Showing posts from 2012

Homage to Uncertainty

Independent Performer and Theatre maker Emma Beech is creating a new show on a shoestring budget. You can help. Donate a few dollars this Christmas and you'll be:  Contributing to Australia's cultural life and   Helping to keep independent art alive in Adelaide and Making a fine actor very very very very happy. And for that you deserve a kiss. Mwah!! Good on you. Caroline x

Curator's Report

Curator's Report on November Short Story Readings: The final event for 2012 was another relaxed and happy occasion. The goodwill and good cheer at these readings continues to impress, and cement my suspicion that Adelaide is a town that truly treasures its artists. The night kicked off with the sweet sounds of a choir, Choral Grief , who have the perfect balance of wit, melancholy and interest in obscure songs. It's just so lovely hearing a choir of young voices, especially singing under fairy lights! Then it was on with the stories. Young actor Lizzy Hay gave a beautiful reading of Dael Allison's 'dreaming poets dreaming', which is a favourite of mine, not just because of the wonderful surreal quality of the prose-poem but because I know all the Darwin landmarks mentioned in it. Then Urban Myth Theatre actor Patrick Zoerner melted hearts (including mine) with his wonderfully paced delivery of Jo Langdon's story 'Pause'. It's a

A cosy night of story and song

The final Spineless reading event for 2012 Sad but true, the final Spineless Wonders Presents night of short story readings is fast approaching. It promises to be a night of firsts: Firstly, after a winter hiatus we're back with more readers and stories than ever before; firstly, all the stories read on November 6th are from the Spineless Wonders publication 'Small Wonder'; firstly, the 'Small Wonder' publication will be available for purchase on the night; and our final first - we have a choir 'Choral Grief' as the musical talent for the evening. Super!    This is what one punter had to say about our May event: "Standing room only at the Wheaty! Loved it! What a great night it was, too." Adelaide, how can you stay in on such a night? :D See you there, The Curator x

Applying for Grants (or Talent Isn't Enough)

Talented? Or just hard workers? 2012 has been my year of learning the art of grant writing, and I'm pleased to say I was successful in my first grant application (Yay for ARTS SA !). How did I manage it? I started writing it months in advance, asked  a dear friend if I could have a look at one of her successful applications [the dear friend say yes, thank you Emma Beech ], and then spent hours getting it 'just right'. I also had two people proofread it and give constructive criticism. I was going to write a more detailed 'how to write a successful grant' post.. but when I started looking around this amazing world wide web I discovered there's already plenty out there on this subject. I'd just be repeating heaps of others, so here's where I direct you to Lisa Hannett's website and her most excellent blog on 'Applying for Grants' ). I recently completed a two part workshop with Lisa at the South Australian Writers Centre, and what are t

Following up the threads

I attended an Arnold Zable workshop last year. Two things that remain with me from that workshop (I'm happy if I walk away from a workshop with two 'brain stickies'): Every story (short or long) has a hump that you need to push through so you can get to the end.   Sometimes you've already set up in the beginning of a story much more than you think. Sometimes you don't see it and that's when you need to retrace your steps, look carefully and follow up the leads or threads that you've already set up. In early 2011 I began a story (Working Title, 'The Wedding') in which a guy flew from Sydney to Darwin to be best man at his friend's wedding. I went back to this story several times over the next 18 months. What Arnold said I took to be true - I was having trouble finishing the story but I knew the leads were already in there somewhere. Then the Fiji retreat got cancelled. So I set myself some writing goals for the week which, I'm happ

To work or to workshop?

Pressfield: "The Muse always delivers" Disappointing news this week: the writers retreat in Fiji that I should be flying away to right now was postponed. Nothing like having to change international flights to give you a dose of bureaucratic reality. Aargh!  However, postponed is not cancelled and the retreat will give me something to aim for later in the year. Instead of flying to Fiji I spent the day working on a story 'The Caretaker'. I took the first half of this story to my writers group and they wanted to read more. That got me excited. (Golden Rule - Keep Them Reading). So I keep plugging away at 'The Caretaker' and it continues to grow. Definitely one that will end up in the collection, Satisfied. In the meantime, I miraculously finished a first draft of a new story, 'Crocodile' over 2days. I'm not exaggerating when I say miraculously - I've never worked that quickly before. I put it down to continuously turning up to the blank

Published in Verity La

Highway One I'm proud to say that my story 'Highway One' is now available for reading at the on-line publication. Verity La . I'm in good company. This excellent on-line journal has published many well-respected Australian writers including Paddy O'Reilly, Ryan O'Neill, Chris Womersley and Irma Gold. In other news, it's less than three weeks until I arrive in SavuSavu, Fiji to take part in a writers' retreat led by the marvellous Margo Lanagan. Spots still available but not many, so get in quick. . 

How long?

the long drop: open air toilet So how long should a story be? As long as it needs to be is usually the answer I give. When I first started writing them my stories seemed to consistently be 1000-2000 words. Then they got shorter, though I've yet to spend time working a great deal on shorty-shorts or micro-shorts. I think there are a lot better writers than me doing it ( Josephine Rowe , for example) and it kind of reminds me of that intensity of writing poetry, which - except for the occasional stormy effort - I've pretty much left by the wayside. Enter 'The Caretaker' (no no, not the excellent Harold Pinter play). This is a story I started over a year ago as 'Defrag' . Then it became 'In the time of Camels '. ( I love playing with titles). But at over 5000 words, and nowhere near finished, this is a story - I finally conceded today - that is going to be much longer than any other story I've written. And yet I've persisted - until today

Refilling the Creative Well

Kanowna at 4 in the afternoon I remember reading somewhere that what you do when you're not writing is just as important as writing. After having spent a few days in the old town of Kalgoorlie, where I grew up, I was reminded again of how rich this place is in story and of the extraordinary quality of the light, especially as the sun goes down. This photo was taken on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, at the old Kanowna Cemetery. The light is burnt and trees turn copper. It's eerie. I wish I could explain it better. Sounds are few - the  'aaark' caw of a crow and the occassional car speeding by. But mostly it's as quiet as butter. The world feels very still. Another world feels close, one that isn't concerned with Super Pits or gold or any kind of reality we know of. One that you could dream of, if you were brave enough to really let go. Less than 2 hours later the sky is pitch black broken up only by big winking stars (so big you can't tell the difference

Death and Success

"I was walking along the other day thinking about death,' said Bob of The Yearlings as an introduction to a song. Good to know I'm not the only one that walks along thinking about death. Not a symptom of depression in this instance. Thinking about death is kind of like thinking about infinity, can't quite grasp it but it stretches the mind and can almost be fun. I write this blog an hour before I fly out to Kalgoorlie for a funeral, so thinking about death has become acute again. The death in this instance is a woman who I first met 40 years ago in Kalgoorlie, the mother of a very dear friend of mine. Kalgoorlie and Death also gets me thinking of home - where is home when you've moved so many times and where would you be buried when you're not quite sure where home is ... or what it is. What is home? For now home is an emotion, home is a memory pressed into the belly and heart and mind. For now home is a friend and a visit to the past while acknowledging tha

Sexy Books

(c) Helen Lewis This photograph was taken at Spineless Wonders Presents second short story reading event for 2012. For the first time we had photographers, Paula McManus and Helen Lewis. Paula is the official photographer for Adelaide's Zombie Walk. Cool, no? For more pics head on over to the gallery at SWP blog - we've finally got some photographs worthy of the actors! And psssst ... word has it we'll be recording August's event so all you absent friends can witness the joy of this event via the marvels of technology. What else? I'm wiping the sweat off my brow after putting the final full stop and pressing 'upload' on the Australia Council's website. Yes, more grant applications. This time for some assistance with living costs while I write the 3rd draft of Satisfied, a collection of stories. That part of the project won't begin until much later this year, after I've finished the second draft but a bit of forward planning doesn't hu

Bruce Willis, sex, a cat and a haemorrhoid

So the Bruce Willis and sex connection may be obvious; Bruce Willis, sex and a haemorrhoid - well, yes; but Bruce Willis, sex, a CAT and a haemorrhoid? Sounds bloody. Full stop.  And what's with the dead goldfish, the meals on wheels worker and a broken typewriter? In the hands of accomplished writers and  engaging performers it's no longer sounding like a Bloody Bruce Willis Beastiality new release but more like a night of story readings at The Wheatsheaf Hotel. More like? There is so much more to like. To like more, take a trip to Spineless Wonders Presents . If you come on down, it's worth getting there early. February session was standing room only. More Like. Tuesday May 8th, FREE event for your listening pleasure

Quite seriously

My short story writing is going well. What I mean by 'well' is that I'm loving it. I can write a story fairly quickly - I just finished a story of about 3500 words in 6 weeks. (see p.s.) It's the story I've been blogging about - the one with the angel in it. The title I eventually settled on is 'Minor Key'. By some people's standards 6 weeks may be fairly slow but if writing has taught me one thing, it's that comparing the way you do things to the way that others do is a recipe for disaster. Today I sent that story off to my first American journal. That left me feeling very satisfied. Which, funnily enough, is the title of my first collection of stories. Earlier this month I received a letter from The Edward F. Albee Foundation. I applied for a writers residency with the foundation that would have been for 4 weeks. The letter informed me that they were very sorry, but not this time. I was a little disappointed but not surprised. Every year The

In Bed with Patrick White

A back injury sees me lying in bed this weekend with Patrick White's 'The Vivisector'. 2012 is the centenary of White's birth and even though he died in 1990, he has a new novel coming out later this month published by Random House. 'The Hanging Garden' was unfinished but is, according to Geordie Williamson , in The Weekend Australian's Review 'not incomplete'. David Marr claims the manuscript is one in a series of three novellas; therefore it's internal narrative stands on its own 'and unfolds in prose that is polished to the deep lustre we expect from White.' I love Patrick White's work, though I confess to not having read the heavyweights Voss, The Tree of Man , The Solid Mandala . What I have read is his short stories; Flaws in the Glass - a self portrait; his plays (I've yet to see a production - word on the street has it that the recent Adelaide Festival show was amateurish and I refuse to go and see a depressingly medi

Two small, good things

One I got a text message from a friend: 'The violinist from your story is in the mall today. And she's hot!' It's really something special when someone recognises a fictional character from one of your stories. The story is 'Silver and the Red Box Waltz' published in the Spineless Wonders Escape  anthology. It's about a young man who falls in lust with a sexy fiddle player burning out gypsy tunes in the mall. My friend looked around for the young man, Silver, but couldn't see anyone in a hi-viz shirt and steel cap boots  that day. Two Yesterday, after I finished the third draft of a story ('The Piano Lesson') I was looking through a book on the Australian artist John Perceval. ( Who is John Perceval ?  I discovered a painting by him in the South Australian Art Gallery  a few years back then, when I went looking for some more info on him I found a book by Margaret Plant in a second-hand bookshop but hadn't looked at it for some ti

Margo Lanagan on weirdness, selkies and camomile tea

Maybe I'm turning into a the kind of obsessed writer who goes on and on about who they admire and why etc etc .. see Hugh Jackman post - mind you, I do have a male heterosexual friend who says he'd turn gay for Hugh Jackman .. Maybee, maybee not, but I do know that when I read Margo Lanagan's short story 'Singing My Sister Down' from her album Black Juice , I was blown away. (Album'? I meant 'collection', though I'm guessing Margo is a little bit rock n roll - Black Juice would def work well as a band name or music album.) my very own signed copy of Sea Hearts  'Sister' which I read last year, is the first short story I've read for the longest time that made me cry. When I spoke to Lanagan this week at Adelaide Writer's Week, which was dedicated to her, I gushed and said I didn't know that writing could do what she did in that story and she replied 'Nor did I. It wasn't until I read the proofs that I realised


'The Work of Angels', rough draft I'm interested in process, the process of creating new work. I had a conversation recently on the many different ways of doing this, with a young man studying theatre directing in Adelaide South Australia. He talked about wanting a platform for experimental theatre directors in Adelaide, a platform where  unconventional theatre directing is public, and supported as process, of being something positive outside of the mainstream - maybe the equivalent in writing is e-zines? I agreed, there needs to opportunities for experimenting in directing. There seems to be a healthy platform for this in SA for visual arts.  I was recently at The Tooth and Nail Gallery , at an exhibition of 3 young visual artists. They stated in the program - this was 'Experimenatl Photography of The Sky' . Maybe the same kind of advertising needs to be made for theatre - 'Experimental Directing of XYZ'? Let young directors be bold and support th

Hugh Jackman

I love Hugh Jackman. There's something about the all-singing, all-dancing, WAAPA graduate, Aussie male Wolverine that I find irresistible. What's Hugh got to do with writing, you might ask. Everything and nothing. Today I've been working on a story. Not all day because I'm a recovering procrastinator but I found this little quote from Hugh (while I was procrastinating) and it helped me  get started (after i watched the video):    "If you back down from a fear, the ghost of that fear never goes away. It diminishes people." Oh, Hugh!  So true!

Spineless Wonders Presents ... a short evening of tall stories

For your ears only I'm soooo excited about this! Short stories penned by Australian writers, read in a pub by Adelaide actors. We did a couple of these readings last year, to test the water, see if there was a demand for the old oral story telling. Turns out, there is! People love being read to. It seems to happen less and less as we get older so this is a real treat. And extra special, I think, when trained actors do the reading. These men and women know how to read well. As I got interested in writing short stories, naturally I began to read more, and in doing so I discovered a wealth of talent in short fiction writers in Australia. Who knew? Now I love reading stories by Jennifer Mills, Nam Le, Paddy O'Reilly, AS Patric, Tricia Dearborn, Julie Chevalier, Josephine Rowe, Susan McCreery, Tom Cho, Ryan O'Neill, Kim Westwood, Irma Gold ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Just a week to go until our first night of readings in 2012. It's at The Whe

The Yorkshire Ripper - Panic

Pete Sutcliffe aka The Yorkshire Ripper Begun today: a story set in Manchester, 1977, the year that the body of Jean Jordan was discovered in an allotment next to Southern Cemetery, Moss Side, Manchester. She was the first of Sutcliffe's victims to be discovered in this city. The others were killed in Bradford and Leeds.  My family returned to the UK from Australia in 1977 and spent that year living in Manchester. There was fear on the streets fuelled, no doubt, by the media and the chatter of adults. As children, we were on the lookout for potential Rippers and had our list of local suspects. And so, on the cobbled streets of Salford, near Strangeways Prison, the story begins... I may be out of contact for some time ...

Tits and Balls on a poster

Prayer Dawn Yates in Prayer to an Iron God, deckchair theatre, 2003 This was used as the poster image for the 2003 production of Prayer to an Iron God at deckchair theatre (Victoria Hall) in Fremantle, Western Australia; directed by Glenn Hayden; produced by Glenn Hayden and deckchair theatre. I love the colours and how they bleed into one another, as the characters in the play also bleed into their environment, metaphorically and literally. Dawn played the character of TB ('Tits and Balls' - you never find out her real name), the real survivor in the play. Based on some of the tough women I had around me growing up in Kalgoorlie ( outback Australia), TB doesn't pull any punches. But I like to think of her as a toasted marshmallow - tough and burnt on the outside, gooey and sweet on the inside. Caroline x