September 4th, 2009


Back on deck

My eyes are feeling better than yesterday - functioning, which is a real plus. I was only taking antihistamines at night but now I'll just do it round the clock till it clears up. They only really keep frustration at bay and don't actually stop all the itching.

I used to be a total pharmacology freak. You know, soothe any ail with something with a long and unpronounceable chemical. Panadol used to not even touch it - I used to call them lollies! Then I got sick. And not only did orthodox medicine not make it better, it left me with this allergy to sulphur. So now, I try not to take anything unless I really really have to. Antibiotics muck around with Crohn's so I really try to not take them - took two rounds with that ear infection after my sister's wedding and that's it in 8 years. The plus is that now one panadol knocks me round. And I can call it the good stuff. Anyway, that explains my hesitation for the antihistamines - I know what caused this current bout (damn peanuts!!) so I feel like I should carry the punishment. Or something equally masochistic.

Yesterday ended up being a very non productive day. On the way home from work I ran a couple of errands - picked up a new cable for Foxtel (that was a $65 toy thanks, Benji) and got a set top box. Course the salesdude thought I would be better to upgrade my TV in my bedroom rather than get a set top box for it, course he did. I dropped off my Dali prints to get framed. And popped past JB Hi Fi - got my Father's Day present. And some TV (BSG Season 4 and something else but I forget what) and some CDs - soundtrack from The Boat that Rocked, Lisa Mitchell's album and Kate Miller-Heidke. More on music later. And I cleaned out my car - the books are definitely gone. And all I can console myself with is putting those books unexpectedly "out there" is a community service.

And then I discovered I had seen a lot less of Season 4 of BSG than I thought I had - I thought I had the last 5 eps to go but I'd only actually seen the first 2. So I spent the afternoon and evening inhaling 7 eps and knitting baby socks since neither really required much dedicated focal action.


utterly subjective thoughts herein

So I have thoughts in my head today about good, great and lasting.

Driving in this morning I listened to the first half of Lisa Mitchell's album "Wonder". I'd heard a couple of the songs elsewhere but the album is, like Lisa, subtle, gentle, thoughtful, sincere, smart, funny, quirky, honest, unique. It's utterly gorgeous. It's also the first ex Australian Idol contestant's album I have ever bought. And I remember watching her in the Top 10 - it was a strong top 7 I think that year and it was easy for her to get lost in the karaoke search for the biggest voice and the most accurate cover. Often her judges' crits were harsh and suggested she needed to change to win the competition. But there always seemed to be this gentle resistance in her response - she didn't really change and in the end I think she realised that she didn't want to win if winning meant being "that".

I've been waiting for her album since she was voted off.

And at work I've been listening to "36 of the Greatest Songs from the Rock and Roll Comedy of the Decade" (The Boat that Rocked). 36 really awesome songs.

And so I've been thinking about quality/good versus popular. Music and books.

I could be wrong but I don't think that Lisa Mitchell will take off to be the next Britney Spears and probably for all the reasons that I love her. She's different. Her voice is unique. Her songs aren't belted out for dramatically huge effect. They're touching and thoughtful and clever and deep. They're offbeat. They're the sorts of songs I look for when I need inspiration and comfort and a reminder that out there there are people with true creative talent, just doing their thing because they *have* to.

But they're not mainstream.

So I guess my question is this ... what makes something have broader appeal? What makes things popular. And does something need to be popular in order to be great? Does it need to last beyond it's time?

And for the bonus round, I'm sitting here listening to some awesome songs from the 60s. I love them and think they are great but presumably, these were the most popular songs of the time that lasted because a lot of people remember them, play them and they get used in things like adverts, movies, tv shows etc. But are these the equivalent of "Hit Me Baby One More Time"?

Also, as a complete aside, how fucking cool is Pirate Radio - Radio Caroline etc?



I just bit the bullet and booked my tickets to Tasmania for Xmas before indecision made the choice more expensive.

I've discovered that I am the sort of person who, when down to their last $5, spends it on chocolate (rather than saving it). It's amusing to me considering I am also the sort of person who always has a plan B and tends to save money along the way.

Last year at xmas I kinda wallowed and mooched (pretending my heart was broken but it wasn't really :P) and then later flinthart mentioned I could have mooched at his house. Which kinda sounded nice. And more romantic - wandering along isolated beaches and such. But also for the good food. Happy family. Good friend to sit on a back deck and just talk - something we never really get the proper time and space for in the madness of cons. So I decided that this year, no matter what, I wanted to see the year out spending time with cassiphone - even just sitting at her kitchen table talking over coffee - and also with flinthart. Good friends whom I see far far too little of but mean the world to me. Some of the people who inspire and challenge me and who understand me. Sort of the equivalent for the soul of going to bed with a good book and a milo and hot water bottle. (I should declare that I have lots of people and places that I get to do that with here in Perth too. And my soul is a lot less in need of soothing these days too for it.)

This year was tough in lots of ways. It had ups that were awesome and it had downs, as most years are wont. I found out that my contract was not being renewed and I'm still doing that job search thing. But for all the allnighters I've pulled and the stress and the health worries and the family worries and the holidays I've not taken and for whatever else, I've known that at the end of it all, I was going to spend time sitting on a back deck or in a kitchen with friends. Just being.

Sounds divine. And kept me going through some of the darker days.

And just now, with my last $5, or rather my Visa card with unknown job security in 26 days, I booked my tickets to go. EEK!!!


For your information

Australia Post are currently cracking down on postage paid on mail posted in red, street mail boxes. All mail from all street boxes (in Perth?) is being checked by hand for underpaid postage.

In particular, be careful posting 500g prepaid parcels and 55c stamp letters.

Yes, I gossip with my post master.


and in other news

I'm in a reflective mood.

Doing 4 books this year was on the one hand ridiculous. It was a lot of work and at times was exceedingly full on - especially getting ready New Ceres Nights and then Horn out straight after. And for all the working steadily on A Book of Endings for 18 months or more, we were still down to the wire by the deadline. And for as much hard work that I put in, none of these books would have gotten out on time without the writers, who were all awesome, and the people behind the scenes at TPP - Tehani, Amanda, Dion, Dianne, Tansy and Ben - who are generous above and beyond.

Next year? Well next year has an even heavier schedule than this year.

The thing about me though is, I'm always in a hurry and I'm not interested in walking if running is where it's at. And part of the reason for doing 4 books this year was to go on a rapid and steep learning curve about editing and publishing. With the production of each book, you find the things you could improve on. And with 4 books in one year, you can immediately try to tweak that in the next one.

And so I guess, with the heavy schedule for next year, it'll feel like a rollercoaster ride but I hope I learn as much or, hopefully even more, next year as I did this year.

Right now, today's learning curve. The one thing I would change about A Book of Endings is that I would make it 21g lighter. One of the things I learned (there were several) is perfect flop is priceless!