Tuesday 28 August 2007

Lunar eclipse

Tonight from 6.30 onwards in South Australia- what a great sight. I saw a girl crossing the road after school this afternoon, with a message written on her hand 'watch the moon tonight.'

tally, tally, tally

Janeen and Elizabeth at the Art Gallery- our last get together before the end of my residency- thanks for the great friendship!

Also inside the State library- what a place to study!!!!

The tally for my residency which has one day left to run:

* finished the first draft of my next verse novel
* wrote at least eight poems
* wrote a picture book text
* short stories
* networked
* walked
* thought and thought
Thanks to the May Gibbs committee for providing a wonderful writing space and the creative time to fast track and create new work.

Sunday 26 August 2007

Texture, antique books

As well as beautiful architecture there is also wonderful living sculptures like this vine. I love texture such as this.
I had such a great time delving into atmosphere with the State library children's collection that I went seeking an antique book of my very own. I found in Magill road a book published in 1876- a little bit later than the period I wanted, but wonderful and all for the princely sum of $4.00. It's called 'Favourite stories for the very young.' I also found 'First year of scientific knowledge.' I like the palm size book, the hard cover, the delicate pages. 'The first year of scientific knowledge' boasts that it sold 500,000 copies in France over 3 years! I love the inclusive way the author introduces knowledge- here's an excerpt from the first page:
'Animals, I am well sure , interest you more than plants and much more than stones. For animals grow, and move about; they feel, and manifest will; they live and they die.'

I have achieved much in this residency- shortly I'll list a tally. Today I am off to the art gallery with Elizabeth and Janeen.

Thursday 23 August 2007

state library, antique books

This monument to soldiers of the first world war stands along North Terrace. I visited the State library today for some research for my next book- and was helped so wonderfully by the children's collection librarian. I looked at some early children's' books and here's an excerpt from 'Quadrupeds and their uses: the entrails of the sheep are drawn out and twisted , so as to make the strong flexible stuff called cat-gut. It is used for the strings of fiddles, violins, harps and other musical instruments.'

I love libraries and the books and information that have been collected and stored so well. I read the handwritten recollections of Dorothy Gilbert born in the nineteenth century and written for her great niece in 1968. Having just lost my father in law, I wonder how many other interesting childhoods and lives we don't record?

Monday 20 August 2007

ooh I'm slipping

I'm slipping behind with posts. Now I've finished the first draft of the novel , I've been writing smaller poems, smaller stories and trying to wade into some projects that have been on the back burner for awhile. One book I am enjoying using- I've owned it for a number of years but haven't' systematically gone through it is 'Writing the Natural way' by Gabriele Rico. I love the idea of pushing into right brain- I worked all morning and then late afternoon walked- found a park to write the next version( take 6) of a picture book text I've been evolving for a year- but did I bring a pen???? I was still in right brain mode all foggy in the brain...

I love being in a city- able to walk to most amenities- after years of rural living I still marvel at all the facilities in town. One of the best is the corner post box!

See if you can spot the attraction in the sky...

Thursday 16 August 2007


Wonderful brick textures on houses here. And my writing needs texture too. I'm getting to that point in my residency where I have met a few of my drafts and now to let them simmer as I tackle some smaller projects. But that conflict, that tension- I need to bring it in more and more.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

friends for dinner

Perhaps one aspect of a fellowship - the silence is both a plus and a minus, so going to Janeen Brian's house for dinner was a treat. Negotiating a bus and then the tram was all part of the writer's journey and a chance to record a line of conversation...
Jude Aquilina from the SA writers' centre was also there. After a tour of Janeen's wonderful mosaic creations and a chance to talk about projects, we had dinner. ( one of Janeen's mosaics is in the background)

Today I have reached the 10000 words mark and feel confident about the conclusion- first draft should be finished this week.

Now I am off to Ngutto (gaining knowledge) Indigenous Literacy day fundraising event- including a reading by 2007 Miles Franklin award winner Alexis Wright.

Sunday 12 August 2007

getting there

Well, yes I am slowly writing, setting targets- maybe too modest, but the ultimate is to sit and type. In between the main novel I am re-writing some smaller stories, something I have to learn to get smarter at. I need to really pull my characters through the primeval forest, to throw every hardship and wrong turning I can at them. In short I'm learning to not be polite.

One thing I have noticed in Norwood- is the speed with which turning cars turn- not waiting for pedestrians to cross the road at all!!!

I am enjoying my walking, my reading- alright back to the writing NOW.

Friday 10 August 2007

May Gibbs night

Here I am with children's author, Elizabeth Hutchins (left)at a presentation night for our inaugural award- fellowships honouring South Australian children's author and poet Irene Gough. How wonderful to have such support for our writing- especially poetry written for children which seems often to fall to the bottom rung. We read selections of our work in the wonderful atmosphere of the South Australian Writers' Centre.
Elizabeth completed her residency recently in Brisbane and read a tantalizing section of her work. The first page of my novel in progress had a public airing. I am pleased to say that I've reached the 5000 word mark today. A much denser form of writing than prose.

Wednesday 8 August 2007

trees and grasses

I love trees and there are some wonderful trees very old in the racecourse area near where I'm staying. It's a wilderness right near a busy non stop traffic road- how we need wilderness areas- even if it is just for authors to walk and think. I'm ploughing ahead with my verse novel but the other novel has been put on the back burner, meanwhile I'm writing poetry, bits and pieces.

I even came home with some grasses to press, one particular species is important to my verse novel.
I also trialed a treasure hunt idea for poetry writing. It yielded three poems- one for children...
I have the bonus of trying to get fit again with all the walking and writing uninterrupted- wow.

Monday 6 August 2007

The planning, the motivation

This is the scary part- you kinda know what you want to write, but characters are the fleshing bit, so I've cut out some newspaper characters of how I think a particular character might look like. It's the closest I've come to fact files and it's surprising what the characters suggest to me.

Then I switch to poetry and after several hours I can't stand indoors- I've gotta get out- went for a long walk- my face is still red- good for me. Now to some more poetry.

Sunday 5 August 2007

for earnest now

That's the car and caravan heading back home- I'm in earnest now- so wrote nearly 2000 words of the novel, walked and now intend to complete another thousand this afternoon.
I need another planning session for the first novel and love the poetry text book I am working my way through- stimulating, challenging, pushing the creativity.

But silence is an interesting companion.

Saturday 4 August 2007


Last night I went to the Adelaide launch of the literary magazine 'Famous Reporter' this mag comes from Tasmania and Jude Aquilina launched the magazine as well as hosting the night- what a great job she did too. This is the 20th year of FR and it's literary magazines like this that offer the first support and encouragement to writers. FR published some of my first poems and one of my first short stories. Thanks Ralph!

Here I am at the studio about to tackle my writing projects- wonderful!

Thursday 2 August 2007

May Gibbs residency

Day one arrival:

I'm here setting up ready to write in the May Gibbs unit- what a welcome, flowers, cake and great support. I need to make myself a timetable and to make sure I walk, walk also.
Here's a photo from kelpie country Casterton on the way through to Adelaide.

Residency aims for me:

I hope to complete a small novel- seeds already in place and a huge slice of a larger novel and rewrites of a few small stories, as well as poetry- don't want much do I !!
Here's to a productive month of writing.

Monday 30 July 2007

May Gibbs

Well it's time for travel- to my May Gibbs writing residency. We had a late start due to a family death- how sharper are our awareness of relationships and support now.

Love the green countryside, the lush new plantings of trees, the Grampian mountains in the background and that hill at Dunkeld- wow what a backyard scuplture!

We are in Hamilton tonight and for the first time there is free wireless, let me repeat free wireless- bliss!

I have missed my week or more away from writing- I am itching to get into serious work soon. My official starting date now is the 2nd of August. I hope everything is packed- a last desperate scramble to get organised.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

pushing into the real world

Sitting there, typing words-

pushing the characters along, like bikes with training wheels, like meals spoon full by spoon full, until the characters can learn to ride by themselves, know that pumpkin and broccoli are good for them and actually delicious. That's when I know that I have a story and it moves in the real world. But today I am pushing a wobbly bike, saying steer to the right, keep pedaling, keep pedaling.

Monday 9 July 2007

4 year old birthday parties and an Uncle who can decorate cakes. Wow!
Now I'm a grandmother it's fun allover again.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday 5 July 2007

finished at last

Well that poetry strategy, I've finished it. It makes small poems easy to generate- here's a small sample.


at the way balloons

shrivel like grapes

after a party

all bouncy happy birthday

softly fizzing/hissing away.

© Lorraine Marwood

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Tiredness, eats into the day- I want to write a new story, but my eyes want to shutter down, constantly.
So what does a poet and author do on those least writing days? Look at submissions- what can be sent and where and the progress of queries, answers to emails and general computer constant work!
For example I need to do a profile of myself for a publisher and they ask for ten things about myself- I suspect they mean quirky unusual things... that's really stumped me.

One quirky thing about me:

  • made at least 3000 chocolate cakes in my life time

Friday 29 June 2007

writing poetry strategies

I have a few days to get the latest poetry tip into shape- I write regularly for Literature Base magazine.

I read a bit of poetry- of course I do, I'm a poet. Through this reading, some poems start with a simple word like 'look, wait'.

Can I suggest leading words as the way into a poem, marrying it with a simple vignette- will kids have that coapacity?

Wednesday 27 June 2007


I've been literally in the world of my next novel- a verse novel. One of the characters needed to be re-awakened and become part of the three dimensional action and not a part of the static background- well this led to repercussions because the main character showed a trait I didn't know that character had.

A bit like ripples on a mat- it affected to some degree the plot and other parts of the story needed adjusting.

But the good news is that the revision has made the novel so much stronger.

Now for the little tweaks before the novel goes back to my wonderful editor.

Aussie Nibbles


My new book due out the 2nd of July
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 26 June 2007

word weeds

I overuse certain words, in both prose and poetry.

I know I do. I use them as tools, trusted, valuable. Or so I think but on a re-write I can see they stop the flow, get in the way, take over. Sometimes they take over from those delicate precise words that conjure up on their own the feeling, the pathos, the suspense, the surprise that I want.

Here then are those word weeds:

* suddenly
* and

Do you have any word weeds that constantly crop up- especially in a new patch of writing ground?


21st parties, I've had my share, well from the parenting and catering point of view- 6 to be exact. My last child turned 21 over the weekend. It was a family gathering from grandparents to grandaughter.

I guess we enjoy hospitality, not the cleaning up afterward or the putting away of dishes and cultery that only sees the light of day on such occasions as this. But what great chatter, hot food, the birthday cake and speeches. ( We still haven't refined this aspect)

Makes me think of my own 21st- a bbq in the garage with some college friends, a low key affair because I had only just got engaged in the December... engaged at 20 now there is the difference between the generations.

Monday 18 June 2007

Posted by Picasa

taken by my grandson

tiny poem

Posted by Picasa

Illustration by Ozlem Kesik

Saturday 16 June 2007

Desk life

Submitting work- updating material, working new material, reading, reading emails, meetings, planning workshops, writing emails, and family life a backdrop to the computer screen. These are all new images of a writer. If only... my desk was neatly stacked with paperwork in chronological order, if only I could find that entry form, or scribbled email, or if only I could write that birthday card and post it now...

But I have an idea for a poem- it just flashed now and I've got to get the first line down and the tone before I forget it...

Wednesday 6 June 2007


Cowes, Port Albert, Foster, that's what a quick week's trip in a caravan can bring. Even if it is the start of winter- the sea is powerful and the South Gippsland landscape breathtaking. A new landscape gets new threads going. I love the sea and did a quick spot of beach combing. The wind was wild and it was often a coat, hat and gloves day- so nice to have winter after so much hot dry summer.

I wrote two stories and knitted a few more lines of other stories I have on the go- as well as more lines of a few more poems... at least a caravan doesn't take long to clean.

Monday 21 May 2007

poetry reading

Setting: an old gold fields pub, a rainy afternoon, latte and poetry readings.
Yes I went to my first poetry reading in years at Chewton yesterday afternoon with a group from my poetry critique circle. It was great to hear the featured poets and also to read two of my poems. I can't believe how nervous I was!

Give me a school audience and I'm not nervous, but adults...

Poetry read aloud is certainly different from poetry read silently from the page. Performance poetry, humorous or poems with a political agenda are more entertaining on a day such as this. And does one introduce the poem? I like to give a brief context, especially if one does not know the poet's work.
But I wonder for myself- have I run out of subject matter for my literary work?

Tuesday 8 May 2007

snippets, more of them

Looking back over my note books, which are just exercise books bought at any supermarket( cheap and portable and not too precious to write on and cross out) I am amazed at how much I wrote- snippets each day- the last five years have seen a drop in this notebook writing. I am writing more directly onto the computer. But after my recent laptop loss, is this such a great way for me to be composing?

So I want to recapture that fervour of writing every day without fail- writing more obviously leads to more work to send out and more work to mull over in a few years' time. To continue on from a beginining, to refine, to laugh about, to remember and to wonder.

Monday 23 April 2007

getting published with poetry

I am editing- well doing the twice yearly reading of submissions for Tears in the Fence- I am the Australian editor of the UK literary magazine. Although I cull I don't have absolute final say of what is selected- but there's a good chance. What makes a poem stand out? Well that's easy- good writing. But what is good writing? Even though it is free verse it should still have rhythm and as it is read it should sound like poetry in that inner ear. Difficult? No, a great poem shows me something new in the world- it should use concrete words- unusual words in new ways. Give me precise nouns and precise verbs. Allow the emotion to be liquid, a blood vessel pumping the breath of the poem with vigor and energy.

Here's a couple of cosmetic hints :
don't send blurred photocopied sheets of poems, do put your name and address on each page- believe me submissions appear each time without this basic requirement
Read what is currently being printed- try these poems for emotional factors, the use of concrete nouns and verbs
Look at titles- which propel the poem along? Which titles become an intricate part of the whole poetic read and re-read, which titles do nothing for the poem?

All this is valuable research for your own poetry writing and success in the small literary press publications arena.
Keep sending work out.
Keep writing.
Keep reading.
Keep analyzing contemporary work.

Tuesday 10 April 2007


Easter was a great time for my big family and a chance to catch up. although Natalie and Danny in Sydney had to work hard over Easter with the Sydney show and Jared and Bunyawee with the restaurant. We actually watched the Bendigo Easter procession from the balcony of the colonial bank building in Pall Mall- maybe many other people through history have looked at the procession from this same vantage point.

I love the YMCA annual book fair held over the Easter period- second hand books- and two bags full for $20.00! Although I have been culling my book shelves severely throughout the year and have taken in bags and bags into the book bins for just such an annual event as this. Maybe a lot of those books I took in came from the same sale years ago. What I loved were the young mums and dads with kids looking through the children's section and finding treasures. And also marveling how many different books there are!!! I didn't really look in the poetry section this year, but looked in the cookery section and found some treasures for my sister and myself.

I also found another book in the Green Knowe series by Lucy Boston and am revisiting the books- what marvelous fantasy- gentle and perceptive. I also found one of those Scholastic book fair books- where one enters snippets about friends- well I found a diary partly filled in- what material for an author! Next year I won't go before 9- that long queue all the way around the block and will look more leisurely at all the book sections. And cull my own book shelves over the year!

Tuesday 3 April 2007

note book

The loss of my laptop still reverberates. I am back doing longhand writing of stories- I always prefer longhand in the composing of poetry, but began using the quicker way composing straight onto the laptop and then transferring to print out on the master computer. No more.

There is nothing more interesting than trawling through past notebooks- and seeing some possibilities in fragments of lines or ideas. My latest book 'The girl who turned into Treacle' Aussie Nibbles- due out July 2007 was started and then left languishing as a fragment. I had middleitis. It wasn't until I was recuperating from an operation that I re-read that particular notebook and found the story, found the solution and straight away completed the story.

Some fragments remain just that- but in the long haul are part of the writing apprenticeship and must be expressed.

Thursday 29 March 2007


We hitched up the caravan and drove to Port Fairy. All those green lawns and gardens- how soft the colour green is on the eyes after the harsh yellow landscape of a drought stricken Bendigo and Northern Victoria. We only managed four nights. It was so peaceful in Port Fairy but apparently we had taken someone else's pre-booked spot and had to move so we went to Warnambool. Our spot at Port Fairy was bordered by Boobiallas and there amongst the dry twigs was a rat's nest and a mouse nest. The rodents were used to scavenging and would peek bright eyes out at crumbs on the site and scurry into the dry nesting. And rabbits- so many capering in the thick couch grass of the dunes, as well as sparrows- a whole host of imported creatures holidaying also.

I am trying to re-capture the gist of my 5000 word start to my novel which was so untimely executed when the laptop was stolen.
I am back to handwriting in my note book first then typing up as a second draft on the big computer.

Friday 23 March 2007


My laptop was stolen from the state library as I worked in a dark room with microfilm. I feel as if I've lost a member of the family- and that 5000 word start of a novel. I compose on this laptop and then put it onto the big computer when I'm happy with it- alright you know what's coming- I didn't'save my stuff to the big computer- all that work. I want to howl and rage- how could anyone take my bag and the steal the laptop and leave the bag behind some shelves??????

Thursday 22 March 2007

spinning threads into words

Writing produces writing- no doubt about it- while you're immersed in writing a story or a poem, other threads come easily to the writing spinning wheel. It's just the fact of picking up yesterday's thread and maintaining the plot and tension and need to read on, that are the tricky parts.

I have recently had some new shelves added to my book cases and in the act of sorting through books I am re-reading some children's' classics- well what I believe are children's classics and seeing the dated social conventions- Elizabeth Kyle's 'The house of the Pelican' is one such book- not that I would classify this as a classic. But it is interesting. A better read was Gillian Avery 'The Warden's Daughter'. I like historical novels made readable for today's younger audience.

Wednesday 21 March 2007

I went to our poets' group meeting last night- what a fantastic time of sharing poems- it's amazing what we see in each other's poems and an objective eye helps understand our own writing and choice of words. We meet once a month in Bunja Thai restaurant and often while waiting for the group to arrive I can write and actually sketched an outline of a children's story I want to write- this does not often happen and even while we were discussing poetry, some ideas of past experiences floated to mind and I quickly jotted them down- it's amazing how an idea evaporates without proper recording.

Tuesday 20 March 2007


Rain after such dry years. Has rain become extinct? The rain is gentle and filling our tanks and making hope. Our town's water storage is critical and domestic water restrictions have been severe. It has changed economies and business and the way we look at everyday domestic chores and so it should. I even do dishes in a plastic tub so I can put the water onto one Hebe bush out the back door that refuses to give up living. Thanks for rain.

Monday 19 March 2007

first entry

I am jumping on the band wagon. My own blog. A type of internal dialogue and diary entry. What am I writing now? Poetry and stories. I am tackling a bigger novel, not quite fantasy, a quest? I can't seriously plot, the characters unfold as I write and lead me into the story- trouble is with a larger text one has to keep details, take notes as I write of what features each character has revealed to me. So I suppose the type of plotting I do is after the event!