Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Invasion of Collins by Poets and their army of family and friends!

Unsuspecting shoppers seeking bookish presents for Christmas in Collins Books last Sunday were faced with a plunder of poets (Do you like that collective noun? I just made it up.) who were there to celebrate the launch of Land Lines, a regional poet's anthology published by the Melbourne Poets Union.
We read poems, nibbled sandwiches and toasted with some soft bubbles after Lorraine Marwood declared the publication launched.

The link above goes to a site that has some pictures of the poets and other people involved as well as another rundown of the event.

I had a lovely afternoon. I conquered my nerves and read 'Money for Jam' - people laughed in the right places so I was happy. I had a loyal little band of supporters who made the journey. Special mention must go to Karin who came to see me read in Edinburgh and now in Bendigo (I have an international groupie!)

Must get writing and submitting some more now that the school year has finally released me from it's pythonic hold.

Cheers, all the best of the season (whichever one you might be celebrating).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Regional Poets Anthology

A little while ago (OK, it was actually the 7th of Jan last year) I let you all know that I had some poetry accepted for publication in a regional poets anthology.... well, it's almost here. No, I really mean it.

The anthology is called Land Lines and will be launched 12th Dec at 1pm, Collins Bookshop in Bendigo.

Come along, bring a friend. I've been brave and agreed to read so you can all look forward to another photo of me being mortified in a future post!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Facebook should have a stupidity filter

For a while I have been wishing that facebook had a grammar and spelling filter so that posts could only be uploaded if they were grammatically correct and not misspelled. At one stage, I took to correcting posts that used "your" instead of "you're" and the wrong they're/there/their and signing my comments; "the friendly grammar police". This tactic elicited some confused responses such as, "Thanks?"

Well, you're welcome. (Please note that's not "your welcome" which is actually another thing entirely.)

In the end, though, it became too hard and I've had to just shut my eyes and take a deep breath when I see appalling spelling and grammar on facebook.

But now I have a new complaint -- blatant stupidity, like this post:

I had to really restrain myself from replying to that with all manner of sarcastic and aggressive comments that instantly popped into my head upon reading it. In fact, I started to reply and then I realised just what I was getting myself into. If I couldn't keep up with correcting the spelling and grammar, how would I ever keep up with commenting on the stupidity? And if people really are that stupid, are they going to be able to even remotely appreciate my witty and cutting comments about what their hand must look like after a wish has been whispered into it?

I think not.

Let it go, Deb, just let it go...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Carnage in the Kitchen

It seems that the advent of less-than-bitter-winter weather has inspired monster flies to grace us with their graceless presence.

In a foolhardy fit of passion for beamy sunshine, I opened the back door to the kitchen while I prepared dinner (to go in the slowcooker because I’m such a Betty-Crocker-type when I’m at home on school holidays). 

Unfortunately, said mutant blowflies decided that was an open invitation to come in and buzz mercilessly around the house and crawl their fetid feet all over the pile of dishes that is still sitting on the bench… and sink… and most other flat surfaces. (OK, so I'm not THAT Betty-Crocker-ish).

I don’t even know how the black swarm got through the door so quickly. By the time I figured out that the kitchen was being insect-invaded and shut the back door, there was a fly-haze to the air and the buzzing was so loud that I thought they had called in helicopter re-enforcements.

Having finished in the kitchen I thought I’d try the ignore-them-and-they’ll-go-away strategy. It’s a technique that I have attempted to employ in the classroom but so far to no avail and in this instance, the flies seem to have taken persistence lessons from my students. Eventually, one of them found their way into the lounge room where I was diligently trying to ignore them by checking what everyone was doing on facebook (not just my friends, that wouldn’t have taken very long, EVERYONE – never let it be said that I shy away from the big jobs).

Fly-buzz was so distracting that I decided it was time for action. Where was the can of flyspray? We don’t have any because it's bad for the environment. 

Well, what about a flyswat then? Nope, I never actually got around to buying one. I thought about sacrificing the dishcloth but it didn’t have the necessary flick-and-kill quality I was looking for. A quick rummage in the recycled paper unearthed an old sturdy envelope, which I felt would be a suitable understudy for a flyswat.

Makeshift flyswat in hand, I unleashed my fury around the kitchen – I actually remembered to put the lid onto the pot of dinner to avoid it filling up with fly carcasses. Even when I thought I had disposed of all of them, there would be a lull followed by another buzzing and then I had to hunt down where the next one was….. and then the next one….

Finally once the buzzing had ceased and an eerie quiet had again settle in the kitchen, I returned to the lounge room, exhausted but I felt I had been victorious. I had entered the black mass and had conquered the swarming plague. I am the champion!

What’s that buzzing?!
I’m going to buy a can of flyspray!

PS. This post is a nod to Allie at http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ Not that I could ever be as funny, amazing and witty as Allie but her work did make me think that this one would be more entertaining with 'drawings'.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Images of Edinburgh

Today I completed the confronting task of discussing my poetry in my one-to-one tutorial time. It was confronting not because of whom I had to talk, but because I had to talk about it at all. But, like so many things that scare us and are difficult, such as going to the dentist or learning to ride a bike, it was all worth it in the end (okay, you're right, going to the dentist is never worth it).

Beforehand I had an image of my tutor throwing my pages across the table at me and exclaiming that it was all rubbish and what did I think I was doing. Or in an alternative but equally daunting scenario sitting politely and nodding with a stiff smile plastered on her face as I desperately tried to say something intellegent and make her like me (which is what it's all about, of course, it's what everything is about).

There were many other nightmares playing out in my mind (which I won't bore you with just yet) but most of them ended with me curled into a ball sobbing quietly and retaining a persistent phobia of writing, reading and even of pens - those orchestrators of my downfall!

Of course, nothing like it eventuated and I had a lovely, productive discussion with my wonderfully supportive tutor who didn't once throw anything or nod politley.

I have two more tutorials before the end of the course, so she still has time...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writing in Edinburgh

Today our course started with a seminar and library tour. We read beginnings and wrote beginnings as would be appropriate for the beginning of anything.

I handed some work to my tutor so she could read it in preparation for my one-to-one tutorial session tomorrow afternoon. I decided to go with poetry and I was flattered (prematurely because she hadn't actually read it yet) when she asked if I was working towards a collection or anthology of my poems.

I must look like a writer or sound like a writer (although that could be down to my non-fashion, hippy tendencies and the fact that I'm a bullshit artist for a living). On the theme of beginnings, I might even be beginning to think that I'm a writer and that could be a daunting thought. I wonder how it's going to end?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Counting down to Edinburgh

At the start of August I'll be heading to the UK to take part in the Scottish Universities' International Summer School. I'm going to give the Creative Writing Course a red hot go.

I'm both nervous and excited by this opportunity. I think I'm feeling a little intimidated by it all and I'm not sure that I'm up to it. I tend to do this to myself - dash out onto the limb and then realise how far down it is, get scared, vow not to look down again, look down anyway, have a mild panic attack while I imagine myself splattered all over the ground below, then become frozen in place like those cliched cats that have to be rescued by the fire brigade (don't the fire brigade have anything better to do?) In this case, the 'frozen in place' part will actually ferry me swiftly and surely to Scotland since all the arrangements have been made and I'm now too scared witless to do anything about it. I'll be dragged along by a tide of my own making.

I hope they don't mind a metaphor, a simile or two in this course, I think I've got that under control.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


At the moment it seems that my time is like some kind of shifting sand monster and just when I think I have managed to grab hold of some, it slithers away and I'm left with nothing. The monster stalks me when it thinks I'm not paying attention and leaps in to eat up things I wanted to be doing.

All of that is just a waffly way of saying I have no time left for the things I really want to be doing and that I enjoy - like reading and writing. Instead my time is being devoured by work, tedium and busyness. I keep trying to squeeze time with my family and friends into my schedule but it is always rushed, there's more work or somewhere else I need to get to lurking close by.

I worry about time. I try not to wish it away but find myself doing so anyway. I worry that I will look back and wonder what I did with my life and regret that the time I spent on work and the value I place on the piles of correction and online reporting do not correspond.

Right now, I'm stealing a little bit of time to myself to write this. It's the break I have rewarded myself with after completing two of the four stacks of correction sitting on my lounge room floor. It's only a small amount of time that I can afford. For example, I couldn't afford to go out to our house site with Nic as he is planning on spending a couple of hours out there and I still have those other two stacks to get through.

Time interests me. I think we don't value it when we have it - usually as young people. And like any good supply and demand model of economics, it only becomes more valuable when we realise just how little we have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


underneath the mystery of half-truths
and meaningful eyes across
a mingling room of bodies
dewy with new encounters
of the close kind
kindling urges, stroking egos
ids left to drown in
an over stimulated soup of response
short-sighted, I needed you
up close and personable but
all you could afford
were your smoke and mirror balls
but underneath your tricks
and breadcrumbs dropped
for me to follow
your serial murdering clues
for me to sleuth
and your fruitless baying at the moon
who never returned your call
was only fear
after all

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Click here to read Thuy's Review

Here's a review of Verandah 24 which featured my short story. It's a sort of backhanded compliment in a way but I'll take what I can get! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Three Poems Accepted

My latest news is that I've had three poems accepted for inclusion in a Regional Poets' Anthology Chapbook. Two of them have featured here; 'Little Pig' and 'After Wandong', the third is below.

Money for jam…

Like money for jam
a stupid saying really
because I’ve made jam
and it’s not that easy

First there’s all that
chopping of fruit
into tedious pieces
then accurate weighing
and measuring
(never my forte)
matching fruit with sugar
and doesn’t that look like an awful lot
of sugar?
surely a bit less would be healthier

Then stirring-waiting stirring-waiting
for the right consistency
– the one that matches the vague
description in the recipe –
which can be difficult
if you don’t have a natural tendency for patience
and you think it looks right
(good enough anyway)
but when it cools in the jars
 – the ones you nearly scolded
the flesh off your hands trying to sterilise –
what you’re left with is fruity slop
which calls for some creative marketing

You transfer the sludge
into bottles
relabel it “Real Fruit Topping –
great on ice cream,
made with real fruit”
and give it to friends for Christmas,
they smile and say, “Thank you”
but they know it’s really
your failed attempt
at money for jam