Right. Let’s get down to the business of refashioning my reputation as a once-a-year-blogger. Here’s my second blog in, well two months. they’re pouring out of me. But I’m so excited I just can’t hide it as the song goes. I swore not to start the blog with ‘I’m just back from’ but as it happens I’m just back from The Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. What a good time. I’m telling you, those festival organisers are so good. They made me feel so welcome, catered to my every whim (before I’d even had it) and provided thousands of children to hurl myself at, metaphorically speaking. This was the first outing of Shoctopus, a rather wonderful giant purple octopus created by my dear friend Denise who actualised the cover of my eponymous book. He seemed to go down pretty well with the kids and I loved doing my little Shoctopus chant with the younger ones. I also brought Lennie The Hungry Leech, a finger puppet (fabricated by the House of Denise) and he created the right amount of delighted loathing in the audience. Oh, and cheeky monkey went down well too. But just in case you think my gigs were all about soft toys… I did offer up a goodly amount of poetry to the kids and they listened more than attentively so I couldn’t be happier really. As did the teachers at my LitChat PD talk who took copious notes. Oh and the surprise gig was being bounced onto the opening night panel in the place of John Marsden. August shoes to fill but I thoroughly enjoyed that too with the excellent and dynamic Oliver Phommavanh as MC. And while I’m on the other writers what a friendly and convivial bunch they were. We had plenty of good yarn/ dinner sessions and it struck me again how undefensive and supportive children’s writers are. A fine breed methinks.
All in all a fabulous and rich time in Mackay. It’s hard to get used to staring out the window at the paddocks and forest here in Braidwood and not seeing two students hovering, waiting to guide me to the next gig and enquiring about when I’d like lunch. Thanks so much to them, all the organisers, in particular Sonia, who remained cool as a cucumber. Gee I always have a good time in Queensland. And I’ll be back, I hope. Oh, and this is proof jenny that I’m now connected. Via twig, bark and magpie tweets to the wider world.