Monday, February 28, 2011

The Lost Thing - Found

Congrats to Shaun Tan and crew for winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Nice acceptance speech by Shaun Tan, who could have shown some of those fancy actors who should know better how to do it.

Truly, the stuff some dreams are made of.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Writers Go AWOL

A couple of days at the beach to
clear our heads
open our hearts
and kick at the coals
of our

Tears, cucumbers, ants and feasts
stories, laughter, tissues
a problem solved
a butterfly emerged
our time, too short
but enough
for now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Maslow's Theory & Bookstores

Trying to understand why David (Readings) won against the Goliath of Borders in Carlton, I checked out old Maslow's theory to look for answers.

It just doesn't seem to make sense that a buyer, given the choice, would rather access books at a higher price from a store 50 metres away as in the Readings/Borders case in Carlton. Isn't the world today driven by economics? Cheap is good, right?

I had to go to the top of Maslow's pyramid to find my answers. Buying books is not like buying life's essentials such as food or shelter. (Or though, some of us might argue otherwise.) Buying books is an experience, rather like going to the movies instead of staying home and watching the same thing on pirated DVDs. You want the experience of going to a beautifully designed store, filled to the brim with books (but not so full that you can't find anything) with helpful staff who will engage with you in discussion about A book over B book. Buying books in a supermarket or chain store is like buying the weekly groceries. Definitely not the same experience, though if that's the only option you have to get near a book, then go with that I say.

So, price isn't everything. (Gasp! What!) It is certainly a factor, but only one that I take into account when buying my books.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Little Shop Around the Corner Wins...

As Borders finds itself in financial strife, the doomsayers are rubbing their hands with solemn glee as they reiterate their favourite chant - 'It's the end of the world as we know it' (now, who sang that? REM?). It's true that the publishing industry is currently facing a major shake up and really it's not the best time to be a publisher/author/illustrator, but most of us are hanging on for dear life to see where the ride will take us.

Maybe they should make a sequel of 'You've Got Mail' where Fox Bookstore closes their doors and Meg Ryan opens up her Shop Around The Corner (or should she rename it Readings?), because when we last left her in YGM she was writing a book and I suspect it is the Independents who will be selling it.

That said, I had my last book launch at Borders Knox City and the staff were incredibly supportive and generous with their time. I have always found Borders staff helpful. So sending best wishes to them tonight — hope we can all hang on for the ride.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Don't stand so close to me...

Sorry for the Police reference. I could have used Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall but it didn't seem as appropriate. I have come to the very slow realisation that I am becoming more claustrophobic as I get older. It's crept up on me like a slow growing vine, and sometimes I'll turn around quickly to see it has progressed a few more leaves at a time.

I first noticed it at shopping centres. Ikea was the worst. All those arrows spiralling you into the ultimate shopping experience. When I moved out of my small office at work with the tiny window looking out on the sky and neighbour's roof, I moved downstairs into the bigger office downstairs and faced a brick wall. Still, to my right was a huge expanse of window and views of the sky which helped. Now I work from home and my office window looks out onto the garden.


Outside my home office the other day a trailer load of cut wood was stacked outside my window, cutting off my view of the green and the street and the cars coming up the drive. At first I didn't worry, but after a couple of days I had to restack the whole pile to somewhere else, as the panic of enclosure began to set in. How nice of my daughter to help me. Still, I wonder what it's all about?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blackbird fly...

For the past several days a little black and white bird has been attempting to fly through the window at the back of our house. It goes something like this. She lands on a back railing. Flies to the top of the large market umbrella near the window. Then flies at the window, only veering away at the last minute. This pattern continues until she is exhausted, then she leaves, only to return and try again.

I was thinking of her yesterday as I sat waiting for my one on one meeting with the Australian Arts Council Grants officer. The amount of 'established writers' who received grants last year was around 13. Three of those wrote in the YA genre. My chances of getting a grant are minuscule. Making a living by writing for children is reserved for the very few.

Yet at the moment I am like by black and white friend. Caught by the allure of something out of reach. I continue to fly toward it.

I wonder if it's too late to be a brain surgeon...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wet, wet, wet...

was a band, but also the state of our suburb on Saturday morning as we woke to find trees on roads and cars submerged under instant street lakes. I never understood why people flocked to gawk at such events, but now get it. There is something of the 'there but for the grace of God', something of the awe of nature's force and something of the 'I see it but don't believe it' variety. In the top photo, a tree near us takes out road access. In the waterlogged picture (down the road from us), just next to the ute, you can see just the top of a car rising above the water. Much later in the day, as water drained away, another car appeared.
It has just started raining again.

Friday, February 4, 2011

You don't know what you've got until it's gone

Reports on the news last night were that bananas were going to skyrocket in price due to the recent floods. At this point we had three bananas going through their usual state of wilt in our fruit bowl.
'Oh no!' wailed my daughter.
She pointed to the screen.
'You don't even eat bananas,' I retorted.
'But when I can't have them, that's when I really want them,' was her reply.