by Kim Kelly

swallow

WORD LIFE

I woke up this morning in a fug of post-celebration doubt. Copies of my new book, Wild Chicory, had arrived yesterday afternoon and their loveliness sent me on a high – that high every author feels when they see their words in print for the first time. Five books on and it never gets old. But every dawn that follows brings the daunting wonder: will people like it?

This dawn, I took my doubts for a walk, and up the drive of my house a wagtail hopped along towards the bend in the track our property is named after. The little black-and-white bird, fiercely territorial, was warning me to stay away from his family. I smiled: wagtails are so plucky they’ll take on a kookaburra or a magpie – birds ten times their size – and win.

If you’ve read This Red Earth, you might remember that a wagtail flits through the narrative, a symbol of tenacity, of the impossible achieved, and as I walked up the track this morning, I reminded myself of that, too. I am small, but I am big in spirit. Determined.

I looked up to find swallows darting between the branches of the gum trees above; swift arrowheads signifying romance, freedom, hope, they make an appearance in Paper Daisies, promising love for wounded souls.

I smiled again and glanced back towards the house, where a fat rainbow in the western sky had been waiting for me to turn my head, to laugh at me and my fears.

Wild Chicory flies out into the world today, not mine any more. She’s yours now. And I don’t have any words for this emotion, only hope that she brings joy wherever she is found.

 

If you’d like to find her, you can right here.