Ink and inspiration

December 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Kalorama 3

Kalorama, Victoria

I didn’t use to love this forest.

Growing up in the Dandenong mountain range, surrounded by towering mountain ash trees and the song of lyrebirds, I dreamed instead of big cities and punk clubs. I fled when I was seventeen, straight to Europe and an exchange year studying languages. It’s only now, decades later that I’ve come to not just appreciate the regenerative power of the rainforest, but to need it.

I’ve just come back from a solo writing retreat on the top of Mount Dandenong, about 30 kilometres outside Melbourne. I had a cosy cabin and a novel to work on whose protagonist, now living in Iceland, grew up in the hills as I did. My retreat was amazing: a thunderstorm brewed as I wrote, admired the mist, sang to Big Mama Thornton and fed kookaburras and cockatoos. The lovely email I got there from a literary agent keen to read my finished draft was pure inspiration, and kept the pen in my hand.

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Kalorama cabin

Kalorama 1

Morning mist and cockatoos

This is not the only getaway to be featured in my December round up. This year I was fortunate enough to write in Sydney, Walhalla, Albury, Moyston, on the Gold Coast, and tomorrow, Tasmania. Road trips, then: seven.

2018 saw me perform at four literary festivals, both here and interstate. I had multiple new Stereo Stories published, and recorded new audio that was featured on All The Best Radio, Memoria podcast and played on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel at Docklands.

Memoria

Recording ‘The Eyes of a Bird‘ for Memoria podcast

Memoria Medusa

‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel’ at Memoria podcast

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Recording for All The Best radio – story here

I was interviewed for a film documentary on my love of the West Gate Bridge, also the subject of a story for the Readings Victoria project celebrating Melbourne’s tenth anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Literature. Add that to two stories published in the Big Issue, and you get two kickarse Christmas parties for both the Big Issue and our City of Literature office, right down to a dancefloor of writers doing the Nutbush.

I had a dozen rehearsals and meetings with my fabulous Stereo Stories collective, and wrote about the joys of collaborating for the Writers Vic magazine.

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Deep Red Bells‘ at Stereo Stories (photo by Eric Algra)

Being accepted into the prestigious Hard Copy manuscript development program gave me immeasurable knowledge, inspiration and contacts, with my Digital crew being such a wonderful group of supportive and talented writers.

There were tens of thousands of words on my novel, multiple Icelandic spells and taxidermy techniques as research, and a rapidly approaching finish line. Uncountable new books read, red shoes bought, archery sessions, date night with The Wolf, writing sessions at State Library, snake skins collected and students corrected.

Spellbook

Beautiful engagement present

And one engagement, to a beautiful hirsute fellow writer I want to spend my life with.

2018 has been, as always, full of ink and inspiration. Hope yours has been likewise fulfilling…see you in 2019!

Espy 1

Closing out 2018 in stylish surrounds

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