Tag Archives: Adelaide

Writers Week 2012 Review

I must make a confession now. Before Adelaide Writers’ Week 2012 kicked off I had not even heard of most of the writers, let alone read them. Unlike the last festival where there were numerous authors of books I had loved, this year I had very little idea about what to expect.

I occasionally found myself sitting at a table talking writing with someone, we would both excuse ourselves to go to the next event, and I would find the person I was talking to was the writer I was going to see. That’s a bit embarrassing.

But oddly enough I managed to get something out of this festival which I did not get out of the last one, something more important; I wasn’t so hungry to hear validation of my own writing process.

When writers spoke of starting their novels with no plan (my process) I didn’t find myself sighing in relief. I was not intrigued by those who spend a whole year planning every step of their novel before they wrote the first word, nor was I perplexed by those who wrote different bits of a novel, out of order as their first draft and their second draft was to put them all together in the right order and write the joining bits. I know enough authors now to know that these are all common novel writing processes. For that knowledge I am grateful.

Writers week 2012 also brought a bunch of wonderful gifts to me. I met a lot more authors this time around, spending evenings with some of them thanks to my wonderful guests from Melbourne. I also discovered a bunch of writers whom I would otherwise have never heard of. So my pile of books to read has grown by 5 more tomes, and my credit card has suffered yet another tax deductable hit (if I could just earn something to deduct tax from).  

So yet again the week was surreal, and inspirational and wonderful and you can bet that I’m booking my holidays in for the same time next year as now (thankfully) it has become an annual event. If you didn’t get to this year’s event, book it into your calendar for next year, you will be glad you came.

Bring on the inspiration

Today I’m actually pre-writing my post because on Sunday I’m going to be drowning myself in the inspiration of the Adelaide Writers’ Week –I just hope the Clipsal cars are not too noisy to hear all that inspiration (note to Adelaide government –there are actually 50 other weeks in the year when there is no arts festival or fringe festival on in Adelaide which could ably embrace the NOISY Clipsal car race).

Last time I went I loved the writers week; being exposed to writers I had never heard of, seeing writers I had adored speak of their own struggles and twists of good fortune and just generally being around people who love reading and writing. It is a wonderful event which is (gratefully) free –perhaps the organisers took into account the average income of most writers in Australia when they were first planning it?

This year I’m going to be lucky enough to be attending with two friends who are also writers, so not only will I be inspired by the writers’ week, I’ll be able to keep talking about it after the events are over with others who are just as excited about writing.

If you are not able to make it to Adelaide for the event (which is entirely possible because of the hideous traffic congestion we are currently having due to a certain noisy street circuit race) do not fear, the ABC will be streaming the sessions on a special digital radio station set up for the festival.

Otherwise, get down to the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden March 3-8th and find a little inspiration of your own.

See you there!

Less than 4 hours!

In less than 4 hours it will be spring! I didn’t want to subject you to ‘spring has sprung’ or ‘spring into spring’ catch-phrases, so instead I will share my haiku;

Spring

About bloody time
Was going out of my mind
Winter wasn’t kind

Time for spring phlog, provided by a walk around the beautiful Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens last weekend;

Open Magnolia
White magnolia tree
Close-up of koala
Koala in a pine tree, getting ready to drop onto unsuspecting tourists
The truth about trees
Ever feel like you are being watched when you walk through the forest?
As with the last photo-blog, one of these photos has been a little… tweaked.
Happy Spring (to those in the Southern hemisphere)!

Whale watching

There is an upside to this rather miserable time of year, and that is the beginning of whale watching season. Being located in Adelaide at the moment, I’m well placed to pop down to the high peaks of the Victor Harbour bluff (or any one of the cliff edges that look out over the Southern Ocean) to watch the Southern Right Whales as they frolic around, give birth to and then play with their babies.

Yesterday we heard there was one such cetacean playing off Victor Harbour, so we all jumped in the car and set off on the one hour trek (with many games of eye-spy and twenty questions along the way to defer the inevitable ‘are we there yet’ from little miss six).

To add a bit of spice to our quest there was also a storm rolling in which we were desperate to beat. We could hear the crashes of distant lightning punctuating the old-time tunes on the radio (because we were listening to am radio as dad was driving and he is a big believe in ‘driver picks the radio station’, no matter how desperately the passengers protest. So really the lightning sound was a bit of relief).  

With the first splatters of raindrops on the window (splatters, not patters, these were big drops that looked not unlike clear seagull droppings) we arrived to search the slate grey ocean for signs of life.

Did we see any whales before the storm drove us back into the car and a further torturous round of twenty-questions? I’ll let my photos do the talking…

Fin in the water
Whale in the distance

 

Southern Right Whale
Close up of whale

Fungi Phlog

I was showing the 6 year old ‘little miss’ the fairy toadstools growing in the paddock across the road. Between these lovely red with white-dot storybook toadstools were slimy brown toadstools, which looked a little like fresh cow pats. Being the speculative fiction writer that I am, I asked her the question; “If fairies live in the pretty red and white toadstools, who lives in the slimy, gross brown ones?”

Little miss looked at me with the condescension that only a child can muster, shaking her head as if she pitied my stupidity. “That’s where the boys live, of course!”

I should have known!

Anyway, time for another photo blog, so here are some of the fairy houses around the garden…
Fairy Toadstool

Brown Toadstools

Fins of toadstool

Confronting the past

Last night I found my diary from when I was 15. Unlike most diaries this one was written at the end of the year, so there is plenty of foreshadowing and several interesting sub-plots as the year goes on. While giving me some great ideas for a YA novel it did make me realise something quite profound; I have returned after 15 years away and there are some ghosts of the past that need to be faced.

Reading about my first covert drinking experience, my first true love and my first major fall-out with a best friend, I saw how much emotion I have tied up here. It has also underscored how very much I have grown up since then. I read the words of 15 year old me with the eyes of a me who is more than double that age, and I thanked God that age gives us the gift of wisdom.

But how does being back here influence adult me? I have not witnessed those tied up in my past mature, have children and mellow. For me those people live in my memory as the young adults I left behind nearly twenty years ago, and with them all the angst and excitement from those days. It is just not a real perception of how things are.

Dredging up all the emotions as I read that diary was a very cathartic, entertaining and enlightening process, but it also showed me how much of my perception of Adelaide is based on those days so long ago. I think we can all get some value from going back to our childhood selves and making some sense of what made none at the time, and perhaps that will give us a new set of eyes to view the current world with?

For any of you who have left your place of childhood, perhaps you should go back for a visit. Life is not just about your personal movie, we all have our own feature film in which we all have a journey, and stories are always intersecting. Life is about change, and coming home is not a return to what was, but more about what could be.

Now to start that new young adult novel…

Turning from the dark side

evil lorikeet

When my sister and I were very young we used to sneak out on a Friday night, long after mum and dad had gone to bed, and we’d watch the late night horror film. So began my early love affair with speculative fiction.

Now, back in the exact same surrounds, I find myself turning away from spec and I keep getting hit with non-spec fiction ideas. Perhaps it is the zoo that surrounds me each day that exposes me to the wonders of nature? Perhaps it is the replacement of horror movies with erotica on late night Friday TV (so I’m told, of course I don’t watch it), or perhaps I’m just finding enough dark and mysterious things in the known world as I get older?

I won’t lie, this non-spec writing thing scares me. For one thing, I don’t possibly know where I’ll sell it, for another; will all my friends assume the characters are them? It was easy with a serial killing alien to not offend anyone, but make a non-spec character blonde, and all my blonde friends will think it is them! Probably my brunette friends will as well; ‘she just changed the hair colour to cover it up.’

This could get messy.

So I’m trying to turn my back on this wave of normality and I will stare at those finches, and koalas, and lorikeets until somewhere in my brain a good horror story takes hold. Only then will I know I am cured.

In the meantime; does anyone know where to sell some non-spec, non-literary, non-chick-lit, non-genre short fiction? Yeah, me neither…

Nat

Photo blog… Phlog?

Having recently had a few visitors who came up and only managed to see our many koalas from a great distance, I thought I’d give you a little photo blog entry (phlog doesn’t sound that good, so I’ll stick to photo blog) of the street koalas.

And for those of you who visited, please feel free to lift these shots and pretend that you took them!

Two koalas in tree
I can’t get her from this angle, how’s your line of fire looking?

 

Killer Koala
Killer Koala?
Koala looking down
Oh, is that a fat, juicy gumleaf I see down there?

By the way, I think these guys need names, so if you have any suggestions please send them through. We have two girls, two boys and two juveniles.