As many who walk the road know, the plight of an author can be a harrowing walk. Before I started off on this rocky track with my walking frame and Nike sprinters, I thought platform was somewhere you waited for a train.
Some of the attributes required along the way to help cool sore feet: a thick skin; a well developed sense of humour; and the ability to not take yourself too seriously.
I recall a story.
Many who have stood alongside a large, curved concrete wall have discovered a scientific factor known as the whispering wall. When someone stands at one end of the wall and speaks, the sound waves can’t penetrate the concrete and gets transmitted along the curve to the other side.
I spent some time exploring one of North Queensland’s many curved dam walls a few years back. The dam is set in some of the most beautiful rainforest you can find and is popular with tourists. The dam wall was about half a mile across and had a viewing platform on both sides, with the spillway in between, separating the two. There are many butterfly species and exotic birds which call this particular dam home. So, with binoculars in hand, I anxiously exited my car and wandered up to the viewing platform on the west side.
The viewing platform consists of a chain mail fence, prohibiting entrance into the spillway and a seat, close to the end of the curved concrete wall. The local artist group, ondrugsandbored had been there and defaced the warning sign and made it unreadable.
Raising my binoculars to my eyes, I swept across the spillway and spotted a cloud of Cairns Birdwing butterflies on the other side. Eager to get closer, I raced to my car and sped the dozen or so miles around the dam to intercept the sight on the east side of the dam wall, arriving in time to see the happy little band waving goodbye as they disappeared over to the west side. Disappointed, I collapsed onto the bench against the dam wall.
That’s when I noticed the warning sign. The art group hadn’t been able to work out how to find the east side, so the sign was still legible.
It read: Caution Spillway Opens at Noon.
I checked my watch: 11:58.
Thinking this would be a nice segue, I sat back and relaxed in the pleasant surrounds and waited for some water to be released out of the dam and into the spillway. I lay my head against the concrete wall and closed my eyes.
My rest was interrupted by a whiny woman’s voice, berating me in a constant monologue and not stopping between words to gain a breath. My eyes sprung open in fear, looking around for my mother.
But no one was near me.
It didn’t take long to realise that there was a rotund woman and a skinny, bald man standing across the opposite end of the wall and she was letting him have it. She kept calling him Brian, as she punctuated her disdain.
Quick as a flash, old Jack jumps to the rescue of a brother in need. I slid down off the chair onto the ground, so I couldn’t be seen. Peering at my watch, I calculated… 30 seconds to go!
I pressed my head against the wall and raised my voice, “This is God. Stop nagging Brian!”
I raised the binoculars to my eyes and watched the couple looking skyward in disbelief.
Then I continued, “To prove I am who I say, I will let some water out of the dam.”
Right on cue, the spillway opened and the water gushed out in thunderous reverberations.
When I peered through my binoculars again, the couple had vanished.
I hope Brian found rest and that my beloved Papa saw the funny side.
So, fellow author, don’t forget to laugh at yourself every now and then as you wait on your platform. Getting down on the tracks, will only get you run over, when your train finally comes in.
Paradise Warrior goes to print this week.
Aunt Tabbie’s Wings – nearly finished the first draft. The Editor is going to be busy!
Both great reads.