It’s a strange experience to write a story during a particular time when the world looks a particular way, and then to watch it enter a reality that is so far removed from the one in which it was created.
Stranger still, to watch its themes potentised by this new reality.
This is what has happened for me as a debut author with my recently published picture book, The Glint of Gold.
When I first started working on this story, I was reflecting on the beautiful years I had spent raising my two children and the aliveness that came through this time. I was grateful for the opportunity it gave me to slow down and become aware of the golden moments to be found in each day. Moments that feed our senses with the natural beauties around us. Moments witnessing kindnesses between individuals or performing these for each other. I wanted to create a language around this daily practice that could be supportive for children, to help them traverse the ups and downs of life. Because to me, it seems that life (if not each day), contains both of these gradients. Gradually, my story The Glint of Gold came into being.
My manuscript found a home in early 2019 and the illustrator, Patricia Ward began working with feeling on the artwork. I settled in for the wait while my words came to life through her imagery.
Then the world shifted on its axis. A global pandemic arrived and the responses to it have altered the way we relate with each other, the way we work, the way we educate and the way we plan for our future. The release of my little story, scheduled for December 2020, was necessarily delayed in light of this much larger story for humanity. Initially I was disappointed as the messages it contained felt increasingly important during such an uncertain time. However, I also experienced relief because I knew I couldn’t give its advent into the world the attention it needed at the time.
Fast forward nine months and The Glint of Gold was released on the first day of spring, September 2021. All of Victoria and most of NSW were in lockdown, with other states and territories “in and out”. People were, and continue to be, tired, worn down and despondent. My little book was birthed into a world that seemed desperate for hope. I could never have predicted such a reality when I worked on its simple messages of appreciating everyday beauty, practising kindness, feeling gratitude and sustaining hope.
Revisiting these themes more closely with the launch of my book, has also been a clarion call for me personally. Like so many others, I’ve had to dig deep to notice those glints of gold in this second year of the pandemic. Challenges abounded with the death of my father, the repeated demands of juggling remote schooling alongside work commitments, the needs of my community and the witnessing of the struggle society has in navigating differences with compassion. I’ve had to listen to my own written words with a greater awareness born through challenge and sorrow and apply them with a new discipline.
The adage, ‘practise what you preach’ has never felt so true to me … and some days I’m more successful at it than others! I have had readers (often adults of all ages) reach out to me and tell me how supported they have felt by this children’s story during these times. This has been deeply fulfilling for me as a writer and makes me grateful for the unexpected timing of my work.
As writers witness time and again, once a book is published its journey into the world beyond us begins. It creates ripples in lives other than our own. Now, each time I sit down to coax another story onto paper, I’m prompted to wonder, ‘If this story happens to enter the world, what reality will it land in when it births?’
Kate McGann is a writer living in rural Victoria with her partner and two children. She also lives with a bouncy dog, a haughty cat and chooks with heads like pom-poms. Kate loves to write stories exploring relationships, wellbeing and the wonders of nature. Her debut picture book The Glint of Gold is illustrated by Patricia Wardand published by Little Pink Dog Books.
Visit Kate at her website www.katemcgann.com
November 4, 2021 at 12:30AM DimbutNice