I love that my daughter can write

This is the entry my eleven year old daughter put in to the Just Imagine writing competition run by Wollongong City Art Gallery this year. She was shortlisted last week, and we'll find out on Sunday how she went. Every child had to write in response to an artwork, and she chose this one.


It’s all over.

Since that beggar whispered those words, I knew my life would never be the same.

Since I stepped out of my colourful, glamorous world and saw what my subjects, a lifeless grey crowd, had become, I was stunned. Disgusted.

Once blissful children, were raw-boned and scrawny. The elderly were similar, dressed in foul tatters of what used to be dresses and suits.

“What’s happened?” I hissed, frustrated and shocked. But something in me knew this was coming. Something in me knew that I was the one to blame.

Then I saw her. She was clutching a filthy ragamuffin of a younger brother. She looked content, unlike everybody else. As if she was pleased to live the way she did.

She glanced around the alleyway, catching my eyes. Hers were a lively green. They widened, as if she hadn’t ever seen anyone as elegant as me.

But the sound of my name distracted me. I turned around.

In front of me were a mass of malodorous, ferocious citizens.

“Do you wish to say something?” I was ashamed to talk to such low-life.

“You are a selfish ruler!”
“Children have died!”

“Animals are despairing for a drop of water!”

Those words were few of many.

I was shocked.

No one’s said anything abusive to me in my life, until now. But perhaps I was abusive too, by not sharing my colour. A rush of sympathy came to my head, but I brushed it away.

 I didn’t know how to apologise.

So I did the foolish thing. “How could anyone serve you? You will always live grey!”

I spun around, furious, recognising those eyes.

They lifted my spirits. I hoped the girl was still smiling......She wasn’t. Her eyes were misty; her brother was burrowing his head into her arms. The wild wind was causing her to shiver with fright.

“What have you done?” she murmured.  

That was many days ago. The world is beautiful now. Since I shared my colour, the weight of selfish and hate has vanished.

It’s all over. But it’s just the beginning.