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“Hello, I’m Katherine Seppings. I’m going to read from my manuscript Paris in the Spring – a chapter called ‘The Winds of Barranquilla.’
The winds of Barranquilla blow strong down the grey-ochre sand-driven streets. Poverty-stricken streets. Colours replaced with noise which the winds cannot sweep clean. I cannot call you. I cannot change money. I cannot find out about buses out of this carnival, full of people who have forgotten how to dance in the sand-driven streets. Colombia is full of strangers who talk too fast.
I call you from Santa Marta. Valentine’s Day. From a back room, behind the kitchen of a cafe where the waiter wants to speak English tells me with pain and anger in his eyes that those who have not lived in the streets of Colombia, or worked in the fields, cannot speak of poverty. He turns a blind eye to the small boys in brown rags paler than their skin, one hand rubbing the belly, the other stretched out open to beg, motioning a clenched hand to the mouth. He laughs when a small girl in the kitchen asks if I am his girlfriend. If only. A way out.
The winds have followed me. It is difficult to hear you. Difficult to make conversation, knowing I have a secret that will change your life as well as mine, forever, just by knowing. I am pregnant and I want the world to know. I want the winds to blow away the guilt, this feeling of having taken control of my own life, and yours, this poverty of meaning. An act of finely tuned balance it was, to conceive, this idea, and I wobble on the line, wondering if I know help in any other language or if I have the courage to keep on walking in the direction I ultimately choose, toward you, with the winds blowing against me, making it impossible to see my next step.”
ABOUT KATHERINE SEPPINGS:
Katherine Seppings, artist, writer and photographer, has worked mainly in publishing, in Australia, London and New York.
Published in poetry journals, anthologies, educational documentaries, regional newspapers and non-fiction books, she has received awards for her short stories. Katherine wrote on social and design history in her first book, Fireplaces for a Beautiful Home Merehurst, London (1988), and local history in The Travellers Guide to the Goldfields (2006). Her writing and photography intimately explores the many countries she has travelled and lived in.
She is currently working on her memoir, Paris in the Spring and a collection of her poetry, in Castlemaine, Victoria.
“In 2008, I received a Macquarie Group Foundation Longlines Varuna Residency which enabled me to work on the second draft of my manuscript Paris in the Spring. As a mother, it had been a long time since I’d been able to devote two whole weeks to my book. At Varuna, I had the luxury of time uninterrupted, except for revitalising walks to waterfalls, and each cherished dinner. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had at Varuna to stay up all night to read, muse and write, and to become part of a dedicated writing community.
In 2009, I was shortlisted for a Varuna Publisher Fellowship and rewarded with a phone feedback session with the wonderfully encouraging Helen Barnes-Bulley.” Katherine Seppings
Painted Words (2011)
The Small Times (1988) and (1990)
‘Little Blue Heart’ Painted Words (2010)
‘Vive y déjà vivir’ The Bookroom Dozen (2005)
‘A Reflection’ – The Bookroom Dozen (2004)
‘Small Towns and Villages’ in The Traveller’s Guide to the Goldfields, Best Shot (2006)
Fireplaces for a Beautiful Home, Merehurst, London (1988);
Barron’s, New York (1990); Premier Books, London (1993); Grange Books, London (1997).
Metcalfe Shire Newsletter (1985 – 87)
‘All About Chicken,’ and ‘The Poor Old Pig’, Environment Audio Visuals (1986)
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