On Monday night I came home from uni half-hoping that a copy of We Will Disappear had arrived in the mail. All that was waiting for me, however, was a statement from my bank telling me how little money I have, and even that was two weeks out of date. I tried to fling the bank statement onto the couch but all I succeeded in doing was launching that flimsy piece of paper into the air, from where it began its long, slow and miserable descent, after which I went into the bathroom to sit on the toilet for a while and seethe.
The next morning K left the house early as part of her quest to become an Australian Olympian and I was just fixing myself some breakfast (a small cup of coffee, two measly pieces of toast with Vegemite and a mandarin that had about as much flavour as week-old lettuce) when the door buzzer rang. Thinking it was K returning home only to find that she had forgotten her keys, I lifted the receiver and did my very best Kim Jong Il impersonation:
The gruff voice on the other end of the line, however, informed me that he was from Australia Post and he had a package for me. I scooted downstairs to where the postman was waiting next to his van, the mid-1980s music blaring from his radio cutting through the early morning air like a shark’s teeth through surfer flesh. He handed me his little PDA thingy and I attempted to scrawl my signature with the little plastic pencil you use on those things, and which reminded me of the ‘pencil’ that came with the ‘upgraded’ version of Cluedo (you know, the one with the ‘reusable’ magnetic pads and stuff).
I laughed and said I didn’t do a very good job of approximating my signature but the postman just shrugged and said it didn’t matter. In exchange he handed me a mid-sized box which I then realised came from the distributor of my book! Like a proud parent, I wanted to send messages to ten of my best Facebook friends at a time saying “It’s a book!” But as I was at home, or rather, at the security door of the complex containing our flat, and as I had no Internet connection to speak of, I just scurried back inside.
Once back inside the comfortable though cramped surrounds of our one bedroom flat, I prevaricated for a moment, finishing my toast and laughing along with the highly-informative and reputable ‘news’ bulletin featured in Channel 7’s Sunrise program. As the melodious strains of Kochie’s voice were rudely interrupted by a ten-times-as-loud ad break, I finally summoned the courage to open the box. Inside, of course, were copies of We Will Disappear, all neatly stacked and fully real.
It was at that moment that I truly became a poet. My own book! With my name on it and stuff and, like, my words in it. Bulk ace and fully untold! It was an intensely strange and private moment, one that I did not think I wanted to share with anyone but now here we are. I’m not sure what else to say except thank you to all of my friends and family who have encouraged (or discouraged!) me over the years. The wait is finally over.
It’s a book.