So I had a pretty quiet Sunday last weekend. I spent all morning doing my tax, and most of the afternoon planting some salad vegetables with my eight year old in a pathetic attempt to develop a hitherto-non-existent green thumb. And to stop him asking me so many questions about germination.
Around 5pm my partner took our other son, the ten year old, out for the evening. Around 6pm I got a text from my good friend @hackpacker:
“Congratu-bloody-lations ! You are shortlisted for the Prime Minster’s Literary Awards !”
Oh. I thought. Am I? Wait….WHAT ?
I refused to believe him until he texted me a link to the press release.
Then I sat down and had some heart palpitations.
I couldn’t ring my partner as I knew he was in the middle of driving to his destination. My eight year old was playing in the front yard and couldn’t care less about such things. I was alone in a silent house with some very very big news.
Eventually I did make contact with my partner, who when he finally returned brought home a bottle of champagne. The sort we don’t usually drink because we are not extravagant types. And we shared the whole bottle.
Not extravagant at all
Once I calmed down (about 24 hours later) I realised many things. One of them is that I am a fan of all the other poets on the shortlist (Sarah Day, Jakob Ziguras, Stephen Edgar and Geoff Page), so whoever wins I will be happy. No, really. If I were a horse I would give me about 50-1, so this is also helpful thinking.
Another thing I realised is that because in my day job I am a public servant, I am legally prevented from commenting publicly on political matters. So while there has been plenty of discussion of panel composition, etc elsewhere, not to mention discussion of the policies of the Abbot government in general, you will not be getting any of that from me. I’m just making it clear that I am not ignorant or naive, merely obliged to silence on some things.
The final thing I realised is that sometimes, it really is worth buying the expensive champagne.
PS. My favourite bit of the press release is the bit where it says
These thirty books have become part of the contemporary Australian literary canon
Bit soon for mine, I thought. Which is, incidentally, called Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call (Pitt St Poetry, 2013). Just because I haven’t mentioned that yet.