Milly Jones is an author, poet, photographer and much loved local creative. She’s just about to launch her fourth book – her second book of poetry – which is another volume penned from the heart.
The Bird of Time contains both beautiful verse and photos, and Milly is donating $2 from every book sold to Dying with Dignity – an organisation that means a great deal to her …
What’s your background in the Camden Haven area?
I first came to Lorne 27 years ago, but have lived on the outskirts of Kendall for 17 of those years – certainly it’s the place I call home. I’ve been involved in many local happenings over the years: fundraising for the pool, revamping the local hall (now the Kendall Community Centre) the Arts Council, the violin competition, the Camden Haven Music Festival, and so on. Living here has been a special period of my life.
In that time I have put together three other books – one called Camden Haven Cameo – a picture book of the area funded by the famous op shop and two others, one a volume of poetry such as The Bird of Time, both launched by Peter Besseling.
Where did your interest in poetry begin?
I was lucky to have a poetic grandmother who loved to recite reams of Tennyson and at an early age would take me on journeys into the exciting and romantic world of King Arthur, Launcelot and Guinevere and Locksley Hall.
I first began writing poetry in primary school and later was lucky to have an enthusiastic English teacher who listened with patience to my dreadful verse, adding suggestions and encouragement beyond the call of her teaching duties!
For a while raising a family rather suffocated my creativity, but even then I always seemed to have a pen near at hand, even if it was late at night.
You’ve just produced a book entitled, The Bird of Time. What were the inspirations behind this work?
This is my second coffee table book of poems, so in a sense it’s volume ll of life’s journey. All around me I see and hear stories of how it is as we get older; there are delights, yes, but the challenges so many people have to face with strength and humour, to stay on track, is nothing short of heroic. Every day I see these heroes in the street, and they are my inspiration – poetry is my way of showing empathy and admiration.
Tell us a bit about the process of writing the verses for this book.
Words are continuously knocking at my door, and I’m compelled to put them down wherever I am – in the train, at the shops, weeding the garden or having a coffee, and I must scribble on whatever comes to hand – a receipt, or theatre ticket, the paper serviette or the shopping list. Every moment of the day, it seems has some kind of story to tell.
So first, there is a scribble, and later I will tidy the words at the computer. Usually the quicker they come to me, the better the result, but sometimes it can take weeks or months to get it right.
You’ve also taken some beautiful photographs for this book. What are some of your favourite shots?
I rarely leave the house without my camera – how else would I get the Jabiru beside the Kendall Bridge, the hail belting down on the windscreen, or the amazing cloud on North Haven Beach?
In The Bird of Time I love the seagulls paddling near the boatshed – the loving couple – and the pelican flying, oh! so close to me, but “Nature” provides most of the illustrations for these poems. There’s nothing more beautiful.
What’s the significance of the book’s title?
I was walking my dog along the beach one evening, a slight breeze whispered around, and I inexplicably felt the need to search the sky. There directly above me was the most beautiful eagle, slowly, gracefully, peacefully flying in perfect circles round and round, until it disappeared over the headland.
It was a timeless moment, a beautiful moment for me, and suddenly the title was there, as if the bird had sent a message – the perfect words to share with readers who feel the need of ease and tranquillity – The Bird of Time.
The Bird of Time is dedicated to Dying with Dignity. What can you tell us about this organisation – and why is it important for you to acknowledge them?
This movement has been important to me for many years – you only have to experience the hopelessness when someone you care about is dying in terrible, lingering pain to realise that we must ease their suffering. We come into this world to a loving embrace; surely we should be able to take our leave in the same way.
Dying with Dignity believes we should have the legal choice to assist the terminally ill, and I am donating $2 for every book sold to support their aims.
Mid North Coast DWD NSW meets quarterly 10am to noon at Panthers. We have guest speakers on a range of topics, and everyone is welcome. Next meeting will be on Tuesday 28th May, then 27th August and 26th November.
Where can we purchase copies of the book, and how much will they cost?
The Bird of Time will be launched by Peter Besseling at the LUSC in Laurieton, on Wednesday 10th April from 5:30pm (drinks, nibbles, some music, selling and signing) and you are invited to join us on this occasion (RSVP Milly on 6559 4364) where books will be available, just that evening, for $20.
Otherwise, you can purchase them for $25 from The Sunset Gallery (and enjoy the new attractive makeover) 25 Central Rd., Port Macquarie – Salt & Pepper Café , The Arcade, Laurieton – have a coffee – and The Kew Information Centre, Kew. Or, by contacting me on 6559 4364. I look forward to sharing this little volume with you all.
Interview: Jo Robinson.