The things you learn

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We’re less than three weeks away from the opening night of my first ever Melbourne Fringe Festival show: Fleur and Alexandra Save the World.

I am approximately equal parts terrified and exhilarated. We still have a lot of props, sets, and costumes to finish, but the script is solid, we have a venue and most of the other important stuff is set up and ready to go.

I’ve learned while preparing for the show that I know more of my lines than I thought I did, which is a massive relief. On the other hand the terror of performance will probably mean I forget them all. So we’ll have to wait any see.

I’ve also learned a lot about making foam puppets, which is pretty cool. I’ve also learned that they totally look like fake boobs for the first little while! Until you put eyes and mouths and stuff on them.

Fringe Poster v2 final

Someone asked Alexandra, my Fringe partner, why she did it. It seemed like such an odd question! As with a lot of creative impulses, you don’t really know why, you just know you have to. You know that if you don’t, you’ll get sad. You know that it brings you joy, and hopefully, brings joy to others too.

Come be joyful with us! Opening night is 14 September,  tickets are available on the door and through the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Write, edit, write – now what?

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Since my last post I’ve done a fair bit of stuff you guys! It’s been great!

I’ve finished the first edit of my Choose Your Own Adventure. I’m pleased to say that. mostly, it was consistent and made sense. I’ve done small scale edits mostly, not big structural ones, and sent it out to a few people for reader feedback. There are a couple of endings that I could expand on, and possibly flesh out a couple of sections. We’ll see what the readers think.

When I get it back, I’ll look into possibly putting it up online. I know there are a couple of websites which are designed to host Choose Your Own Adventure type pieces. I’ve heard Twine is good for that. Realistically, I doubt I’ll get a big publisher interested in it, so I may as well just put it up on the internets for you lovely people to enjoy.

The Melbourne Fringe festival is now only seven weeks away! I got a little freaked out about it, so I made a spreadsheet with a timeline on it. It made me feel much better, but there’s a lot of stuff to do! We’ve finished the first draft of the script, which is pretty great if I do say so myself! The next task is to make up some marketing collateral – posters and pamphlets! That and, y’know, learn the script.

I’ve been working at a new grown-up part-time office job. It was a bit of a struggle at first because it was in an area I hadn’t really worked in before. Now, a couple of weeks in, I’m getting the hang of the routine tasks and a better understanding of the big project type tasks. It’s so much easier when you have vague idea of what you’re doing!

I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but I’ve been giving thought to my next long form prose project. I’m planning to do NaNoWriMo again in November, but I feel like that’s an awfully long way away. I’ve been enjoying writing stuff with a pretty strong structure, and I think I like writing genre fiction. I’m never going to be a high literature writer, and that’s okay.

I’m thinking of maybe trying a horror story. I would have to put at least one romance subplot, obviously, because I really like writing sexy scenes. It’s something that can sit in the back of my mind and bubble away for a little while. I may not have any time to sit and write before the Fringe show, but it will be nice to have something ready to go once that’s finished. Plus I’m pretty sure you can use NaNoWriMo to add to an existing project (you just can’t count your previously written words).

All in all I’m feeling pretty pumped! I’ve got a bunch of stuff on the go, I’m motivated to do more, and I’m feeling excited about life. And you all have to come to our Fringe Show. WOO!

Winter is here

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I left my job about a month ago and almost immediately I got really sick, because of course I did. I had a cold, then it was a chest infection, then antibiotics did nothing (clearly it was viral), then I had to take asthma medication to get the inflammation in my lungs down. I think I’m coming good now, I even ventured back to the gym. And although I lost 5kg I do not recommend the chest infection diet!

I managed to do a bit of creative work while I was sick though. I’ve finished a round of redrafting for the novel manuscript I did at the end of 2014, and I’ve sent it to a few friends for their thoughts. I hope to be able to send it off to some publishers or book agents in the next month or so. I’ll need to write up a synopsis etc, but I think I’m ready for people to see it. It depends on the feedback from the beta readers though.

I’ve also got the manuscript from the Choose Your Own Adventure from last year to go through. I’ve started an initial read for typoes and other obvious errors, and then I’ll have to go back through and check that each of the endings is logical. I think that might take a little while because even though the manuscript is only relatively short there are over twenty endings.

The script for the fringe show is coming along. I’m starting to get a little worried though as September is approaching really fast. Part of me is wondering why I would agree to do a show, but it has been on my to do list for a while, so I’m looking forward to it as well.

Over the next few months, during the hibernation period, I’m hoping to get some stuff done creatively. I want to be a bit stricter with myself about achieving goals as I feel like the first half of the year has passed by without much really happening. My writing partner assures me that it’ll all be alright on the night.

The Coordinator for my writing group has had to go overseas for several months and I have volunteered to take on that role too. It shouldn’t require too much work, but I’ll have to put my project/event management hat on for the 20th anniversary lunch in July and the getting the anthology reader for production in early September.

It’s cold and dreary in Melbourne at the moment and we’re only a month into winter. I feel like my blog has become more of a place where I sporadically post updates and less of a place for actual creative output. Maybe that’s because the creative stuff is going into other projects, but sometimes I worry that the blog is neglected. Ah well, even if it is, I guess that’s okay too.

Changes (again)

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Sometimes I think I have set myself up and I’ll be able to have a nice stable life for a little while.

I think ‘oh good, I can get on with being alive now that everything is set up’.

But that doesn’t seem to be how life works, at least not for me. I had a boss once who used to say that maybe our job isn’t being interrupted by constantly responding to and putting out fires, maybe putting out fires is our job. It sort of helps to stop you from dismissing stuff as in the way.

I know I’ve heard it before and I’m sure I’ll forget and have to remind myself. Life doesn’t start when everything is ready and settled and under control. All that stuff is life.

Things will always be unsettled. There will always be stuff that is out of your control.

Life doesn’t have a satisfying narrative arc. It’s a bunch of scribbles and chaos that we have to try to fumble our way through.

So as I head into another portion of my life without a stable income, at least for the moment, I’m trying to tell myself that it’s all good and that the opportunities that will come from being available will totally be worth it.

Plus, I have some money hidden away, I won’t starve. Adventures ahoy!

The End of the Dirty Thirty

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April is National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. I decided to do it this year, sort of on a whim, and then I forgot till 5 April, so I was four behind! I’ve caught up and now have only today’s and two more to finish the ‘dirty thirty’, as my friend calls it. I’ve decided that since I forgot, I’m allowed to go a couple of days over and finish on Monday.

I’ve had some fun writing every day, but some days it was a struggle. I think there are a few poems that are just terrible, and will probably never see the light of day, but there are others which work quite well.

I took day 11, which was to order the titles of books in your shelf into a found object poem, and day 12, which was about tea and being a grown up, to my writing group today. A lot of people liked the book titles one, and there was a bit of a mixed reaction to the other.

I found it interesting that one member of the group, a woman who is in her eighties if she’s a day, commented that one never really feels like a grown up. This idea that you’re bluffing your way through life apparently persists. I keep thinking it will go away, but I don’t think it does.

I’ll have to think of something for May, perhaps a music challenge. Anyway, to wrap up NaPoWriMo for the year, in a way, I present day 11 and day 12.

 

Book Spines

Pretty things
In My Skin
Lost Souls
Mutants
Oblivion

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Books from my shelf

The Broken Shore
The Big Sleep
The Dark Half
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Oblivion

Perfect Phrases
Leaves of Grass
Crack Down
Junky
Bleak House
Oblivion

 

Tea and Anxiety

Warm and liquid and brown.
Well sort of tan I guess.
Swish you around my mouth
Feel you sliding down my throat
To warm my belly.

Ah, you’ve been such a friend.
Not as much caffeine as your cousin
Coffee, who makes me jitter and shake.
There’s no anxiety with you.

There is a bit of an aftertaste
Sometimes, when I’ve finished my sip
There’s something that lingers
Like something you’ve forgotten to do

So often I feel like I’m failing
At being an adult
At fulfilling societal expectations
Which is hard because I don’t want to
Fulfil expectations.
But you can’t help feeling that pressure can you?
Ah well, at least there’s always tea.

NaPoWriMo + MICF

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In my last post, I mentioned that I was thinking of doing NaPoWriMo, that is, National Poetry Writing Month. The idea is that you do one poem every day in April, and then you have thirty poems, and some good habits. I did it in 2014 and enjoyed the experience, even though the poems were of very mixed quality.

Only I forgot that I was going to do NaPoWriMo until Tuesday (5th). So I was like ‘Ah, crap!’. I’ve caught up a little bit but still three behind.

I forgot because I was all distracted by the Melbourne International Comedy festival. I’ve seen a lot of shows. I like seeing lots of shows. I like seeing the different stuff people do. I like having an excuse to go up to performers after they get off stage and gush at them in the hope of getting a nice hug. Sometimes it even works! WOO! Bart and Nicole, I’m looking at you!

Here’s a brief list of shows I have seen and can recommend:

Mel Buttle’s Up to Pussy’s Bow: Mel’s from Brisbane and she’s obsessed with Gumtree. Stand-up. Very good.

Luisa Omielan’s Am I Right Ladies?: Luisa is from the UK, she does stand-up with dancing and a killer soundtrack. Excellent.

Velvet: Not sure if it technically counts as comedy, it’s a cabaret/circus/variety show. It’s expensive but boy is it worth the entry price! Sexy glittery good times!

Hannah Gadsby’s Dogmatic: It’s a journey through Taylor Swift lyrics and Hannah’s no woe life. Stand-up with intellectual weight. Many lols. Loved it.

Wil Anderson Fire At Wil: The title doesn’t work in America, so get into it here. For reasons why Malcolm Turnbull is a comedians nightmare and other political stand-up hilarity.

Michelle Brasier’s Space Tortoise: What could be better than a singing, dancing tortoise who wants to be a cosmonaut? Not much. Amazing.

Bart Freebairn’s Unlimited Comedy Battle Spirit: Making the everyday absurdity funny, and making absurd hilarity everyday. Weird stand-up also featuring very tight pants. Gold.

Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night: For those late nights when you just want a bit of a flavour of some other shows. Also featuring Ali’s glorious vocal stylings and the Omnichord.

Peter and Bambi Heaven’s The Magic Inside: It’s a magical cabaret show with so many costume changes the mind boggles. You’ll never look at fruit and veg the same way again. Brilliant.

Juan Vesuvius’s Calypso Nights: Juan, Two?: This one requires a bit more work from the audience, but if you’re concentrating you are rewarded with some high-level lols. There are also some excellent physical slapstick gags. Defies classification. Get it in ya!

Becky Lucas’s Baby: Lazy-Feminist-Lady-Stand-up extraordinaire. May or may not feature actual baby. Bloody good shit here.

Andy Matthew’s Plenty: A curling, twisting, beautifully curated narrative journey through existential dread, death, and quantum physics. Makes you think hard. Makes you laugh. Good stuff.

Nicole Henriksen is Makin’ it Rain: Ever wanted to know what it’s actually like to be a stripper? This show is Nicole getting real vulnerable with bonus nudity. Epic.

So um, yeah. I’ve been busy eating up all the art! If I come up with a poem that’s any good I’ll put it up here. Otherwise I’ll try to pack in a few more laughs before the MICF closes on 17 April. Big love!

Comedy Festival – GO!

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Last night was the first night of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). I went out to see two shows; Mel Buttle’s Up to Pussy’s Bow and Luisa Omielan’s Am I Right Ladies?

Two beautiful, strong, funny women. I bought this awesome Bumper Book for Boys, published in 1938, from Mel for 35cents. I’m looking forward to seeing more MICF shows over the next few weeks, it’s such a fun time to be out in Melbourne!

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Bumper Book for Boys, it’s going to look great in my flat above a shop in Fitzroy North. I’m not a hipster, I swear.

I’m also giving consideration to doing NaPoWriMo again. That’s National Poetry Writing Month, the idea being that you challenge yourself to write a poem a day for the month of April. I did it two years ago and I quite enjoyed it, although the standard of the poems that came out varied wildly. I don’t know whether I’ll have the time to do it properly, with the comedy festival and the band and the new job and the life modelling and the trying to organise and write our Fringe show, but I might as well give it a try.

If you’re out at the MICF and you see me, say hello! If you have recommendations for shows, tell me! If you want to do the poem a day challenge I’d love to hear from you, it’s always nice to know that there are others out there who are attempting the same stuff I am!

Modern Life

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So much in life needs our constant attention
Be a grown up. Upkeep and vigilance
Nothing is said without equivocation
Waiting to be put back in your place

Be a grown up. Upkeep and vigilance
Anxiety weighs on us, the millstone of a Saint
Waiting to be put back in your place
The struggle with darkness leaves its taint

Anxiety weighs on us, the millstone of a Saint
Back and forth, the voices in authority
The struggle with darkness leaves its taint
Try to be good. Try to create security.

Back and forth, the voices in authority
Nothing is said without equivocation
Try to be good. Try to create security.
So much in life needs our constant attention.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work

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Last month I wrote a super angry poem for my poetry group. It was confused and ranty and not very good. I can look at it now and see that. I had massaged it so that I could keep a couple of lines I was really enamoured of, at the expense of content. The group was very supportive, they gave constructive feedback and were very kind in their framing, even though the poem was really bad.

Intellectually I know that there will be versions of things, or whole pieces that simply aren’t suitable for public consumption. Whether they’re built on flawed premises, or they don’t really make sense, or they’re just a bit crappy. I have to be better at letting them go.

Emotionally I get attached to things. I want things to be good. I want all my darlings to take glorious flight into the world and resonate with other people. But that’s not how life works. Some stuff is great, other stuff is okay, some stuff is terrible. That’s how things are. With practice, the proportions are more skewed to great, but nothing is guaranteed.

I think this is what killing your darlings is about. It’s about learning to see which work needs to be persevered with, and which should just serve as an exercise and be put away in a drawer. With a lock on it. Like all of my angsty teen poetry, which still exists on the internet unfortunately, but I’m certainly not giving any of you the link! 

In other news I’m gearing up for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I hope to post a few little reviews here for the shows I get along to – I have four booked in so far!

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