Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wondering how to comprehend Australian politics?

Look no further.

The Harry Potter version of Australian politics over the last three years is all spelled out for you right here.

Meanwhile I have discovered we live in the most marginal seat in Australia. I heard the three candidates interviewed on 774 last Thursday morning. And I was utterly relieved to hear how sensible our Green candidate is.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lines written while sitting up with a sick child

Inside our darkened lounge kitchen dining
(one space for all our living)
The clock keeps a steady heart
The tin roof shrinks at intervals
As outside the temperature drops.
The sharp contractions sound
Like a giant curious finger
Rousing life in this insect house.
Tap tap. Tap tap tap.
Sometimes it finds its rhythm
But it can’t keep up
With the clock’s steadfast drum.

Today in the late winter sun
Una and I walked the dirt tracks.
We stopped to talk to a neighbour who was
In her garden raking up leaves
To feed the tamed appetites of two garden fires.
We marvelled at the roundness of me:
Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?
It’s a baby brother, Una said.
The neighbour said
I have a name for you
And offered it up, a single word,
Muttered over her twin fires like a spell.
It means resolute protector.
Una and I went further up the hill
Her short legs soon growing tired of the climb
We took a short cut behind the houses
Through the bush.
We discovered a toadstool
She stumbled on the downwards path
Air and light entered us.

The fridge whirrs into life.
Una on the couch
Dwells at the border of sleep
Her eyelids fluttering open.
Tap. Tap tap.

Deep in the well of my flesh
The unnamed
Baby in darkness
Taps back.

Monday, August 02, 2010


New (to me) blog: Mila's Dreams*. Beautiful photographs but for some reason they brought to mind this passage about Mrs Darling airing her children's thoughts.
Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.

From J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan
*Brought to my attention via Twitter by Rihana, rhymes with banana, one of my star students from my RADICAL fiction class last year. Peter Pan definitely counts as radical in my book.

New Tricks for Old Voices

On Saturday morning I appeared in a panel at the Eltham New Voices alongside other bloggers, the eeerily familiar, don't-I-know-you-from-somewhere (he said it first but I was thinking it too) James Bradley of City of Tongues (also billed as international bestselling author - show off), writer-philosopher Damon Young and the ever delightful Karen Andrews, editor of Miscellaneous Voices, Australia's first blog anthology. The festival is organised by Mira of Eltham Bookshop, a lovely oldschool bookshop that stocks a goodly collection of poetry, short stories and children's books, and is very supportive of local authors and new talent.

The topic was blogging and new media, and ended up sort of being about its relationship to the book as well, considering we are all included in Miscellaneous Voices, which is, of course, as we experts like to call it, a book with a spine. And all of us are published authors who already have a public voice. It was fascinating and the discussion ranged from themes to do with community, identity, playfulness, direct relationships with the reader, writing in a populated place rather than into the void, habits of collecting, the flexible possibilities of writing online and finding new voices for ourselves.

It was a great event, lovely to see something happening out in the suburbs have such interest. The festival is in its fifth year, and clearly going strong.

The best part for me was hanging out with other writer-parents and talking about our bad habits and how we manage the work-life balance. And just making each other laugh.

Damon has a regular series of guest posts on his blog darkly wise, rudely great (what a great name) on tools writer's use and you can read my response here, fresh up today. I really recommend strolling through the archives of this series because it does make for fascinating reading.