Sunday, 27 September 2009


With the end in sight for the page seventeen workload for another year, I can almost imagine some time freeing up. Except that perhaps I've already booked it.

Earlier in the year I started thinking about and doing some research for a novel, then, when things got too busy and I wasn't really making progress in the odd one-hours I'd find to myself (life with zero-year-old), I put it off. I think I always suspected November was the time to get back to it, and I've been getting a little antsy about the idea of getting struck into it properly come November.

To take advantage of this energy and good inentions, I have signed up for NaNoWriMo. In case you don't know what that means, I've committed to writing a 50,000 word novel, or that many words of one, during the thirty days that are November.

Care to join me?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Australian Poetry Slam controversy - What do you think?

There was a pretty impressive turnout for last night's Ferntree Gully heat of the Australian Poetry Slam '09, with 28 poets arriving to strut their stuff. Ezra Bix took out first place with Bec Alice Graham the runner-up. Both move into the State final, which will be at the State Library on Thursday 12 Nov. And while both were very deserving of their prizes, the evening was filled with controversy.

Which was perhaps bound to happen anyway with 28 people showing up for just 20 competetition places. But it was more about people claiming to not have been aware of there only being 20. Once registrations opened, the first 15 were automatically included, then the next 5 were drawn from the rest. Organisers insisted this was/is the international rule and that those rules can be found on the website.

I somehow knew there were only 20 spots available beforehand, but now that I'm searching the sites, I wonder how I actually knew. Maybe because I'm a stickler for rules, I might have asked questions of the right people at some earlier meeting? I was in the first 15, so competed, and if you're interested, I scored reasonably well, with mostly 8.somethings, compared to the winner, who scored a 10 from one judge and 9.high-somethings from the others.

While I enjoyed the night and was really pleased that a poetry event was happening out our way (even though I'm another 30 minute drive out), I can't help but wonder if the heatedness of the night didn't do more to deter poetry newcomers rather than interest them in becoming more involved?

I'm going to let you judge this one. The postcard/flyer for the event sends you to the State Library website, (where you can also get details of the other heats and the state final), and here are the rules from the Australian Poetry Slam. Here's the Facebook page too.

What do you think? Did they do the right thing, or should all 28 poets have been allowed to enter?

Monday, 21 September 2009

editing v camping

Having a quiet week at home alone as the family have gone camping. I was originally going to catch up with them by train tomorrow or Wednesday, but instead I've been allowed to stay here and finish the editing and layout for issue 7. Either that or hubby felt for me when I said: What if I wanted for my birthday to not go camping?

Have spent most of today trying to get through the last of the editing, mostly just simple stuff at this stage, formatting, house style, the odd missing/extra full stop still hanging around. I'd like to say I'll finish it today, but it's driving me nuts and I wonder if perhaps I should start on the layout instead.

I've bargained with myself that I'll finish it all before even looking at my own writing. Other than preparing for the second Victorian heat of the National Slam, which is at the Ferntree Gully library tonight. Although I know what piece I'm going to use. Wish me luck.

Friday, 18 September 2009

where do they go?

Early last month I had one of those Midas weeks where everything I touched turned to gold. I wrote about it here, and now I'm ready to tell more.

In my two non-kid school-hour days and just one extra evening, I wrote a heap of new stuff and edited a piece I'd been commissioned to write and had submitted a week or two before.

The piece I did the edit on is called 'The Red Haze' and is a personal essay about balancing writing and parenting, although I tried to make it familar to anyone with commitments that get in the way of their writing. Also, it's really more about process, with a sneak of where (some of) my ideas come from. It will be in the EWF Reader, which will be launched next month (details not yet confirmed). It's going to be one fabulous production.

The shorter, non-fiction piece I wrote appeared in the September issue of the VWC newsletter, Victorian Writer. It's part of the regional round-up and considers how last summer's bushfires affected local writers. Well, their writing, really.

The poem I wrote that was accepted on the same day, will appear in the Northern Stories Anthology, produced by Clouds of Magellan, along with another poem that had been submitted earlier. The launch for the anthology is on Saturday November 21, at the Northcote Town Hall, from 1pm.

That leaves just the short story I wrote. The 'theme' was to write a story that would make the reader feel physically uncomfortable, enough so they'd shift in their seat, cringe, whatever. The brief news item that inspired the piece was a five second report of the Hot Chocolate Rapist having had his day in court. I can't even remember the outcome, but I had an idea straight away. I wrote the story in third person from the perspective of a twenty-somethng male, and I'll leave it to you to get a copy of Torpedo 7 in (late) November to find out more.

With everything I wrote that week being accepted for publication, I'm thinking I should plan a few weeks like that every year. I wonder if one per month is too much to ask?

As an aside though, amongst all this I also had a story accepted for fourW, which is produced by the Booranga Writers' Centre who, for their twentieth issue are launching in Wagga, Sydney and Melbourne. The Melbourne launch is at La Mama Courthouse, Sunday 22nd November, from 2.30pm. Come along and support them, so they'll have to launch in Melbourne every year.

Now that all bar one of my stories have been picked up, I've been feeling a little pressured to write some more. This morning, I picked out one that I couldn't quite get right last time I looked at it in January, and I fiddled with it, fiddled some more and have sent it off too.

Now though, I'm off to write a poem. Challenged myself to write a poem a day for a week (starting today), to see if it'll motivate me for something I'll tell you about shortly.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

sounds like poetry

Seems like I haven't been here in ages, and I suppose a week can seem like that sometimes.

I'm going to go right ahead and suggest it's all due to being busy attending a few Overload events last week. I'm not going to go into the details, but everything I went to was superb. The Overload team did a smashing job in putting the festival together, and I hope they're patting themselves on the back now, if they're not curled up in some cosy sleep-pose.

I'd like to suggest which event might have been the highlight, but even that's a bit difficult. Arm-twisted to commit, I'd have to say it was Poetic Riffs, which featured tap-dancing SA poet, Jenny Toune, followed by Queensland duo Graham Nunn and Sheish Money, with Sean M Whelan and the Interim Lovers ending the night.

It was over a week ago, so I won't try to recall details, but the night was definitely inspirational. Sean M Whelan amazes me every time I see him perform, and the Queenslanders were deserving of the encore the audience insisted on. It was a pleasure too, to be able to get a copy of their new CD The Stillest Hour (before they officially launch/ed it back home), which is a great listen.

In fact, I was so inspired after this event that I organised a day with my (musician) father to have a go at recoding some of my poems to music. Which I did last Thursday, and had a ball. I will definitely have another go at it, and confess that on the first listen back in the car I heard so many things I just had to change. Meaning none of the tracks we recorded are ready...yet.

Think I might have to dig out my old dictaphone and use it to record myself as a standard editing tool, or maybe, just maybe I'll get with the times and learn how to use the microphone and associated software on my new toy, and early birthday present, one of these.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

sewing, yes, photography, no

I spent last week making these gorgeous little bags, while Claudia watched and 'played' sewing with the offcuts. The one hanging went to her friend for her birthday and the one Claudia is wearing is hers. She was pretty chuffed she didn't have to wait for her birthday for it. And yes, I know my photography skills leave a lot to be desired. Speaking of which, I totally forgot to snap the chocolate mousse meringue cake, although we are having another party here this weekend, for Bryden's birthday, so perhaps there shall be another one. He certainly hopes so.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Dylan's first birthday cake. The face is a bit freaky, but the kids liked it. Today is the last day my baby is zero. Mixed emotions.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


With MWF over I'm hoping to catch up on some much needed rest, although it doesn't look too promising with the Overload Poetry Festival just days away. Other than the tiredness, I'm really looking forward to the festival, particularly this Saturday night.

At 6pm, at Dante's, there's the launch of Maurice McNamara's poetry collection: Half Hour Country (free), and afterwards I'll be going to Trades Hall for Poetic Riffs, which I expect is the highlight of the festival. Another late night though, hmmm.

On Sunday I can't get to anything, because we're having a party here for Dylan, who turns one next Tuesday. Hard to believe his birthday is so close, but I know I will have fun baking. Haven't fully decided what to make, but so far there is a caterpillar birthday cake and a chocolate mousse meringue cake on the list. Bryden claims to be making a cheesecake. Will try to remember to take some pics before the knife gets stuck into it all.

Once the party's over, I'm aiming for the Spinning Room on Tuesday, and then the Overload Slam final. Not planning anything else at this stage as I'm sure I'll need sleep at some stage and also because I need to catch up on the editing and layout of page seventeen Issue 7. Way behind.