1 Nov 2014
NaNoWriMo starts today. Read More
13 Jun 2014
One hundred and eighty five days is a long time to not do something you profess to love. It has been one hundred and eighty five days since I wrote a blog post. This blog which sustained me during dark times, good times, mothering times, and busy times, has been shelved. It was intentional, in a way. Read More
30 Nov 2013
The final blogvember piece herald the beginning of the end of the year. Bring on the parties, the glasses of fizz, the gin and tonics. New traditions I am forging like a tree from 1 December, and homemade advent calendar give me joy and I hope can bring back the pleasures of the season that are sometimes jettisoned for style over substance.
Today we bought all the dried fruit and mixed peel and cinnamon sticks we need from the markets. We bought vermouth and brandy, bitters and more. All the base ingredients for mince tarts, fruit cake, puddings and delicious drinks. Here’s cheers to that! The next few weeks are a whirlwind. I am going to try to focus on the enjoyment of the little simple pleasures. The joy of champagne popping, the tinkling lights, the smiles of people I love. I will try to not get too hot and bothered. We will have cold lunch and pudding at 10 o’clock at night when it’s cool enough. I am looking forward particularly to trifle. I love trifle more than almost all the other christmasy treat combined. You’ll find me on Boxing Day morning with a spoon and my head inside the fridge.
Let’s deck the halls and make the yuletide gay. Now all I want to do is count down. Christmas in T – minus 25 days.
29 Nov 2013
This blogvember I have so far written 11 536 words. By the last word on the post tomorrow it will be over 12 000. There are insights in those words, secrets and typos. There were a wide variety of topics covered and having completed a quick review, some of the writing could be better, and a lot of it would have been better with more editing. Such is the challenge of blogvember, write everyday, write fast and post.
The discipline of writing everyday is one of the techniques most commonly cited in advice for writers.
I’ve cited this before and I will again to remind myself that I am not there yet.
WRITE EVERY DAY
Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about. (Colin Nissan)
Much self editing has been at play, and not enough exposure. The exposing of insecurities I still need to work on. The generation of new ideas has been easier and harder than last year, sometimes I think because some of my ideas have already had a good run. It also lead me to conclude that there is a bit of sameness in the routine between this year and last year. I think now would be a good time for a complete overhaul and a new writing venture. I’ll be mulling that over while I keep doing my daily workout over the summer.
29 Nov 2013
12 months, 11 women, much wine and many opinions.
The Christmas celebration was filled with cheesy Christmas music – Michael Bublé anyone? – and great food. It was for many the first official end of year celebration and there was some relish with which several members of the party took to that first gin and tonic.
Blogvember took a back seat while we feasted and chatted. During the end of dinner there was a suggestion of writing a line each for a post, however when it came to it, the motivation waned. I did however ask the eleven women some questions. And here is a glimpse into what we get up to once a month.
I like book club because I read things I would never otherwise read – KM
And sometimes I appreciate the books more after we discuss them. However, in most cases I still forget them – AM
What about the new Christos Tsiolkas one? Is that full of the c word like the last one? KM
They are quite good to listen to in the car … Matthew Riley .. talking books – AM
Coming down in favour of Roadl Dahl for the kids as talking books … they are good family distraction – CP
I like book club because it is my only adult pursuit – TP
David Tennant doing all the Vikings accents – is awesome – I love David – the how to train your dragon stories are awesome, the characters are awesome, even if I can never remember all their names – CP
I love bookclub because you can be smart at bookclub and it is ok, no wait, it’s because you can be opinionated and that’s ok – TL
I love bookclub because I get to hang out with fabulous women – LR
I love bookclub because I have met wonderful women I might never have met – KSM
The only reason I am here is because I had a crush on Paula’s boyfriend – TP
It is not about the book, it’s about downloading our lives – KSM
The books are sometimes hotly debated. Contentious books particularly. The chats and stories and support are worth as much as all the books in the world.
This year we read – Flaubert’s Parrot (Jullian Barnes), Past the Shallows (Favel Parret), When Colts Ran (Roger McDonald – our Canberra Centenary book), 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window (Jonas Janasson), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo), Illegal Action (Stella Rimington), The Rose Grower (Michelle De Krester), The Constant Gardener (John LeCarre), The Perks of Being a Wall Flower (Stephen Chbosky), Burial Rites (Hannah Kent), and Dog Boy (Eva Hornung ).
26 Nov 2013
There are parts of me that are damaged and sore. Literally and metaphorically the tender velvet purple bruise of pain resides in my right hip. It is at times more present and then, it recedes and fades. The soft part which is evident if you press it, if I lie on it, is protected, shielded and cosseted. The words to describe the pain do not come easily. I wonder if it will ever heal. Ever stop hurting.
The pain leads to compensation. It leads to holding back. I don’t use the full range of motion. I lengthen, only to a point. I hold back and keep myself in check, in reserve. Literally and metaphorically the pain is protected. I hold it in, as I hold myself back. I downplay. It doesn’t hurt that much. It doesn’t hurt today. It’ll feel better after I had a hot pack, a panadol, a stretch. Deep in my hip the pain curls itself deep in the tissue and keeps quiet and invisible.
The causes of the velvet purple bruise of pain are deeper than the tissue. They are deeper than me. They might stretch back to the beginning of me. The soft parts need careful handling. The bruise needs to be strengthened from the inside. The support structures of the hip, the tissues, the tendons need to be gently worked over. The rest of me need to be able to sustain. The rest of me needs to bear the bruise and the pain of working on the damage. I can’t run. It follows. I fell and now I am paying for hitting the ground.
25 Nov 2013
In the late seventies there was an island where, for a fee, you could live out your fantasies. My fantasy island doesn’t involve fees, or dwarves or sea planes, or humidity. The island of my imagination is for mothers. Exclusively. Almost no one else is allowed. There is only wine you like, books you like, music you like, lots of relaxation and uninterrupted sleep. It is for mothers. You don’t have to wash clothes, or iron, or wash up, or cook. Or you can do all those things if they make you feel good. There are massages, and clean sheets every single night. Ironed. Clean. Linen. Sheets – every single night. There is any book you want, or any magazine, or any anything with words in the world, immediately. There is music. Lots of music. And tea. There is always a packet of chips, or an orange, or a lamington, or cheese and bix.
The island is only for mothers because even when, or if, they go on holidays, they are never off duty. There is never the chance to just let go. That can only happen when everyone else is totally happy, comfortable and asleep. This is not possible in normal circumstances.
On my fantasy island, there are no fees, it’s not means tested, it takes anyone of any colour, race or creed. You can talk to anyone or no one. It is totally up to you. Simply, it is the best place on earth. I think it should be entirely tax payer funded. It is a community service to have invested time, energy and mental respite to mothers. My childless friends should not miss out, so they can apply through a ballot, for a few limited spots. The weather is never more than 25 degrees. It is never more than about 50% humidity. You don’t have to pack. Everything you need is provided, and it is all much nicer than the stuff you would have packed anyway.
Fantasy island is the place I always want to go in my imagination. When I need the respite from the hurly burly of the world. Wouldn’t it be great?
24 Nov 2013
While I like to think that good cheer, the milk of human kindness and joy will be enough to see us through to the end of the ‘silly season’, I know it won’t be enough. No amount of extra yoga and breathing through your nose will be sufficient, by itself, to carry me across the finish line that is Christmas eve in one piece. I am going to need some help. If I am going to survive the kindy Christmas party, work Christmas party, other parties, end of year celebrations for bookclub, mum’s group, family gatherings, not to mention the birthdays and festivities, not to mention the shopping, gathering, cooking, I will need gin. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. This is before I even think about how to tackle the day itself.
This Sunday I confess to my tricks to assist with the extra frivolity and carnival atmosphere that will invade our lives very soon.
Gin and tonic. Wine. Campari spritzers. Christmas cake and cups of tea. Sometimes all of the above.
Soon we all need to start preparing in earnest. I like to begin this madness by preparing my emergency stash. Bottle of gin. Chips. Several bottles of wine. Wine bottle gift bags. The gin is for me, as are the chips, the wine is to slide into a bag and give away. It is ready for all the people who will invite you round, turn up with a gift or present you with a cheery card when you haven’t factored them into your shopping list. In fact, I no long even make the list, I just get the wine in, get the bags and a sparkly texta and away I go. Walking out the door, pass by the laundry, wine, ready to go.
Every time I go to the supermarket now, I come home with at least one of the novelty Christmas-y chocolate packs. Gold ones. I wrap them or just stick bows on them. That stash occasionally gets too large and we have left over Ferraro all over the house for months into the new year.
There is another trick, although it is wearing a little thin in this house, is this CD. Or should I say three CD set!
I defy anyone not to be cheered by this festival of lounge music cheese – yes mum, I am looking at you. I do like the Bublé in the car so I can sing along and no one can hear me. No one will let me listen to it at home! With that preparation in place, then all I need to do is crank up the stereo, open the front door and try to remember which red frock I wore to which party last year.
Time to confess! How do you survive December with all its delights? Do you need a Bex and a good lie down just thinking about it? Tell me how you cope.
22 Nov 2013
The Boundless Playground, an all abilities playground, to mark the centenary of Canberra is a project which is gift to the children of the national capital, from the public servants of Canberra. An important place designed for all children, regardless of ability, the Boundless Playground will provide a place for all children to play, regardless of what they can do.
A lot of us, all our family actually, has been involved in large and small ways since the beginning of the project. We have rattled fund-raising tins, administered websites, assisted with events, sung in choirs and helped out at events. The effort involved in organising such a project takes hundreds of people, long-term commitment and ideas. Creative ideas to raise awareness and funds. One of the more creative ideas was a mass choir with a Boundless song, specifically written by talented Canberra duo, The Cashews. The best thing about the mass choir is that it was full of real people, of all abilities, young and old. And it featured children. Lots of children. Some of the children were interviewed about playgrounds and the kids, lots of whom we know, made into the video. Here is it. Where do playgrounds come from? by The Cashews and the massed choir in support of the Boundless Playground.
The video features one little boy, talking about slides at about the 33 second mark. You might recognise him.
You can make a donation to important work of the Boundless Playground here.
21 Nov 2013
November 21 is World Philosophy Day 2013. This year’s theme is “Inclusive Societies, Sustainable Planet”. Organised by UNESCO on the day after the General Conference, it is an international event.
Celebrated on 21 November 2013, the 11th edition of the World Philosophy Day will be an opportunity to organize, on all continents, various events under the general theme of the 2013 World Philosophy Day “Inclusive Societies, Sustainable Planet”. They will enable their participants to share a multitude of views and experiences, fully respecting cultural diversity.
Suggested activities that could be organised by people around the world include public meetings and debates, philosophy cafés or a concert. The ideas to be discussed concepts of social justice, solidarity, exclusion and inclusion in different societies, as well as issues related to the vulnerability of various groups – including women, children, young people, people with disabilities, minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, people living in poverty – and the interfaces between these issues and sustainable development. Ideas that could not be more pressing for the world, for Australia and for thinking people everywhere. What saddens me the most is that we are not having this debate. We are not talking about toleration. About peaceful coexistence, about compassion, about acceptance.
We are talking about stopping boats, about putting children in detention and about reducing funding for services to people who need them. In few places is there room to talk about innovation and big ideas to help us solve the issues we face as a nation and as a world. Only a few conversations are being had in a noisy, angry debate, are about what can be done, rather than what we cannot do.
One of the most interesting sessions on the program for the World Philosophy Day this year, is a masterclass on teaching philosophy to children. It is to be a demonstration. It will present techniques in teaching children to reason, to argue, to work through significant issues themselves and to listen to other points of view. I wish I could go. Children are invited, I wish Benedict could go. I wish philosophy was taught in every school, to every kid, for the good of the world. In the words of the organisers of this event
The introduction of children to logical and rational thought not only develops their philosophical spontaneity but helps them become enlightened citizens, capable of formulating their own critical judgment and clear and reflective views about life from a very early age.
Enlightened citizens are who we need. They will be the ones to make sense of all the mess we are creating right now. They are the ones who will have to clean up.
20 Nov 2013
I am not here. My new nephew was born today.
I have been out to dinner. Mocan and Green Grout. I ate the most delicious steak tartare that Canberra has to offer. And many other delicious things.
There is too much real life today to fit in any writing. Cheers. Here is to new humans. Welcome Jack. Pleased that you are part of our family little boy.