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Home, Away, Home Again

We’ve been away. The thing about going away is, no matter how wonderful the trip, it’s always such a relief to get home. I don’t know if it’s the journey, or the strange bed or the rich food but being away is always more draining to be at home and it certainly makes me appreciate my own little corner of the world.

Our trip this time was to South Australia, a state I’d never visited before. We spent time with my younger brother, visited Hahndorf (which apparently was the first settlement set up for non-English settlers) and saw the pandas at the zoo. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen pandas in real life so I was thrilled. The place we stayed was very close to the water, so we had a lot of long walks on the beach.

And despite all that, I am so glad to be home again.

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What the Wrestling Can Teach You

My husband loves the wrestling. As in, incredibly athletic men and women inside a ring pretending to fight in the most spectacular way. Wrestling may be fake (please, don’t look so shocked) but I have no doubt the talent and endurance (and injuries) of the performers is completely real.

I don’t mind the wrestling either, but the thing I love most is the stories. The writers are masters of conflict and tension (for a great article on conflict, check out this post on Writers in the Storm). The stakes are always epic, the rivalries are always intense, and the characters walk through ever shifting shades of grey. These characters don’t just want to win (we all want to win), they’re willing to do anything to win. Coz, let’s face it, the writers need to create characters that people don’t just like, they need to write characters who’s t-shirt people want to wear.

I assume that’s why my husband has those shirts, anyway.

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2019 Fogarty Literary Award – If You’re a Young WA Writer, You Should Take a Look

There’s a lot to be said for experience. For a start, you’re less inclined to cry in the change-rooms when buying new clothes, or in front of the mirror when you’ve had a haircut (I’m assuming I’m not the only one who used to do that). But there’s also a lot to be said for youth, not least being that you have a completely different world view when you’re young.

With this in mind I was really excited to see Fremantle Press and the Fogarty Foundation are sponsoring the Fogarty Literary Award for authors aged between 18 and 35 years old (I’m just chuffed that 35 is considered young). It is only open to authors whose normal place of residence is Western Australia. It’s a fantastic opportunity – the winner receives a $20,000 cash prize and a publishing contract – so if you are a young writer living in WA or you know someone who is, you should definitely check it out. The link is below. And good luck!

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Friends Make the World Beautiful

Over the weekend I went away with some women I’ve been friends with since high-school. We soaked in the beautiful hot springs on the Mornington Peninsula and airbnb-ed (yes, I did just use it as a verb) a house in Dromana.

I’ve known most of these women since I was thirteen and one of them since I was seven (at the most). They know things about me that no one else could possibly know. And, they love me for who I am, even when I don’t love myself. I always say that you only need one good friend to survive high-school – two as a bonus in case one of you is away – but I was blessed with a large group of friends who I knew always had my back. I’m further blessed that some of these friends have grown with me into adulthood.

Love and friendship are easy to give, they’re also incredibly powerful. When the world feels scary and confusing, it’s tempting to withdraw from others but it’s a temptation, I think, we need to fight. Because it’s friendship that makes the world a beautiful place.

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Auditory Illusion

When I was in high-school I was head-over-heels in love with a boy in my year. Five and a half years. Never told him. Every time I saw him, I’d hear bells. Like wind-chimes. When there were no bells, wind-chimes or even wind.

This happens to my protagonist, Maggie, too and I was interested in why this would happen (excluding my being insane), so I did a little research and came across this really excellent and entertaining video. Have a watch and tell me what you think.

Hah! See? I’m not a raving lunatic in need of a foil hat. It’s auditory illusion…and unrequited love (aww).

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Cockatoo

My little dot on the map has been over-run with peach-faced cockatoos. They screaming overhead, grazing on the school oval and tearing the trees apart. I love them.

My husband is not such a fan of the mess they make though and thus, on Saturday, he had as out in the garden brandishing hoses and squirting water at any cockatoo that looked like it might be thinking about landing in our trees or on our roof. He was like some crazy one-toothed old man you see in movies. However, they outnumber us about forty to one and after some initial success he let us give up.

Long live the cockatoo!

The birds! The birds!
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Language is a Living Thing

I just finished reading a YA book called The List by Patricia Forde, which was a brilliant book, beautifully written and very entertaining. At the end of the book Forde had written some notes about how her inspiration for The List, in which the last remaining humans can only speak a language of 500 pre-approved words, came from working in the Irish language and finding that she and her colleagues didn’t have the words for everything. They would then need to contact older relations or friends who might remember the word.

As a native English speaker, I’m in a privileged position (although, as with many privileges, it can set you up to fail). English is spoken world wide, with many non-native English speakers having it as a second language, while for many native English speakers it is their only language. It’s difficult for me to imagine what it must feel like to watch the language or your parents and grandparents die.

People, especially older people, often become frustrated by changes in language. The way the youth of the day speaks takes up newspaper space much more often than it should. But language must be able grow to and evolve and change, because that’s how it stays alive. When we native-English speakers hear people LOLing, or googling something or that they went to a gay club with their friend, we should be pleased that our language is still vibrant and living. Because the alternative leaves us both linguistically and culturally poorer.

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Reading Gold

You know what’s the best thing? When you get to the end of a book and you think, “Oh my God, that was awesome. I need to write this author’s name down and see what else they’ve written.”

Guess what’s even better? When you do that twice in a week!

I am going to review both books so I won’t give any spoilers here. What I will say though is that I Crawl Through by A.S. King and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver were both surprising and that’s what kept me reading. And I don’t mean there was a twist at the end, I mean that they had a unique take on things and while the themes might not have been anything new, they way they were presented was.

Finding an author, not just a book, who’s work you enjoy is reading gold. Honestly. And I can’t wait to read more of their work.

When’s the last time you had a moment like that? Do you have favourite authors or do you ‘read around’?