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”

NEW WORK FOR OLD FOOLS

Gotta hurry. Gotta hurry.

Byt’s gotta new job. But jobs don’t wait. She gotta get cross town before start time, or some other bugger gonna get it. She up and out of the squat before the suits start chocking up the street. Catch a hand-roll at a stall down at street level, scoff it quick and licking her fingers before she even lining up for tram. Slip in the out door while the tourists and the jobtypes barge out in a vomit of deodorant and stupidity. Bump bump bump against hips and hunker down in the foot well. Open the wallets quick fingers have bought, strip the cash, dump the cards. Byt knows a guy down the markets pay some dollars for wallets. Make twenty bucks off these ones, good.

Continue reading “NEW WORK FOR OLD FOOLS”

SHORT LISTED, BUT LONG ON TALENT

The 2017 Aurealis Awards were announced yesterday. Luscious was shortlisted in the Best SF Short Story category for her story The Missing Years, which you can read in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #66. She didn’t win, but to be honest, that’s almost beside the point.

I’ve mentioned at length the effects the last few years have had on my writing. But what I haven’t talked about so much is how Luscious’ writing has been affected, too. Continue reading “SHORT LISTED, BUT LONG ON TALENT”

DAY THREE AND AN EVENING WITH LEE

Day three of my residency, and apart from taking my work past a couple of notable milestones– Song of the Water passing 2000 words and Ghost Tracks cresting 20,000– today was notable for the appearance of a surprise guest.

There’s long been a rumour of a ghost here at the Centre, and sitting alone in a perfectly silent chalet in the depths of the rolling gardens is a perfect situation for a lonely ghost to come silently through the walls and hang in the space between the door and the desk, staring through you into the depths of a million alternative realities.

Continue reading “DAY THREE AND AN EVENING WITH LEE”

A DOZEN OF THE BEST

Today is my 12th wedding anniversary.

Twelve years married to this amazing, talented, wise, intelligent, stylish, caring, kind, wonderful woman:

who was told she was destined for nothing, so became an author and artist;

who was told she was stupid, so fought and scratched and refused to give up, and earned her degree;

who was denied years of family love and responded by nurturing and giving flight to two families’ of children;

who was told she had nothing to give and now prepares to give direction and education to hundreds of schoolchildren;

who is afraid of heights so abseiled;

who is afraid of snakes so held them and kissed them;

who illuminates and inspires and conquers and endures;

who qualified as a massage therapist;

who has travelled the country;

who has run distance races;

who has taken on every challenge and dismissal and marginalisation, and won;

who has potential in unlimited amounts;

who can do, and has done, anything she sets her mind to.

Who is the most interesting, complete, and endlessly fascinating person I have ever met.

Who loves, and is loved in return.

She persisted? She persists.

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Who has a quite unbelievable number of photos of her poking her tongue out…

GROUP ACTION. IT’S BEEN A WHILE

With the advent of a new Writers Centre in Rockingham has come writing groups. And, as one of those groups is helmed by my very own Luscious, I found myself attending the first writing group meeting I’ve been to in something like eight years this week.

Writing groups can be a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to spend time with like-minded souls, discussing your passion and working in a supportive and welcoming environment. On the other, they can become platforms for mediocrity and personality conflict, and– particularly when work is being critiqued by a group of vastly differing levels– horribly unfocused to the point of uselessness. I gave up attending groups at my previous writers centre when it became obvious that everyone involved was more concerned with egoboos and capturing the perfect snarky put-down than actually goddamn writing.

But Luscious is on the committee of this new Centre, and this was the first meeting of the group she was conducting, and she’s an excellent professional who knows both how to write and bring out the best in others, and I’m an incredibly loving and supporting husband, and I was told I had no choice in the matter, so I went along.

Of course, Luscious is an excellent professional, and she knows how to make anyone and everyone in a room feel valued. The group was small, first time out– eight of us, including Master 10 and Miss 13, who came because both parents were going but contributed like the children of an artistic household, with creativity and verve. And because she’s good at what she does, I came away with three solid gold story openings.

So, regular Tuesday night writing group looks like a thing, and maybe just the thing to keep me in fresh material for the next wee while, which can’t be anything but good. Because when a writing group works well it’s usually because it has a strong, experienced, knowledgeable hand on the tiller, and I’m lucky enough to be married to just such a hand…. you know what I mean.

The room is littered with chipboard splinters. They’re ground into the carpet, spread like snow across my bed. My fists, and the soles of my feet, sting where a billion tiny slivers have pierced the soft flesh and now lie embedded, waiting to fester, and poison, and ooze septic pus. The pain should make me angry, or afraid. I’m not. I want to laugh. I want to laugh so hard I run out of breath. I want my ribs to ache, my heart to burst. I want to double over and collapse to the floor. I want to rub my face in the carpet until my cheeks and forehead and lips are a spiderweb of tiny cuts and splinters. I’m so happy I want to fucking scream. I want the corners of my mouth to split. I want to taste my blood. I want to hurt something else. Anything will do.

Exercise: Picture something from your childhood. Something intimate, that has great meaning for you. Now destroy it, utterly, and irretrievably. Why have you done that? How does it make you feel?

If you want to know more about the Rockingham Writers Centre, or Luscious’ Tuesday Night Writing Group, you could do worse than checking out their Facebook page.

10 YEARS

10 years ago today I got lucky. Very, very lucky.

If not for Luscious, I don’t know where I would be right now. She is my light, my direction, and my guide. She is my everything, and without her I would be lost.

I love you, my darling.