Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to be a Better Writer: 2. Clothes Maketh the Man

I'm not usually prone to sweeping generalisations; however, we all know it is important to Look the Part.

As a volunteer at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival, I was able to keenly observe both writers and punters, and now pass on a list of the sartorial essentials for the writerly type.

1. Red extremities. Whether it's burgundy shoes, a carmine hat, ruby nail-polish or scarlet spectacle frames, red is the devilish detail favoured by writers. Take note that it is not to be worn on the body of though. Your clothes, for the most part, should be black (see below).

2. Black clothing, perhaps charcoal if you're feeling Spring-y. Lady crime-writers should feel free to mix as much purple and green in as they wish, and authors of bloke lit of course reserve the right to blue jeans and a polo shirt.

3. Skinny jeans. A recent addition, but sadly now indispensable for both genders and all body types.

4. Leather bag/satchel with buckles. For carrying around your moleskines.

5. Clever T-shirts, for the younger scribblers, but NO puns unless they are so superbly daggy they're cool (I'm happy to assess puns for those who are uncertain about dag factor).

6. Most important to wear is a faraway look, which indicates creative forces at work. If you also carry around an eye for detail and an ear for conversation, you will find this comes more easily.

For those writers who don't venture out in public that often, the following are acceptable:

Trackie daks, moccasins, woolly jumpers (what do you get if you cross a kangaroo and a sheep?), faded T-shirts, flannies, those check shorts you've had since Year 9.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Word of the Week: Ruin

As in, 'Are you in?' -- my mother's latest favourite text 'word'.

Honestly, where does she get them?

It wasn't so long ago she and Dad were bamboozled by programming the VCR, and while this is still the case, somehow they've both overtaken me in the uptake of txt lingo. And it's not just them. Some of my most highly educated and literate friends will regularly send me text messages with more numbers in than letters.

'Gr8 2 cu lst nt. Will u a10d 2moros 4rum on Clim8 chnge?'

Wtf? (yes, I know that one).

Is this a language I should learn? Sure, it's concise and efficient, but is it effective? Affecting? Or does it just annoy the hell out of me because I'm a bit uptight about grammar?

I once responded to one of Mum's ubiquitous 'Wru's (I believe it means Where are You?) with a message I thought would highlight the laziness and paucity of information this type of language usually conveys: 'aaht'
She didn't reply.
'So did you understand my message?' I challenged her later.
'Oh, yes. You were at Annabelle's having tea,' she said. 'I didn't ring because I didn't want to interrupt.'

That's me in my box.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What I'm reading

Yes -- all at once. I'm not much of a multi-tasker, and it's giving me a bit of a headache - but they're all so good!

Something Happened, Joseph Heller
Just started it so not quite sure what it's about yet.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
, Susanna Clarke
Alternative Regency England with magicians, faeries and quaint manners.

Finnikin of the Rock
, Melina Marchetta
YA fantasy a long way from Alibrandi.

Beloved, Toni Morrison
Ex-slaves haunted by a baby's ghost. Can see why it's a classic.

Catch-22, Heller again
God I love this book! Reading it for just second time, at same time as Something Happened, in an attempt to analyse Heller's style, which I think forms mostly around his talent for the absurd and the incidental.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to be a Better Writer: 1. You are what you eat.

Some essentials for the writerly diet:

1 latte - extra shot if you're a writer of pot-boilers.
Alphabet soup - for writers who like to play with their food.
Carrots - good for the eyes.
Rice - Cheap, plentiful and quite sustaining.
Red wine. Of course.

Things to avoid:

Too many vegetables
Too much fruit
Whole grains
Dark chocolate

All of the above are said to lower levels of depression, thus hampering the writer's development of a tortured soul to mine for inspiration. If you must eat vegetables, try to balance them with decreased exercise and lots of processed sugar.
Good luck!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Word of the Week: Desert

WOW this week is desert: not the dry sandy place, or the verb meaning to abandon, but the noun meaning (according once more to the ACOD) 'in plural a acts or qualities deserving reward or punishment, or b such reward or punishment.'

As in, 'He got his just deserts.'

Note the spelling, because until recently I was one among many who thought it might perhaps be spelt 'dessert'. This is not the case. Apparently we are all victims of the punning business name industry, responsible for hairdressers named Curl up and Dye, and, yes, about a million sweets cookbooks called Just Desserts.

Desserts is pronounced the same way, and I suppose it makes some kind of intuitive sense because desserts are often used as a reward (though not so often as punishment).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: a pun is a very dangerous thing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chelsea Square

I wonder if I had a big crochet project that was due in the next couple of weeks, would I then start doing some writing?

Pretty though, isn't it?