Monday, 30 March 2009

Driving home

The sun is an overripe mango
although you only notice that
after you smell the diluted smoke
filtering through the air con
You're tired from the heat
and having evacuated your family
to another house, where you were cramped
together all day with just a handful of toys
and books
You wanted to wait another day
before going home
yet here you are, navigating the winding road
watching locals playing outside
now it's cooled twenty degrees or more
knowing that no locals are playing outside
in some towns
You turn on the radio for an update
as you pull into your street
and learn
that entire communities have been wiped out
that the cool change sent fires in new directions
saving some towns, including yours
and that none of the 210 people
have been reported as dead

Friday, 20 March 2009

Writing feels good

I have just written the opening scene for my novel and it feels good. Sure, it's a first draft and a mere 600 words, but, well, it is the beginning.

When I met with L earlier in the month to set March goals for our novels, I mentioned that my head had left the right space and I was having trouble getting back into it. That's what family commitments and other life distractions do. So, I set the goals I was always going to set and added that I'd try to write the opening scene as well. I say 'added' because it seemed like an afterthought even then, but one that I knew would hopefully provide the right kind of inspiration to keep going. It's fair to suggest that it may have just done this.

Of course, as I type now, I realise that saying I am only now writing the opening scene might seem rather odd, as if that should have happened aeons ago. In hindsight, maybe I should have written it last month to reinvigorate myself, but, mostly it was not meant to be written before now. For the first time, I am approaching this novel by (being very anally retentive and) planning as much of the main plot and background stuff as I can.

There are two main reasons for doing it this way, other than just to find out if it suits me better. Firstly, I'm lucky if I can find more than three hours to work on it in any given week (which I hope is very temporary) and secondly, because I thought I needed to start by doing a comprehensive character study, and then I kind of kept going with the planning. So far, it is working out reasonably well. We meet again next Thursday to set new goals, and with the opening scene safely saved, I am ready. Perhaps I'll be more ambitious next time?

In regard to my last post, I apologise if you hoped to catch up with me at the Spinning Room, but thanks to a damn cold, I didn't make it. Thinking about trying again for this coming week, Ian McBryde. Also unsure whether I'll actually get to the Dan tomorrow. Thankfully my novel planning is working out a whole lot better than me planning to leave the house.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Get out

Last year some time, one of my writing friends and I decided we would try to get out more. With family commitments and distance, it can be difficult, but we are doing our best to overcome that, at least often enough to feel like we're getting to some new places.

We've been regulars at the Word Tree in Upwey (formerly the Red Room in Belgrave) for years, and so it is time to head west, into the big smoke. Initially we figured we'd start out in March, but the Passionate Tongues gig provided an incentive to start early. We went to the Melbourne Poets Union's Babel Babble in February, featuring Alex Scott, Anna Fern and Santo Cazzati and have planned out some outings for March.

On Tuesday 17th, we're going to the Spinning Room, where Josephine Rowe will feature: 211 High Street, Prahran, 8.00pm. On Saturday 21st we're hoping to get to the Dan: 225 Canning Street, Carlton, 2pm. And then on Friday 27th, we're going back to the MPU to see alicia sometimes and Tug Dumbly: 2nd floor, Nicholas Building, Melbourne, 7.30pm.

Make sure to say g'day if you happen to be going to any of these too.