thorndyke

green icing
on the christmas cake
and a frill
make all the difference—
mum comes home this year
          Laura Davis

sunshine and sleigh bells
holly and magpie song
carols under stars
the customs learned in childhood
swim united in my mind
          Beverley George

broken nails
and roughened hands
massaged
by the sweet balm
of a christmas-ready house
          Anne Benjamin

three-penny
and six-penny pieces
stored all year
polished up in time for us
to polish up the pud
          Carmel Summers

[Copyright of each individual tanka remains with the poets.]

Just off Message

Just off message

Congratulations to Interactive Press on their 20th year anniversary and anthology,
Just off Message!

Thank you to editor David Reiter for including some poetry of mine in this celebratory book.

As he writes on the IP website, it is important to remember that “independent publishing houses like IP are, and always will be, an essential part of the cultural landscape” offering opportunities to local and emerging writers.

I’m looking forward to reading the work of all the contributing writers.

Pansy and the Christmas Tree

CP with angel

Last January, I saw the email call for submissions from Christmas Press for their 2017 anthology,  A Christmas Menagerie. 

I spent several afternoons devising a story based on memories my mother had told me, about a Christmas she had on the family dairy farm at Federal in the 1930s when she was a girl.

Pansy and the C T

Although I have made up the characters and the plot, there really was a cranky cow called Pansy who gave my mother a black eye when being milked.

All their cows had names. This photo isn’t Pansy, the cranky cow. When we were going through photos,  sorting out names and places, Mum told me it was Anzac, a nice cow born on Anzac Day.

cow.png

The surprise Christmas meal was also true, and I know that Mum and her family had sing-a-longs with friends for which my grandfather played the fiddle. They were Methodists, and music was essential to their lives.

We celebrate Christmas without her now, but I hope Mum would be pleased that a story she gave me so many elements for is now in print.

CP anthologies

As I unlock the past, little by little, doorway by empty doorway . . .

Hungry Chimera Issue 3 cover

The Hungry Chimera is an independent literary magazine that features short fiction, poetry and visual art.

Thank you to the magazine editors Afton and Stevie for accepting my short story “Waiting”  — now published in Issue 3 .

This short fiction is in some ways an exploration of the classic tanka themes of longing and loss: but in prose, with an Australian setting and more story details sketched in.

Waiting screen shot

I hope you enjoy reading it online (or in print)!