So to the big news:

I have websitage!

After much cocking things up and not-being-at-all-clever about hosts and doman names and stuff like that– really, I can’t escape the essential 19th Century level of my technological abilities– I can proudly announce the presence of on the electronic landscape.

Come on down and have a look. Some of the pages are still under construction, but you’ll find stuff there about me, my writing and cartooning, the sorts of random falderal that amuse me…. in short, it’s a snapshot of the inside of my brain, only much easier to navigate.

And while you’re web-hopping, jump on over to Lyn’s new website as well, which is like a snapshot of the inside of her brain. Which means it’s prettier than mine, and much more elegant.


Sometimes, this writing gig ain’t all just wine, yachts, and sex with supermodels, you know.

During the week I submitted the first story I’ve completed this year. That alone is case for both celebration and concern: there was a time, not that long ago, when I sold ten stories a year, never mind submitted my first one in September. But life is a much different thing than it was a couple of years ago, and my aims are different, too. 2010 has been a year for other things. However, it’s been the first story I’ve ever submitted that’s contained an apology.

The reason for that is the title.

I may not be good at much, my little friends, but I do delude myself that I’m quite good at finding the right title for my work. No Phil Dick, perhaps, but I at least avoid stories called “The Vampire” or “The Ghoul” or… well, you get the drift. And once a title is right, it’s right. There is such a thing as a perfect title– one that encapsulates the theme of the story, gives the reader a glimpse into the events about to unfold without giving the game away, and jumps out of the Table of Contents with such force that the reader wants to turn to your story first.

The story I wrote is set in the 1920s, in a jazz club in Harlem. It deals with the US Civil War, with the differences between white and black magic, with the way music can be used to capture emotions and re-channel them as a source of power. It talks about slavery, indvidual freedom, the germination of the Civil Rights music. It’s rough, and nasty, and unpleasant things happen.

It’s called Nigger Music.

It’s a perfect title. There is no other title that encapsulates everything that happens within the story, that ties together the way we name things, the way white owners and their black slaves changed after the power relationship was destroyed, the roles that the three characters (white Le Mesurier, black Tobias Mancer, and the musician Robert Johnson) interact. It is the perfect title for the story.

But looking at the title bar of the email and seeing SUBMISSION: Nigger Music….. well, it’s the first time I’ve looked at it and thought, “You know, that’s going to need explaining.”


Sigh. apologising for the lack of posts seems to be a habit these days. Let’s just take it as read, shall we?

There’s been a couple of reasons for my absence. Work has been mad– we’re coming up for the 2010 Nyoongar Art Awards, a major art award the City of Rockingham co-presents with the Town of Kwinana, and part of the grand prize each year is a solo exhibition for the winner. And I’m the one who puts it together, so the last couple of weeks I’ve been hip-deep in phone calls to art galleries to arrange transport of artwork, organising invitation designs, sourcing catering, talking to wineries about label printing…. all the fun things that go on behind the scenes before an exhibition hits the gallery space.

Then there’s been the sickness. No sooner had Luscious and Aiden recovered from bouts of bronchitis than Connor decided to have a turn. By last Friday his coughing was so constant that he ended up at Rockingham hospital, then spent the weekend at Fremantle Hospital whilst Lyn and I took it in turns to stay the night and run back & forth to Mandurah to transport toys, clothes, and other sundries. Turns out our little boy doesn’t do things by half– the bronchitis triggered a series of asthma attacks, which helped bring on a bout of croup. At least, that what the paediatrician said. A week off school seems to have helped– now he only coughs when he needs to remind someone he’s sick, usually if it means getting dessert early…

So, mad as it’s been, it’s been Life. Still, I’m back now…