All posts filed under: Procrastinate

Stigmatised Buildings

Above: I walk by this house all the time. I’d love to go inside Buildings call to you. The shape of windows, the colour of a door, the height of the roof, the patterns in timber, a romantic garden: bricked-bodies reaching out for your love. Then there are those buildings which make you grit teeth, tease the blood from your heart, this guttural sixth sense of knowing that unspeakable things have occurred behind that façade. These buildings are monuments to some of our darkest fears. Most towns have them: the witch house, the murder house, the creepy building, the haunted house, the place everyone crosses the road to avoid. Gaston Bachelard sees houses as ‘a body of images that give[s] mankind proof or illusions of stability.’ Perhaps it’s these images of unstable illusions that have always attracted me to buildings and houses, not because I am an architectural enthusiast (I know almost nothing substantial about architecture) but rather the stories that are hidden inside, the memories that exist under the floorboards. I am attracted to …

Windows, Light, Memory #1

Tonight I was supposed to be spending time with the third project but I could only think of the novel-in-progress, of one character in particular who keeps reinventing himself every time I want to write something new. All his ways of speaking, his voice the only thing I’m capable of writing at the moment. He never leaves me. Better to leave words before they get you down. There was only one thing to do: I went into the night, went to find the things the corner of my eye might hold onto the longest, hoped some pattern would emerge so I could find my way back to the project/task at hand, tune into a voice I hadn’t been able to find for a few weeks. After 30 minutes, a pattern: light and window, people living just beyond eyesight. The way dark leads you to memory and repetition. That’s when I heard the woman’s voice, the character that has evaded me for weeks. She was back. And she was thinking in memory, was living in them, …

The Dolphin: or how my tendency to procrastinate allowed me to distill random ideas and write a short story

I was on a writing retreat at Varuna attempting to finish another draft of the manuscript that would go on to become See What I Have Done when day four arrived and I lost the will to write another word from Lizzie’s point of view. I still had three days left of the retreat ahead of me. I needed a way to procrastinate without feeling guilt. One of the writer’s at the house was working on a short story collection and had told me, ‘Short stories are like the easiest thing to write.’ Sounds perfect, I thought. That’s exactly how I’m going to spend the rest of my time here at the house. Here’s a tip I’d like to share with you about short stories: they’re not easy. They are their own art form and can take just as long to write as a novel. Sure, you could write a 3,000 word story in a single sitting but to get it right, to make it look like magic-ease takes drafting and time. They’re not for …

Small Things That Happened Last Week

A small snapshot of last week: My publisher sent me a proof of Sally Abbott’s debut ‘Closing Down’ I returned to Blue Mountain and wrote more scenes for one of the many difficult characters who’ll live in the fictional town of Winton (yes, there are Winton’s that exist in Australia but not quite like the Schmidt version of Winton). I also started notebook 4. Writing longhand. That shit really slows things down. But I love it.  I saw these boys riding their bikes, heard them talk footy, tv and school, heard them sibling-tease each other. Old young friends. I hope when they grow up they don’t shed this particular skin of theirs.  That’s it. There’s nothing else. I was pretty much writing the rest of the time.

Music for Looping, Music for Recovery

I don’t like to overthink my writing habits too much but music is very important to me both during a writing session and after.  For See What I Have Done I listened to the same songs (adding very few to the playlist) for eleven years. It’s time again to live in an aural loop until a book is complete. Here is a small sample of music for Blue Mountain that I will be listening to until it becomes a skin, the tip of a pen: Below is a very small selection of songs I like listening to after a day of writing. They change all the time (unlike the loop). This week I listened to:

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few OR How to Distract Yourself While Doing Yet ANOTHER draft

Melbourne is hot. The days have been accumulating uncomfortable situations. This is not the time to be cooped up in a room working on edits of another draft. Tonight I sat down to work. For the first 30 minutes, I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself. ‘Look at me! It may be hot but I’m moving words around on a screen. I deserve a drink.’ I got said drink, came back to the screen. And here I am. Best laid plans and all that stuff. My mum called tonight. She loves a chat. My mind may or may not have started wandering during the phone call… and for some reason I started thinking about my early teen years, before ‘tween’ was invented and I was just a kid living in a creepy house reading books. This brings me to regrets. Here is where two things collide. Last year while I was looking around the Op Shop down the street, I came across an eight to twelve year old’s holy grail. My holy grail. A box …

Ugh, Hollywood Wives. Again.

I have accomplished many things in my life. Recently reading  and finishing Hollywood Wives is one of them. It was like reading Ulysses. It was at times a difficult, feverish read and when I got to page 50 I wondered if I’d ever read another book again. I blame lack of government spending on public libraries for Hollywood Wives coming into my life: running a book festival on little money means you have to be inventive. Everyone loves a book club. So me and a few work colleagues decided to host a book club with a difference: lets talk about the best worst reads we’ve ever had. My favourite best worst read would probably be that glorious beast of gothic crazy, Flowers in the Attic. Incest, blonde children, four blonde children, a ridiculously large house, a convenient car accident that puts daddy out the picture, a family torn apart by money and secrets, evil grandparents, evil dying grandparents, a mother who can’t keep her promises, poisoning, kids forming strong bonds with rats, paper flower gardens, …

Hollywood Wives

I’m reading Hollywood Wives for work. This is a developing post. Here are some notes I’ve made in the margins: I made a mental note to punch the sexist pig in the face Classic Question: who is talking? I’m so confused Who? Am I missing something? Just like Nightcrawler! This book is on the money. Ha Whoa! Bombshell. Which victim? Don’t leave me hanging, Jackie. Hollywood = young wives, old dudes Here comes the messy subplot the loss of innocence. Blah blah. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What is with all the homophobia?? I can suspend disbelief, but this?? holy. shit. This chapter blew my mind.