Thursday, April 6, 2023

Filling The Well

Wendall--every other Thursday

I turned in a book on Monday.


I don’t know whether my experiences in the days after a submission are common or not, but this is what it's like for me. I ping back and forth between relief, exhaustion, hope, and panic, as I wait to see whether my editor likes it and how much additional work, whether incidental or monumental, will need to be done.


Once I press "Send," I feel free and lucky for a moment or two, or maybe even an hour.


Done and dusted!

Then  I remember all the things I’ve put off and all the promises I’ve made to myself and others in the run up to the deadline. And feel more like this.


Total collapse and denial.

Within hours of making the mistake of announcing the book’s submission on Facebook, my inbox is full of reminders about dinners, drinks, Zooms, and walks with friends I’ve neglected, PDFs of books I agreed to blurb, a million questions and requests from students and consulting clients, and in this case, since the book had an April deadline, an email from our accountant, asking if we are, in fact, planning on using them for 2023?



Suddenly, all the things I promised myself once the book was done—sleep, exercise, time with my husband, time to hit the cinema or watch thirty-five streaming shows I’ve missed, a joyful reread of all of Raymond Chandler, healthy eating and drinking and a de-cluttering of my desktop—now seem impossible. 


Sometimes I feel I’ve lived my whole life thinking, “if I can just get through.. (fill in the blank)...I will be okay.” But somehow, the “fill in the blank” part never ends.


I know that, ultimately, I'll be thrilled to see the friends I’ve missed so much, that seventy-five percent of the shows people have told me to watch will be, as my English husband would say, bollocks, and that my new ‘to-do’ list will not be as daunting as it appears in the first twenty-four hours after my deadline. I will navigate and negotiate all the requests and reminders, as I always have in the past.


But the bigger question remains—when you have spent a year creating, not only an entire book, but all the guest blog posts and one page synopses that must follow, and you have put out the psychic energy necessary for all the obligatory book store appearances, panels, interviews, and Zooms required, how do you reignite the energy and inspiration to do it all over again?


Reading and watching films can inspire me, but because almost all of my personal and “day job” work for the last forty years has been either writing films, television scripts, or novels, and evaluating other people’s writing, at this point, I’m most inspired by other kinds of artistic expression.


So for me, one of the answers is museums—the art and the physical spaces themselves. I’ve written posts about MONA in Tasmania and the Cast Iron Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London because, those are places that spark new ideas or perspectives, that make me want to write again.  


This week, I wanted to share a few images from museums on the South Bank of Brisbane. These spaces have “filled my well” when I’ve been in between projects and I visit them whenever I’m lucky enough to be in Queensland—The Queensland Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG), and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). All of them are bunched together, and look back at the central business district.


View from the Southbank of Brisbane

The Queensland Art Museum welcomes you with a fountain guarded by pelicans, seen here from outside and inside the museum.

Looking toward the bridge in the picture above.

Seen through the downstairs gallery.

There is more water inside, in a central gallery which changes exhibitions frequently.


The gallery during my visit in 2019.

The gallery in 2018.

The museum holds some older pieces, but primarily focuses on modern and Aboriginal art. 


I'm equally inspired by The Queensland Museum, which focuses on both science and natural history. I love the way this museum is laid out, as many items are encased in glass or suspended in liquid and the whole natural history floor is an art installation in itself.



So, taxes, coffees with friends, and museums, that's where I'm headed, at least until I get my editor's notes...



  1. I'm amazed you had the energy left to bring us all along on that brief but spectacular tour of your favorite Queensland museums! Enjoy your well-earned hiatus, Wendall.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! I'm feeling less melodramatic today!

  2. Indeed! A few days can go by before you need to do ANYTHING!

  3. Thank you, Michael, that's always the dream.

  4. The “if I can get through x” before feeling is all too familiar. That’s for the reminder to fill the well from time to time. And I can’t wait to your book to hit the shelves. Cyd is a hoot!

    1. Jim! How kind of you and glad I am not alone in the "there's always a blank" feeling. Thanks for posting!

  5. This is wonderful! Thanks for the photo tour. And can't wait for Cyd's next adventure!

  6. Thank you so much, Ellen! How kind of you to write.

  7. Enjoyed it thoroughly!

  8. Oh this is hilarious & wonderful. I loved the museum pix but I also hate you for finishing on time (but know I will forgive you once I read the book!)

    1. Ha! Thanks Ovidia, Cyd uses a durian as a kind of odor weapon in the book but thanks to you, I know it doesn't work on everyone, which allowed me to complicate things. Thanks for that and for posting.

  9. I love museums and find them relaxing as well. Museums and art galleries. I can lose myself in them.

  10. Yes, thank goodness we have museums, if those and libraries go, I don't know what we will do!