My blog post, Jacaranda Season, was published recently in an anthology. A project of the bookstore and social enterprise LOST IN BOOKS, the journal collected works from 21 different local artists from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities, many in their heart language.
It’s called Arrival. It is LOST IN BOOKS’ first publication. And according to Creative Director Jane Stratton, the anthology “celebrates the remarkable talents of local writers and visual artists, in their mother tongues.”
Of the many who submitted their work, I was thrilled to get accepted and published. I am a fan of what the bookstore is trying to achieve in Fairfield. And it was the first time my writing has been recognised publicly. (Mum and dad, I love you, but I’m not counting relatives.)
Excited and nervous, I drove to the western suburbs to collect my free copy and purchase a few more books for my family. My son was with me on the trip.
It was a baking hot day. I could feel the heat through the windows. I crank up the air conditioning and wait for the cool air to provide some relief. I could almost hear my son sighing as the temperature drops a little.
It’s a long trip. It’s quiet most of the time. Our son stopped nattering after a while and in the silence, my mind started catastrophising. What if it was a mistake? What if it was some other Agnes? What if they just published my image and not my writing? The moment was too lovely and I felt like something was bound to go wrong.
In desperation I turned to my twelve year old boy.
“I feel like something bad is going to happen. I know it. When something good like this happens the universe goes bananas and says there needs to be more bad stuff in my life.”
I know this is ridiculous. My faith tells me this is ridiculous. But it sure felt like it at the time.
Our son looked at me and placed a hand on my arm.
“I hate to break this to you Mum, but something bad is already happening.”
He was serious. I was a little nervous.
“You are on a diet. You can’t even eat doughnuts. I feel so sorry for you. So don’t sweat the good stuff.”
Sweet kid. He was trying to make me feel better. And yes. Diets are horrid. So I guess my life did suck a little.
How many of us do this? When life is great, we start feeling a little nervous, because it can’t stay great forever. I do it all the time and it can sap the joy from a situation. A lovely moment can be ruined because I’m not brave enough to grasp it and enjoy it.
I can turn a perfectly good blessing into a message of inevitable doom.
I was determined not to do it this time. I walked right into the store and said hello to the manager. With a big smile plastered on my face, I announced who I was and asked for five copies of the journal. She smiled back.
What the heck. I asked if I could get a picture with me, her and the book. My son looked a little embarrassed. But he took it for us anyway.
Arrival was more like a magazine rather than a paperback. I didn’t expect that. It could have been a little detail that derailed my inner happy dance. But I didn’t care this time.
Besides, I’m on a diet. So my life is already a little bit crappy.