Wednesday 15 October 2008


what a hill

There is something about trees, hills, grass, parrots. Very conducive to writing, relaxing, dreaming, surely all ingredients of a writer's tool kit. New settings help towards writing momentum also- here's a glimpse of what Adelaide has to offer.

Sunday 7 September 2008

Imaginative play

We use our environment to make sense of the wider world. This aspect of childhood is vitally important to my writing. My next book incorporates this concept.

Thursday 24 July 2008

bonfires at birthdays

On the farm we had a bonfire every winter to downsize the accumulated rubbish- no rubbish tips close by or street bin service- no streets. But here is our grandson's birthday party bonfire. Now there was a corded off area to keep back, a great idea- we never did that. Uncertainties are wind direction and what is placed on the bonfire.
Then there is always the picking through the ashes next day to see what did burn and what artistic twisted shapes fire makes on metal.

Sunday 20 July 2008

launch photos

I'm still enjoying the memory of my book launch last weekend.
Here are two photos- Claire Saxby my friend launched the book.

Thursday 17 July 2008

Ratwhiskers launch

It has come and gone- a time of tingle and apprehension- my book launch for my latest novel 'Ratwhiskers and me'. What great friends and family to celebrate and a special writing friend Claire Saxby made the launch speech. Here's quote from it:
Ratwhiskers and Me is a stunning verse novel set in 19C goldfields Bendigo. I first read this manuscript in October 2006 and was just blown away. I read it in a single sitting, unable to put it down. I sat for a time afterwards, just letting the story settle inside me. I was very excited for Lorraine when Walker Books accepted Ratwhiskers for publication. And now to hold the finished book in my hand is thrilling. I love the wraparound cover, I love the design. But first and foremost, I love the words. There are changes from the draft I initially read, but the editing (onya Sue Whiting) has served to make Ratwhiskers and Me even more knock-me-down wonderful.

Thanks Claire!

Monday 7 July 2008

A new poetry site for teachers and children

Well, hats off to Sherryl Clark and Meredith Costain for devising another voice for contemporary Australian poetry in the classroom.

Here's the website:

And my poem 'Left behind on the beach' is first cab off the rank...

The idea is to provide poems for teachers to use in the classroom.

Here is an idea to write from this poem:

The first stanza reads:

Left behind on the beach:
two scoops of holes
for the sea to fill,
two mini holes
for the crabs to climb.

(c) Lorraine Marwood

Try patterning these lines by using a different image of the beach-
two scoops of ...
for the.....
two mini....
for the ......

Do a word cluster of what can be found on the beach, insects /animals/ rubbish/things washed in by the tide/birds/wind/sun/
Use something surprising from this list to finish the stanza and start a new one.
Remember specific details are the glitter and enjoyment in a poem.

Have fun- share what you have written.

Sunday 29 June 2008

second hand books

I often buy books from Op shops or secondhand sales and what treasure is sometimes inside- as if the last reader was called away from the plot to the mundane chores of life.
This book mark is the latest find- an elegantly aged reminder of reading progress found in a book I am revisiting- 'A traveller in Time' by Alison Uttley. I last read this when I was in first form many years ago- my real taste of a school library- I read so much that year. And still love many of the first discovered authors and stories from way back then.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

what a girl, what a well

Wonder if this is a chinese well? The weather was cold but great for walking. Again- what sort of a poem could I write here?

away with my daughters

What a great view, what a great time- a long weekend away with three daughters and one grandaughter. I wonder what I could write with a mountain like that in the background?

Tuesday 24 June 2008

How to write a poem

Drop Tail Lizard

Drop tail lizard
on the grey leaves
and grey bark
garden mulch,
swimming like a sardine
like a tadpole
silver pin with a jeweled eye.
Tells me the day is warmer,
summer that much closer

until that white cat running
running with a small under belly and back legs
of lizard humming
from its hunter's throat.


© Lorraine Marwood

Idea for writing a poem

Using a poem as a format or starting point for writing a class poem or an individual poem is a great idea.

'Drop tail Lizard' is just such a starting point.

A poem is often a simple observation of life, a detailed observation. A poet looks and mulls and captures such a detail in a word picture.

So grab a word camera and observe.
Look outside.
Watch a car, a neighbour, a tree, a bird, the clouds, the way the dog chases a squeaky toy.
Now you have your subject matter – here's a simple format.

Line 1 Name the object of the poem- use my poem as a template

Line 2 and 3 Bring in location or setting ' on the grey leaves/grey bark/garden mulch'

Line 4 and 5 action that the object is doing

Line 6 and 7 Tells us something about the world around me

Line 8 and 9 now for the conflict- what happens to upset this slice of life?

Line 10 and 11- make the last words of resolution have more impact by sitting one word on one line, like stepping stones.

(c) Lorraine Marwood

Thursday 22 May 2008

here's the photo

Here are the photos to accompany the poem in my last post! What a diving board!

Monday 19 May 2008

away in caravan

There is nothing more conducive to writing than only taking 15 minutes to do the floor, the dishes and tidy up a tiny caravan. Then while Kel is away working I write. Later I walk- we are near an icon from the 60's, 70's- what a diving tower! ( I will upload the photo later- in other words I have to take another)
Can anyone remember diving off a high tower? But this was into the murky waters of a waterhole.

Here's a poem sketch instead:

It's the two fine saplings,
rich mahogany tips of leaves
that show swimming is over
has been over three, four, five years.
The gum trees crouch where
toddlers and mums with tiddler toes
watched pale yellow water sap
in Matisse strokes, with wind
and big kid splashes.
They'd watch the three level
diving tower and the boys
bombing away into ninety foot
once-mineshaft lake.
Of course the council gates and mesh
are there with the warnings
the risks, the flaking paint
and the murky unseen depths.

(C) Lorraine Marwood

Wednesday 23 April 2008

latest poem

What joy to find a package from America in the mail. I have a poem in the anthology 'Side by Side' new poems inspired by art from around the world. Abrams New York edited by Jan Greenburg.

What an exciting project and the book smells luscious- newly printed.

Sunday 6 April 2008

another birthday

Yes another one! But a cake made by my daughter and candles for my grandchildren and the singing, the clapping out the years, the wishing, the cutting and eating.

pot pourri

Another bit of sewing. It hasn't used much material and I have a flood of material. I also have a flood of potpourri from various sources- how fragrant. I love all those medieval references in fantasy novels- well children's, Young Adult fantasy novels to herbs, rose petals and lavender.

I am currently reading a novel by Mary Hoffman called 'The Falconer's Knot' and enjoying the different exploration of a life and who dunnit from a monastery point of view. The mixing of pigments for the artists detailed through the plot is rather amazing also.

Anyway this cat is fragrant, lovingly stitched and wears a bell! And will be in the post soon as a 30th birthday gift.

Monday 31 March 2008

sewing at weekend

Look what I've made from the Softies book- sewing has the same buzz as poetry writing- some poems have a character and atmosphere that is satisfying, others are just scraps sewn together and maybe never finished.
I used to sew lots of soft toys when I was 17, 18 years old sewing scraps from the dress I'd make very week into another product. Now there is an avalanche of scraps waiting in cupboards, shelves, storage boxes, but my writing has waited longer.

Saturday 22 March 2008

book fair

Well it's Easter time again and our town holds a book fair for charity. I've been going to this for years and most of my extensive book shelving groans with treasured items. The sections I go to are- chidrens' books, poetry, cooking, craft, then novels.
What did I find yesterday?
Lucille Atwell
This type of book I remember fondly from my childhood.
Then I found this one for my grandaughter.
Does nostalgia drive our own stories, our own writing?

Tuesday 18 March 2008

autumn cleaning

Although the temperature hasn't dropped below 35 for days- cleaning up seems to crop up- I have become a hoarder- I love books and nick knacks and material- but don't like those small plastic containers that get put into out of way places and never seem to have the lid that matches. So this week I emptied out the drawers with the ceiling fan going and sorted and got ruthless.
It's that farming philosophy of it might come in handy- the hand- me down, save money philosophy. This is more an explanation for my kids than for me. But I do realise that things have to change- that possessions need to diminish.

So let me declare the war on clutter has begun- maybe the decluttering( what an impersonal title for goods so lavishly sought) will free up more time for writing.

Sunday 9 March 2008

fresh air

We recently took the caravan for a week away. As we drove through a windy road in a national park we saw some interesting graffiti on a rock. Also look at the root system of the old big trees as they hold rock and soil together. Poetry always fresh.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Hen's day

Here is the newest member of our big family enjoying a picnic with her bridesmaids and getting a creative veil from each member of the hen's day. Of course pink is the colour.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Projects both crafty and wordy

When not fiddling with bits of poetry and prose, I love the creativity of craft and have many projects( just like my writing) in various stages of creation. Some I've picked up years later and completed and so with my writing. My note books are constant baskets of fabric and textures.
The drought and severe water restrictions have curtailed my gardening. I loved the creativity of the garden- I still have a patch to contemplate as I do my morning writing. Little tiny lizards are still jewels that glisten.

Wednesday 30 January 2008

'The invention of Hugo Cabret,' by Brian Selznick. Is this a new kind of reading- a sophisticated combination of pages of black and white illustrations which pace the plot then a switch back to prose? When I placed the book on hold in my local library- I didn't know the book would be so thick and heavy- but a great read. That orphan tragedy plot, hardworking. I enjoyed the automaton and the mechanical ability of Hugo- This is a star quality read and another instance of pushing story in all its glory.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Book review

I'm inspired to write a review of a book I borrowed yesterday from the library and completed reading this morning- these days I don't read as quickly as I once did.

'Princess Academy' by Shannon Hale- a junior fiction book- grabbed my attention- not because of the title but because of the silver sticker- Newberry honour book.

I loved Miri- smallest daughter of a quarry worker and her growing awareness of her place in the family, her relationship with Pedder and the linder rock that is the main industry of her isolated village. When the king's priests divine that the future princess will be found in Mount Eskel, the training for the eligible girls in the village begins in earnest. Which girl will the prince choose?

Well written -a fresh perspective on quest and character- loved every tiny petal of it.

Friday 4 January 2008

Christmas decorations and family traditions

As I was packing away the decorations, I looked carefully again at the first decorations we had as a newly married couple. Decorations were expensive to buy and we didn't have money for Christmas trimmings. So I made some. Here's a sample. I'm in the beginning stages of writing an article about these pieces.

Wednesday 2 January 2008

a New year

Back into the writing mode. Some days have surprises just waiting to be unpackaged like this photo taken the second week of December on a dead gum tree. Four tawny frogmouth owls, pretending to be logs- no I didn't use zoom on the camera unfortunately.

The closer we came to look, the more they stuck out necks like dead twigs on a branch.
We have lost gum trees in our garden due to the sustained drought. But what a gift on a tree- what Christmas baubles.