Hey, my blog speaks Japanese!
If you can read the title of this post, come and meet me in Japan, because that’s where I’ll be very soon.
Over the last few months I’ve used various euphemisms to allude to this news: “something else exciting, yet to be announced”; “a forthcoming writing-related trip”; “a bunch of other bits and pieces”; “other news on the horizon which is the current source of both excitement and blind panic”.
It is still all of those things, the last one most acutely. But now there has been a formal announcement, so I can at least spill the edamame:
I am thrilled to be the recipient of an Asialink Literature Residency and will be spending three months in Nagoya from April-July.
So I’ve finished the marking and the copyediting and the translating and the accounting and most of the extension planning (take that, grout colours!) and some of the other random bits and pieces that were clamouring for my fickle attentions. And I’ve cleaned my desk. Not completely, but the thing is, despite my many friends who emailed me to say “Call that a mess? This is a mess!” it was never really about the mess anyway. It was about the fact that there were just too many different things in there, too many disconnected and sometimes competing demands on my time and increasingly limited brainpower. I can take the mess, as long as it’s not pulling me in too many directions at once.
But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is this:
In partially cleaning my desk, I found the leaf – whole and flat and entirely unbroken despite the chaos of its surrounds. That has to be a symbol of something, surely?
It’s the return of the writing desk and it’s just in time for the school holidays, of course, but that’s okay. It seems to be how things work around here, but when there are novels brewing, they will make their way into the light, school holidays or no.
There is other news on the horizon too, which is the current source of both excitement and blind panic. But I can’t tell you about that, not quite yet.
My first volume of poetry is out, and it’s gorgeous! I just love what the designer has done with the image; I could sit and stare at it quite happily for hours. These are poems for adults, rather than children, although I do draw on some of this material in my poetry workshops.
Copies have gone out to Westerly subscribers; non-subscribers can purchase copies either through me or the Westerly Centre. For $9.95, you receive 24 pages of poetry goodness and a CD of me reading and talking about some of the poems.
It’s an incredible thing to have a little book of poems to hold in my hand, and I can’t thank Westerly and ArtsWA (who funded the project) enough for the opportunity.
I’ve finished the first draft of my work-in-progress (too early to call it a novel at this stage). It needs a fair bit of re-shaping and editing, but it’s taking on novel-like qualities, which is pleasing.
In the first-draft stage, I’ve been trying a new approach. Rather than getting bogged down trying to find the right words at each point, I’m letting myself construct a scaffolding, sketching out just the bare bones at points, and then keep going. So there are points in the manuscript where I’ve written things like ‘S says why doesn’t B just get over it etc’ or ‘Stuff here about L, maybe go back to rock part?’ and then moved on.
Made a simple structural change to Izzie which has put things back on track quite nicely. I’m still aiming to have the first draft completed by the end of September, as per my original plan for the ArtsWA Grant period. This will require some speedy writing over the next few weeks, but I can probably make it if I stay focused.
Meanwhile, Annabel has been turning up in some interesting places. She has been added to the booklist for the Victorian Premiers Reading Challenge and is featured in the latest Scholastic Bookclub catalogue. Scholastic tells us that Annabel is for ‘confident’ readers. I’d like to think she is also for thoughtful, quirky and all-round cool readers, but maybe that’s just me projecting.
Thanks to the fabulous ArtsWA who have just approved my application for a grant. This will enable me to scale back my other work for a while and focus on my next novel. It’s a marvellous luxury to have some dedicated writing time; now I just have to discipline myself to get this book written with a minimum of fuss. This one is also a novel for girls, and my working title is The Not-so-secret Life of Izzie, Known as Bella. It’s early days yet and I’m still trying to find the right shape for the story, but we’ll see what happens.