The humidity of the heatwave we’re experiencing in Queensland at the moment is turning the skies into all kinds of pinks, peach, yellows and blue at the moment. The high temperatures usually means a storm is imminent, and I couldn’t help thinking about the old shepherd’s saying as we headed back up the coast on the weekend. I believe the saying goes back to Biblical times, when the shepherds would check the skies constantly, the differences in the weather as essential to their crops and their livelihoods.
Times are not so different now. Yes, on the surface things have changed and modern technology makes us feel a world away from our ancestors. Judging from the spate of hurricanes, storms, floods and droughts in recent times, it seems we are as vulnerable to the changing climates as our ancestors were.
That’s why it’s good to stop once in a while and take in the beauty of Mother Nature, before our iphones and ipads, our social media apps and our computers demand our attention once more.
Have a good week and keep writing! 🙌 📚 💚 #writer #writerslife
We’re spending this weekend in the hinterland. Its so beautiful, with the rolling hills, sounds of lorikeets and kookaburras and cattle huddled under the shade of the large gum trees. Another world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The typical iconic landmark of an Aussie rural town is the windmill. When you see one, slowly turning, catching the scant breeze, then you know you’re in ‘woop woop land’ as the locals call it.
This windmill is in the grounds of the Bearded Dragon hotel, a pub that’s nestled at the foothills of Tambourine Mountain and has glorious views of the surrounding countryside. They also have Alpacas on site, plus a reptile show and a cane toad race – it doesn’t get any more Aussie than that!
Happy new year everyone and remember to keep motivated with your goals for 2019 (whatever they may be!)
I’m at the ‘slowing up for the Christmas break part’ of my summer uni course, a time when everyone is able to relax, having handed in their assignments, and we have the enjoyment of reading left to do. The unit, titled ‘Vision & Revisionism: Short Stories Now,’ has introduced me to short story writers such as Ceridwen Dovey, Ryan O’ Neill, Lydia Davis and Margaret Atwood (one of my favorite writers) and I’m enjoying discovering new writers each week.
Studying the Master’s degree has, if anything, left me discovering the truth of fiction writing – that it is very challenging! This may seem a naive way of thinking about the art of writing and the physical act of putting pen to paper (or fingers on keyboards) to create something new, but reading/studying/critically analyzing other texts have given me ‘food for thought.’ More than anything I’ve been challenged in my own perceptions of myself and my work, which is something all writers need for growth and survival. One important lesson I’ve learned is this – that originality in writing is a myth – that we are all influenced by our own backgrounds and our social/cultural/psychological attitudes to the world. These perceptions include influential works of every genre, as well as popular fiction, non-fiction and bios, but also in the visual arts, music, TV shows (yes, them too!) and media.
The following quote, from academic Lee Tanggaard, sums up succinctly what I’m trying to say! –
“Creativity is fundamentally relational – even if the immediate experience may be that the good ideas ‘pop’ into our heads” – Tanggaard
With this in mind, I’d like to share a few creative writing tips by none other than Anton Chekov himself (with my spin on his wise words) and his 6 Principles of a Good Short Story:
Try and avoid lengthy verbs of a political-social nature
Be as objective as you can
Always have truthful descriptions of a person/object
Have extreme brevity
Be audacious & original
Have compassion in your work
Have a good creative week – be influenced by your world and the words will flow!
It’s the second day of the APWT18 writers event on the Gold Coast and I’m loving the stories from around the globe. This morning I sat in on a discussion centred around translation methods in literature, and the challenges faced by the translator as they try and keep the tone, structure, empathy and perspective of the author. This covers novels, essays, poetry, non fiction and short stories and involves a connection with the translator and writer.
Later, I sat in on a writers session by well known Australian authors, including Matthew Condon and Julia Prendergast. Both have written about the seedy side of Australian lives, including police corruption, mafia-type gangs and drugs.
As the image shows, I’ve been credited as an edtor on the APWT program of events which is thrilling! So nice to see that my hard work on the biographies was appreciated. 🙏
I’m volunteering all this week at the APWT event at Griffith University, Gold Coast. All volunteers get to attend the lectures and workshops, and have a chance to meet authors and writers from around the world. Authors include Matthew Condon, Ravi Shankar, Ashley Hay, Nick Earls among others.
I’m also on the registration desk, so I had a chance to chat with different authors and speakers. I’m there all week, where I have a chance to browse the bookshop and attend writing sessions….its a real honor to be a part of it!
On the creative front, I’m hoping to get a publisher for my cosy mystery, Stella Windermere The case of the Drowned Man. I’m giving it until the middle of next year, then will self publish and market it. I have reflective essays to write before the Christmas wind down, plus I’m enrolled on a unit at Deakin called Revisionary short stories.
I sometimes feel that I have heaps of time to write, then my diary becomes full. My son Liam is up from Melbourne next week for Christmas, so there’s not much chance of a quiet time!
These photos were taken at Lake Moogerah, which is such a picturesque part of the Scenic Rim hinterland.
We stopped at a picnic area….with no tidbits for the birds but water! This Miner bird stayed with us a few minutes, hoping….then flew off.
Next time we visit, I ‘ll remember the wildlife!
On a creative note, I ‘ve finished proofreading my second Cozy Mystery! All the plotpoints/red herrings, seem to be in place. I just have to go over it again….its the most tedious part of the writing process and I couldn’t be an editor for a living that’s for sure!
Also, have enrolled in anther MOOC with the University of Iowa. Its free and this one’s called Stories and Places. I’m also enrolled on a uni course at Deakin over the summer, called Short Stories: Visionary & Revisionary…so have loads to keep me motivated!
This book has been on my TBR list for a few months. Its a pivotal text for anyone who has an interest in the Early Modern Period in European History, especially the phenomenon of the witchcraft trials and the persecution of thousands of men (but mostly women) that changed the very structures of society. It was a dangerous time to be different, and the religious and political reforms targeted the poor, the infirm, and women who, for whatever reasons, lived indepentantly from patriarchal society.
The Witch is an important read as an insight to this time, that seems so alien to the modern world.
Often known simply as ‘Daffodils’ or ‘The Daffodils’, William Wordsworth’s poem that begins ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ is, in many ways, the quintessential English Romantic poem. Its theme is the relationship between the individual and the natural world, though those daffodils are obviously the most memorable image from the poem. Here is the poem we should probably correctly call ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’, followed by a short analysis of its themes, meaning, and language.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Such a gorgeous part of the world. It amazes me that in all the years we’ve lived in Australia that we’re never travelled this far inland. We’ll definitely pay a visit again soon, its inspiring and breathtaking.