Sunday, 29 July 2007

whirlwind weekend

It's been a big week and almost feels like if I stop pushing myself to keep going I'm going to implode or something!

I've taken on the design of Salt after the usual designer said she didn't have enough time to get it how we wanted it. So that's good on one level, because we have more control over the finished product, but bad because we still have to pay for her work even though she didn't complete the project, and we're already way behind deadline and I'm struggling to get it finished. But having said that, I am really enjoying doing this kind of design work, and I hope it turns out well.

Yesterday I went to and spoke at the Faithful Writer conference, held at New College by CASE and Matthias Media, and so impressively organised by Karen (well done and thank you! (she's pictured right on the panel Writing and the Internet, with Mark Hadley and Byron Smith)). It was a really encouraging day, with the key talk by Tony Payne (pictured below right), and then a number of panel discussions.

I was on the panel for Christians and Fiction, where I had to give 10 minute talk on what it meant to be a Christian fiction writer, answer questions and chat with the other panellists, and also choose and read out some work by conference delegates from a writing exercise they did. It was a great experience, except I had left my talk notes on my work computer and had been so frazzled and sleep deprived I didn't actually realise this until I got to the uni.

It was okay though, I wrote down thoughts throughout the day and having to recall the talk I'd put together in my head helped to crystallise it. Something a little perverse in me was also keen to wing it - I've always wanted to be able to just get up and speak without having to read out what I'm going to say, and I think it's just something you need to practise. I had that usual thing of having no idea what I'd said once I'd finished, and I think I spoke too fast (as usual) but several people said what I had to say had been helpful, so I must have been at least coherent. I might type up my notes and post them here, but the audio from the talks should also be available for download from CASE in the next few weeks.

It's a funny feeling being asked for your expertise when you feel like you're still a novice! But it was said a few times yesterday that most writers feel like frauds, so I guess I was in good company. I feel comfortable these days in taking on the label 'writer'; it makes what I do seem more real, more concrete, instead of just something I tinker away at. I guess the point is, if I want people to take me seriously as a writer, I have to take myself seriously as a writer!

I bought a pizza on the way home, then went to Krispy Kreme and bought doughnuts so had a total pig out, read Harry Potter and fell asleep with a candle burning (woke up to blow it out, then crashed again).

Today at church, I'm not quite sure what happened, but I ended up being really busy. I was rostered on to read the Bible, but I also ended up helping Jeremy amend the powerpoint presentation at the last minute, lead the singing so mum could have a break, and was called on with hardly any warning to talk about the Faithful Writer conference. I apologised at one point, because it felt very much like the Rebecca Show!

I enjoyed reading today; it was Isaiah 44 and there's a lot of scope to put a bit of expression and feeling into the passage. I hate it when people get up and are either afraid to read expressively, or it doesn't even occur to them and they read it like a shopping list. The scriptures are full of beautiful language and amazing imagery and I've always thought it a shame that we don't train people in how to present it well when reading from the front.

This afternoon was my 'break' - I went to the Spot with Meg, Christian and a bunch of the youth group kids. We had pizza at Arthur's and saw The Simpsons Movie, which was lots of fun, despite the hordes of young kids (who probably were too young to see it, but anyway).

Now I am absolutely ready to crash and I am undecided whether I will try to put in a few hours' work on Salt or just blob on the couch for the evening. It could go either way. I'm frustrated that I haven't had time to do things like clean the house or do my washing (I don't have a washing machine so it's not just a matter of chucking on a load - I have to actually get organised to take them to mum's and use her machine). I did have the nous to pick up some groceries while we were out, so at least I have food to eat. But...isn't the minutiae of day-to-day life annoying sometimes?

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

shiny newness

What's different? Have you had a haircut?

Fell in love with a number of things recently, namely the vector graphic of this girl, butterflies, the grungy layered look, cool Photoshop brushes and a bunch of new fonts. This was all brought to a head today when I stumbled across graphic designer Eduardo Recife's site (he designed the fonts and many of the brushes I used in the header), and then got cranky about Salt so had to and lo and behold - a new header for the blog. Haven't got the energy to redesign the whole blog at present, so still using templates, but hey, it's all good.

Hope you like it!

i think i just hit a wall of some sort

I am suddenly completely exhausted. I'm not quite sure what happened.

Work has been fairly relentless - not anything too full on, just inexorable and neverending. I was quite defeated when I got the proofs back from the designer this afternoon for this next issue of Salt, which I want to be really fantastic, and it's just...blah. I could do better. I did do better in the mockup I sent her. I just didn't have the energy to send her corrections so I came home and had a hot bath, and now I feel like I either want to stay up all night designing cool things just for fun, or completely conk out right here and now. I just want to do something FUN but I also feel like I need to sleep for about three weeks.

Also I'm feeling quite sad for no particular reason. Maybe it's just a mid-winter malaise or something.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

ah, romance

I've been shooting some photos for an article in Salt magazine about romance (Jen I hope you don't mind we're illustrating your articles with Lego people). I highly recommend the models from this agency. They have a great work ethic, are very obedient, and generally very cheerful.

She's kind of like Meg from the White Stripes (only she smiles, which I don't think I've ever seen Meg from the White Stripes doing)

There are unconfirmed rumours that a romance was actually blossoming on set for real.

We also had problems with a streaker at the shoot

In the end it turned out happily for everyone involved.

"No paparazzi...I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

holding pattern

It's probably not a good day to blog. I haven't got anything to say and I'm just feeling a bit disconnected. Funny how on days like this I don't actually want to talk to anyone; I can't just pick up the phone and ring someone because I haven't got anything to say. I don't feel like going out but the house is suddenly too quiet and I can't find anything to do. I'm too tired to write or do anything but idly surf the net, yet I don't feel like going to sleep yet. I've eaten all the food in my house yet I can't think of anything more depressing than going to Coles right now.

It's probably not a good day to blog.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

can you say 'fear-mongering', boys and girls?

First fridge magnets, now Clover's Go Bag - General - News -

Okay yes preparation is important - 'be prepared' isn't the Scouts' motto for nothing. But this just strikes me as completely ridiculous. A 'go bag'? To go where, exactly? Say there's a terrorist attack - well, don't panic, you have your nifty backpack with sunblock in it, you'll be fine. Now if it had a teleporter in it and could transport you to somewhere safe a hundred kilometres away, then sure.

The Lord Mayor Clover Moore says:
"However, I would say that, really, we have got a duty of care in terms of helping people to prepare. I have to say living through the [1999] hailstorm, I realised at that time how unready we were for a catastrophe of that sort."
How is a 'go bag' going to help you in a hailstorm, especially when residents are also advised to "flee to one of three CBD safety sites at Darling Harbour, Hyde Park or the Domain if disaster strikes"?! I guess you could put it over your head and run.

Guh. Propaganda is just so tiresome.

Monday, 16 July 2007


Had quite a good weekend after a bit of an emotional blip in the middle. Saw the lovely Baddeleys on Friday night for dinner and Buffy (almost at the end!). Went to the gym on Saturday and my trainer pushed me really hard so now I'm walking around like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, with very stiff legs. Mum took me to La Premiere at Fox to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I loved (even though Bethany hated it, I thought they did a good job condensing what must be almost impossible books to condense).

Then that night I just got irrationally emotional, as happens from time to time. I went to bed and lay in the dark, praying about things, but each thing that I prayed about suddenly became a huge, terrible, impossible problem. For example, I started praying that my mum's sore leg would get better and that the doctor will be able to give her some answers about it. That turned into 'what if she has to have surgery and it goes wrong and she dies? I can't live without my mum!', which turned into me bawling. I eventually realised the irrationality of that whole thought process, reined my thoughts in and got the prayers back on track, only to be derailed by something else dramatic within the next minute. I told Dave about it and he said "Man, how do you do that? If it was me I'd just be going 'Lord, make my mum's leg better'. You ought to be a writ...oh wait, you are a writer."

Anyway, Sunday was much better. Church in the morning, then in the afternoon mum and I picked up Freda and we went to the Observatory Hotel (my favourite Sydney hotel) for high tea, and oh it was delightful. I had 'white peony' tea, which was lovely, as well as all the delicious things to eat. The three of us had a great time and wonderful conversations. Mum truly spoiled us this weekend; it's so nice to be able to do these things once in a while, and to spend time with people you love. (Mum's going to hate these photos, but sorry mum...I like them! That's her on the left and Freda on the right.)

Then mum and I went to Wild St Church to hear Mark preach on Jonah, which was great, then home to crash. I went to bed early but still didn't feel like I got enough sleep. There's something to be said for hibernation.

Monday, 9 July 2007

things for a rainy Monday

  • Almost had a car accident this morning as I was pulling out of my parking space. Checked that there was no one coming and as I pulled out, there was suddenly this black Lexus right behind me, beeping me and glaring at me as he overtook me. Either he had his cloaking device activated, or very effective camouflage because I seriously didn't see him. And who drives a black car without their headlights on in thunderstorm weather like this? Huh? Grr.

  • It's absolutely pouring here, and hailing intermittently. I love it.

  • Mum is organising a group from our church to go to Women's Convention in September and the original house she was going to book has fallen through, but she found somewhere that looks much nicer. I said we ought to make it a spoily women's weekend away so that we have the wonderful talks from the convention but also get to eat lots of chocolate and lovely food and have spas and all that. So I might start thinking of yummy things to cook...I'm quite looking forward to it! The only thing I think is ironic is that we'll be staying in somewhere called 'Bodhi Grove' whilst going to a Christian convention. But as 'bodhi' simply means enlightenment I reckon we can commandeer it and have an enlightening weekend in a non-Buddhist way :)

  • Jess was very sweet and bought me a croissant this morning because I had been too disorganised to eat breakfast before I left the house. Also I haven't done groceries for about three weeks now so there's not much in the way of readily edible food (requiring little preparation, I mean).

  • I need more coffee.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

far afield

I am completely flu-tastic. I put off my gym training session this week to this afternoon because I was sick but I'm still not great and now I have the cough to prove it, so I'm thinking I'll just have to suck it up and pay the forfeit fee. It's better than struggling through an hour of workout only to completely conk out afterwards.

But I got to see Jackie and Jake two nights in a row! We went out for dinner to Bill and Toni's on Thursday, and then they both came round for Thai and DVDs last night. Even though I coughed my way through most of both evenings, it was so good to see them both. It would be nice if we were all in the same country more often. Jake goes back to the UK today and Jackie goes back to Canberra. Canberra's closer than Coventry, but still...

That's the thing about wonderful friends being overseas (soon to be Mark and Jen too...sob!) - you can keep in touch and chat online and keep a semblance of the idea that you're all not really that far apart. But nothing beats just being able to get together on a whim. And you can't have nice big warm hugs when the other person is in the opposite hemisphere.

I know there's not much chance of me travelling in the near future, money situation being what it is, but oh how good it would be to be able to go and visit some of these people myself!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

the faithful writer

I forgot to mention in the last post something else that happened - the lovely Karen Beilharz asked me to be on a panel about Christians and Fiction Writing at the upcoming Faithful Writer conference. I feel quite humbled at being asked to be on this panel, especially considering it was one that I really wanted to hear (eep - I'd better make sure I have something worthwhile to say!). I'm really looking forward to the conference.

You should come!

catch up

So, yeah, I have gotten the flu. Or something quite like it. I suppose it's not that much of a surprise, given that I've been around people for the last few weeks who had gotten sick, and spent last weekend at Collaroy sleeping in a room that was so cold I needed to wear my beanie and fingerless gloves to bed.

I'm feeling marginally better than this morning, so thought I'd post what I've been up to.

went to MAC Con at Collaroy

It was a good weekend, although I wonder if maybe I've been going to Equip too long, as MAC Con seemed a lot less slick. Still, that didn't affect the content at all - Narelle's great talks showed that 'The Truth about Jesus', is that he divides the world, is death defeated, reveals judgement, and is love. We were reminded of Jesus' power and authority, as well as his humanity and his great love for us.

I also went to Jen's seminar (twice!) on 'A Dangerous Transformation', which emphasised that Jesus knows exactly who we are on the inside, but also who we can become, and that the change that we undergo through trials and suffering isn't just arbitrary, but is to transform us into being more like Jesus. We looked at the life of Peter by reading a bunch of verses from the gospels and Acts and seeing how his life was transformed, bit by bit. He didn't suddenly become this incredible evangelist; it was a long, painful process. Jesus identified exactly who he was at the beginning, but it took Peter a long time of incremental change to accept the truth and become the man Jesus knew he could be, through the Holy Spirit.

We did Fireside Readings again on Saturday night, which was well-attended. Jen co-ordinates this and even though she felt she hadn't put as much thought into it as previous years, a lot of people seemed encouraged. I read a DA Carson sonnet, an excerpt from Mary Andrews' biography, and joined with the other readers in a dramatic reading of John 9 (I was da man!).

I finished knitting my first scarf!

This was with the wool I bought in Katoomba. It's very warm and snuggly, and I am proud of myself that I actually finished knitting something!

I've been working
Although I'm sick today, I feel quite happy that I've been able to work longer hours. I can't remember if I wrote about it here, but I got into a bit of a sticky situation with work; they (kindly) kept paying me while I was away sick all that time, but now I have this massive deficit of hours to make up (over 100). So I calculated how long it would take me to work it back and I think by September I should be right again. I was going to work on Saturdays too to speed up the process, but that was not a very wise idea - I did it twice, then realised I really do need the weekend to rest or I'll just get sick again. Also part of the problem is I have no holidays left so if I want to have holidays at the end of the year I'll need to do more overtime after September to accrue time off. If you're the praying type, pray that I'd have the stamina to get through this!

I haven't been writing
This is another downside. It hasn't even occurred to me to spend time writing since I've gotten back from Varuna, as I've just been focused on work. And it's not like I'm even working that much more, but even an hour or two extra means I'm too tired to do anything else when I get home. I need to work out some sort of strategy for allocating writing time that I stick to. Maybe Saturday mornings should be writing time.

I joined Facebook
What is it about these online communities that is so addictive? Now I have a myspace and a Facebook...what next?

That's enough for now. Think I need to sleep again.

Monday, 2 July 2007

i think i'm getting a cold

This is a thing that happens to me quite a lot. Everyone goes mental about a book or a movie or a TV show and that makes me deliberately avoid it. And I'm probably the last person to realise this, but Grey's Anatomy is really good. Also, it makes me cry, even though I find Ellen Pompeo really, really annoying in a pseudo-Renee-Zellweger kind of way. I have a suspicion that it's one of those shows that might lose its charm over time, but for the moment I'm enjoying it rather a lot and am grateful to Kieran for lending it to me all those months ago.

(sorry Barbara - I'll post a proper post soon...I'm just so tired this is all I can manage for the moment!)