Thursday, August 27, 2009

MWF reprieve

Been flat out like a lizard drinking this week with the writers festival. Because I'm a volunteer I get to see pretty much anything I want, for free. This is great - I've seen many different writers talking about many different things I would probably not have paid to go see. Having said that, there's a whole lot of free stuff going on that everyone can take advantage of. Everyone who hasn't should check out the Festival Club before the show's over.

While I've seen some interesting and thoughtful seminars, workshops and conversations, it sometimes becomes quite obvious that this is not the Melbourne Public Speakers Festival. Don't get me wrong: most of the authors I've seen have been great. Kate Grenville and Isobelle Carmody, for example, were incredibly articulate about their creative processes and just fascinating to listen to. Other speakers relied more on notes, which is perfectly fine by me, I can relate to that need - hate, hate, hate public speaking. 

However when an author is obviously under-prepared, or just there to promote their latest book, it can be really disappointing. This happened in at least one workshop on the weekend, when an author turned up for a six-hour workshop thinking it was only going to be two hours. Due to fly out the next day, her heart wasn't in it, you could tell. I really felt for the people who had forked out $190 to watch someone flounder about for something to say.

But there's plenty of good stuff to look forward to this weekend. I'm donning my red beret one last time tomorrow, then spending the rest of the weekend loitering round Fed Square, sipping lattes and author-spotting. Bliss.

Friday, August 21, 2009

21-31 August

Skinny black jeans? Check.
Black skivvy? Check.
Red beret? Ah, yes. Check.

Melbourne Writers Festival, here I come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Morning Exercises

My favourite writing exercise learned so far is to write a passage without using the letter e. I picked it up in Kate Grenville's The Writing Book. Considering e is always the first letter I pick in a game of Hangman, you'd think it would be impossible to write proper sentences without it, let alone anything worthwhile. But it actually results in some really interesting stuff. That is, it can transform your writing slant into a most distinct and unusual rhythm. Can turn it cant and out-worldly.

I'm experiencing an enforced such exercise in my life at the moment, as the number 7 button on my phone doesn't work. I spilt shampoo on it, and although it was organic, as my brother pointed out: unless it's special mobile phone shampoo it's probably going to do some damage.

Anyway, writing clear texts to people without the use of p q r or s poses some problems, but I've managed for the last month or so. It forces me to be creative with words (and grammar and spelling) on a daily basis, and I'm considering just living with it. Who knows, it might even be protecting my brain against dementia.

The only words I have trouble substituting others for are 'sorry', 'yep' and 'where', all very useful in text conversations. I have a feeling they will be the reason I get sick of this experiment before long.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is it possible to spend two hours discussing the correct use of quotation marks and italics?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Oh my God, yes, crikey moses you wouldn't believe it and Dear Lord the tedium. Does it really matter whether or not you must italicise the comma that comes after an italicised phrase? Do we need to spend fifteen minutes wondering aloud about it? Can't we just do what we like and hope that no one notices either way?

Don't get me started on the uses of capital letters and numbers. Maybe I'm not editor material. I like to think I have my eye on the bigger picture - you know, the vibe of the thing.

Anyway, I'm a sucker for punishment, so afterwards I came home and finished off an intricate crochet piece, which was frustrating, tedious and eye-straining. Happy with the result tho.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cheese pie and Austen

You cannot beat a cheese pie from A1 Bakery for value for money and sheer buttery goodness. Washed it down with a nice cup of tea, and I'm now ready to tackle the change in Anne Elliot from Kellynch Hall to Bath. 

I'm talking about Jane Austen's Persuasion - her last completed novel, and perhaps the darkest. Although people have said that about Sense and Sensibility, so I could be wrong there. Anyway, my mind's taken up with ideas of Romance and Reason this arvo, and whether Edward Ferrars is the Austen hero I'd most like to meet. Henry Tilney is sweet and witty, and more of a 'new man', and of course Mr Darcy has the strong silent thing going for him - but I can't help feeling we'd run out of things to say before long.

And of the heroines? Hands down, Lizzie Bennet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First, the name. The purpose of this blog isn't certain, but I think it will mostly serve to: 
1. Help me get round writer's block when it strikes; and 
2. Outline the various knitty/crochety things I have on the go which, when finished, I usually block - or not (har har).

The aim to start with is to write, say, 100 words a day. I will try to make them as entertaining as possible, and hope the possibility of an audience will make me craft them better than if I were just scribbling in a journal.