Wednesday, 30 April 2003

i sent off a story today. it felt good. even if i don't hear anything about it, actually getting it into the postbox was a major achievement. i don't know why sending work out is so much like drawing blood from a stone. it seems to hard to get through the fog that obscures my writing and my will to write. in theory it's something i want to do all the time, but i always manage to find ways around actually sitting down and doing it. so i'm obviously not the stephen king kind of writer who can sit down at a set place at a set time every day for a set number of hours and write while listening to heavy metal (i think it explains a lot about his style, really).

having said that, the idea of that kind of routine and the thought that one can turn the stream of words on and off at will is kind of tempting. probably not very practical in terms of my personality, but having the discipline to do it is admirable.

i often think that if i had more time in the day i would write more. i need to steal time from what i currently do in order to write and i hate that. i think it's important to have winding down time after work where you don't have to do anything, but when there are deadlines and writing that needs to be done i feel guilty doing nothing, yet too tired to produce anything worthwhile. i've been on holidays for the last week and a half and i've been really busy - but not writing. this is why getting the story sent out was so important. i also worry that if i did actually have the time i needed that i would squander it.

i like cooking. cooking is a great relaxing activity for me. but only if i have enough time to enjoy it and at the moment cooking feels like procrastination. the only justification is that we have to eat, so at least there is a useful end result. but sometimes i am so eager to leap up from my desk because it's time to cook that i wonder when my priorities got so twisted around, where i enjoy the routine things like cooking where there is an element of creativity (and a delicious product) more than writing which is supposed to be what i really want to do. is it because of university? perhaps. the feeling of guilt that i haven't written enough on my thesis, and that i'm not particularly interested in it anymore. the desire to write something else. the wish that it would just end. the inklings that there is some great work in there but i can't find it under all this malaise. yeah, i think university has a lot to do with it. but then without university it would just be me and my own deadlines. and perhaps it's that fear keeping me from doing anything.

how ridiculous. but then, fear is faintly ridiculous, isn't it?

Sunday, 13 April 2003

have just returned from a thoroughly exhausting but very worthwhile weekend in canberra at the travellers' tales conference. the conference was very interesting and gave me lots to think about. i haven't quite processed everything yet...and i did a lot of drawings in the margins of my notebook while listening...so i thought i'd just put down some notes i wrote until i can get my head together enough to write about what came out of the conference for me (these aren't direct quotes, more paraphrases of the speakers).




identities in travel are mobile; you can don new masks, invent personas and histories. travel is a way of becoming a stranger.

the overseas australian identity is forged in contact and collision with others.

ros pesman

travel writers never go the same way twice - there's always a different route that might be more interesting.
tony wheeler

doodling, as an artist or writer, is important...you can glimpse moments of spontaneous enchantment and come to places without knowing how you got there.

the remembered life is under pressure from the unremembered.

alan gould

in any true journey one must be lost at least some of the time.
kim mahood

you must listen over time to get beyond surface stories.

kitchens are places where epics are hinted at.

every story is composed of degrees of silence and moments of revelation.

arnold zable

historians may embroider, but may not invent.
brij lal

nostalgia is the ache to be making the journey home.
peter steele

Tuesday, 8 April 2003

mini survey :: most recents

most recently heard:
sarah mclachlan, surfacing - an all-time favourite album. brett has written it off as depressing chick music, but she's inspired me to write so she can't be all bad. (and brett can hardly talk, given the nature of his CD collection)

most recently read:
robert drewe, our sunshine
a most amazing book - vivid and well-paced and extremely addictive
terry pratchett, strata
good and silly. pre-discworld.

most recently saw on film:
ned kelly - thought this was excellent, but agree with some critics who think it lacks some of the vitality of the book it's taken from (our sunshine). got all inspired to learn more about this period of history - living overseas during primary school i missed out on all that stuff.
daredevil - blackest of black superhero movies. realised in most hollywood superhero films, the hero never kills people deliberately - in this movie, he does! good escapism.

most recently saw on stage:
major barbara at nida's parade theatre. was disappointed by this, although there were some enjoyable elements. the acting style seemed really forced, and all the actors spoke in those booming, overdone i'm-projecting-to-the-back-of-the-theatre type voices, which really put me off. spent a long time looking at the lighting rig and the sets, which were cool. didn't have to pay for my ticket, though, so i'm not too fussed.
the talented mr ripley at zenith theatre in chatswood, featuring mr richard drysdale as ripley. ye gods, but he can yell loud. he really let go a lot more in the second half, and unlike the film ripley gets away with it in the play, so we were treated to rich's full machiavellian range. they also had an effective lighting design...and an audience member in front of me who replied loudly to rhetorical questions asked by the characters onstage and whose mother fell asleep and snored.

okay, now it's your turn.

Monday, 7 April 2003

the compartmentalising of my life is going swimmingly, thanks very much, and i'm starting to feel like i'm more in control of the portion of time i have been allotted. i have started to write again, which is a good thing. a very good thing in fact. i have started to lose weight again, which is also a good thing - and no, i do not have a problem with body image, and no, i am not crash dieting and no, i do not care. it's nice to fit into one's clothes, i think. i have started to embroider bees and ducks and robins onto the tiniest singlets for my friend catherine's baby, who is due to arrive in about two and a half weeks, and although it sounds very domestic and housewifey (can you be housewifey if you have no husband?) i'm proud of the fact that i have created these mini artworks (you know they're art because they're uncentered, a bit kooky looking and do not resemble the picture in the book at all). i'm going to try embroidering a sheep next, which will be a challenge, as i imagine it is quite difficult to get one to stand still. i also have some navy pinwale corduroy and i'm going to make another pair of pants. i will sew the waistband on the right way round this time so that i don't have to keep wearing long shirts to hide the mistakes like i do with my black pants. i am going to canberra on friday for a conference called travellers' tales which i am really looking forward to, and on the sunday i am going to go to the national gallery and look at bonnard paintings and the david moore retrospective. in two weeks i have two weeks' holiday and i can't wait. i will go to the blue mountains and maybe berrima and the art gallery of nsw and see some movies and write lots. my birthday is also within that two weeks and i will be picnicking in centennial park with the ducks and swans and assorted friends, following which, there may be fondue at my house.

that's me. it's all good.