The Wild West

My camera can’t capture it: the quality of the light, the spectacular depth of colour, the height of the skies a true vault of heaven.

These shots were taken late on Friday afternoon when Lesley and I had finished a long day of Youth Literature Day activities. Author Jon Doust met us at a cafe in Albany and took us on a drive along the coast to admire one of his favourite beaches. It was exquisite. The sky was awash with pink, mauve and soft purples. The beach seemed to stretch forever in all directions.

This is the southwest of WA where many of Tim Winton’s novels are set. It’s a landscape that lends itself to story – dramatic, magical, full of light and air and energy.

I’ve featured WA in two of my novels – Zarconi’s Magic Flying Fish and A Prayer for Blue Delaney. I first travelled through WA in 1980/81. I was barely out of my teens and in a way, I took all the majesty of the landscapes for granted. But years later, when I sat down to write them into Zarconi’s, they were seared into my memory. It’s easy to see how some immigrants come to WA first and never bother to go further to the eastern states.

In some ways, the photo of Jon and Lesley gazing at the view speaks more to me of the intensity of the seascape’s beauty. No single photograph of the sea and sky can illustrate how such a vista commands a response of both serious concentration and deep wonder. Perhaps, along with the vision and commitment of people like Lesley, and the energy and intense love of words and stories of writers like Jon, these landscapes help to explain why WA produces a disproportionate number of poets and writers.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Every adult was once a child and the child inside them never completely disappears.”

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