Saturday, November 30, 2013

The thing with thirteen

1. It is the end of a year of turmoil and upheaval. There has been loss and illness and grief, and pressure-cooker stresses. It has been a year of endings of various kinds. It has been a year of revisiting the past, of trying to find how I got from there to here. This has not always been comfortable (although sometimes it has been amusing: see 6. below). Among it all, the things that matter are revealed: the connection, affection and kindnesses that comprise love.

2. I am writing, slowly and without ambition: writing to exercise narrative muscles. And considering new projects that will take me to very different places.

3. In 2013 I have triumphed over certain types of fear: I've learned how to ride a motorbike (kinda sorta), been in a helicopter and multiple times in a small plane.

4. There have been beautiful places: I have been surprised by the glories of Western Australia.
Spot the Fitzroy wallaby

Broome from above
In which there were sharks

5. Winston Churchill once said, 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.'

6. The past persists in the present. Sometimes this is not all bad.

Broome 1984

Broome 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

When You Remember Me

1. Sometimes words are not sufficient, even for a writer. Last month, I lost a woman who meant more to me than she could know, although I tried and failed to explain it to her on many occasions. She was my substitute mother, an unjudging ear, my pole star in times of flux. She was a role model: her gusto for life and her generous heart were unparalleled. I loved her without reservation, and I do not quite understand yet that the next time I go to Melbourne, she won't be waiting for me at the airport, ready to hear the news from WA. She was the Marianne in Bye, Beautiful, though she thought she was Sandy; she was fearless and loyal and always open to new things, new ways of thinking; she lived her life fully and not one person had a bad word to say about her. My cousins and I danced under the stars at her wake: she would have joined us, if she could have.

2. I am no longer Usher of the Black Rod: I have relinquished the position for personal reasons, but I will miss the role and the get-up (see below). My new title is rather less sexy, and I will miss waving my black stick around. 

3. I am about to head north, to visit places I have not seen since I was a child. I am stupid excited about this. 

4. My/our new work-in-progress, Lark (sings) Jaz, written in partnership with the wondrous Patricia McMahon, got its first public airing in the chapel at Rottnest at the annual SCBWI retreat. We were exceedingly gratified by the response we had. I didn't realise how much fun it is to write with others. (Tony Eaton, are you listening?!)

5. Perth is funking up: a bunch of us did this tour with Two Feet and a Heartbeat on Saturday night and had a ball. Do yourselves a favour and see your city with new eyes. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wired for sound

On Tuesday I was interviewed on national radio for the first time. I'm not quite sure how it happened: I got a call from the producer of Books and Arts Daily and next thing it's early in the morning and I'm waiting nervously to go into the ABC studios to talk about YA lit and sex (my special topic, I know).

I was joined by the mellifluous and marvellous Margo Lanagan and the superb and savvy Steph Bowe, as well as Samantha Bowers, delicious fictish blogger. You can listen to it here

The experience was a delight, notwithstanding that I'd been sitting in Caffissimo beforehand muttering to myself, 'Why do I say yes to these things?' (Because doing things that scare the bejesus out of you is good, I reminded myself afterward.)  Twitter has changed public discourse, and for these kinds of topics the change is for the better. I had, for example, the pleasure of being introduced to Jodi McAlister's fascinating research on virginity in romance.

In other news, there is exciting writing afoot with my Losing It launcher, Patricia McMahon. When I can share some of it, I will. In the meanwhile, I had forgotten the satisfaction of the fattening wodge of draft text, and the thrill of taking ideas to new places. 

In other other news, I went to my first Anzac Day parade this year, to see my Dad march (he's the one in grey). (If you want to read about Australian soldiers in Vietnam, read Barry Heard's Well Done Those Men.) He's only started marching in recent years; I was proud to see him, and wished I'd gone to see him before. 

In other other other news, you gotta love dogs. And random thongs.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fabulous in February

This is what I love about Perth Writers' Festival: hanging out with my favourite writers, and meeting a few new fabulous ones, like Ambelin Kwaymullina (The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf) and Emma Chapman (The Good Wife): I highly recommend both debuts to you. I also got to go fan-girl over the proximity of Margaret Atwood at the opening party (and I swear, fainting ten minutes afterwards was a coincidence.) Helen Merrick, fellow KPS alumni, also great to meet you.

With AJ Betts and Vikki Wakefield

With Dianne Touchell and Vikki Wakefield (Vikki and I have been called upon to do a double act at a couple of festivals: she's my magic charm, I reckon, as the sessions with her are always cracking. She reckons she's my curse, as seeing her has coincided with the contractions of lurgy (Melbourne), fainting fits (Perth) and Claratyne-induced hyperactivity. I maintain the magic charm is the more accurate description: I can faint and phlegm-up anywhere, any time.)
This is what I love about wine cruises after writers' festival sessions:
And this is what I love about Perth: