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Showing posts from 2010

AND WHAT A YEAR IT WAS...

2010 is nearly over. And what a year. I began 2010 reading I am Legend by Richard Matheson (which the movie is loosely based on, the book as usual, is so much better) and I'm ending the year by reading No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (another novel which inspired a movie). In between I have read over 60 novels - some I can recommend such as The Seal Wife - Kathryn Harrison, The Road - Cormac McCarthy, The Notebook-Nicholas Sparks and some YA novels such as The Winds of Heaven- Judith Clarke, The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman and The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins.

Others - well some had the kernel of a great idea, some had great writing, some were inspired by a real event that did offer up opportunities- but I felt they didn't make a whole. Working in a library means I see what others are reading, I see what 'best sellers' are coming in - and I must admit a lot of times I am disappointed. But then again that's the fun of the library- you can always return …

REAL OR FAKE....

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Christmas tree that is. I have always had a real tree and I must admit I can't think of not having one. And yes I know that I will be finding pine needles until late next August but there is something about coming home and having that pine scent - to me that is Christmas.

Although we haven't always had a pine tree for Christmas. When I was a child trees 'magically appeared' after my father went for a drive (we lived in a small country town and at that stage there were no Christmas tree farms or boy scout groups selling them) - and I don't think all the trees were pine. And after I left home we have had a variety of trees - some were even potted trees that I eventually managed to kill- but not all pine. The one thing they have had in common was that they were alive - and by the end of the day covered in tinsel.

As to the art of decorating the tree - it's usually been a family affair. My daughter and myself decorate, husband watches on with words of encouragement…

CELEBRATIONS....

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It's that time of the year - but not only have I been to a few Christmas events (I"m not really a party person - I tend to be the one in the corner watching everyone -and yes making notes) in the past few weeks we have had other celebrations.
My youngest brother turned 40 - that's myself, my brother and my sister - he was a tad 'happy' at this stage :)
We also celebrated my husband turning 50, good friends of ours turned 60 and 70 respectively.....and we also celebrated daughter's boyfriend's birthday.

And a wedding. This was one of the loveliest weddings I've been to in a long time. It was colourful and fun (everyone wore clothes bought from the Op Shop- including the bridal party) - it was meaningful and joyous.
It also involved one of the hardest pieces of writing I've ever done.  I was asked by the groom's mother to write a poem for the wedding. She had to read one and couldn't find anything she liked.

Hmm....anyone that knows me knows m…

A POEM A DAY...

So it's now December and I did say I would write a poem a day for November. Wondering how I went?

I did write a poem a day- 30 in all. Not all are workable- some were rants- a few were self indulgent tirades- but amongst them are quite a few ideas that I want to work with.

I have done this before - given myself the challenge to write a poem a day for a designated time line. Sometimes a week or two, once or twice a month. Usually I have an idea of what I would like to write about, I allow myself the day to think and ponder, for ideas to simmer away.

However this time I made myself write the poem first thing in the morning without pre-conceived ideas on what to write. It was very interesting the range of ideas that surfaced. Some were self explanatory.
My daughter moved out of home - so a few poems were about that experience.
My brother (youngest in the family) turned 40- a few poems about the expectations, the promises, trying to look in the mirror and mesh the image you see with h…

BON VOYAGE....

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On Sunday I attended Tiggy Johnson's launch of her first poetry collection, fittingly titled First Taste.  It was great to see her book officially launched by poet Marian Spires  (Knowing Vincent- Picaro Press). Tiggy and Marian had a casual 'in conversation' which introduced various poems and the stories behind them - which is always interesting and offers some great insight into the process of the poet.






Not only was this the official launch of Tiggy's book it was also her Bon Voyage - the chance to say goodbye before she and her family head to warmer climes. Yes, Tiggy has taken the plunge - sold her house - bought another - has a HUGE crate at her house, is packing everything that doesn't move and is heading off to....Brisbane.

There were a few teary eyes on Sunday - some hugs that went on and on as what this meant sunk in. For me, it hasn't yet sunk in.

Some of you will know that for the past few years Tiggy and myself have travelled into the city for vario…

TEN YEARS ON...

I belong to a writing group, The Lazy River Writers (named after the restaurant/bar we first met not after our work habits!) and this year marks our tenth anniversary.
Tenth I believe is tin- malleable yet with a strength that deceives.
Fitting for the group.

We began as a collection of strangers, brought together via a writing workshop run at Belgrave library. The tutor suggested that since we worked well as a group, we should keep meeting once a month. And so we have.
Members have left, new ones arrived, some have left for a duration then returned.

My husband often asks why a writing group?
The answer is quite complex.

Firstly it's for the support and understanding. All members of the LRW can relate to a month of rejections, even the nice ones. They understand the frustration when the words in our head don't magically appear on the page. They know there are the months when life intrudes and nothing gets written, those months when the best plans are tossed aside, or those pro…

THEY'RE HERE ....

Stories that is. Everywhere. Some come from snippets of overheard conversation
* 'I don't date anyone over twenty two.' I HAD to turn around to see which guy was talking.- can I mention he was no longer in his 20's- perhaps not even his 30's.

From observations
* A couple are dancing on the footpath- not waltzing but he's holding her close and swinging her round and round - no music plays
I wound down the window on the car to see if I could hear music - nothing- but the image made me smile- and wondering....

From personal anecdotes.
*Celebrating a friend's 70th with coffee and cake and he says he would love to write down his story (he has had the most INTERESTING  life) but doesn't know where to start- how to put it down on paper - he left school at 13 so thinks that he can't.

When he began the story 'Did I tell you we owned a boarding house in Wellington during the war?' you know you're onto something.
I've offered to help him put it…

PUTTING PEN TO PAPER...

Mostly it's fingers to keyboard, but yes I am actually writing. YEAH! That was meant to be the idea for this week or so, a major push in the right (or should that be write) direction. :)

After the YA Masterclass with Libby Hathorn on the weekend I felt inspired enough to go back to my YA novel - work on a chapter - and even think back to the verse novel I never quite finished. Surprisingly enough I'm still interested in my characters, still want to know the journey they take.

I also am writing a poem a day for my nod to those doing the Nanowrimo - so here we are on day ten and I have ten poems down. Or put it more correctly ten ideas for poems. Some will never see the light of day, some I've already worked on and there was a bit of a theme for awhile. My daughter has left home, my baby, so there were a few poems based on the emotional roller coaster that entails. (including visits to hospital emergency departments, blood and stitches)

For added inspiration I went to Passio…

MOTIVATION

Sometimes it's easy - ideas flow, words run through your mind, twist and turn into wonderful phrases, stanzas and after time spent in front of the computer a poem / short story/ article/ chapter is created.

Other times, the world gets in the way.

That's where I am at the moment and it's in these moments that I give myself that kick-start to forward my writing and provide motivation.

Firstly - this month is Nanowrimo- for those not in the know this is when - world wide- people are given the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in November. I have friends that did it last year and are doing it this year, encouraging me to give it a go. No. I don't need the extra pressure of finding the time (and inclination) to write like that. BUT ....I have given myself the challenge of writing a poem a day for the month of November.

I have done this before- a poem a day for a month. I'm not saying each poem will be brilliant, or even good, but at the end of those 30 or so days…

Workshops, writing and what the....

Last Saturday I went to a workshop run by the Lazy River Writers (my writing group). Each year we choose a different topic, genre and presenter for our workshop and this year it was poetry and poet Peter Bakowski.

Peter ran a great workshop. Not only did he offer up so much information (that applied to all aspects of writing, not just poetry) he gave us the opportunity to write and generously commented on each persons attempts. Writing like this in a different location, with a group of people, some known some not, is not an easy task but I was impressed with what people had accomplished in such a short piece of time. Even those that classify themselves as non-poets wrote and shared with the group.

I find workshops are a wonderful kick up the butt. They inspire, they motivate and they validate some things that quite often  I do know deep inside. Not only am I working on one of the poems I wrote during this workshop but I took home, for me, two very important ideas.

Firstly Peter sugges…

Watch how they sparkle...

Last weekend, a cold and rainy spring Melbourne weekend, I decided to abandon the garden and dive into spoken word. Not that there is much to do this end of the woods, or hills, or ranges, whatever the case may be....but there are two gigs that I do get to as much as I can, when work and life doesn't intrude.

Saturday was Stoppingallstations at Nunawading. It's a lovely venue and Carole is a very welcoming host. There is an open section (offering a wide range of great poetry) as well as a feature each month. This month it was Tiggy Johnson. Tiggy's first reading came from her newly released collection 'First Taste' - and although I know these poems quite well it's always great to hear them again, read with such style and I love watching people's reactions especially to poems such as Concluding and Solitaire.


Her second set was new poetry, mostly inspired by her major camping trip with the family around most of Australia. I was very interested to hear this, …

Slamming at the Spinning Room

What fun it was last night. Geoff Fox organised a slam- held at the Spinning Room, one great venue (thanks to John and Anthony for hosting) . It was a good crowd and dare I say some great poets.
The open mic got the poetry juices flowing (what a great open mic) and then the slam.

Some familiar faces....Michael Reynolds, one minute I'm laughing out loud at his poems, then he's got the room silent with a serious piece on family. Koraly Dimitriadis work- she memorised two poems dealing with the fragility of the everyday- some great insights.  Emily Manger memorised as well, her funny quirky thoughts on the phone and a relative had me torn between laughing and cringing. Emilie Collyer - whose work I so admire- once again delivered the goods. Her words leave me wanting more, and pondering life (in a good way).

Then to me there were some new faces and voices - and I must admit this is one of the reasons I love venturing off the mountain. It's hearing not only poets that I know a…

CAN YOU DRIVE THE BUS?

I was asked this recently when I worked on the mobile library. In the middle of a Storytime session (we were making musical instruments out of paper plates, dried pasta and coloured paper) one little fellow asked 'Can you drive the bus?'. Then he nodded and answered his own question. 'Yep I think you can.'

I can't drive the bus but in this boy's eyes I could. He believed in me. It was simple. Any lady that came into his life, told stories, sung songs (albeit badly) and made musical instruments all within 40 minutes, must be able to drive the bus as well.

If only we believed in our writing abilities as easily. Imagine what we could do There would be no hesitation, no thinking that so much was beyond us. We would 'delve into the darkness' as one of my TAFE teachers used to say. There would be no fear, no editor sitting on the shoulder saying 'you can't write about that. What would your mother/father/husband/wife/children/best friend say?'

It w…

Oops I did it again....

By day I work part time in a public library (Youth Services where I run a weekly Storytime), I write by night.
Well that was the original idea....By day earning a dollar, being surrounded by people (see material for my work), allowing my day/s off to be used for my writing.
However did I mention I'm very good at procrastination.

I would seemingly rather mop floors, vacuum, dust, put a load of washing on and even clean the oven - then face the cold blank space of my computer screen. And today I scoured my en-suite- I think this is due to a friend's influence who is spring cleaning her house ready for a sale. I'm not selling my house but I appear to be infected by the spring cleaning bug :(

However I do write. The guilt of not writing builds, as well as the urge to create. And with the support of family, friends and my writing group (Lazy River Writers) I do manage to put words down, to try and pin down those whirling thoughts, to make sense of what I'm thinking.

And som…