1 Nov 2014
NaNoWriMo starts today. Read More
14 Nov 2013
My son can’t read … yet. He can recognise letters and his own name. He knows when you *cough* skip over sections or pages of familiar books. He has been read to since the day he was born. His bedroom hosts the philosophy, poetry and reference sections of our library. When he was tiny, he did delight in making me furious by pulling the ones on the bottom shelf off, one at a time. Mostly he understands that books need to be treated with respect. I have never told him he can’t read a book. I will read him any book, any time. I have made myself a rule, which is often exploited, that I would never refuse him a book or reading time. Read More
10 Nov 2013
This Sunday I confess that I am in two minds about writing.
In my writing mind I am, at once, a much better writer and a much worse writer than I actually am. I’m better because in my writing mind I don’t make typos, I can spell, and I never use poor grammar or clumsy construction. I’m worse because what I write isn’t very interesting, it never lives up to my own high standards for prose style and it reveals the wrong things or not even close to enough of the truth.
This battle is played out, and if you’ve been reading for a while, you will have noticed it, across the posts on this blog. It appears when I am under pressure to write. Oh I can’t write that, I tell myself, or if I write that I’ll need to do ten hours of research to make it credible. The variations are endless as the two minds argue and bicker. The discipline and rigour of process should keep me on track. Practice and repetitions, like training, should be making the writing better, faster, easier. When the noise in my head gets too loud, I read about the practice of other writers. Discipline, routine and focus are constant themes.
I wonder sometime about whimsy. About putting ideas together in new ways. Kicking over the rocks. Debunking myths. Lately I’ve been wondering how I can make my plans for the study renovation to give myself a proper solo writing space. It needs to be a priority. The writing at the dining room table while homey and central to what’s important at our house, allows insufficient space for the two minds to argue, agree and disagree. Space is needed to keep the minds apart and let the truth out.
3 Nov 2013
Sunday is here. Following on from last year’s innovation, this Blogvember will feature a Confessional post on Sundays. Without further ado, for ado seems unnecessary, this Sunday I confess I am not ready for it to be December again. I have barely recovered from the last time.
December in our family is not just about Christmas. It is about birthdays. A lot of birthdays.
In our immediate circle of family and friends in the month from 28 November to 27 December there are nine birthdays. And there will be another added this year, when my sister-in-law has her second child. The December birthday honour roll includes two nieces, my brother, my son, and close friends children turning three and four; including one set of twins. I am always wary of adding them up in case I forget someone.
There are also a minimum of four childrens parties. The attempts to do combined parties are thwarted by interstate relatives and grandparents, or other difficult to work around family commitments. This means that we are at birthday parties every weekend for the whole of December, sometimes two in the one day. This is before the Christmas celebrations are taken into account. It makes me tired just thinking about it. This year I thought I had gone out early enough in the planning. I booked the hall. Set the date. Announced. Only to have been too late again. It’s three separate parties for the three kids who are turning four in the space of two days.
The shopping alone is enough to kill me. The present choosing, wrapping, card writing and arranging is a marathon. The cooking, and cleaning and in between it all, the odd bit of Christmas preparation. Last year, I wrote myself a list. It is in my diary. It has a detailed explanation of where I put the birthday accoutrements and in which box the Christmas lights have seen out the year. I glanced at the list the other day. I promptly shut the diary.
Boxing Day used to be all about cricket, ham rolls and beer. It is now about making the 27th of December special for my beautiful boy. I promise myself every year I will be one of those organised and on-top-of-it people who shop at the mid-year toy sales, who buy in bulk and wrap as they go. Bless me father, for I have sinned.
Oh how I laugh when I get to November and there are no age appropriate gift cards in the box. Tasteful adult cards? I have millions of them. Ones with dinosaurs and fairies and stuff little kids like? Totally absent. My continued lack of preparation and incremental forethought stares me in the face, as I peer into the box hoping that something will appear. Better get shopping. Actually, better have a gin before I start.
Suggestions welcome for birthday presents for girls turning three, four and nine, and for brother who has everything.
23 Jul 2013
Lovely Michelle who writes a beautiful blog, Book to The Future has tagged me in a lovely Ultimate Book Q&A.
Here are the Ultimate Book Q&A Rules
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to answer them too
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!
13 Apr 2013
Today would be a good day to write and write and write. It’s warm, my head is full of ideas. There are few plans for other things.
But I won’t. I will shop and cook and organise. I will exhaust myself with the dashing to and fro gathering all the supplies to survive another week. I will waste the precious time with talk to myself about how my family needs me and that I be happier if I rearranged the furniture.
This is a waste.
29 Nov 2012
With much fanfare and as much excitement as the finish of NaNoWriMo, I present the penultimate post of blogvember.
A quick recap if you’ll indulge me.
I wrote a blog post a day for the past 29 days.
I will write one more tomorrow and that will be a blog a day for the month of November. I wrote each post on the day they were published. I didn’t prepare in advance. I had a few prompts from my good friends on twitter, but otherwise I made it up as I went along. As with my writing for NaNoWriMo, I am a pantser with these challenges. Hardly any preparation, just a shell of an idea. See what happens.
I managed to write over 9 000 words. Not all of them are great words, some of them are out of order.
I did write over 1200 words about gin, which was a surprise. So few words?
A few posts were totally fantastic and a delight to write. I particularly loved post 28 for the reactions and for the joy of recognising a fantastic person. I also enjoyed writing everyday. Some posts were painful and were affected by tiredness. You can work out which ones those are for yourself, I am sure.
Only one day was I totally unable to write anything at all. The dog ate my homework post on day 17 features, The Kinks and well, sometimes that’s all you need. Well, The Kinks and rosé. I also wrote about a wide range of subjects, many of them close to my heart. And there is still one more post to come. Stay tuned.
12 Nov 2012
A while ago one of my favourite people, with whom I speak far less often than I would like, remarked on the value of chitter chatter. It is the talk you have where you don’t really have to say anything of import, but that the pleasure is just in the conversing itself. You talk comfortably and a rambling fashion in chitter chatter. Women are good at it, but men are too in the sort of conversation they have in quiet moments, when no one else is listening. Chitter chatter is best conducted with close confidantes where indiscretions can be swept aside and ignored. It is not the conversations you have that are programmatic. They are not about process, events, times and dates. It is about dreams, wishes, aspirations. It is about the ephemera of life, the insubstantial and the deeply important. Read More
9 Nov 2012
It takes time to establish new habits. While the brain may exhibit neuro-plasticity, the limbic system takes limited effort and energy to operate, while the pre-cortex or front brain which takes a lot of effort to run and consumes vast amounts of energy. What this means is that while your brain can learn new habits and patterns, the pre-disposition is for old patterns. It is quite literally painful to learn new habits and over-ride old patterns with new ones. It hurts your brain.
Today, I might have made a serious tactical error. I have, as is my established pattern, immediately started on the ‘Friday Fun’ when I got home this afternoon. This is fantastic from a Friday Fun perspective, it is lethal from a blog-every-day perspective. Read More
1 Nov 2012
On the way back from Melbourne, I gazed out the window mouching quietly about having missed seeing some fantastic people. There were just too few hours and I really needed a time machine to make it all work. I even missed out on drinking gin in The Gin Palace; that really really hurt. The trip was too short, the family commitments too long to make it work.
I started on a bit of a reverie then. I’m missing people, I’m missing writing, and I’m missing NaNoWriMo!
I tossed ideas around. What if I could do something else? How could I make this work? How could I write and keep the little smouldering embers of love of writing burning? I certainly couldn’t write 1667 words a day! But I could blog every day. I workshopped ideas. What to call it? Blog-a-rama? NoNoNaNoWriMo? Blog-vember? Yes that says it all. It’s November. It’s blogging.
I wrote the post and sent this little idea out into the ether and who should show up?
Only the gorgeous people I missed in Melbourne! I may have let out a little squeal of delight at the first response.
Here we all are. Drum roll please.
Blog-vember! A little idea to keep my writing spirits up and share the love.
Here are just a few of the people playing along.
Join us. You can still play and catch up and keep your writing spark. A post a day. Every day for November. Blog-vember!
31 Oct 2012
No No NaNoWriMo for me. I have come to a sad realisation that I cannot participate in NaNoWriMo this year. As much as this decision pains me, it is the right one for this year. I just cannot commit the necessary time and my experience last year taught me exactly what that commitment looks like. Of course, I am not willing to give up altogether. Too easy to do that.
A blog post every day for the month of November. At least that way I have a target and a writing goal. Feel free to leave pull-your-socks-up comments if I start writing about what I had for lunch – unless of course the lunch was at Tetsuya’s then you’ll just have to suffer through a blow by blow description.
For added interest, I will also give myself the end of November as the deadline for my long overdue book reviews that I keep promising and failing to deliver.
Join me! If you are NaNo-ing then go you. But if you are not join me for Blog-vember.
A post a day for November. Who’s in?