Wednesday, January 30, 2008


It doesn't start with the blank page anymore.
It starts with File/New.
But the feeling is still kinda nice.
Although fresh stationery will never lose its appeal. I still need a new notebook for a new project. Even if I then randomly scribble in any notebook I can find.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bad, bad blogger

Yes, I know. I've been neglectful.
I could promise to be a better blogger from this day forward but frankly I'm not sure whether I can live up to any New Year's resolutions of any kind.
I simply must write another book or two this year. That's the main goal. I have a couple on the way and I've barely glanced at them for months. So I won't make any grand pronouncements today, as I have in the past, about turning over new leaves or sharpening pencils.
After all there a million things I need to do at the same time as writing books. Or, conversely, there are a million things that suck out my brains and leave me no time or headspace for writing books. These range from having a day job which was supposed to be stress-free but isn't, to doing the washing.
Somewhere in amongst it all are a couple of stories trying pathetically to come out of the darkness and onto the weird backlit stage of the laptop. Via my mind.
A rocky road at the best of times.
At any rate lately I've been doing a raft of things rather than write books, such as building a garden (well, at present it's more about tearing apart an old one - I keep hoping to come across Mary Lennox and Dickon behind a wall of ivy), and staring absently-mindedly into the air.
I suppose something will come of that one day.
Right now there's a sulphur-crested cockatoo on the window sill, so I might watch him eat cherry plums. Instead of writing a book. Or blogging.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The tribe has spoken

I was a bit sad that my pirate books didn't get on the list for the Premier's Reading Challenge here in Victoria, since every other kids' book known to humanity seems to be on there. Maybe next year.
But I just discovered by accident that Ocean Without End was on the list in South Australia, where clearly dwell some sensible people of exquisite taste.
I'm even more chuffed to find that it was been selected by young readers in Western Australia to be on their 2007 WAYRBA book awards list.
And then you see a review from a young reader like this one, and it's all worth it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Lit crit(ical)

As we breathlessly wait for word on whether my home town has been accorded the official label of City of Literature, The Age has run a timely editorial on that idea, and its flipside – the need for greater focus on reader development and literacy.
In Melbourne, a city of many readers and many dogs, the light of literature has shone strongly and steadily throughout its history as a beacon of knowledge, enlightenment and ideas, illuminating where we have been, where we are and where we are going. There are more bookshops in Melbourne than in any other Australian city, and there are more books, magazines and newspapers sold in Victoria than in any other state or territory. This city has a proud and honourable tradition of fostering fine publishing…
The pleasure of reading, something once taken for granted in the best sense of the phrase, has become harder to achieve; in the age of email and text messaging and other forms of instant gratification, reading a book takes time and space in a hectic world full of distractions. Literature is slow food versus the take-away chook leg…
If reading comes down to basic skills, so too does language. Spelling, punctuation and elementary grammar skills are as essential to the written word as clarity and accuracy. Yet all too often it is blighted by the nomadic apostrophe, the spelling mistake, the dangling participle. These may be mere rivets in a superstructure, but without them, the edifice crumbles. For a city of literature, literacy in all its forms can never be ignored.

And so say all of us.