Anthem

July 31, 2017 at 8:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I’ve been thinking about beautiful things lately.

One of my stories, ‘Akathisia’, has just been published in the Beautiful Things column of River Teeth. This gorgeous literary journal of non-fiction narrative is one I’ve long admired, and this column is a perfect example why. It celebrates the golden moments in life: ‘the glimmers, reflections, river shimmers, keyholes, and cracks where the light gets in.’ I’m so honoured to have my work published by them, and recommend you go take a peek through some of their stories.

The column has inspired me to reflect on the beautiful moments in my life…and lord, there are so many.

  • Watching winter light pass through my writing room, and the gaze (and occasionally, the gentle snores) of my cat as she accompanies me.
  • Listening to the glorious voice of Mahalia Jackson in those moments I feel my balance faltering. For a punk little pagan, I sure do love my gospel music.
  • That email from an editor saying ‘Yes, yes, we love your work: we want to publish it.’ Nothing. Like. That. Feeling. In. The.World.
  • Walking in the forest behind my Wolf and his Cub, watching their animated conversation in the most gorgeous light, and feeling so privileged to be part of their journey.
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Ms Marlow, familiar and judge of procrastinating dance outbursts 

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Mount Macedon majesty

  • Standing knee deep in snow again outside my first writing residency, up near the Arctic Circle in Iceland, that most treasured of sacred spaces for me.
  • Workshopping my novel with the Wolf, also a writer, with a scarlet sunset outside, a jug of creamy stout on the table between us, and his hand on my thigh.
  • Seeing the joy on my nephews’ faces as they run towards me, calling my name.
  • The industrial edge of my new home in the west of Melbourne, and the enormous bridge at the end of my street that I always stop and smile at.
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Siglufjörður, far northern Iceland

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Spotswood sunset for scribes

  • The fur, feathers, skulls and skins in my writing studio, tracing the journey of the protagonist in my novel, and by extension, expanding my collection.
  • Watching my beloved best friend’s dimples flash on a cliff top in Italy in April, glass of sweet wine in hand, plate of lemon peel pasta in front of me, and the most extraordinary of ocean views before us.
  • Reuniting this week with an old pen pal from twenty years ago, who once took me in and showed me around Hollywood, and whom I’d always rued losing touch with. Bless the internet! The Pagan Profiles website introduced us all those years ago, and filling in the blanks of each other’s lives since will be a joyous journey. I already have an invitation back to LA, and I just might take it. The power of letters cannot be underestimated.
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Studio snake skins and skull

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The Amalfi Coast, shared with my beloved and her dimples

The story of mine just published in the Beautiful Things column is my 101st published, performed or produced story. There are always days where rejection letters hit the heart, where the pen falters and pages remain blank, or criss-crossed with the red lines that say ‘I doubt this, I doubt that, and I doubt myself.’ But when I read River Teeth’s description of the stories they publish in the column, I’m reminded of Leonard Cohen, and his wise words.

Even his pen must have faltered sometimes, but he still knew to pick it back up again.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen – ‘Anthem’

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Bird spit not included

April 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

‘What if the cockroaches weren’t the only ones bringing her snow?’

I paused, my pen raised.

‘Keep talking…’

‘Well, the cockroaches close her mouth while she sleeps so the bird can’t spit in it, right? But are there really enough of them to quench her when she catches fire, considering how small they are? I mean, how much snow could a cockroach feasibly carry?’

I nodded, frowning. He made a good point.

‘Are you suggesting the ten other birds, the ones that flew off towards Reykjavik, carry snow in their mouths and drop it on her bed too?’

Michael nodded, fingers busy sketching. Then again, Michael’s fingers are always busy sketching.

Adrian gave a short exclamation, and held his phone aloft.

‘Found it!’ he told us, triumph – and whiskey – making him beam. ‘There’s a giant in Norse mythology called Hraesvelgr, who turns into an eagle. In Old Norse his name means ‘Corpse Swallower.’

Michael and I leaned forward and murmured approvingly.

Photo: Hedegehog 83

‘They say,’ Adrian continued, scrolling through his phone, ‘that he sits at the end of the world and causes the wind to blow across the lands whenever he beats his wings. Could you use that?’

I sat back, and scribbled Hraesvelgr in my notebook.

‘Hell yeah…does it mention what colour he is? Because I need one with red feathers.’

And reaching for another slice of pizza, we all went back to our research, heads bowed and mouths full of anchovies.

viking book covers

It’s not every Friday evening that we dip into Viking Sagas over whiskey, but truth be told, it’s not uncommon. When I’m snagged on a story line and can’t shake myself free, my artistic coven are always to the rescue, usually amidst sketchbooks, cameras and much laughter.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am knee deep in my ink, splashing around in glee. I’m making major structural changes to my novel, and am more enthused about it than I know how to say. Tonight I’ve submitted a story to a Penguin Publishing competition, put the finishing touches to another, and made the final edits to one I’m going to be brave enough to send to – deep breath – The New York Times.

I’m delighted this week to have had a story accepted for publication by THIS magazine – details soon – and to be performing at the Newstead Short Story Tattoo this coming Saturday. I’ll be part of the wonderful crew of Stereo Stories, telling tales of songs and the reasons we love them, live on stage with musical accompaniment.

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If you’re in or around Melbourne, take a peek at the website and grab a ticket to Fire Stories…an open bonfire, guitars, storytellers and an audience.

The perfect way to beckon in winter.

(Bird spit not included)

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