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!

Oh god, I can’t act!

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I realise that my last post was about the fallacy of idleness, and how I was pretty sure I was doing a whole bunch of stuff and wasn’t being idle at all. And then a friend of mine asked if I wanted to do a fringe show and I was like ‘sure! why not?’

On the one hand, some reasons why not are: I can’t really act, I don’t know when I’ll fit it in, I’ve never performed in a show, I may have to give up sleeping.

But on the other hand, I’ve never written and performed a show, and it’s been on my list of things to do for a while, so I said yes!

Melbourne Fringe season is in September, so we’ve got some time to get our shit together. We’ve already met up a few times got a bit of a story/structure happening, so that’s a great first step.

If it’s terrible then that’s okay, I did it and I had fun, and that’s the main thing. Hopefully it isn’t terrible, and we make back the money we put into it. And maybe we’ll even be inspired to go to Perth Fringe World and Adelaide Fringe next year. I’ve been looking at stuff on my Facebook feed from both of these festivals and even if we don’t take our show, maybe I’ll go anyway!

The friend who asked me has done shows for Fringe before, so she knows about things like performing in front of people, booking venues, registering and other important stuff. Which is nice! Hooray for people who have done things before.

I’ll be spruiking the show here closer to September. See you all there!

The Fallacy of Idleness

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I’m starting to think that I have a skewed idea of what ‘not doing much’ means. Since the start of the year I’ve been feeling the frustrating and conflicted combination of being both bored and overly busy. It’s a very strange feeling and it also means I’ve felt like I’m not really doing much, or progressing with projects.

This feeling has not been helped at all by the fact that I have recently subscribed to Netflix, so I feel like I’ve been watching a lot more tv than in the past. To be honest it’s probably just replaced stupid YouTube rabbit holes.

Anyway, as a colleague at work commented to me earlier today, I do actually have my fingers in a lot of pies. I’ve got practicing and rehearsing with my band, writing (and re-writing) various projects, Dances with Cucumbers, life modelling, exercise, socialising, and working in recruitment. I manage to fill up my time pretty effectively. So maybe what I’m actually feeling is some sort of misplaced guilt. As though every moment of the day should be utilised for some sort of productive end. There’s no rule that says you must book yourself back to back with stuff or you fail at being an adult. In fact I’m pretty sure there are arguments against it.

I’ve been looking into opportunities to submit to online magazines, either as once off submissions or as a staff writer. One which seems interesting requires one blog post per week, and one long article per month, which seems totally doable on the surface. But I worry that some weeks I’d struggle to have the time, and other weeks I’d have plenty of time. I guess everything in life is like that; a balancing act of compromise and negotiation. I’m going to go for it, and try to make it work. It’s not a paid gig, but it would definitely look good on my writing resume.

I wonder how other people manage to get the right balance between being productive and having enough rest that you don’t burn out. I need to tell my brain to settle down and just accept there will be weeks when not much happens, and other weeks when you’re jam packed. That’s life. I’m pretty sure it won’t change.

Well, I just wanted to write that all out and tell myself aloud that I am not being a slacker. It’s also a bit of an update. I haven’t started editing the Choose Your Own Adventure novel from NaNoWriMo 2015, but I have started some major rewrites for the novel from NaNoWriMo 2014, which are coming along nicely. This weekend is hideously flat out for me, so hopefully I get through it without exploding/imploding. I’ll catch you all on the flip side!

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