HELEN CUSHING writes whatever
she can - it has always been thus. The alphabet is her great tool kit
and the adventure of rearranging the letters into novels, stories, articles,
poems, pictures, information, thoughts, reflection, is a thread that has
travelled all through this life with her. It is art within art, for the
living of life is the primary artistic challenge. Madeleine Fox has been
another name - for the teen romance novels.
Love & the Greenhouse Effect was the high point of that
phase, going international in 1992. The short stories were written earlier,
by Helen Cook, during the student years at UTS in Sydney, the mid-80s.
Helen Cushing is responsible for the gardening and travel quota (there
is a parallel life as a horticulturalist). At the moment she writes for
the ABC's Gardening Australia magazine and its sister publication,
The Organic Gardener. It is in the OG that the boundaries of gardening
writing can be pushed - see her back page column, Cafe Jardin,
a place for reflection, comment, word weaving with care. It is here that
she plants words as one plants a garden, hoping for beauty and fruit.
The kids books are for fun and inspiration - The ABC Book of Gardening
for Kids, Weird and Wacky Plants, No-Garden Gardening,
and two more due out in April '03 - Monsters in Your Garden,
and, Garden Crafts and Gifts. The travel went dormant for
a while, but has re-emerged with a dash of gardening (Canada - Weekend
Australian Review, Nov 02) and yoga (India stories are appearing here
and there). The environment is a recurrent theme (Styx Valley -
Australian Geographic 64, The Franklin River - Letters from
Our Heart, 2002). Fate has also put Helen on the other side of
the alphabetic fence, where book and magazine publishing and editing mix
the joy of fostering talent with the endurance test of minefield negotiation.
Writers beware. Teaching romance writing was more fun, she muses nostalgically.
Perhaps there are other pseudonyms, and of course, there are quiet files
of reclusive poetry. Website coming soon....