Thursday, 28 January 2010

Novels by Australian women: my 2010 reading challenge.

Shortly after my previous post, the following appeared in my Twitter feed:

EmergingWriters: Will @tiggyjohnson spend a whole year reading only novels by Australian women? That would be interesting!

Well, I've decided to take this on as a challenge so will only read novels by Australian women this year. Sorry to all you blokes with fabulous books, or to the non-Aussies, but it is just one year.

And it is just for novels. I'll still be reading whatever poetry or short stories happen to take my fancy, as well as being indiscriminatory as far as non-fiction goes.

I probably won't really discuss the works I'm reading, because reviewing just isn't my thing. Although I will say that so far, of the five titles I've finished thus far, my favourite has been 'The Ghost's Child' by Sonya Hartnett. A truly beautiful tale.

I'm sure too there's no chance I'll be able to maintain the pace I've set so far, but I'll see how I go. And I'm sure I'll enjoy coming across new authors as the months roll past. Actually, all five so far, as well as the two in-waiting, are by authors I haven't previously read. I'm sure this won't remain the case by the end of the year, as I'm sure to search for more from Hartnett, at the very least.

Anyone else set any reading goals for 2010?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

2 more hours of freedom

I have just a couple of hours left of peace and quiet before my time to relax is all but over and Bryden and the kids return home from a camping trip.

The last few days have been exactly what I needed, time out to just sit back and do nothing much. At first I thought I'd use the time to do a little writing, including to finish a story I began in October. But I changed my mind and figured that next week, once school starts, I will be thrown back into routine whether I like it or not and that this was my only/last chance to unwind.

I know many writers think it's necessary to write every day, but I disagree. I figure that if I'm going to treat writing as a job, as work, then it's a healthy thing to take a month off every year or so. And I must say that since I decided not to get back to it until February, I'm becoming more eager to finish my October story, as well as to make a start on a new one brewing in the depths of my mind.

Which reminds me of one of the reasons I love to write in the first place, the excitement that comes with knowing stories and characters are coming to life, and the anticipation of putting them into words. But I am determined to hold out until next week before getting back into it.

On the plus side, I've been reading a lot, and I realised that all the books I've read thus far in 2010 (I'm on my 5th) are by Australian women. I might see how long I can keep that up, if I can get through the entire year reading novels by only Australian women.

Now though, I'd better go check on the banana cake in the oven that will be ready to greet the kids with when they get back.

Friday, 22 January 2010

I do... or do I?

I've been thinking about getting married for some time. At least six months. I'm no closer to a decision than I was back then. Except that it seemed radically exciting for the first fortnight or so.

Sure, I'm already married, and later this year, we'll make it to double figures, which I suppose is something to celebrate in itself. But it isn't about that. In fact, it has nothing to do with romance. Nothing. A lot to do with bureaucratic red tape, nothing to do with romance. (Come on, I have three kids, romance shromance.) I'm assuming by now you realise I'm talking about marrying the same person, remarrying him.

All those years ago, we got married in the Cook Islands. Yes, we eloped.

Before you ask, technically we didn't get married on the beach, but in a gorgeous garden area of the resort we stayed at. We had many photos taken on the beach, and the restaurant staff even set up a special table on the sand for us. Our waitress took this photo with our camera. It was lovely, although I never thought I'd be doing it again.

Except that I have a slight problem with getting a passport and remarrying was Bryden's solution. One friend thinks it's adorable that he would want to marry me again, let alone suggest it. Anyway, I digress.

Because we were married overseas, the Australian Goverment, well at least the office that does passports, doesn't recognise us as married. I found this out when I went to renew my passport and asked about required documentation. After a longish session with them and later some Internet research on their appropriate websites, it seemed I had two choices.

One: To have my name changed by deed poll to my married name and then proceed with getting a passport in that name. It is worth noting that my drivers licence and bank documentation is all in my married name.

Two: Change back to my maiden name, officially, go through the rigmarole of changing licence, bank, etc and then get a passport.

I quickly decided option one is not an option. It might sound crazy, but I like using both names, and perhaps other parents might understand that using my maiden name for my individual pursuits, like writing, helps me 'be' the person I need to on the right occasion. Anyway, I was writing before I got married. And I'm not okay with letting go of that name.

Option two sounds doable, I guess, but I'd kind of feel like I was betraying my husband and the kids if I didn't share their name: it's the reason I wanted to change my name when I got married in the first place. And I'm not keen on the idea of having a new licence photo (not that I'm suggesting I like my current one).

Then Bryden suggested we get married. At first this sounded like a fabulous idea and we had grand plans of filling the backyard with friends and family and wondering how we'd choose a date: would we remarry on an anniversary or an arbitrary date? Did I need a passport in any great rush or could we wait?

While holding off until our tenth anniversary seemed odd in some ways, I haven't been able to come to terms with it being on an arbitary date. Again, this has little to do with romance, and much to do with my desire for order, structure (read being anally retentive).

Then I remembered another good reason not to have a big fat bush wedding: we eloped in the first place because we didn't want a big fat any-kind-of wedding.

Friends have suggested we just go to the registry office but this seems even more meaningless than me reverting to my maiden name.

Maybe having it out there will help me sort it in my head and come to a solution, or maybe someone will suggest something I haven't thought of yet that is totally the right thing to do. Or perhaps I'll discover I'm really just overthinking it and it doesn't really matter what I/we do. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and in some ways, there's no rush, we have until December 21.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

still chilling out

I still haven't been up to much and am actually enjoying just chilling out. I knew I was going to need a good break, but I also thought I'd be back into the swing of things by now, albeit slowly.

But that hasn't happened, and to be honest, I'm keen to continue doing some more nothing. Quite a bit more nothing. Without feeling guilty.

One thing I have done is to read a couple of books and another is to work out some writing goals for 2010, which I'll share when my head kicks back into gear. I expect that will probaby happen soon after Hamish goes back to school and the house is quiet for longer than five minutes at a time.

The big decision I have at the moment is whether I can be bothered making a trip to Rutherglen and Shepparton to restock on tokay (I can't believe I ran out again!!) and the finest the SPC/Ardmona cannery has to offer. Although firstly, I shouldn't be saying tokay, as they call it topaque now, and secondly, it will be good to have gazillions of cans of baked beans on the ready. Especially if we're going to stick with making a curry every week, as the kids love a good bowl of baked beans with their rice instead of said curry, and so far each curry has lasted us three glorious nights.

If I go, I'll go late next week with Hamish and we'll stay two nights. He'll see it as an excellent opportunity to play Monopoly and while there are so many good reasons to go, it seems tough just thinking about it at the moment. Lucky it's a week or so away, I guess.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

not writing

I don't tend to do much, if any, writing during January, mostly because I don't get much time to myself. Instead, I tend to sew, and recall that this time last year, my sewing machine was doing overtime as I pieced the blocks to a quilt called Butterfly Garden that will take me years to finish.

But I haven't been sewing much lately so, with a friend, devised a sort-of-competition that would have us both back in production. It's not a competition in the usual way, but rather an attempt to motivate us both. And when I made an actual list of my works in progress (WIP), it was clear I need to sew. Other than the above-mentioned quilt, which is for myself, I have started eight others, as well as aprons and bags and two skirts for Claudia. Five of the 'others' are smallish, Christmas themed and will become gifts, so they are not my current priority.
I'm supposed to focus on 'my' quilt, although I'll probably alternate between that and working on any of the others that are nearly finished.

Today I made a good start and finished the two aprons, and as I'm allowed to start something new once I finish three WIPs, I might start thinking about what to make next.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

a curry a week

I'm not really a new year's resolution kind of girl, although I did stop drinking a certain cola flavoured drink after making such a resolution more than ten years ago. Probably closer to fifteen.

Other than that, I don't remember ever having set one, although if I was going to have one this year, I'm sure it would be to make a curry every week.