Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reading as of Now:

Lex Trent Vs. the Gods [Proof] by Alex Bell = Not bad, a reasonable read and some good ideas - but really, go and read Terry Pratchett.

Moist Von Lipwig is a much more likable, fun and dangerous sort of character than Lex who at 17 is mostly just annoying. It remains to be seen if this book will be popular - the crit on the Proof mentioned Terry Pratchett in comparison. There is no comparison. He is smart and witty and awesome. This book not so much (although the ladders were rather intriging).

It's December Time

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
(regardless if you have snow or not)
This vingette is rather sweet. I enjoy creating all the little interactions with my finger-printed snow-people. It is backed onto a magnet. These are the joys of having a hot glue gun!

(Image made by me, Dec. 2009)

On The Shelf

Some time ago, I radically organised all of my book shelves. These are the the 'Classics' and 'Plays/Scripts' sections.

The bottom left section contain my plays (Shakespeare; Alan Bennett; Euripides; Goons; Cohen Brothers; Oscar Wilde; Sopohocles etc). I think it's terribly important to read theatre as well as see it performed if you mean to write any!

The 'Classics' section is a bit ad-hoc. It contains a lot of Jane Austen (everything that she published!); Virginia Woolf; Oscar Wilde; Laurie Lee; Mr. Kipling; Jean Rhys; Dumas; Lewis Carroll etc. I think I've read everything in this category except Victor Kellerher- too scary (?!) My personal favourite here is the Scarlett Pimpernel which is fantastic! Full of romance, adventure, daring escapes, humour, history! It's truly wonderful and is written by Baroness Orczy. The Popular Penguin series is going to expand the 'Classic' section more and more - you can see them breeding in the bottom right.

Lizzy is the the lizard on the record player.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dear Oscar Wilde,

Of all Authors Oscar Wilde remains a firm favourite. I grew up with a beautiful copy of 'The Selfish Giant' which I still treasure. But it was 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' that really changed the way I viewed good writing. It has the most powerfully complete ending that I have read - supreme satisfaction = masterful ending. Wonderful. I think that i literally (and literary!) fell in love with his writing. Since then I have delved into his plays, poetry, stories and witticisms. The following is a pastiche of the e...p...i...c 'Ballad of Reading Gaol'. Gorgeous rythms. It was written as a class exercise in 2008.


The Ballad of Reading Station
(After the Ballad of Reading Gaol)


It remains a fate of life
One must endure The Wait
Interminable lengths to pass
Under signs that indicate
That the train was due before now,
Around ten past eight

An announcement is paraded loud
– Obstructions further up the line –
Opera glasses reveal to all
That it actually looks fine
Brandished words are thus ignored,
It is now half past nine

A lady of certain heritage
Resounds complaints a-wail
“So much for our famed modernity
All these rails are due to fail,
I could sooner have posted myself,
You can trust The Royal Mail!”

A sympathetic Gent consoles
Yet not serious is her summation
As just when he calls for a cab
The engine rolls into the station
And they all board, even as it is late,
It is now ten – an indication

As the itinerary of their journey
Will invariably unravel,
So visitors to our British Isle
Will fair have to marvel
At the extra time allowed by all
To manage peak time travel

It remains a fate of life
One must endure The Wait
Interminable lengths to pass
When your train is running late
And you get two hours of brooding
That it is British Rail you hate!

Luci

Luci
think of that Luci
that's Luci with an i
you see. Luci
Bet you never though of that
all you Lucys with a y
when simply with an i
you could be Luci

A Poem Written as a Pastiche of Rik from the Young Ones - ie. the People's Poet who is destined to change the world by leading the kids in 'wevolution' with his awesome/awful poetry. It it follows the pattern of most of his poetry - excessive repetition. It also has to be read out loud as if you are an anarchist. Otherwise it doesn't work as a pastiche. With dear ole Rik it is in the delivery!

Dec. 2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Books Alive!

Here are my suggestions sumitted for the Books Alive Promotion 2010:

1. Jasper Jones - by Craig Silvey
(One of the best books I read all year)

2. Outside of a Dog - Rick Gekoski
(Wonderful 'bibliomemoir' - his life through his books)

3. Forbidden Fruit - Kerry Greenwood
(Latest in the Corinna Chapman Series - yummy!)

4. Things We Didn't See Coming - Steven Amsterdam
(Disjointed snapshots of a dystopic apolocolyptic world)

5. Running with Horses - Alison Lester
(Beautifully illustrated historical tale)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reading As of Now:

Kerry Greenwood is one of my favourite authors. She writes fabulous cozy mysteries starring wonderfuly heroines that solve the crime with a whole lotta: sense, fashion, lovers, food and lipstick. It is really worth reading both her Phryne Fisher series and Corinna Chapman. Both are also set in Melbourne. I've just finished A Question of Death which is a lovely collection of short stories about Phryne. A cheer-up and cheers as well (cocktail recipes included).

Hazy Ships

Echoing imprints
Beneath salty screens
Of ocean, dark, yet still

Through distant horizons
We dance under waves
Of ocean, dark, yet still

A forgotten warning
Beneath your prow
In ocean, dark, yet still

A haze of ships
- Lost all at sea –
An ocean, dark, yet still


(An older poem, written as a class exercise from a random title. 2008)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1989 : Four Writers. Four New Plays. The year, 1989

1989: the year of global change as a new decade of promise looms on the horizon was the source inspiration for the St. Martin’s Emerging Writers Studio 2009. Twenty years have passed since 1989 but the repercussion of this year echo throughout each of the plays. The short plays were performed by the St. Martin’s Performance ensemble in a non-naturalistic space dominated by a glass brick fa├žade and were directed skilfully by Adena Jacobs and Sarach Austin.

The first play Dancing Dogs by Samantha Hill approached 1989 through the suppressed memories of a teenager. Frankie, lost in a class-orientated world escapes into intimacy with Joseph, but there re-established connection opens the cruelty of circumstance and childhood. A highlight of this performance was the antics of the characters Mel and Mel. The actors Angelique Murrary and Ruby Mathers successfully encapsulated the farcical nature of the girls with an element of self-awareness that prevented them from descending into outright caricature. Although of course it was also testament to the quality of writing that they connected so well with the audience!

Christopher Summers’ play Technique was a piece split three ways in time. 1989, the year of conception when Noel abandons his wife for the lights of New York; some time in the 90s when Ruth confronts her petulant daughter; and the present: 2009 when a grown up Joy plans to leave her re-united parents to see the world. The use of the space in this work was clever and assisted in establishing the separate time frames. Danielle Asciak delivered a powerful performance as Ruth and all of the actors were commendable in developing their characters across the time periods. The outside perspective to the family was deftly performed by Juliet Hindmarsh with an almost sadistic glee at the grotesque subjects of her photos. Her use of the camera reflected the beautifully written imagery of the script.

The third play differed from the other three in that it was not time specific (as far as I could establish). Love by Michelle Lee told a confusing tale of murder, tennis and Batman tied together with threads of the love in the title. Xavier O’Shannessy and Danny Ball were very impressive as the would-be lovers, determining not only their future but their pasts. It was an impressively written and performed work but ultimately this play left the audience with a lot of unanswered questions. Ambiguity is an element to be used reasonably sparingly in theatre. When you loose the audience the meaning often cannot be effectively communicated. Why was the pizza joint suddenly the murdered parents’ house? Was Lyle really the murderer? Was this all occurring in Erik’s head? Were Erik and Rob actually the same person? It was an intriguing work but a little unresolved.

Dan Giovanni’s work was the longest of the group. How George got her Jacket was a very identifiable tale of travel. Through the jacket we are taken back to 1989 where it manages to unite a group of people in time for the NYE celebrations. Of all the works it most effectively brought to life the atmosphere of 1989, the sense of hope, fear and freedom that burst when the Berlin Wall was torn down. Both in terms of place, time and characterisation of Jessie: Melissa Kahraman performing her infectious enthusiasm at being a part of this new world. The comic turns by Doug Lyons and Darcy Hegz were especially endearing after having seen them perform less appealing characters earlier in the evening. I also want to mention Danny Ball’s amazingly bouncy characterisation of Marty – whose ‘Bad’ dancing was a highlight of the evening. Using the glass brick wall as a theatrical representation of the Berlin Wall was inspired staging and direction.

Interestingly none of the plays were exclusively set in 1989, each writer preferring to take the challenge of the year through a retrospective glass, distorted through time and memory. This collection of plays was a fascinating insight into the emerging talent of writers and performers in Melbourne. St. Martin’s is to be applauded for the initiative as should everyone that was involved. It was a long night of theatre full of emotions, laughter and violence, but then again, so was 1989.

9/12 - 7.20pm - Irene Mitchell Studio

Reading As of Now:

Dreams from my Father - by President Obama. Well, all I can really say is that he writes almost as beautifully as he speaks. Very impressive memoir of someone in search of origins to define himself. All the more impressive when listened to - I heard a snatch on the radio - you can fully appreciate the rhythm of his language when it is read aloud. Also worth noting that his writing captures not only his own (and others) voice of dissaffected youth but is equally accomplished in capturing a sense of place for the reader.

Reading As of Now:

The Girl who Played with Fire is finished, complete and read. It was a fantastic read. The writing/translation I felt was very impressive and created a tight narrative that leaked information in a little trail of drops for the reader to lap up as they progressed. It was also interesting approaching the 'crime' from all the different character perspectives - so many motives = so many interpretations. Looking forward to reading the third in the series. asap.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reading as of Now:

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson is an immensely popular book - with good reason. As of p. 323 at any rate.