Monday, July 25, 2011


I was on a mission.
Two cats for two kids, ages 5 and 8.
It was a few weeks before Christmas, work was crazy busy and I hadn't even started shopping.
I dropped into the local animal shelter, unprepared for the emotional impact of so many tiny, fluffy creatures when I would only be taking two with me.
I took a lap of the room — filled with cages — and Snowy stood out for me straight away. She was alone in her cage, a little grey kitten with white and ginger, a loner which should have alerted me to her nature.
I chose the other kitten from a litter of identical ginger kittens, though he stood out as the one jumping up down and pouncing on his siblings.
I picked them up on Christmas Eve and hid them next door for a surprise Christmas morning gift. The male kitten went to my son and he named the ginger fluffball Milo. My daughter named her kitten Snowy. Not very original, but hey, she was 5!
The thing that I will remember the most is that Snowy used to perch on the chair behind my cat-hating husband and groom his close-cropped hair. It was his lap she always sought and we often caught them hanging out together, my husband watching TV, Snowy purring contentedly while he scruffed her behind the ears.

We'll be taking her home from the vet today to bury her in the garden.
Thanks for your kind wishes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What are they teaching kids at school?

It's great that I learned about the Aztecs and the Elizabethans and alluvial soil
and the square root of things when I was at school,
but what would really have been handy would be
to have learned about:

How to read my superannuation statement
Understanding the stock market
Investment strategies
How to build a house
How to fix a car
Or make a dry stone fence
Or weave a rug
Or make furniture

and I could have learned about that other fairly interesting
but totally useless for real life stuff in my spare time.

Or not.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

101 Things to Do instead of writing

I sat down to write yesterday.
But first I had to check my emails and respond to them.
Then I checked out Facebook to see what I was missing out on.
Then I cleaned up my desktop.
Then I read the last chapter I worked on and did a bit of editing.
Then I was ready to start new writing.
So I got up to make myself a coffee and realised
this was the perfect day to swap the lounge room and dining room
which is something I'd been meaning to try for two years.
So I woke up the kids (11am by now)
and we finished up around 6ish
(have you ever tried to move a piano?).
So now I'm ready to write
today's the day
although I do need to go the bank at some point...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

News from home

I pushed Tully out into the world in 2009 and I hear from her every now and then. I heard back from her just last week — she's found her way to Germany, hanging out with El and the gang from Chasing Boys at Arena publishing, which was very exciting news. Can't wait to see the new cover — I wonder how different it will be from the Australian version which was designed by Regine Abos.

Talking about Regine, she will be speaking at the next Victorian SCBWI meeting on Saturday 23 July. Rege is an incredibly talented designer and her presentation should be a great insight into the design process. Hazel Edwards, one of the most inspirational teachers I've ever had, will also be talking, as well as illustrator Felicity Marshall who will be talking about her book The Star. Can't wait!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Some days
lack inspiration
any action

Some days
sparkle like the sun
pushing past
green leaves
like a breeze

Some days
just are.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Katy Did

'As for your algebra,' she said, 'if it is that very dirty book
with one one cover and scribbled all over the leaves,
you will find it under the kitchen table.'
(What Katy Did, Susan M. Coolidge)

I suspect Katy may have had some influence on my own maths aspirations as I was growing up. The Katy Series, by Susan M. Coolidge, was a favourite of mine that I read and reread and pondered and sighed over. I understood that the book was old (much in the same way that my teacher at school, Miss Nunn, was old at aged 22) but it was only years later that I found out the first book in the series, What Katy Did, was published in 1872. The books are sitting on my bookshelf now (after a rescue from the garage when I was blessed to get a whole room for writing a couple of years ago) and I am too wary to look back over the pages through the eyes of an adult.

Susan M. Coolidge was the pen name of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey. She was an author of children's books in the 1800s — a time when there were few books written specifically for children. She worked as a nurse during the American Civil War and it was after this that her writing career began.

I have read thousands of books over the years, but I would consider the favourites from my childhood to have had the most impact on my life. That's why I consider writing for children such an honour.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A hard habit to break

Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man,
but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
Mark Twain

Mark Twain - he looks grumpy, doesn't he? By all accounts the man had a wicked sense of humour and I would have like to have met him. Huck Finn was one of my childhood companions, Tom Sawyer another close ally.

So, to the habit of writing. I've been told that if you do something every day for 30 days, it will become entrenched as a habit. I guess this might be some of the thinking behind the NaNoWriMo idea. I know that it is easy to get into the habit of not writing, but that is not a habit that I would like to encourage. A little bit of writing every day. Down one step every day. It's not a lot to ask...