"More than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak."
It's ten years ago today, that I sat down with a fountain pen and a yellow legal pad and wrote:
Please excuse the crappy yellow legal pad. Had I waited to find fancy stationery, I might never have sat down to write. Your parents are still listed at Blecker Street, so I am sending the letter there and hopefully, they'll pass it on to you.
Ten year's since Ella-Louise made her debut (even if it would take many more years for her to officially have her debut in the novel!)
Conceived in the Shallows
A day earlier, Adam and I had conceived the idea of Postmarked Piper's Reach in the shallows at Brunswick Heads, on the north coast of New South Wales (ironically closer to where I live in Brisbane, than Adam in Sydney).
It was an idea I had carried around for at least two years ago -- the idea of writing a novel in letters. I was yearning to experience what it felt like to fall in love. But the project became something entirely different.
At some point I joked we were writing 'woe-mance'. It turns out--at least for Ella-Louise and Jude--that returning to a love that was never quite realised at high school, and then abandoned on the cusp of adulthood -- well, it's complicated.
Who said second chances were a given? Or easy? That you won't have to walk across broken glass to see if they are even possible? Or what you might lose as a consequence of trying?
For 14 months, we handwrote our way into and through all of those complications. I cried a bucket load of tears, and I finally got my wish to make Adam cry as we worked through the rewrites in 2013.
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin*
PMPR was a project that literally saved my writing life.
2011 had been a hideous year.
While from the outside it had been a highly successful year of publishing for me and eMergent Publishing (we put to press two charity anthos for the floods -- 100 Stories for Queensland and Nothing But Flowers, plus Emma Newman's short story collection From Dark Places and later in the year Eighty Nine. I was also award the Kris Hembury Award) but I had suffered through two break downs. I'd parented through them while my partner was working away from home, with no social support, no concept of self care and my relationship with my own writing was at an all time low.
So along came Adam, saying yes to my crazy idea. Then several hours later, Ella-Louise followed, letting herself into the passenger seat of my car, somewhere along the Pacific Highway after we crossed back into Queensland. She arrived fully formed, her baggage stowed carefully in the boot. As she tried to put her life back together, I tried do the same with mine.
*This song became a bit of an anthem for Adam and I as were writing.