Yesterday at Nunyara Conference Centre, a venue that has been part of my story, and is part of my church and local communities, 40 or so people gathered (and many more in spirit whose bodies had to be elsewhere) to celebrate my debut poetry collection.
There were hugs, and that joyful sound of buzzing conversation. There was food and drink. The sun even shone through the clouds once in a while.
Then we launched the book.
Susan told our story, and I have to say, it was a delight to hear part of my story told from another's perspective. I never realised Susan, editor of a worship resource, had waited and wondered for my audition to join the team of writers. That it would have been welcomed.
Jana wove words of poets in a poetic speech that paid tribute to this collection, and its journey of becoming. As she read 'Surrender', I heard my own words anew, and appreciated this gift.
|Photo: Tim Lee|
we are only human – fully human – together. so while this seems to be my moment, it is actually our moment. us – the several communities represented by those gathered here.
this moment is possible because of the generosity of my parents and the staff of Nunyara; of Susan and Jana’s willingness to lend their voices in support; and because Stephen Matthews chose to put the Ginninderra Press label on my collection. Thank you for your partnership with Australian poets, helping our voices to be shared.
this collection tells a story – not surprising for a poet who is also a storyteller. the story, the poems, are gifts I receive and with gratitude share with you, as we live into the fullness of our humanity together. this is a story of my becoming a storyteller, poet and minister, which is not only how I find my well being, but how I give of myself for the wellbeing of the communities in which I live. Thank you, my communities, friends, family, for helping me to live into the fullness of my humanity. I do so with, and for the Holy One Holy Three, Creator with whom I create, Spirit with whom I breathe, Wisdom with whom I fly.
I don't say any of this lightly. The thing that moves me profoundly, did yesterday, and continues as people post on facebook and send me emails (that make me cry) in appreciation for these poems and the gift we receive together in them, is that we share this together. For much of the time my vocation is isolating, because I spend so much time in reflection and contemplation, just me and the words and the language. Putting the book out there, gathering for the launch, is an act of connection, of community, of being physically present with the people who are in my heart and mind when it's just me and the words here in my studio.
|Photo: Tim Lee|
And, yes, if you are wondering, as many did aloud yesterday, there are poems still being composed, so another collection is likely :o)