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.