My 2017-2018 summer reading pile
This year is about to end and in some ways I feel like it has only just begun. So much has been packed into the year and time has slipped away. It’s really easy to only focus on the things that haven’t been completed and the things that went wrong, but I need to also remember all the things that went right.
This year I had some poetry and an essay published in Shaping the Fractured Self: poetry of chronic illness and pain. I bravely volunteered to read one of my poems at the launch at the DAX Centre in Melbourne. Up until the moment I read it out loud, I wondered how on earth I managed to have words of mine sit alongside such accomplished Australian poets. The feedback I received from the audience, and since from members of the public, was overwhelming. It has been absolutely heartwarming to hear people say that I was telling their story and that I had put their chronic pain into words. My own chronic pain (migraines and neck and shoulder pain) continue, but I refuse to let them take control of my life. Many of the other poems and essays within this anthology remind me that it is important to live life to the full, but to also know when to shut the door, and take some time for self-care. There is a wonderful review of this anthology by Kevin Brophy in The Conversation. Continue reading
This is my view. I’m inside listening to the fire crackle, to the heater fan rising and falling, to the tap on various keyboards of fellow writers. I’m editing, or to be honest I’m staring out the window.
I’m in the umpteenth draft of my young adult manuscript and I’ve made a change (a biggish one) and it feels like I broke it.
This is a good and a bad thing. I needed to do that I could mend it, but the process of mending it is tough and mind bending.
At the moment it feels like my story is something like this wind chime in the picture. One stray piece stuck in a bush on the other side to the body of the chime. It’s a pivotal piece and needs some careful wrangling to get it back in the right place.
Sigh. More staring. More thinking. More wrangling.
I’m packing for four days in Sydney. It’s a holiday with an old mate, and a moment to research a new story as well as time to edit and write. I’m getting better at this. That is, taking time for what I need.
Two years ago I had only been away from my family for a total of three weekends. In the last two years I have been away for five writers retreats. I now toss my bag together the night before and walk out the door.
These times away are becoming an important part of my practice. It’s time I can dedicate my mind to thinking story and character and allow ideas to grow. Not only does it make me a better writer, but it also makes me a better mum and wife. I come home refreshed (and tired). I come home ready to spend time with them.
As I pack I’m tempted to throw every book I might want, but I now know that I don’t need to. I’m taking what is relevant right now. I have a notebook to scribble in when we are out and about, Watkin Tench’s book 1788, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and my current read The Forrests by Emily Perkins. Probably before morning I’ll through another book in.
Sometimes taking less is more. More space to think. I’m planning to stand where Anne, my First Fleet convict ancestor stood and imagine what was going through her mind as she gripped her swelling belly, father long gone already. As she stared at the strange wilderness surrounding her, trapping her. As she stared at the light glinting off the harbour water that would one day swallow her. I hope to feel her in some tiny space there and let her whisper to me.
It’s an incredible time for me right now that feels like a beginning, more than an ending. I’ve just submitted my final piece of assessment of my Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. I should feel relieved, excited. I do, but there is a sense of sadness, and a great deal of reflection. There is also a nervous excitement about the time ahead of me, the unknown.
My last four years have been tremendous in all senses of the word. My life has changed in so many aspects, and lives around me have changed. Mum died, throwing my and my offspring’s worlds into chaos. My kids transitioned from children to teenagers, jumping normal adolescent hurdles, and fumbling through more tricky ones. I wrote a tonne of words and found a stable part-time job in the communications world.
It’s been a long time since I last posted. Life’s been a bit crazy, and there just didn’t seem like there was time, or energy to post here. But, as the year draws to a close (only a matter of hours now), it feels appropriate to wrap up 2015. Continue reading
So back in October I made a commitment to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My initial plan was a little like this:
- Plan the story
- Then write it.
A nice simple plan. And something like NaNoWriMo is a great way to write a crappy first draft and understand your story. That how I finished my first draft of my manuscript that is now ‘resting’ like dough at its fifth draft stage. Continue reading
How much time I have spent on editing this draft according to Properties on Microsoft Word.
Only 35 days ago I committed the deadline of 5 October to have this latest draft complete. There were some (many) moments along those 35 days that I doubted my ability to meet it. It’s been great having this commitment though as it has driven me to the (near) end. Continue reading