Hi everyone. I'm Cara, and I'm an Australian poet and fantasy author. I've just published my first poetry chapbook (that's a collection of about 30 poems). .
I've only come to appreciate poetry recently. What I like about it is that it's a way to capture a moment, a single emotion, and focus on that in a way that's hard to do in novels. Poems are meant to be read aloud, so they need a rhythm, and there are only a few words, so you need to choose the best ones. It's fun.
These poems and stories are about the experience of being mortal. About changing with the years, killing versions of ourselves, remaking ourselves, wondering how it all fits together. Some of them are flights of fancy, or just for fun.
Yes, that's from the signature poem, Weird Old Women. I'm working on being one of those.
The Corner Room is about my earliest memory from childhood, over sixty years ago but clear as day. I feel so sorry for that scared little girl.
Fireground has its roots in the bushfire that roared into Canberra's suburbs back in 2003, killing four people and destroying hundreds of houses. I wasn't hurt. My house wasn't burned. But that day has never left me. Part of the burned area was previously a pine plantation. Now it has been developed into the National Arboretum, Canberra, a green place of forests and gardens. Or it will be, one day.
Stolen is based on an actual event. My mother's family were evicted from Skye during the Highland Clearances. They spoke Gaelic and could not read or write. After cramped months at sea, they landed on an Australian beach in baking hot summer heat.
They became farmers, on land stolen from Indigenous people. Drought ruined them and they abandoned their farm. Rural South Australia is dotted with ruined bluestone cottages with dead rowan trees at their doors, built with effort and hope. One of those cottages is theirs.
There was a time when the world felt remote and untouchable. Alien. I felt nothing. The darker poems and stories (Watching Judo, Apples) were written during that time. I took the pills and time passed and I got past it, in the end. The scars are still there, of course. And sometimes the world shows us horrible events.
Payback was inspired by reports of robots that looked like children, with big heads and eyes. I wondered how we would react emotionally to such a device, not yet sentient, but pushing all our buttons about being kind to children.
Countdown is about the brave choices people make to save their families.
In Seasons, one of the summer poems is about spinach. It was inspired by an accidental contamination event that hospitalised many people when spinach was mixed with the deadly thornapple (jimson weed, Datura Stramonium). Nasty. The poem about beans is also true, and the one about bamboo. I'm very emotionally involved with my garden.
It's an important part of my life. I live in a small town, and before that I lived in Canberra, Australia's bush capital. Trees, plants, birds, insects and reptiles are everywhere and part of daily experience. I have a strong aversion to snakes, and bugs that eat my beans before I can get to them. Sometimes we feel under siege, but all those creatures have a right to exist and we need them. I'm pretty sure they don't need us.
I'm working on two fantasy novellas. One is a story of a young prince undertaking a rushed process of self-discovery. The second is about a magic egg and a quest. I expect to publish both during 2024.
That’s a work in progress. I have a notebook I take everywhere and it's filling up fast with ideas and snippets. I've never had such fun with writing. I'm using Mastodon (@CaraBruar@sfba.social) and it's a very inspiring place for creative people.
Cara Bruar's first poetry collection. See the world through the eyes of a woman who isn't really weird, but has just been around for a while. Enjoy thirty-one free verse poems and four short stories. Discover the dramas of living with Australian wildlife, or explore a little speculative fantasy with a robot confessor or trolls under a city bridge. Suitable for readers of all ages.
Weird old women
They don't just appear out of nowhere, you know
They start out as weird young women
Then they learn
Only emerging, fully weird, a long time later
When they are old
When no-one can see them anyway, so they don't need to hide any more
They hide themselves
until age hides them in plain sight.
You probably know a few yourself.
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