One day in my travels amongst the wilds of the web, I crossed the path of an announcement. It was a very small announcement on a site of which I don’t have membership, but which allows some viewing to whet the appetite (Artshub). I was almost scared off the site by its header proclaiming it to be for “Australian arts workers” which sounds very serious and perhaps as if I need an armband and union membership at the very least. It was an announcement of a library grant, or more precisely, a grant to allow you to use a library, in this case, the John Oxley Library (JOL). JOL is part of the State Library of Queensland and its mission is to promote Queensland history. As part of this, they have set up a fellowship to enable selected people to undertake a year-long project on some aspect of Queensland’s history.
This announcement set me thinking about a project that had been germinating in the back of my mind for a long time – of writing a novel for young readers about the history of this area. Two things have held me back. One is practical, that is, having several small children who have diverted me away from avenues of the mind. The other thing is psychological and perhaps somewhat absurd, which is my mother’s conviction that I should write a novel one day “but a nice one dear.” It is amazing how much of a disincentive the word “nice” can be.
However, between stumbling across this announcement, my children’s inevitable growing up and to an extent, a level of growing up of my own, I decided that I need to make a start on this project. And of course, I will apply for this grant. I will write the book with or without a grant, but the financial and institutional support would be of great moral and psychological assistance in the absence of my armband.