|Kanowna at 4 in the afternoon|
I remember reading somewhere that what you do when you're not writing is just as important as writing. After having spent a few days in the old town of Kalgoorlie, where I grew up, I was reminded again of how rich this place is in story and of the extraordinary quality of the light, especially as the sun goes down. This photo was taken on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, at the old Kanowna Cemetery. The light is burnt and trees turn copper. It's eerie. I wish I could explain it better. Sounds are few - the 'aaark' caw of a crow and the occassional car speeding by. But mostly it's as quiet as butter. The world feels very still. Another world feels close, one that isn't concerned with Super Pits or gold or any kind of reality we know of. One that you could dream of, if you were brave enough to really let go.
Less than 2 hours later the sky is pitch black broken up only by big winking stars (so big you can't tell the difference between stars and satellites) and a low slung banana of a moon. Its so mesmerising you get a sore neck looking up at it. And it invites the question (by my niece) 'Are aliens real?' That broad black palm of sky certainly makes you think they're possible. I'm glad I wasn't at Kanowna Cemetery on my own at night. I scare myself just thinking about it.
But here, in this photograph, it's 4 in the afternoon, the world has stopped turning and the termite eaten headstone is on fire in a copper landscape. Many of those who died here at the turn of the century were young, the deaths allegedly accidental - fire or drowning seemed to be a popular way to go. Or murder. The information board tells the story of a popular young Japanese prostitute who was murdered by a jealous lover.
Horror and crime. Death and eerie light. Aliens and children. It matters what you do when you're not writing ... and going back to a dirty old town to stand by a friend at his mother's funeral mattered a lot, while also giving me an opportunity to revisit and reinvent the place of my childhood. Plenty of juice there to fill up the creative well.
I'd love to hear your comments on how you spend your time filling up the well.