Monday, July 30, 2012

Past the Shallows

I bought this yesterday at Readings. Really, me and Readings is a dangerous combination. I was in there with P and the longer I'm in there, the more likely I am to pick up something else. Once something is picked up, it's rarely put back.

Come on, I said to her. She was sitting down the back, looking at something vampiric.

Just a minute, she said.

I wandered back to new releases. To the tables. And picked up another two.

Walked out with Past the Shallows, Jasper Jones, The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (about a lighthouse; one day I'd like to write about a lighthouse) and the new Jonathan Franzen collection of essays Farther Away. I, unlike many others it seems, love Franzen's writing.

Everyone has raved about Jasper Jones and we have to discuss the first chapter tomorrow night at my writing/reading group. Past the Shallows I read and finished this morning, it's a quick read but it's moving. Disappointed (or unsurprised) to note the usual suspects in terms of the following cliched appearances (some of which appear in my first novel, too, so I'm not blameless): a significant photograph, a car crash, a dead mother (seriously, everyone has dead or disappeared or distant mothers). Also a violent father. It also very quickly reminded me of Winton (the sea)/Hemingway (again, sea motifs) and Mockingbird (Boo Radley echo) but while I felt this was obvious, perhaps it was just moi? As it was, the brothers and their relationship was beautifully rendered. It was moving and I enjoyed it. I shed a tear which always counts for lots of points. She writes beautifully. It was spare but not too spare. It was filled-in but not too filled-in. There was no stultifying interior 'feelings' stuff (something I'm guilty of in my writing sometimes.) It deserved the recent Dobbie award.

With the recent 'Australian' books I put All That I Am above Foal's Bread only because it is an 'important, global, large' book but I adored Foal's Bread more, and Past the Shallows I liked a lot.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sour grapes

"The team were incredible. They left everything out on the road. I am so proud of them. We didn’t expect any help. We rode the race we wanted to ride... Other teams were content that if they didn’t win, we wouldn’t win. We expected it. If you want to win, you've to take it to them."

"The guys all sat there in the tent absolutely spent. We did everything we could. The crowd was tremendous the whole way around, but the Aussies just raced negatively."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Enduring Love Part 2

Recently I wrote about Back Dorm Boys and my love for them in that particular song. I also loved Seinfeld (the show, not the stand up) and Larry David (his show that followed.) So get this, a new show called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The first episode has him picking Larry up in a blue VW beetle and they talk about what they eat for lunch, smoking cigars versus cigarettes ('a person smoking a cigar is not in a hurry') and Larry says his marriage probably would have survived if he hadn't given up drinking coffee.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Crytime

I don't go looking for these things, they come across my desk, so to speak. But I am a sucker for them and they usually leave me with tears rolling down my face.

Here's one, though, that isn't so cry-y. It's just gorgeous, I wonder if this movie did come out and I wonder where I can see it.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The NRA greets its members with 'Good morning, shooters.'

I don't know about you but I am kind of steering clear of all the response to the latest shooting in the US. But this article comes well-recommended. I skimmed it but it's from Overland Journal, so it would be pretty good.

One thing I will say about the shooting: what the hell were so many babies and young kids doing at a midnight showing of a movie? What the hell were so many babies and young kids doing at an M-Rated movie. Sure, the babies won't take any of it in, maybe they were asleep but wouldn't it be loud and noisy and crashy and scary? As it turns out, it really was.

Congratulations to Greg Fawcett

He beat 139 other Papas to win this year's Hemingway look-alike competition. He likes fishing, hunting and cocktails but not writing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Glad that's over with for another year

We have been more heavily into this than in past years. Before it was the food and our annual 'Franch' meal however this year the beginning of the race coincided with my and Princess's trip north. She got more knowledgeable about it than moi, in about half a day, she seemed to know all their names, all the team names and colours, what all the maillot colours mean. She had a short list of faves, particularly she was into the Germans because she enjoyed saying their surnames so much. Over and over.

The funny thing is we didn't even watch it last year, when Cadellikins (as P calls him) won. I had seen him complete tour after tour in previous years, wearing the yellow then losing it. Dominating on the mountains, but never quite getting there. As Princess said: Why didn't we watch last year? I can't remember why, perhaps I was busy with this or that. Certainly I would have been writing.

So we are pumped for next year. And I have to say, I went from hating Wiggins to not minding him. I was annoyed by the cyborg Sky team who seemed to crush all in their path and never had any facial expressions, who always positioned themselves in the front in a vee, protecting their man (like they're meant to) but there was an arrogance.

One last thing: AG2R La Mondiale PLEASE do something about the pants next year.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

For Jo: JM Coetzee is...

... a novelist and he wrote, amongst other things, Disgrace and Elizabeth Costello. I loved Disgrace and it was made into a film as well, with John Malkovich. Coetzee is originally from South Africa but now lives in Australia, in Adelaide I think. Anyway, he's one of the eminent writers around the traps.

Also, in other news, the Tour de France finishes tonight so I can go back to my early nights. It's killing me Jerry.

And just finished my umpteenth draft of my thing. Added another layer in to make it more 'topical' and after a read from some readers in my group, will send it around the traps. Again. But different traps this time, unless one or two of the previous traps are willing to have another look-see.

Fingerrrrs crossed.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Some small writerly news

So a while ago I knocked out an essay for the Voiceless Prize. The essay had to be between 5K & 10K words, and be concerned with animals produced for food in Australia, or found in the native environment. I chose to write about cows and it wasn't easy to scrape together a coherent 5,000 words.

But I was shortlisted out of 350+ entries and I am a little bit pleased with myself.

So, yay me.

By the way, being shortlisted doesn't mean I am still in the running for a prize. It's more like a longlist (though they call it a shortlist) and it means that they might publish my piece on their website or 'communications' (whatever that means.)

Oh, and the judging panel was headed by JM Coetzee. (This is probably the most exciting part of all, to think he may have read my words.)