Wednesday, 27 May 2009


I have been meaning to update you on the performance workshop run by Nathan Curnow that I attended at the weekend, but life has been getting in the way. As it does so efficiently.

The workshop was excellent. I came away with questions answered and a general feeling that I am on the right track. But the best part, which is the reason I so love a workshop, is that I came away with several ideas for new pieces. Nathan had us write twice and I'm certain I'll pursue the first piece I started and am sure there is at least a good idea in the second piece. Then, waiting for the train, and then on it, I made notes about more ideas, and filled several pages in my notebook (about 8 I think). Just when I thought I'd finished making notes for the trip, a moronic passenger inspired a new one, his behaviour fitting perfectly with something we'd discussed in the workshop. And there was just enough time to scribble before I had to get off.

Unfortunately I haven't yet found my way back to the notes, as I've been getting ready for this weekend. Also because we've had a house full of coughers and, in case it wasn't enough, one of the cars has gone for a repair today and will need to stay overnight. I'm really hoping it will be ready early afternoon tomorrow, or else I'll need to use public transport to get home after the 15 Minutes of Fame at the City Library. When you live where I do, a 7.35pm train takes me to a 9pm bus, which lets me off a mere 15 minute walk (with only the occasional streetlight) from home at about 9.30pm. One of the more unpleasant aspects of living in the bush.

Although the hour-plus train-writing time will make it all worthwhile.

Friday, 22 May 2009

inspiration is everything

There are literary things happening all over the place this month, and it's true that it's been tough trying to get my head around it all, let alone finding time to do the little extras, like share it with you. I have so far been to three poetry afternoons/nights as well as reading at and attending the Newstead Short Story Tattoo. And there is the Emerging Writers' Festival still to go...starts tonight.

To backtrack a little, the slam was a great night, and I absolutely loved the work of Maxine Clarke, who won first prize. Will have to make sure I get to see her feature some time.

Last weekend in Newstead was also fabulous (with the possible exception of my darlings waking at 5.30 on Saturday morning then trying not to wake us by whispering at the tops of their voices). I read a story from 'Svetlana' titled 'A Thousand Lasagnes' on Saturday. As is usual for me, I didn't have a camera, but Miss Literary Minded posted a group shot here. I also went to two other events and enjoyed listening to a fabulous variety of voices and styles. It's great to know the short story is definitely alive. Neil Boyack did an excellent job organising the Tattoo and promises there'll be another in 2011. Yay.

Today I am trying to organise myself for the Emerging Writers' Festival. Unfortunately I won't make it to the opening tonight, but tomorrow I will be at a poetry performance workshop, might get to some of The Speakers' Corner on Sunday and then will be in town pretty much non-stop from Thursday to Sunday.

On Thursday 28th, I will be part of the 15 Minutes of Fame program, hosted by Angela Meyer, at the City Library (free entry), alongside Jenny Blackford, Helen Ross and Peril Magazine.

On Saturday 30th, I will be speaking on a panel called 'Just Write Dammit!' with Victoria Carless, Andrew Hutchinson and PD Martin, hosted by Matt Davies.

I will be at the SPUNC table at the Page Parlour from about 12-1.30pm on Sunday, and for the rest of the weekend I will be here and there, mostly at the town hall.

It's been difficult to fit in much writing around so many events. Most of my writing time has been spent preparing, but I have managed to fit some in. A couple of poems, a little redrafting, the beginnings of two new stories and I even worked on my novel, which I thought I'd put aside for May. It actually sounds like a lot when I put it like this, which I guess is the major upside of getting to so many events. Other than just enjoying them for what they are. Of course.

See you at the festival!

Monday, 11 May 2009

performance workshop

You may have noticed I've recently become quite interested in performance poetry, or poetry performance, or spoken word or whatever you want to call it. Partly because working on short pieces suits my family commitments and other 'life' needs at the moment, but also perhaps because of the challenge it presents as far as the actual performing goes.

It seems the timing of this interest is excellent. Several months ago I remember commenting about the perceived lack of discussion/guidance available as far as performance goes (although not here). You can do a workshop, short course, TAFE course, uni subject, etc to learn more about and focus on writing poetry, which may include a short introduction to spoken word, but where do you go to learn more about writing for performance, or even the performance itself? Do you take an acting class? Comedy writing/scriptwriting course? Or hope to get feedback at gigs when you sign up for the open stage?

Which is why I'm so excited about this workshop. I've already worked out for myself that writing for the page is different to writing for the stage, and I am hungry for more. And if nothing else, I'm sure I can demonstrate that it's possible to eat chocolate biscuits and start a new piece all at once.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

squirmy laughter

The weekend was fun with a book launch and then the Word Tree, which pulled in a decent crowd. I read over my two newer pieces in the morning beforehand and decided that not only was I not going to perform one, but I didn't even like it anymore. This happens every now and then, although thankfully not too often. I will come back to it sometime, as I definitely still like the idea.

As for the other poem, I went with it and it was received rather well, with laughs in the right places, a few squirms and an audience member who gave me feedback based not only on his own thoughts but what he'd observed as he looked around the room too. I might have to sign him up to tag along whenever I get out.

It's a fair bet I'll pull this piece out again on Tuesday 12th May for one of the rounds in the slam I'm competing in. It's at ETs Bar, 211 High St, Prahran (upstairs) from 8.30pm. Yes, the home of the Spinning Room, although instead of an open section, you get to vote for slam competitors. There's a ripper line-up, so come along.

Before that though, I'll be at Passionate Tongues on Monday to see features Yvette Stubbs and Phil Norton. Brunswick Hotel, 140 Sydney Rd, from 8.30pm.

Friday, 1 May 2009


The month is off to an exciting start tomorrow when I head to Burrinja cafe in Upwey for the launch of Celapene Press's Short & Twisted, which is followed immediately by the Word Tree. Despite being May already, it is the first Word Tree for the year, and the feature poet is Michelle Leber. I am considering trying out one of the new pieces I wrote with performance in mind, although they are both first draft and I didn't get a chance to look at them again today. No doubt I'll make a spur of the moment decision.

Instead of getting any writing done today, the (few) hours were taken up with organising myself for the busy-ness the rest of this month will bring and in doing some administrative stuff for the mag. Not that I managed to get everything on my list done, and in fact, wonder what would happen if that were to ever occur.

Make another one?