My first full day of Residency, and it was important to set in place a routine that I can follow for my full time here. To that end, I started by being woken up at 2.30am: Greenmount may be idyllic, but it is also right under the departing flight path for Perth airport, and the planes are only a few hundred metres overhead and working hard to climb. Back in the day, I lived in Huntingdale, which is under the approach path– I got used to the sound of aircraft overhead, but that habit has not yet reasserted itself.

First act upon finally leaving my warm and comfortable bed– experienced traveller me had bought an extra pillow from home and a sleeping bag to spread over my duvet, so no shivering in the sub-zero temperatures of a Hills night pour moi-– was to get out and walk. I’m old and I’m fat, but I’ve always been active: a forty-five minute walk through the hills is perfect for energising me ready for the day ahead. Good old Pokemon Go provides– five gyms in the surrounding streets makes for a nice circuit.

Even so, for a fat old bloke like me, it’s not particularly easy: Greenmount has a commonality with Sydney in that the suburb was designed my MC Escher. No matter what direction you face, you have to go uphill, even if you turn through 180 degrees and face the direction you’ve just climbed up. Fifteen years of soccer and basketball as a kid has left me with a mild case of osteochondritis (fuckupus kneesii): climbing hills (and cycling, factoid fans) is fucking murder on my knees.

Back in my warm chalet, and with a bowl of breakfast in my guttiwuts, I was turning my attention to the day’s work by 8.30.

I’ve got three goals for the fortnight, which makes it easy to split the day into three sections. First up was progressing Song of the Water, a short story based on CY O’Connor’s suicide, which I’m aiming to include in a collection of stories involving supernatural interference in Western Australia’s colonial history. It’s early days, the story is still crystallising as I write, and I’ve been out of practice for a longer time than I’d care to admit, so the words aren’t coming easily. I managed 1000 today, to add to the 300 I got down after my arrival yesterday. The words will come more easily, and quicker, the longer I’m here, so I was pleased with the amount I managed. This story is not likely to be a long one: I’ll be finished in a day or two.

After lunch, I picked up Ghost Tracks. I’m 17,000 words in on this one, but had come to a shuddering halt as something had gone wrong, but I didn’t know quite what. After reading through the manuscript it became clear: a character that had left the narrative too soon, and needed to be re-entered into the action. It took me an hour to do so, and another hour to forward the action to where that reinsertion all made sense: another 1000 words, and I’m well set up to crest the 20,000 word mark tomorrow.

Finally, as the darkness fell and the rain came with it, I rugged up and turned my attention towards a bit of non-writing writing. I’m in the final throes of completing a Diploma of Project Management through work, and with the need to finish by the end of July or face having to pay to re-enrol in a prohibitive number of units, I can’t afford to take a fortnight away. An hour of delving into quality management techniques to finalise some online essays was quite enough, thank you very much.

So, there’s my routine established, and hopefully it’ll bear significant wordage in the remaining 12 days here. Now it’s time for a Skype call with Luscious, a bowl of warm soup, and bed with some licorice allsorts and Loki: Agent of Asgard.

And the aircraft can sod right off tonight……



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