Showing posts from 2013

GOODBYE 2013...

It's always strange looking back at a year. A bit like catching up with an old friend, reassuring and comfortable in one way but somehow able to also see them in a new light.

It was a year that zoomed past. I'm sure it was on roller skates.

For our family it has been a full on year----I turned fifty...

daughter got engaged....niece turned eighteen.....

I saw a cabaret show.... Angela Lansbury in Driving Miss Daisy.... the fantastic Jesus Christ Superstar....experienced a Fortified Wine masterclass... was dared to wear a bear hat out in public with family (silly weren't they!)

saw The Two Gallants and Bombay Bicycle Club....caught up with a friend I hadn't seen in years.... said goodbye to one of my favourite uncles....went posh and had afternoon tea at the Windsor ...

and dad turned eighty. We even had a party for him and managed, for the first time in so many years to get everyone together...and have photographic proof.

Amongst all that we found time to prep, fill, s…


Yep it's that time of the year again.

The mad chaos is almost over (do have a trip to the supermarket yet)....I have finished my shift at work... wished co-workers a Merry Christmas...and what a bunch of great guys they are.

There was so much laughter and fun...majority of us tinselled and be-hatted...with mince pies and shortbread set out....bonbons and iced coffee and chai lattes as well.

Back at home and we are almost ready.

The tree is set---tinselled within an inch of its life, presents await below for the demolition tomorrow.

Stockings are waiting (don't they look sad when empty) - hoping that the family all make Santa's nice list. I do have my suspicions about a few of them!

The house is clean (ish)----decorations abound...

and yes that is Rudolf locked in the birdcage.

Seems because he sings he freaks out the cat- so for some punishment santa has put him into isolation. Hopefully he'll behave and be out tomorrow. Here's hoping...can't have reindeer sca…


Last week I had the chance to catch up with my friend Tiggy. We do the usual email, facebook and phone calls (although they are the rarity) but haven't actually had any face to face contact since her move years ago to sunny Brisbane.

In reality I was a bit worried, what if we had nothing to talk about?
Those of you who know Tiggy will know I had nothing to worry about.

I think her opening sentence was 'This is summer, where the hell is the sun?'....and we didn't stop talking till I dropped her back off at the corner (sounds much worse than it actually was).

Catching up with a friend who you haven't seen in a long time- usually goes the same way. You talk about your life- your children,  your partners, about your home...and since Tiggy and I both work in libraries, we talked about work as well. Although she doesn't tend to dress up in santa hats, reindeer antlers or pirate costumes as much as I do...perhaps that is just me? No, it's simply Youth Services.



Dictionary that is.

Actually Webster's International Dictionary. Comprising the issues of 1864, 1879 and 1884.

With a voluminous appendix. Published 1895.

I am a fan of dictionaries---in print form of course! There is nothing like taking a page at random and discovering new words, new concepts. Opening up whole new adventures.

This dictionary was a  present from Steve..years is a hefty tome, 12 cm thick. The leather cover faded and worn, scraped and scratched, the embossing worn to a mere glint, vanished in many areas...yet so tactile. 
It invites you to to touch it, to run your fingers over it's worn hide...then it invites you in closer.

It demands you to take a chance, to open it. To discover a world that no longer exists.

The wearing of the chemisette ...

to smoke a visit a see a have a prettyism.......or to twattle a cat.

Yep, it is in so many ways another world. A fascinating world.

A world where a koala, a ta…


Recently I went to the last Yarra Glen readings for the year. Hosted by Sandy Jeffs, it is a fun night and great chance to see poetry up close and personal. The feature poet was Carmel Macdonald Grahame, who took us back to the reality and grit of the 1950's. An interesting look at nostalgia and truth.

What I've enjoyed from these readings, apart from seeing a wonderful range of poets and poetry, is the question and answer session that is held afterwards. It gives the audience a chance to ask the poet questions. Often deep and thought provoking questions that have led to some really interesting discussions.

I mean how often do you get the chance to ask what prompted that poem / why that form / where do you write / how do you write / how many edits do you do / where do you get your inspiration / what support do you have / do you have a cold reader etc etc.

Some poets are inspired by their surroundings.

By nature and all its depths. They try to capture a moment of pure beauty.


A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take a teen version of a book chat (the usual co-ordinator/ founder was away). At first I admit to being worried...what do we talk about....what if they just sit there and say nothing....what if we have no connection?

I was told not to worry, supply food and talk...they'll talk back.

So of course I supplied food....
which they devoured in minutes.
I had come semi- prepared. I had a trolley of new books - I had some books listed in the Inky Awards - and at the last minute I grabbed a pile of books that I had read over the year. I read a lot of Young Adult, mostly because I like it and there are some really good books out there. 
My semi preparation paid off. The talk began with the usual 'you're not J'...and I do the usual 'Yes, I'm not J I'm Vicki and I'm taking the group today.' I asked their names, and what kind of stuff they liked to read. It was a small group but they were readers. Eclectic readers most of th…


We do a lot of visits at the library. Youth services mean we talk to mum's with new babies, we talk to toddlers and their families, we talk to kinder's and child care's...then it's schools, primary and secondary. Our aim is to get children loving books and reading, and hopefully they'll love them when they are an adult.

Recently I had a Prep visit. We did the usual talk about what is at the library....showing them that we not only have books, chapter books and information books, but audio books and graphic novels, we have kits (audio book and book all in one) and magazines, CD's and DVD's, computers and catalogues, CD-ROM's, Garfield comics and Begin to Reads.

There was a lot of appreciative oohs and ahhs.  Especially when we walked all the way to the non-fiction area and discovered the dinosaurs.  You can never go wrong with a dinosaur.

We then searched the catalogue- found where the information books on dogs and horses were - not too far away from th…


Last weekend we celebrated Dad's 80th birthday.

We wrangled and invited, asked and bribed---and all four children were there. The first time in years. Lots of years.

And all grandchildren were present as well.

This was about all that went to plan.

The idea was to have a lovely sunny day, so we could loll on the large deck and the children could run riot in the gardens. That was the idea.

The deck was unable to be used - due to constant rain and the cold. So we went to Plan B (everyone needs a plan B)- everyone inside.

Except for George- he was dressed warmly though.

This of course involved a bit of Plan C as well - due to the fact that our road was closed, the guy on the STOP sign had to move cones so family and co could actually arrive....and then of course there was the power.

Well lack of power.

Yes they were working on the power lines so for most of the day we were in the darkish ( a few candles were lit). Thankfully my other half was working on his gourmet home made pizzas, s…


Just came back from a long weekend with my writing group- and once again it was a relaxing, nurturing, that much needed push in the right direction.

Once again we found ourselves at the beach. As usual I went for walks (although this time no koalas were found - I had to make do with the odd wallaby or two, or four), took photos, talked and dreamed.

There were great ocean views and stunning sunsets.

We ventured further--- found some friendly faces

some wonderful trees.

And we wrote, we pondered, we discussed and debated. We workshopped and wrangled synopsis, edited and queried the joys of social media and which was right for us.

I edited a whole manuscript while away---mind you it was hard work as the photo here clearly shows.

I came home reluctant to face the real world. I wanted to stay and write, and think writerly thoughts. Be with people who know that talking about a book in process is like talking about family. But I also came back with a stronger focus on what I am doing, and w…


Recently I've looked at a wedding venue or two (for baby girl)- and even though the date is a little way in the future, finding the right place is very very important.

Not only does it have to sum them up as a couple, not too rustic, not too urban, not too city, not too country. It also has to make a great first impression and then a good lasting impression.

It's something I endeavour to remember when I send my work out there. Having been on the 'other side', as in on the editorial committee for Page Seventeen for several years, I know what I 'looked' for when considering pieces.

When you read so many entries (in many years, hundreds) they have to stand out.

First impressions count....

But that is not could be an intriguing title, great opening line....something that captures your attention and makes you want more.

Should be easy shouldn't it? But I remember so many stories, articles and poems simply dropped. After this initial wow, there was …


What makes a winning poem? I recently went to the Hut Poetry, the last for the year, and they had a competition for the best two poems. A pair of judges sat and listened, deliberated then gave the decision. Bottles of wine were the prizes.

As an audience member it was very interesting to compare what I considered were the best, and what were chosen. It reinforces that selecting a 'winner', in this case two, is so very subjective.

It was not an easy job for the judges. There were so much good work on offer. And a huge variety in delivery and genre. There were light hearted narratives- there were reminisces of childhood- well observed poems that described everything from Uluru - to the simplicity of a man and his dog walking a street.

In this case the detail was what grabbed the judges attention. These poems were more 'page' oriented works than delivered as spoken word. They forced you to listen...made you appreciate the wrangling of words.

Often in spoken word the deta…