Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I’m a winner. Again. For two years running, I am a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) winner. And yes, it feels good.

In some ways, it feels a little better than last year. Not in that adrenalin rush kind of way. Last year definitely takes that crown, but this year I feel good knowing that some of the things I wrote are actually worthwhile.

Not that what I wrote last year wasn’t. I mean, I learned a lot about myself, including that I can quickly lose interest in an idea I’d been passionate about for years. And while I have no intention of ever writing an actual end to last year’s story, or rewriting it, or anything so ambitious, I do still have an idea of using the original idea for some other, shorter, piece.

But this year. As you know, I didn’t write a novel. Instead I wrote what I called ‘Bitsa’. Bitsa fiction, bitsa poetry and bitsa whatever else I felt like writing, including blog posts (though I won before starting to write this one).

I’m not going to go into much now except to share a few stats. Because I like stats, and numbers in general.

I wrote ten blog posts, including some I’ll post in December and some I’ll never post. Or will maybe post.

I started seven short stories, finished five of them and will probably pursue four of them. One has already been workshopped in my writing group and seems not to need a lot of rewriting. Yay.

I wrote thirty poems. Thirteen are more for my own memory of our recent family camping trip, but maybe one or two of those might be worth sharing. Of the others, I've read some on stage already, which always helps me know if I should rework or dump. But mostly, I’m not sure yet how many will rest in peace and how many shall be revived. Though there are definitely some to keep.

I wrote twenty non-fiction pieces (not including blog posts). Of those, I like less than half, and will pursue less than half. At best there are nine worth revisiting, although it’s possible when that happens I’ll change my mind.

And, finally, I wrote three other things that I won’t disclose, except to say one was a letter.
I did not count my tweets, emails or facebook updates, although admit that during the third week I half-wished I had.

But anyway, it’s over and I feel good. My first instinct is to say I don’t know whether I’ll do it again next year and will take some time to think this through. But I’m also well aware that I would probably not have done it this year if I hadn’t so publicly and enthusiastically said it was my one big goal for the year (all those months ago). And I’m definitely glad I persisted.
So I’ll think on it a while and maybe by the time I announce some 2011 goals, I might be ready to say either way.

Oh, I almost forgot, I attempted eight of those crazy ten ideas suggested by others. I was going to press myself to write all ten, but its not like I wrote about everything n my list full stop. I didn't write about acrobatic walruses or ghosts, and of the others, two were short stories I failed to finish. But I had a go, eh?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A First taste taste

First taste

He pierced my heart
with butterscotch sauce
a double quantity
over the warm cake full
of brown sugar and dates

he baked a delicious sponge
wet with citrus tang
but heavy after being prepped
with walnut and greens

the triple chocolate cheesecake
and rhubarb crumble
secured the deal
we celebrated
with premium ice-cream
swimming in chilled muscat

we discovered the delights
of orange almond syrup
chocolate mousse meringue
and chocolate raspberry pudding
with decisions over
chocolate or caramel
docked dry fruit in port
for months
before baking the proverbial

he makes anzacs
in double batches
I bake muffins
with blueberry patches
and mull over stained pages
of cookbooks

last birthday
I made my own sticky date
shared it with friends
and recalled
my first taste
of butterscotch sauce.

First taste will be launched by Emilie Zoey Baker at Caffe Sospeso, 428 Burwood Road, hawthorn this Sunday, 28th November, 2010, from 3pm.

Come help celebrate Tiggy's debut poetry collection, to listen to some poems, including one she wrote in year 9 (that, thankfully, is not in the book), and see her one last time before she heads on outta Melbourne. She might even cry, and that's not something you see every day.

If you want to know a little more about First taste, check out this review, or this one. And if you can't make it to Hawthorn on Sunday, go here to order your copy via Paypal.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Packing and a little launch

Our first shipping container arrived yesterday. Yes, that’s right. Shipping container. And first. Initially we thought we’d use the bigger container, but it turns out it wouldn’t fit in the driveway, so we’re using two small ones. But that’s worked out well. With one coming at a time, we have twice as long to pack.

The down side is that it’s hard to stay in denial when there’s a huge container in the middle of the driveway.

We’ve started packing it already. By that I mean Bryden has started packing it already. He started with all the couches bar one. I know that sounds odd, but yes, while I’m finding it difficult to throw out old uni stuff I know I don’t need any more (and I will throw it out, I promise), Bryden kind of collects couches. In other words, please NEVER tell him you have a couch you don’t need any more. Please.

He’s also packed most of our books. And while he seems to be doing most of the packing thus far, I have done some. Though mostly I’m trying to stay on top of the normal day-to-day stuff. It’s better for everyone if I can stay in normal mode (denial) as long as possible though. Because once I engage with the reality of the big move, I’m probably going to freak right out.

So I’m keeping up with National Novel Writing Month. Well, I’m almost keeping up. I’m a little behind in my word count but not enough that I won’t be able to catch up.

And with the launch of page seventeen issue 8 behind me, that I’ll write a bit about somewhere else soon, I need another time-sapping project.

I’m thinking about the upcoming launch of my debut poetry collection, First taste. I’ve finally booked it all in, and as well as being a launch, it’s also a bit of a going away party, as it’ll be my last big Melbourne outing before we head off. So, if you’d like to come along to see my first poetry book fly into the world, come along. If you’d like to see me before I fly into a warmer part of the world, come along.

We’ll kick off at 3pm, on Sunday 28th November, at CaffĂ© Sospeso, 428 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, with Emilie Zoey Baker doing the launching honours. I’ll be hanging around afterwards to make sure I have a chance to catch up with as many people as I can. And to eat. Eating is good. It’s a short walk from Glenferrie Station, or if you’re driving, there’s a huge car park in Kent St that I’m pretty sure is all day parking at weekends.

Meanwhile, if you want a small taste of First taste, a few of the poems can be found online, including here, here, here and if you go here, you can scroll down to the June 10 issue and download the pdf to find another. I’m thinking about posting one here, to this blog, next week too, so feel free to let me know which one you think it should be.

Monday, 8 November 2010

On the move

My NaNoWriMo progress is going reasonably well, though aside from letting you know that by the end of yesterday I was a little above the word count goal, I’m going to save it all for another day, another time and another place. I am talking about my progress on this crazy adventure that is writing 50,000 words this month over at the SPUNC blog, Splog. My first post can be found here and I’ll be reporting back in the middle and at the end of the month.

It is somewhat unfortunate that life doesn’t just stop during November so that those of us who want to spend it writing all those words can just get on with it, but as life does indeed go on, it means there are other interesting (sure, that’s subjective) things to share.

Like that we bought a house. Yes, we are definitely on the move now that we’ve sold at this end and bought at the other. Our new house is in Jimboomba, south of Brisbane, on half an acre, with a kitchen to die for. And while it terrifies me to say this, we are moving next month. We will be in our new house before Christmas. But I’m not quite ready to think about that.

We have started packing and generally getting organised though. This can be done one task at a time, which is definitely a lot more manageable than thinking ‘big move: one month’.

Actually, buying the house was possibly the most stressful experience I’ve had in a long time. Both selling and buying definitely add up to the most stressful life experience ever. Yes, definitely. Ever.

Last Thursday, Bryden flew to Brisbane for the day to check out 9 houses. On Friday morning we decided on the most practical, sensible one, which was actually the one we’d thought we’d end up wanting based on the internet photos. The one we ended up with, at that point, was probably just a touch out of reach. Like quite a few thousand out of reach. We called the agent handling the practical, sensible house. She was showing someone a house and said she’d call back in less than an hour when she was back at the office.

An hour later she hadn’t called. Another hour later, she still hadn’t called. An hour after that, the agent of the dreamy house with the fabulous kitchen called and said the owners were after a quick buy and that if we made an offer about $20K below the listed price, we might be lucky.

We spent the next two hours agonising about which house we should buy. They are almost completely opposite to each other. The dreamy house, while fabulous on the inside, needs some attention outside. Not the normal kind of maintenance stuff, but it’s on a fair slope, has no shed (for Bryden to play in) and currently has no real covered area. The practical, sensible house was fabulous outdoors. It is probably the one we should have chosen, as we could really have just moved in, unpacked and settled in. But as practical and sensible as it was, it wasn’t dreamy. Even though it has a pool.

We made an offer for $20K below the listed price on the dreamy house and with a few minor negotiations, we’d bought a house. As easy as that.

Hopefully the next part will be just as easy. I even think I’m ready to throw out all my old uni stuff. But as the recycling bin is already full until Thursday morning, I guess I’ll have to wait a few days to really find out.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The NaNo start

You know, I kind of liked that list thing I did a couple of weeks ago, so I think I might go with it again.

- I am off to a good start in NaNoWriMo, having met the daily word count so far on both days.

- I’m going to have to hold on to just scraping through close to the 1667 words required for another day, by writing in the evening, as Thursday will be my first actual writing day. Then, I’ll hope to get ahead. Even if just a little.

- I spent yesterday baking for Claudia’s 5th birthday party today. Both the baking and the party were fun and yes, I have plenty of cake/NaNo fuel left over.

- We sold our house.

- We’re probably leaving Melbourne before Christmas. By that I mean before the middle of December.

- I’ll be at Passionate Tongues at the Brunswick Hotel next Monday, 8th, co-featuring alongside Graham Nunn, and I’d love to see you there.

- I’m trying to write a new poem every day this month and I’ll share some with you if you come to Passionate Tongues next Monday, 8th.

- I’m definitely planning to make the First taste launch extend into a going away kind of do, though I’m not sure I’ll be able to have both at the same venue.

- If you have an idea where I might have either of the above events, feel free to share your wisdom. Soon.

- I’ve decided I disagree with one point in Derek Motion’s review of First taste: there is embarrassment. Although not necessarily over the things one might expect.

- The abovementioned embarrassment is ten-fold when the one line in the entire book that I find embarrassing is quoted on the internet (although I am almost over this already). This is probably much less embarrassing if it doesn’t come up in certain google searches.

- Don’t bother asking which line I’m talking about, because telling you would just cause further embarrassment. But if you come to Passionate Tongues next Monday, 8th, it’s possible you’ll find out.

- I read and loved Marchetta's On the Jellicoe Road.

- It was really nice to not have an Open Inspection last Saturday.