Yes, it’s the baby to the left.
It’s always interesting to see what will be the public face of a story that’s been private for so long – it’s as if the idea materialises right in front of your eyes. It’s true that there’s a kind of magic to all this. And it’s all just so full of surprises.
I had no idea the doorknob that features in the story would become the dominant image. But it’s fitting, very fitting: if you have the key you’re able to go inside. But maybe the door’s unlocked already – just come on in and make yourself at home. Perhaps the door’s unlocked but the door’s hinges are a bit rusty and you’ll need to give the whole thing a pull and a push to make it move so you can make your way in.
Whatever the case, there we have it: the cover of a novella called I’m Ready Now, to be published next month.
Also on the cover is a quote from Marion Halligan, one of the ACT region’s – and Australia’s – most esteemed writers. I admire Marion very much, plus I’m fond of her as a person, so it’s always a nerve-wracking experience for someone like this to be approached to endorse your work. And you do need endorsements: independent-press publishing is too difficult as it is to go in blind and naked, as it were. (To be frank, commercial or mainstream publishing is probably no easier). Needless to say, it was a relief to read Marion’s generous words, to know of her response. ‘A powerful yet gentle narrative that grabs you and holds you till the end.’ Powerful. And gentle. I like that, especially for a dual point-of-view narrative. Is it Lynne Gleeson, the mother in I’m Ready Now, who is powerful? Or is she gentle? Or is it her son Gordon, the naughty – and troubled – son who is those things? Or is it the story itself, the book? Or is it me (God forbid)? Or is it all these things? It’s all these things.
From here we’re on the slippery slope to the launch, which is at Electric Shadows Bookshop in Braddon, Canberra, on Thursday 22 November. It’s quite an unreal experience to have two novellas out in two years, two book covers, two endorsements, two launches, all the gut-wrenching anxiety of going public with a personal imagination, a day-dream in a way, a very long day-dream. If anything, I just want Lynne and Gordon Gleeson to have their time in the sun; it feels as though they’ve been kept cooped up for far too long (since 2003, really, when the idea of this story and the people in it first popped up).
They’re tough people, independent and determined, so they’ll make their own way without me now, I know they will, I know they will.