Day 8 – Poignant – An Afternoon with Michael Leunig
I think Michael Leunig is a sort of God. I’m guessing he would be a little offended at that – he doesn’t hold himself up on any pedestal at all. But that doesn’t mean I can’t. I was lucky enough to hear him speak once at ‘Writers at the Convent’ in Melbourne. There was probably a hundred or more people in that room but I felt like it was just the two of us. That’s the way he talks. No pretenses. No skipping around small talk. He went straight to the heart of each matter with a rare sort of intimacy. Creativity. Country life. Love. Politics. Depression. Disappointment. Growing Older. Happiness. It was such an honest account of one man’s experience, that at one point, I felt like crying and when I turned, I saw the man next to me was doing exactly that. Tears were tumbling down his cheeks and gathering in his lap. It’s one of those precious moments I have stored away, never to be forgotten. How words can bind and connect us to ourselves and each other.
This short poem of his, (one of my favourites) is bluetacked on my desk. When I am being indecisive and second guessing myself, or just being my own worse enemy, I look down and there it is. It always stops me in my tracks. Taking a breath, I imagine myself and I, sitting up on that fence, holding hands. Looking out for each other. And I stay in that space for a second or two. Just long enough to remember the poignancy of that hot afternoon and the man’s tears. And then I am ready to start again.