A Blog a Day in May

Fairies

Life is too short to dismiss the possibility of fairies.

I’ve never seen one.

And the imposter within me doesn’t even believe.

But I’ll never stop looking.

I’ll never stop pestering my children to look.

And when we find such magical lands as this…

I’ll look harder.

Ps: This is a public garden about twenty minutes from my home. Isn’t it the most beautiful place?

xx Brooke

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Twelve Days of Christmas

Tonight

On the sixth day of Christmas, I craved a feeling.

A specific feeling, really.

I craved a couch. And a book. And me.

All of us rolled up together,

where nothing and no one could find us.

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It’s not like I wanted to escape the day

or the responsibilities that lay before me.

I just wanted to read.

I wanted to remember the warmth—

snuggling on the couch with a book

and a lovely new imaginary friend (or two.)

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There’s nothing quite like that feeling.

The touch of a book, the smell.

The firecrackers that tickle the skin,

melting me—word by delectable word.

Thank goodness there’s tonight.

I think I’ll read, tonight.

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Twelve Days of Christmas

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It’s the second day of Christmas and here I am writing to you!

Surprise! I know. It’s been FOREVER. I’ll try not to leave it so long next time.

I wonder if you’ll even get this little email of mine. Do you have a computer in the North Pole? Do you even know what a computer is? Oh. Ha ha ha. Of COURSE you do, Santa— I’ll bet you’ve given a million of them away, in your time. Maybe even a billion. Well! However many you’ve given, I’m sure they’ve helped to change the world in some wonderful way.

Or not.

I mean, I don’t really know…

Umm. Santa? I truly am sorry I haven’t written for so long. The thing is, somewhere along the line someone told me you weren’t real—which is completely ridiculous, I know, especially considering I can feel you right here in my heart.

I’ll never let you go Santa.

Nope. Not ever. And do you know why?

Because I believe in magic. I believe in the magic of you.

That’s okay, isn’t it? For a big kid like me to believe in you always and forever and always, again?

Because, Santa, you’ve gotta know this: the magic of you lit the fire inside me. The magic of you helped to build me—helped fill me with all the bits of happy—and I am just not cool with letting you slip away quite so easily.

Big kids are allowed to believe, aren’t we, Santa?

I really hope you write back.

I really hope you write back and say, ‘Yes, Brooke, it’s okay for big kids to believe, too.’ Because I think my joy butterflies need you to keep them alive, Santa, I really and truly do. After all, joy butterflies eat magic for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Without you…my joy butterflies might starve!

Anyway.

I really have waffled on.

I just wanted you to know this, Santa, I haven’t forgotten you. You’re still here, always in my heart.

Always.

Lots of love,

Brooke. (The biggest kid of them all.)

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Reading, Writing

Alexis Wright: Boisbouvier Oration, Melbourne Writers Festival

I’ve never read an Alexis Wright, book. Until she won the 2018 Stella prize, I’d never even heard her name.

But I can’t stop thinking about the speech she gave at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Wednesday night, and I absolutely think you should read it, here.

It’ll be good for the writer in you.

It’ll be good for the human in you.

It’ll just…be good.

I promise.

xx Brooke

I absolutely believe that we need deep thinking and deep imagination in our literature to shock the daylight out of us, to make us see what is happening in the world, to make us think, and if we teach how to read more deeply, think more, then perhaps, perhaps, we might stop harming ourselves and the planet.

Alexis Wright, Boisbouvier Oration, 2018

(One more post to go for my Melbourne Writers Festival series. I’ll try to get that to you over the coming days. xx)

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Books

Falling In Love By Lamplight

I can’t remember the moment I fell in love with books.

But I know it was by lamplight.

A warm orange flush against the wall.

The shadow of a Mum, and a girl, and a book, and a bed.

A memory for all the senses.

A craving for the comfort of night.

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Are you there with me?

Mum’s soft voice, her words scattering into the twilight.

Like fireflies.

Waves, fizzing onto custard sand.

Winged chairs, lifting into the setting sun.

I feel it like I feel yesterday, that love.

That magic.

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Little girl me sped through the days, just to meet the night again.

Just so the story could go on.

Nothing’s changed, not really.

Except maybe the shadows on the wall.

The little girl I used to be: somewhere along the line, her shadow twisted and popped.

And grew.

The lamp lit voice: it’s not Mum’s, anymore.

It’s mine.

Colouring in the hearts of my own babies.

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I can’t remember the moment I fell in love with books.

And maybe the when doesn’t matter.

Maybe the why doesn’t matter, either.

It’s the who and the what and the how that will never leave me.

The lamplight.

The two shadows, big and small.

It’s the truest story I know.

And it’s all about how I fell in love… for the very first time.

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Nerdy Party, Writing

An Audience With My Writerly Self

Hello Writerly Me,

It’s good to see you! Thanks for coming, by the way. No one else will be attending the party, sadly. Some were too shy to come. The rest: burning the candle at both ends, they said. Too busy for a party, they said. So that leaves…you. And me.

But, hey, that’s okay! When I really think about it I’m thrilled no one else is coming. I’ve been meaning to talk to you. Now seems like the perfect time. (Wait, do I hear crickets?)

Oh, sorry! How rude of me, please: take a seat.

Now. Writerly Me. I’ll start with a little story about how the two of us met.

When I first began writing creatively— you were there, humming away under my skin; a cute little engine you were, pumping ideas through me and onto those frightening white pages. So, yes. I knew you were there.

But I didn’t really know you then, did I? I didn’t recognise you, or the role you played in my writing. Luckily, that didn’t matter because you knew me. And you knew I needed your help to write. So, you kept coming back. Thank goodness.

The more stories I wrote, the clearer your voice became. You spoke for me: all I had to do was turn up at the desk and write what you told me to. In fact, you insisted.

‘Please,’ you said to me. ‘Just turn up. Write. Do nothing else.’ Remember that? You were pretty adamant about that part. (How’s your bum feeling, by the way? Sorry. These chairs are not okay.)

Anyway, you told me to stop thinking so much. Thinking does not belong in the world of pure imagination, you said. This was something I’d learnt the hard way. So much staring at the blank page; so much sifting through words, choosing only those that were pretty, or important, or…right.

Writerly Me, I think I finally get it. There is no right, is there? I will never know what kind of books Tom, or Jenny, or Joe Reader like. But I do know what kind of books I like. It’s quite simple, really. If the words that land on my page feel like warm chocolate milk to me, chances are those very words will feel like warm chocolate milk to someone else. (What? No, you can’t have a warm chocolate milk! This is still a party, you know.)

Trust that the magic will happen. You gave me those words, didn’t you? Yes. I thought so. You were spot on, there. Writing—creating anything, for that matter—is a kind of magic. So when I’m scared to face that blank page again, or when I wonder if all my previous stories were just one great big fluke, I think of you. I think of that magic wand of yours, how you flap it about and magic up a story, how you help me sprinkle that same magic all over the page.

Thank you, Writerly Self. No, really. Thank you. For coming to the party. For reminding me to trust in your magic. All writers are different, you taught me that. And although thinking and planning may belong at some other writer’s desk…they don’t belong at mine.

Magic belongs at mine.

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