DADDY GAVE ME A NAME

My father died yesterday.

He’d been suffering from dementia for quite some time, the result of a condition called Primary Progressive Aphasia, as well as the degenerative effects of a lifetime spent in dangerous manual labour, with its attendant injuries. The decline was underway for several years. He’d been in steep decline for the last couple of years. Three days ago he slipped into a coma from which he never awoke, and at 9.30am yesterday morning he took his last breath. He was 75 years old.

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SURVIVED, ALIVE, AND ALL THAT JIVE

So, it’s over. Tropical Cyclone Veronica became Very Strong Wind Veronica, and finally, Was That It? Veronica. Port Hedland was battered to within an inch of improvement, Wickham and Roeburne received a bloody good wash, and Karratha lost a few trees and spread an awful lot of leaves about to be the mulch of the future.

As to us, we evacuated from our house because we were advised that our house was likely to be flooded, and spent three nights camped out on air beds on the floor of our local indoor basketball courts, surrounded by as much food as we could cram into two eskies, a veritable fort of water bottles, and the hacking coughs and sneezes of 60 or so other people who received the same advice… only to return home and find that up the half a dozen of our emergency sandbags had become partially moist.

I make light, of course. This is the blog of a bitter and broken curmudgeon. News sites start to the left.

But, we’re okay, the house survived, we’re all back at work and school and regular service is resumed. So, on that note, I shall resume my position of rough radio silence for at least a few more weeks while I go back to trying to resolve my future as a writer, artist, failure, empty vessel, and hermit-best-treated-as-a-sort-of-roundabout.

Thanks to all who got in touch to make sure we are okay. See you all soon. Ish. Probably. Maybe. Probably.

CYCLONE VERONICA: THIS IS SERIOUS, MUM.

Breaking silence just to update you on our current state of Real Life ™.

As many of you know, we located to Karratha, in the North of our State, at the beginning of last year. Right now, that puts us in the path of Cyclone Veronica, a category 4 cyclone off the coast that is expected to reach category 5 by the weekend, when it is expected to cross the coast somewhere within 350 kilometres of my side of the bed.

By tea-time Sunday, we are likely to be gifted with winds in excess of 125km/hr, potentially reaching to over 165km/hr. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, we’re also highly likely to receive rainfall in excess of 150mm within a 24 hour period, resulting in major flooding and a very dangerous storm tide.

Continue reading “CYCLONE VERONICA: THIS IS SERIOUS, MUM.”

2018: BUY ONE YEAR, GET THREE FOR FREE

Or, at least, that’s how it feels.

Let’s recap, shall we?

At the start of the year, I was a month away from being released from a job that had turned sour and toxic. I was vastly overweight, crippled by stress, and deeply unhappy. I hadn’t completed a full piece of writing in well over 2 years, and hadn’t completed a novel in closer to four (and that one had been stillborn: a melange of bad writing and awkward choices that simply refused to come to life and be sellable).

Then, of course, we moved to Karratha. Luscious took up a position teaching at the High School. I tra-la-la’d out of the job with nary a look back (How well was I respected? My going away gift was a book of art from the Kimberleys (I was going to the Pilbara, several hundreds of kilometres away), and my Director, who knew me since my first day, could only comment on the fact that I occasionally swore when asked to make a speech about my achievements over the 8 years of my time there). I started teaching relief at Luscious’ school a day or two a week, sat down to write, and opened up my recipe books and my copy of House Husbanding for Dummies.

How’s that worked out for me? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Continue reading “2018: BUY ONE YEAR, GET THREE FOR FREE”

BETWEEN THE ORDER AND THE LUNCH

It’s the school holidays, and even though we are, by and large, skint this time out, there’s still time for the odd lunch out. Yesterday we hauled out to Port Samson, a seaside enclave roughly 50 kilometres up the coast, for the best fish and chips in the region, served on a balcony overlooking a wide sand flats and beach. We packed a couple of notebooks and some pens, and while waiting for our lunch, Ms 16 introduced us to a version of the Narrative Corpse writing game. You know the one: you write a paragraph, fold the page over so that only the last sentence can be seen, pass it to the left. At the end, you unfold your sheet of paper and read the odd little story that you’ve all created to much ribaldry and general hilarity.
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DAY SIX: NUMBERS FOR BETTER LIVING

Anybody who thinks numbers aren’t beautiful has never been a writer. As much as I have a love of mathematics (much like I have a love of boxing: I’m not much cop at anything beyond the basics, but by God, I love what the form can do), it’s the rise in pure numbers that gets my authorial mind smiling.

Let me show you. As of the close of business today:

  • 6700 words on Ghost Tracks, taking the text from 17,500 to a shade over 24,100.
  • 3000 words on Song of the Water, equalling 1 complete short story, taking the proposed collection to, in a beautiful piece of symmetry, a shade over 24,100.
  • 300 words on The Ballad of Arthur Williams.

Equalling 10,000 words since I arrived here.

See? Isn’t lovely? Doesn’t that make you smile? Because it make me grin like a freaking loon.

The other thing that made me smile like a loon today was my family deciding I needed to be taken out for dinner, and driving all the way here to pick me up and take me out. I’m loving this small taste of the life I want to live– writing full-time; advancing projects on a daily basis; drinking up the solitary, reflective life of an artist– but it means nothing without the love and support of those I love, and I’ve been missing them terribly. Everything I do, everything I sacrifice, everything I undertake: without them, it’s ashes.

It’s a small thing: a meal together, some laughs and togetherness. But it gives me the motivation to keep going and do them proud.

 

Batts.jpg

They followed me home. Can I keep them?