Sunday, October 11, 2009

A small free kiss in the dark

I have just finished reading this gorgeous book by Glenda Millard. It is a gentle telling of war-ridden Melbourne and narrated by Skip, a boy who was already homeless before the start of the war. There is something fascinating to me about stories where the main protagonist is dealing with a war or post-war situation. It may have something to do with growing up during the Cold War where such stories abounded. It's also a great device for kids to be the hero of the story without parental supervision or interference. I enjoyed the Melbourne references, though saddened to think of the State Library taking such a beating. I think it's so important for Australian kids to have their own lives reflected in the stories they read, be it geographical, vernacular or cultural references. Congrats Glenda.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Science Fiction - just another excuse to write good stories

I am currently reading The Best Short Stories of Ray Bradbury, a book which I have just discovered in my garage stash. Some of the stories are dated with their reference to years which have come and gone without the advent of flying cars or completely autonomised homes, but the essence of the stories ring true. Bradbury writes about human nature, and this never changes, no matter how 'modern' we think we are. In this age of 'the latest thing', it's nice to delve back into the bookshelf and see the legacy left by yesterday's authors.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Axe-murderer is upstairs...

The rain rattles at the door, the floor above me creaks when I know that no one is upstairs, I turn up the radio, bolt the front door and try to calm my imagination.
Damn Stephen King!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hail Middleaged Frumpiness

There is something to be said for anonymity of middle-aged frumpiness. You are totally invisible to the world and can enjoy the best eavesdropping opportunities while fading into the wallpaper. Last week at breakfast, armed with a magazine and flat white, I caught the conversation from the table 5cm away. (Those inner city places love to pack em in.) A word of warning. If you are going to eat breakfast in public and declare that someone is dumb, it will probably reflect back off those groovy mirrored walls that adorn the very groovy eatery you have chosen to breakfast at and hit you right in the face. I sided with every person subsequently slagged off and was left to consider the idiosyncratic nature of someone who will only drink Pepsi in a crystal glass every hour on the hour — a story I did not hear the end of. Which reminds me of another conversation that I didn't hear the end of. I went home and finished that conversation by writing a short story which subsequently became a 14 book series. There is something to be said for listening in...(and not getting caught).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Year's Resolutions... in March

It took me until now to figure out that you can make a New Year's Resolution whenever you like.
I used to think you had to make it on the stroke of 12 on Jan 1, then I used to give myself some leeway and it could be up to a week later then the whole month of January.
Then I stopped making them, because I would never keep them (usually 'my NYR is to lose 50kg in the next five weeks') but I made one the other day and have stuck to it so far.
The resolution was to contact at least one friend per day. Which doesn't sound a lot except that I'd managed to get to a point where managing to contact one friend A WEEK was all I could do. I started on March 1 and so far have kept to it. It's making me feel better, less closed off from the outside world and is keeping me from the hermit persona that I could easily slip into if I let myself.
It's a bit weird in this age of being able to be in touch 24/7 that we seem to communicate less with the people we care about...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What mothers tell you

I currently have an ulcer on my tongue.
The first time I ever mentioned I had an ulcer on my tongue my mother told me I must have told a lie. I was about four. There was a pretty fair chance that I had told a lie at some point, so I never mentioned it again.
Also, there's the furphy about not making a face in case the wind changes and your strange expression stays as a permanent look.
My mother also told me that writing on your skin gives you ringworms.
My mother's friend told me that earwigs got their name because they crawled into sleeper's ears at night. I spent years with my hand covering the ear not pressed into the pillow.
Does anyone else have any special insights from their mothers/aunts/fathers/uncles etc?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Ultimate Escape

Seems P.S. and I have something in common. We both have a yearning to live in the amazing treehouse created in the the Disney version of Swiss Family Robinson. I know Disney has a lot to answer for, but its films and animations definitely coloured my childhood and I never quite lost the yearning to live on a deserted island in the amazing treehouse (with one of the hunky boys). Does make you wonder, though, how far from the evolution tree we have come... and why I'm trying to get back there. Which reminds me of the chimpanzee who has given scientists the evidence they were looking for re cognitive thinking. Seems he stored up some rocks but waited for the lunchtime crowds at the zoo before pelting them at his visitors. Fair enough really. Wonder what he would think of the SFR treehouse?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Got it covered?

I'm looking for the perfect cover.
Sometimes I think I've seen it, but when I check on it later, sometimes only days later, I've moved on.
What makes a great cover?
That's my question. Does there need to be a mystery about it? Does it need to give a hint to what's inside? Is it about the embellishments or the size of the type on the cover or the colour palette that was used?
What is that elusive ingredient that makes you stand back and say, now that is a cool cover?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have you noticed...

that it's the things people don't say that are sometimes more interesting than the things they do say?
One of the things that I have been asked most often about Chasing Boys is, How did Gaston get his scar?
In an effort to mirror real life, I deliberately left this piece of information out of the story, and it seems that it has bugged some readers.
Then there's the person, when confronted with a newborn baby, who says 'Wow, look at all that hair'. (Implication, ugly baby.)
Or a comment on a new house, 'That kitchen is so compact, everything is in reach'. (Implication this is the smallest house ever.)
Or a new hairdo, 'I really like that colour'. (Implication, that shaved one side look does nothing for you.)
Or, 'I like those jeans better on you'. (Question, better than what? Comment by my mum.)
Has anyone else noticed this?