Friday, 30 April 2010

teaching the kids patience

I have no intention of admitting how long ago it was I started these, but I like that me making nice things for the kids is an excellent lesson in patience for them. And Claudia is
most happy with her two new skirts.

Although, in some ways, they are four skirts, as they're reversible. Perfect for when you're four and spill something down the front, you can just duck off to the bathroom and turn it inside out.

Having finished two sewing projects, it's tempting to start something new, but a quick glance at my works in progress suggests this is not the best move. Hmm, decisions.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

page seventeen has a blog

Yes, page seventeen has a blog, and right now it's highlighting a heap of exciting things happening with this year's issue. To find out what, you'll have to go and check it out.


You know what to do once you're there: bookmark, subscribe, tell all your friends. And of course, enjoy.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

sobbing like a sooky-la-la

I'm doing well with my quest to read novels only from Australian women this year. I'm discovering authors I hadn't ever thought to read before as well as new ways to choose books.

For instance, I'm currently choosing books from the Children's Book Council of Australia shortlist for Book of the Year. Before getting to this list my favourite was still the first book I read for the year, Sonya Hartnett's The Ghost's Child, although Joan London's The Good Parents had offered worthy competition. I read Hartnett's Butterfly, at Carole's suggestion, and while I enjoyed it, I preferred The Ghost's Child.

But last night I finished Judith Clarke's The Winds of Heaven. It was amazing and left me sobbing like a sooky-la-la. In fact it took ages to read the final chapter because I could hardly see through tears and was glad Bryden had already gone to bed by the time I got up to that bit :)

Usually when I finish something that's had such an effect on me, I tend to put off starting anything else for at least a few days, probably longer. But I'm not sure I can.

When the shortlist was announced, I went and put the ones I wanted to read on hold at the library. Of course I hoped they wouldn't all become available at once, but I have until Thursday to collect two before they're passed on to the next person in the hold queue. And there will be a hold queue. I'm also the next person in the queue for a third book.

Part of me thinks perhaps I should let the library pass one on to the next person and go to the back of the queue, but I'm not sure I'll do this.

I am sure, however, that the next book I'll read will be Penny Tangey's Loving Richard Feynman. As a tragic science geek who has a soft spot of her own for the late Feynman, how could I not?

What are you reading right now, and what made you choose it?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

5 people stuck in a tent for 11 weeks

Now that you know about the talented team that are dedicated to making page seventeen Issue 8 at least as fabulous as issue 7, I can share some other exciting news. The reason I need a team in place to do absolutely everything.

I won't be here.

Bryden's taking his long service leave and we'll be packing up the camper trailer in early-July in search of warmer weather (although that may have to wait until we've finished in Adelaide). On Tuesday 6th July, I'll be the feature poet at The Friendly Street Poets' Monthly Reading in Adelaide, which is sure to keep me warm for at least one winter evening.

Then we'll head north and spend some time in Central Australia before needing to find enough space in the tent for all our stuff as well as enough food to last the five of us a week or more without shops. And in case you didn't know, even though the kids are little, they certainly eat a lot (even compared to adults).

We're not entirely sure which way we'll go to get there, or how long we might stay in any one place, but by the end of August, we'll have made our way to Brisbane. I'm very excited to have been selected for inclusion in the Queensland Poetry Festival's program (even though it isn't available yet: check late-June) and look forward to living it up for the whole weekend while the kids enjoy some quality time with their dad.

The following weekend, on Sunday 5th September, I'll be at Brisbane's SpeedPoets, and then, because the good Brisbane folk would surely have had enough of me by then, we'll start making our way home. I'm not sure when we'll be back, but I'm guessing about September 20. Just in time for my birthday :)

Bryden's been looking forward to doing this kind of trip since before he had a proper job to take leave from and has been preparing me for years (mostly by making me go camping, including a 2 week stint to Adelaide 2+ years ago).

As well as the obvious excitement about poetry events slotted in in advance, they will definitely help me avoid thinking of the trip as just '5 people stuck in a tent together for 11 weeks'.

Seriously though, I'm just as excited as the others. It's hard not to be with the energy of constant discussions and associated google searches. Also, with the exception of one trip to Perth, I haven't been beyond Port Augusta in that direction, and of all our other potential stops, I've been only to Brisbane before.

Meanwhile, if you have any tips on staying sane when you're one of 5 people stuck in a tent for 11 weeks, you know what to do...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Aftermath of the big March detox

I've been well aware that I haven't yet updated you about my March detox, and it's almost halfway through April. While a small part of me was probably putting it off, most of my life is at least that far behind at the moment anyway.

Well, the detox. On one hand, a great success. On another, not so much.

The successful part was that I had zero problems, with one exception, in sticking to it. That is, not consuming any alcohol, dairy, sugar or wheat for the whole of March. The one exception was when I accidentally ate potato chips that were not the plain ones I thought they were when I bought them (I'm going to lash right out here and say it's because the packaging is almost identical and I didn't have my glasses). Anyway, it was just once and during the final week.

The not so successful part is that I ended up feeling worse than I'd felt pre-March. This has never happened before when I've done the detox. Usually I might feel crap for the first week but then I'm supposed to feel excellent; heaps of energy, clear head, blah blah, you get the idea.

Rather, I feel much like I did during my last pregnancy, when I needed help with everything from school pick-ups to preparing simple meals and spent the last few months almost exclusively at home. Although it's not as severe now as then. And before you ask, I am 100% absolutely certainly definitely not pregnant. Promise.

I made myself an appointment to see the doctor (I only had to wait a week). Now, I get to go through all the fun associated with a million tests and trialling medications. It's (probably) something minor, so yay to that, not that I expected otherwise.

Meanwhile, I'll try to stick to at least some of the changes I made last month, although I'm not sure whether to stick to the lower caffeine levels or to amp them up a little. A girl's gotta have one treat.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Miscellaneous Voices 1, Sketch 2

It's always nice to receive books in the mail, and even better when they include something of your own. Both of these books arrived in the last couple of weeks for that very reason.
Particularly exciting is Miscellaneous Voices: Australian Blog Writing. An anthology of blog posts from Australian writers, it is the first book of its kind (in Australia). I look forward to seeing how well it is received in the community and I'm looking forward to its official launch next week.

It will be launched by Laurie Steed, page seventeen's 2010 Fiction Editor, at Readings, Carlton, on Wednesday 14th April from 6pm. Maybe I'll see you there.

Sketch is an exciting publication too, with each (annual) issue containing 'an eclectic mix of art, digital design, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and more'. This is issue 2, which (I've heard) sold out at the launch and went for reprint. It's an honour to share pages with Amelia Walker, Ashley Capes and Anne M Carson, to name just a few, although my favourite piece (so far) is the poem 'Jade and Porcelain' by Jeff Klooger.

I was really pleased when my story 'Old Rock' was accepted for Sketch Issue 2. Sure, it's always good to receive an acceptance, but this one was a little better than usual. Old Rock is one of the pieces I tracked my progess of in the piece I wrote for the The Reader, produced by the Emerging Writers' Festival last year. In case you've read my piece in The Reader, 'The Red Haze', it's the one inspired by my next door neighbours. In case you haven't, I stood on the toilet lid (while my kids ate toast in the kitchen and) listened to my neighbour tell the cops about his son punching him the night before in a drunken stupour while his (equally drunk) friend raced off (in his car) to avoid the same fate.