While there are still plenty of events on offer this year, next year’s calendar is already getting busy, and so the calendar of Australian literary events for 2020 is now online! Of particular interest is the shift of the Bendigo Writers Festival to May from August (dates to come). As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated.
The good news was the successful completion of Steptember, with all team members notching up their average 10,000 steps a day – and then some! – for the 28 days as well as, thanks to a last-day act of generosity, achieving our $500 fundraising total in support of those with cerebral palsy.
The added benefit of the exercise (all the exercise!) was making me aware of how sedentary I can be when I’m not clomping to the station for work, so the plan (failed already) is to try to do at least 6000 steps a day regardless of what else is on. So I’ll keep the step counter on the phone to nudge me along.
On the other hand (foot?), the wordage for Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days never really took off, in line with expectations, but I still managed to end up with 5000-odd words on the page for Project Whimsy.
It’s formative stuff, trying to write into the time and the characters, and I’ve kept all of the prompts and exercises supplied by Writers Victoria to work through – hopefully this month.
Usually when the words aren’t flowing it means the project isn’t ready: characters aren’t realised, setting’s not solid, story isn’t geared up. A little research and more plotting and character work are called for before the fun stuff can start.
My aim would be to have a draft by the end of the year, but I’m trying to not put too much pressure on it. I also don’t have a word limit, so it can be as long as it needs to be to tell the story. Let’s see how it all goes!
Yesterday, I notched up my steps for Steptember, as you can see by the blue circle on the screenshot. Totally worth the wet walk on the 21st to keep the count up!
The money raised is a little disappointing, though, but I’m grateful for those who were able to find the spare cash to chip in. I know there’s not a lot of coin to spare at the moment. I’m guilty of having bookmarked a couple of such campaigns to only return to find them over.
You’ll see from the screenshot that the other team members are also well situated to land their 280k of steps 🙂
The wordage for Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days has, as expected, limped along.
I managed to spend the V/Line journey this week tinkering with the Whimsy Project, but it’s a mess, defying — oddly, for me — geographical setting, with characters I can’t quite get a handle on. Too soon for such an intimate character study? Maybe.
Clearly it’s not going to be the quick, short exercise I’d hoped for, but I’ll back up next month with a new writing goal being run by a friend to stop myself getting too distracted. Once I’ve got some clear air again. I think it needs a good chunk of immersion to try to get these characters talking.
Meanwhile, the D&D party have got themselves into a right old pickle. Backs literally to a wall. Much more fun scripting the campaign than bashing my head against the Whimsy’s narrative brick wall, I can assure you!
Our farm, Conamore, was about 10 miles up the road from the Gundy pub, and the pub and the hall next door formed the social centre of the rural district.
As well as propping up a stool at the bar on many occasions, Dad also helped run it for a few years with his partner Eve at the helm, so it seems an appropriate place for a farewell gettogether.
There will be nibbles and a few drinks, and anyone who would like to share their respects and a yarn or two is welcome.
Steptember reports an average of about 12,500 steps a day at the halfway mark, which is better than I’d expected (the goal is 10k a day). There have been a couple of windy days but fortunately gaps on the rainy days to keep the mileage up. Let’s see if the weather holds!
The other team members are also on track 🙂
The wordage for Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days has, as expected, not improved.
A couple of book reviews, D&D game planning and general tiredness have meant very little creative energy has been expended on Project Whimsy, although the writing prompts have made me aware of just how much research is needed for even this most basic of stories. Deep sigh and move on.
If I can make some calm air, I’ll return to plotting and character development this month, with an aim to write a skeleton next month. I’m still hung up on the ending. The original thought was a tragedy but now I’m wondering it that’s just the easy way out…
Steptember is encouraging me to get out and about, with mixed results as the weather and the V/Line intrudes.
Last Thursday was a beauty – I ended up accidentally walking around Lake Wendouree. I’d intended to just walk up to a marker and back again to stretch my legs on a glorious spring morning, but ended up doing the full circuit. Maybe it was the first of the cygnets and ducklings I saw wobbling around that spurred me to wobble on, too.
All up, so far, about 84,000 steps logged for Steptember, and the three others in the team have also been taking it in their stride 🙂
The wordage for Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days has, as expected, not come close to the nominal 1000 words a day goal, although I am stacking up the daily writing prompts, which have been excellent, to work through as the month unrolls. Location, character and plot have featured so far, ideal for someone like me in the throes of working out a new story.
I’ve kicked around some scenes, mapped out a plot skeleton, started working out who the characters are, so some wheels are in motion.
I haven’t been counting words written for my D&D campaign (cleverly blogged by one of the players, which has been a valuable creative outlet this year as I work out the story and world and challenges for my players to encounter.
I’m hoping the walk to and from the station plus the commute will keep both mileage and wordage ticking over, even if not quite at optimum.
The first is Steptember (thanks, Ellen, for inviting me to the team), raising money to help people with cerebral palsy.
It kicks off on 3 September, with a goal of taking 10,000 steps a day till the end of the month. The daily average is 3000, we’re told. A trial run yesterday revealed some disparity in our pedometers, but what the hey. It gets me out of the chair and maybe does someone else some good, too.
The other distance effort for the month is Writers Victoria’s #30kin30days program, which, as the name applies, set a goal of 1000 words a day for 30 days.
I’ve written bugger all this year, just a few bits of flash fiction since the PhD was signed, sealed and delivered, so I thought this might be a good way to jar the creative synapses out of their stupor.
I’ve chosen a project that’s been hanging around for a very long indeed, and while I’m not expecting to roll 1k a day, I will be very happy to have a solid outline and some scenes drafted by the end of the month.
The program started on 1 September, with a prompt to work out WHEN the story is set. Excellent, I had that in my head, but the prompt called for a room description to conjure the era, and that led to a short scene (250 words on the V/Line; hello again, my office between offices!).
2 September’s prompt was to make a list of 10 locations and then go to town fleshing out one of them. Well, I have a road map for my story, so I’m going to see how I go at selecting key locations and working up their significant details, including smells and time of year (thanks, prompt!), over the next couple of days.
Each of the five writers has been assigned two decades in a lifetime, round robin style, but there’s a catch – the last line of each piece must be the first line of the piece that follows, including that of the very last reading.
With Rebecca Fletcher, Kirstyn McDermott, Megan Riedl and Zoe Werner, I’ll be peeling back the layers of human life, a decade at a time, while celebrating the connections between us all.
Reading the Lifeline is on Saturday 17 August at 6pm at the Daylesford Hotel, 2 Burke Square. $5 entry. There will be chapbooks available so you can revisit the exquisite corpse ‘in the flesh’. All welcome.
Thirty years ago, I was lining up about this time of year in Rockhampton to mark graduation from what is now the University of Central Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts. And in 2008 came a Masters in creative writing from QUT – no ceremony for that one.
My mum died in 1992 and we farewelled Dad at a service on July 18, but their spirits were very much with me at UQ on July 19. Farming folk with limited educations, they were determined I would have the opportunities they had not.
My doctoral thesis was entitled “Watermarks: Science Fiction, Mitigation and the Mosaic Novel Structure in Australian Climate Fiction” and this is the dedication from it:
In a letter published in 1981, my mother, Loma Nahrung, wrote, “I love the wet season—which should be around January through to March, but of late they have not been so predictable … the climate seems to be changing” (White and Nahrung 139). I often wonder what this farmer would have thought of our current state of affairs. This thesis is dedicated to my mother and father, Frank, neither of whom were able to celebrate this achievement, but without whose support, encouragement and sacrifice I would not have made it this far.
So here I am, without them, but they are very much with me.
The gathering of the clans for Dad’s service, and having three friends graduate alongside me with family members in the audience, and then the coming together of family and friends to celebrate afterwards — I am further reminded I am not alone in this journey. (I love you all.)
Where to from here, I wonder. Wherever, we go together, and that’s what matters.
For the past couple of days, the family and I have been contacting those who knew my dad well. And now I feel I can spread the word more widely, with sincere apologies to anyone who might feel overlooked.
On Thursday July 18 in Brisbane our clans come together in a family service to farewell Dad and celebrate his life. Down the track, friends and family will be invited to a commemoration back on his home country. We will raise our glasses and share our fondest memories.
But today, it is enough to say, he lives on in our hearts and memories. He was a good man, he made us feel safe and loved, and he always had our backs. He is cherished and he will not be forgotten.