SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Writing, writing, writing

Our pantry has a cobweb across the entrance. Our soup pot, magic pasta pot-like, has been sustaining us endlessly with veggie soup from the garden. We have no clean clothes left and the the only outfits I can wear to work are the non-iron ones. Because since we returned from Cuba I've been writing, writing, writing.
I don't know exactly what it was about that country but it has lit a fuse under me artistically. And I'm having a great time. It reminds me of something Ernest Hemingway, my fellow Cuba devotee, said (to F Scott Fitzgerald): 'Write when there is something that you know; and not before; and not too damned much after'.
No doubt the enthusiastic and prompt response from The Big Issue to my submission of a photo spread on Cuban transport has also played its part in encouraging me. As a novice photographer I felt incredibly bold even sending them my photos, especially as they are not about the area the magazine had expressed interest in. But my dear friend Ponch helped me to construct a most professional looking photo sheet, which I'm sure helped. And all this happened within 2 weeks of us being back. So I was on a roll.
The next week I wrote that article I had been mulling over entitled 'Avoiding Ernest Hemingway in Cuba' for The Australian where I have had a lot of luck in the past. Unfortunately that was the very week of multiple crises and staff shedding in the print media, and the travel editor contacted me to say apologetically that her budget had been slashed. How hard it would be to be a print media journalist at this time or, for that matter, a freelancer relying on writing for your income!
Next I started writing about the Cuban organic food production revolution for Earth Garden. I found myself so much in awe of the country's ingenuity in that area that I reached my 1,000 word limit and I was still only writing about Havana. Emboldened, I suggested it be a 2-parter spread over two separate issues of the magazine, with photos of course. And they agreed!
So then I moved on to another piece, with photos, for the upcoming Pen Quarterly, which will be showcased during the Melbourne Writers' Festival.
As you can see, I have been utterly crazed. Speaking of writing... Although people tell me they visit this web-site, no one leaves messages, which is a pity because I would love to hear from you. But only last week a reader contacted me to say she had tried but was unsuccessful. So I asked my son, Luke, my generous and patient web-master and he discovered that in all these years I had failed to activate that facility! But it is all systems go now, so do feel free to leave a message. It won't appear directly on the site, but when you click on 'Comments' you will be able to see it and my reply.

Just for fun I have included a few more photos from the 800 (!) I took of wonderful, wonderful Cuba.