April 18th, 2008


My Day

So, I have my Senior First Aid Certificate. And came out with an injured lower back - am in agony. Gonna see how I pull up tomorrow but if it's worse, I may have to pull out of Sea Rescue shift. Gonna opt for drugs in a mo.

Had delicious dinner at my sister's - she is a fantastic cook. But mentioned The Arrival just now and noone had heard of it! I love it when I find people who haven't heard of it because you know you are about to bring them great joy. And that's pretty cool cause it means you suddenly have book recommending cred for the future. Anyway, she's a school teacher so she's going to take it to the school librarian (who will of course buy a copy) and her mother-in-law was listening and was interested. And so the book will get further disseminated. The funny thing though, is when you talk about this book, after you rave about it, you always mention how many prizes it's won and is up for. And I think that's funny because when you say it about *this* book, the number of prizes are important *because* it's worthy and it makes the prizes worthy. For *this* book, the prizes mean something. Yet, the rest of the time, book prizes mean nothing to me. (In terms of the worth of the prize as well as the winner).

And on other and unrelated topics, I was reading something by Rob Shearman today. I think this year will be about him - last year I guess it was about Ted Chiang and the year before was Shaun Tan. This year though, I think the writer I am most excited to be reading is Shearman. I mean, I read close to 300 shorts this week and only one was by him. And this story was so good that the pain of the other 300 was instantly forgotten and I was mesmorised and excited about reading again. And I reckon, if there's one thing that I think you have to be good at as a writer it's the skill of making people be excited about reading and glad they are literate! And that's Shearman. When you start reading a piece of his, you are instantly taken to the place and the time and situation. You are there. And the only thing that matters is what is about to happen next. He is a master of turn of phrase and his writing is so smooth and so well crafted that it's the equivalent for my brain as the feeling for my person of putting on comfy pjs, warm socks and hopping into a warm bed with a hot chocolate.

When writers ask why they aren't selling, or what they have to do to get a sale or why reviewers don't rave about them, I want to point to work by writers like Rob Shearman and say - you gotta do *that*. *That* is a whole different class of writing.

And it's not even like his stories are warm and fuzzy. He writes in one of my least favourite genres - absurdism (like - its *absurd*) - but it turns out, I actually *like* this genre, when the writing is on the mark. And his stories are so often the normal and mundane but he nails the situation and the feelings so well that you feel uncomfortable, you cringe, you relate. Mostly, I relate *too* well, and it reminds of many less than fantastic moments in my life. But he is a brilliant observer and master storyteller. And his dark sense of humour saves you from his depressing take on the world.

Olympics Question

Does anyone know why the min age for cycling is 19? I know it's younger for gymnastics and am pretty sure also younger for swimming??

Enquiring minds want to know?