Author’s note

There is a poem in Andrea Davidson’s book Eggenwise, written as a letter to her mom, where she reflects on what it means to be both sad and happy to leave a place. These seemingly contradictory emotions run throughout the collection as she tries to make sense of moving to a different country and learning new words and meeting new people. It is, in many ways, a lot like what I am going to be doing next, though in a more metaphorical sense. I will not be hopping on a plane anytime soon or learning a new language, but I am very sadly saying goodbye to the home that I’ve made here at The Emma Press.

There’s a story called ‘Saint Sebastian Mounts the Cross’ in Parables, Fables, Nightmares that includes two quotations from two collections by the creative-writing guru John Gardner. I am a card-carrying, sleeping-inside-a-tent-outside-the-venue Gardnerite, having come to his books The Art of Fiction, On Moral Fiction, and On Becoming a Novelist multiple times, often in crisis, over the course of my writing life. The quotes refer to his theory that many if not most writers work from a ‘wound’—in our near or far past there’s something that happened that turned us to writing, that made all the hours spent alone conjuring worlds seem like a sensible thing to do. In Gardner’s case it was an almost unimaginable tragedy, for some writers it’s the shock of a loss, a move, or a sudden change in circumstance with effects that lingered on for decades, for others it’s an ongoing suffering that’s even greater. For the collective it’s the catalyst, the spur, the thing that, at root, all our work thinks through. 

Charlotte Wetton on the inspiration for Accessioning

When I was a kid, I had collections: miniature china animals, bright-haired trolls, gem stones. Now, I feel that we’re ruining the planet with our consumerism and ruining our peace of mind with our over-crowded houses, houses like ‘The Archivist’s House’, where ‘box files split like fruit-skins / spongy and bulging’. And yet… part of me misses collecting.

I came up with the idea to put together a book on early parenthood after having my own babies and noticing that there were a lot of writers exploring the topic. Some of these writers weren't necessarily known for writing about parenthood but had begun to do so after having children themselves. Some were already writing wonderful things about parenthood. I guess it's something to do with being part of a certain generation of writers, many of whom were now beginning to have families.

I am aware of the antisocial hours we keep - as artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians - the pondering, meandering, the brewing of ideas; the waiting, creating, for that one thought to surface, for that idea to click into place. Others may see this outward impression and assume it is merely procrastinating and postponing, dabbling or dallying; but the truth is, the creative process has its own timeline, its own pace - guided by inspiration and honed through deep thought, making connections and polished through practice.
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