A small dancing troupe of pink twirls up the orchid spike. Their pretty unscented frocks speckled in earthy browns. Cherub faced, chubby cheeked, they peek and play between the long green shadows, untroubled by grand visions, their small alien bodies smiling at the silver sunlight. Then one stops its happy bob. Snapped alert, it holds motionless, its awkward face stares at me. I have been noticed - the stranger in their garden. Now discovered, I cannot look away. We stare at each other - we have a silent conversation full of questions without answers. How grotesque your features, how short your life, how fragile - we both think. Then the breeze calls it back to play and the link is broken. I am forgotten - just another shadow, left behind to my noisy cast of sunshine and the well explained.
There were a few interviews and spots in the February launch of The Soldier's Woman. I shared them dutifully on social media but failed to add them on here, a fact I am trying to remedy. I find dealing with Facebook like dealing with a toddler, it has a short attention span, messes up your things when you aren't looking and you have to be careful not to put anything too hot or spicy within its reach. I'll put up things as I find and remember where I put them last. Trying to get back to book 2 in the Bladewood Legacy, but have been distracted by community theatre (not acting, faffing about with costumes even though I'm not a seamstress) and my 'day job' convening the biannual Sustainability Day charity event (a labour of love). Words are bouncing about in the old brain but not anything worth writing down yet.
With abandon the tree in our yard has dropped its round yellow leaves to paint the grass in Monet dapples. After rain and damp the wind has brought Autumn. The ground, still so smugly brown and soft, has loosed the dry life of seed and root. In chaotic joy all underfoot the green spears and jostles aside the yellow. Here, where we live long months under the heavy fist of Summer, the change is delightful. Brief, transient clear and perfect as the moment before the mirror pool ripples. The fallen leaves are already crisping brown. The Autumn light laughs between the mellow leaves, cool and light, warming itself in the bright sun. But the warm day has halted the tree’s leaf fall. Hesitant, it holds its half-shed canopy like a dressing gown on a startled bather. Is the season on the change or not?
I was interviewed in February by Teresa Smith for the new Sunday Spotlight author A&Q on the Australian Women Writers Challenge page. A site responding to the question "Are male authors more likely to have their books reviewed in influential newspapers, magazines and literary journals than female authors?". Well, yes. Hence the site. Visit their page at australianwomenwriters.com/about-2/background-to-challenge/ for more details on who they are and how to join.
There were a few challenging questions I can tell you, like
Q: How has being Australian AND a woman impacted on your writing and/or writing career? or
Q: Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone feels they recognise traits of themselves in one of your characters? or
Q: If you could sit down for an afternoon with an iconic person from history, who would you choose to spend that time with?
For the full interview and my (well considered) answers visit australianwomenwriters.com/2017/02/sunday-spotlight/
Thank you Australian Women Writers Challenge for the opportunity and for being the first of your Sunday Spotlight authors.
Visiting the Large Hadron Collider – or a picture of it.
Went to the Qld Museum's Hadron Collider exhibit. We had a great time but what a challenging concept for a museum. As we stood in mock-ups of large concrete tunnels and what could have been corridors of rooms from my old uni days, and watched a looped video of a scientist bunking out in her office waiting for the right readings to appear... I couldn't help thinking that this was not an exhibit that would capture the imagination of the masses. How do you show the excitement about the discovery of the Boson-Hicks particle? The work of decades of collaborative science, buried deep underground, working on the invisible, with physics and mathematics only a minute fraction of the population would begin to appreciate? We stared at an empty champagne bottle and tried to imagine the visceral excitement of achieving a lifetime's goal and a secret of the universe. We tried - we tried with all of our imagination. What a brave choice for a public museum, which must entertain even more than inform to remain relevant and funded. [Side note just a few years ago the city opened up the tunnel they had been building under the river for a walk through - one of the largest civil engineering projects worldwide in recent years. Don't know if folks would be impressed with a cardboard tunnel after that - even if was a scientific one. Just saying.]
Ditto for the exquisite colour back-lit astronomy photos downstairs. Even 10 years ago they would have been Wow - but the age where I can watch a space walk live on my laptop or join a Rover on Mars ... well ... kudos for all of the parents who were dragging their squirming children through the exhibit. I think we oldies are way behind the times... sob for science.
Below: Me trying to imagine being 100m underground next to supermagnets accelerating particles thorough this (mock) concrete tunnel and where the exits might be.
Launching date for The Soldier's Woman is here and amid the mayhem of a blog tour, a wedding, modifying costumes for the book launch (yes, really!) is a phone call about the great donation I've made to save penguins in Victoria. This is wonderful news and I am all in favour of saving penguins and many other life forms, just not today. The universe laughs and chaos dances about us. Bless the penguins.
The Soldier's Woman is going on tour - a blog tour, on the 9th of February with the marvelously named Goddess Fish Promotions. I shall now learn what this means and attempt to sound intelligent should the call arise. This is the tour banner and I think I put it up in places, so I shall start here.
My Big Fat Book Launch is coming together, from somewhat more humble beginnings it seems to have grown on it's own. What fun! Looking forward to nibblies and a glass of something to toast Maximillian and Charlotte's story.
Now that I am some way into the second of my Bladewood Legacy books I am researching a whole new area of Napoleonic warfare - naval battles and navy life of the 1800s. Imagine my envy when I read a blog post from someone who happened to pick up a tatty notebook which happened to be a signals diary of a Captain of the line during that time period. They lived in England and had found it in a jumble market or some such. Sigh. Here on the other side of the globe such finds are rare and unaffordable even if you should find such an item. Anyway in a wonderful act of generosity she has scanned the pages for the viewing pleasure of her readers. Yay. So in a synchronous moment I was able to find some great background colour for my main character just when I needed it.
Character development is moving more slowly but the relationship between the two main characters is slowly finding it's feet. This week is full of distractions though, so even when I should be writing I am shamefully not in the moment. Never mind, even words which eventually find themselves orphaned from the book have done their magical work of inventing and populating the imagined world.
The blade of grass was a clean soft spear between her toes. How many times had they walked this path and never noticed the fresh wonder under their feet? Shoes. What a ridiculous impediment! To never feel the velvet crush between your toes? The discomfort of sharp small stones and viscous prickles. The danger of poisonous barbs or slicing glass shards. Never jump away squealing at mystery wet squelshes against your naked arches. Never feel the anarchy joy of oozing mud over your toes. No, none of those things were possible in shoes. Black shiny shoes and bleach white socks. To feel the grass you have to take off your shoes and risk all the joy, pain, happiness and danger the grass has to offer.
Ecologist and environmental scientist, tea-drinker and editor, futurist and student of irony, reader of romance and science fiction, practicing cat-herder (nobody can ever be a Master cat-herder). Frequently succumbs to the need to write. Rarely succumbs to the need to vacuum.