I just found out that I have been accepted into the Writing NSW Mentoring program for emerging writers from diverse backgrounds. This means I, along with five other writers, will be mentored by Dr Roanna Gonsalves and will receive $1,000 to help us spend time on what we love: writing.
It’s always a bit strange, thinking of myself as an emerging writer. I am 44 years old. I feel like I should have already ’emerged.’ Yet the truth is, it can take FNPOC and women writers longer to ’emerge’ because of family expectations and barriers to entry into publishing. So here I am, busily emerging. I am pretty sure I will be the oldest person in the group, but I have to take deep breaths and be OK with that. As Wayne Bennett, coach of my home rugby league team, the Broncos, once said, ‘Don’t die with the music in you.’
What I’m going to write
Working title: ‘What country do you belong to? A non-white settler’s connection to land in ‘Australia.’
I’m planning to write a creative non-fiction essay on connection to land for non-white, non-First Nations Australians. What sort of connection to land can we have? Drew Lanham, ornithologist and author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Coloured Man’s Love Affair With Nature, writes about the complexities of being a person of colour, on stolen land, and still finding a sense of nature-belonging through listening, attending and a non-servile humility. Botanist and member of the Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about the potential for everyone to become indigenous to land by re-joining the ‘cultures of gratitude.’ I am going to try and write about my complicated ‘love affair’ with land, and the unexpected liberation of being dis/possessed by whiteness.