FETISH FRIDAY: LAURA E. GOODIN

I’m running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don’t get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.

This week, I think it’s fair to say, the bar has been officially raised 🙂

American-born writer Laura E. Goodin has been writing since childhood.  Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Adbusters, Wet Ink, The Lifted Brow, and Daily Science Fiction, among others, and in several anthologies.  Her plays and libretti have been performed on three continents, and her poetry has been performed internationally, both as spoken word and as texts for new musical compositions.  She attended the 2007 Clarion South workshop, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Western Australia.  

Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There’s always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise. 

FETISH FRIDAY: MEG CADDY

I’m running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don’t get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.




Most of my friends, coworkers, and family know I’m obsessed with pirates. Check my internet search history and it comes up with things like ‘frigate breadth’ and ‘carracks vs caravels’, and ‘how to cook salamagundy’.  I’m doing an Honours thesis on pirates in pre-modern England, and I’m working on a pirate novel. My favourite historical figure is the wild and wonderful Grace O’Malley.

I think I am drawn to pirates because I am their complete opposite. I am indoors-y and bookish, and my adventures are mostly confined to the page. In spite of my love of ships, I am most assuredly not a sailor.

A dear friend of mine – an American artist named Kristin Lane – is familiar with my pirate obsession, and she encourages it shamelessly. A few years ago, she asked me what flag is flown by the pirates in my novel. I described a red flag with a black rose, modelled off the Tudor rose. To my delight, some months later Kristin sent me a small canvas panel with the design painted on it. She had also added a little something of her own, saying:

“The red is easy to see from a distance, but the black wouldn’t be so contrasting. The white not only draws the eye and makes the design more readable, but also serves a purpose. White is fresh, new, pure, and unused. The longer the flag flies, the more weathered and discoloured it gets. I took this principle from early martial arts training. Before they started dyeing the belts you only had one which would get dirtier and dirtier the more you trained. This is why we go from white belt to black belt.”

I keep the flag on my desk. It reminds me of the journey my pirate captain must make. When she starts to sail she is untried, uncertain, and unprepared for the responsibility of a ship and crew. By the end of the novel, she must know where she stands on the deck, and she must know what she stands for. The centre of her flag must go from white to black.

Like my captain, I’m new to the business; my debut novel is being released this year. The canvas panel, with white blazing in the centre, reminds me of how far I have to go. I have a lot to learn, and a lot of work still to do. Moreover, the flag helps me to deal with all the things that are so daunting to a newcomer in the world of professional writing. The flag enables me to see the late nights, early mornings, weeks of solitude, rejection letters, deleted drafts, and rewrites not as failures – but as weathering. Evidence that I can sail.


Meg Caddy has a BA in English Literature and History from the University of Western Australia, and is currently writing an Honours dissertation on pirates. In 2013, her YA fantasy novel Waer was shortlisted for the Text Prize, which led to a contract with Text Publishing. Meg was the 2013 Young Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre. Her short story ‘Amphibian Summer’ was shortlisted for the Questions Writing Prize, and her poetry has been shortlisted for the Ethel Webb Bundell Poetry Prize. In 2014, her poem ‘Tiddalik’ was published in the 2015 Poetry d’Amour anthology.
For the past five years, Meg has been working with children of all ages. She is passionate about storytelling, cooking, pirates, and lizards.
Twitter: @MegCaddy1



Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There’s always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise. 

Review: The Bloody White Baron

The Bloody White Baron
The Bloody White Baron by James Palmer

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Unreadably bad. Palmer is clearly a writer with a passion forMongolia, and a political point to make, but his long asides and diatribes, coupled with footnotes that vary between simple references and long, unsubstantiated opinion pieces, turn this mess of a book into an utter farrago. Ungern-Sternberg is clearly a compelling character, and there’s bound to be a fascinating biography of the man out there somewhere, but this isn’t anywhere near it. Did not finish.

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Review: The Four Just Men

The Four Just Men
The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written in 1905, this remains a gripping and exciting character piece that examines the effect of political terrorism on a passive populace. While the characters of the police who pursue the titular four are never more than loosely drawn, those of the men themselves are the clearest fascination, and the gaps in their characterisation just encourage the reader to fill them in by himself.

The plot whips along, the tension palpably increases as the annointed hour of the act moves ever closer, and while the climax has a whiff of the deus ex machina, it’s allowable in the realms of what is, clearly, a pulp novel that outstrips its boundaries.

It’s exciting, stirring stuff, with the added benefit of — quite unconsciously– being a fascinating glimpse into the bigotry and superciliousness of the Edwardian Englishman.

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FETISH FRIDAY: DAVE LUCKETT

I’m running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don’t get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.
I don’t think anything of a material nature gets me writing – no music, no pictures, no objects or artefacts, nothing like that. But I can’t work out what’s going to happen in a story until the character starts talking to me. 

I’ve got a plot kinda sorta stewing at the moment. It’s actually been asked for by Omnibus – a historical set very very early – bronze age. Dyan Blacklock sent me a newspaper article on a burial in Sussex from about 2200 BCE, and thought it might inspire something. The man had died apparently from a sword-cut. He had been buried with a very rare, very beautiful bronze dagger, so he was an aristocrat. But the illustration didn’t say anything much to me. I researched the date – and whaddaya know, 2200 BCE is pretty much on track for the last major building phase at Stonehenge. They raised the five big central trilithons about then. Thing is, those stones weight about 25-30 tonnes apiece, and they moved them mostly overland about 24 miles to the site. Nobody knows exactly how, but it woulld have taken a huge number of bodies, for that time and place.

It was that that got me thinking. I think maybe my character will be the bloke responsible. This would have to be someone who could enforce a peace in a very warlike age, but he couldn’t be simply a warlord. He had to organise a workforce of six to eight thousand, which means about twenty times that number of farmers to feed it. Given crop yields and population density then, we’re looking at most of central and southern England being directed to a single purpose. Huge.

So I think I know what the character will be – a warrior who becomes a builder. But he hasn’t said a word to me yet. I have no idea what he’s like – his voice, his speech patterns, his word choice. That will lead on to posture, gestures, behaviours, thought. But until I can actually hear him speak, I don’t know what these will be. And here’s the thing. Without those, I don’t know what will happen to him, because I don’t know how other people will behave to him.

So it’s that voice that is my fetish, if you want to call it that. I suspect that he might sound upper-class, for those times – for there certainly was a class system. I suspect that causes conflict – but I don’t know how. He isn’t talking to me yet. I can’t write a word until he does – if he ever does.

We’ll see, I suppose.

Sometimes it happens straight away. More often not. Sometimes it’s inconvenient. I’ve actually had the experience of a character walking up behind me, tapping me on the shoulder, and the following conversation ensued:

“I’m not going to do that,” she said.

“It’s in the plot.”

“Don’t be silly. I wouldn’t do that.”

“What? You have to do it. It doesn’t work, otherwise.”

“It doesn’t work, as is.”

“Now, look here. You’re just a figment of my imagination. You do what I tell you to do.”

“Get lost, boofhead. You’d never have made a writer, anyway.”

So I noodled around for another way. It took me a week, but she eventually approved an alternative, and it led to a different plot twist, and it worked better that way, anyway.

So. The character has to talk to me. That’s my fetish.

 

Dave didn’t have an author pic to share, so here are a few novel covers to give you an idea of the range of which the man is capable. Dave was first published in 1994, won two Aurealises in 1997 and 1998, got on the Premier’s Award list three times, and has published twenty-two novels, ephemera and trivia and a couple dozen short stories. 
Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There’s always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise.