December 21st, 2009


Take another little piece

The "Arbeit macht frei" sign stolen from Auschwitz in southern Poland has been found in the north and five men have been arrested, police say.

They said the metal sign from the main gate, which symbolises for many the atrocities of Nazi Germany, had been cut into three pieces.

A major search was launched after the sign was stolen before dawn on Friday.

This breaks my heart.

The Gluten Report

I'm sitting here and I have a bit of the shakes. I thought it was from some drama with Benji this morning at home. I am late with the first coffee of the morn too. But it does occur to me that this feeling out of sorts, forgetting things, mixing things up and feeling scattered, coincides with when I stopped eating gluten. I wonder if it's a detoxing withdrawal symptom.


The thing about pink

We're having a bit of a discussion here and yesterday on twitter about the question of pink and fairies and little girls and breaking of gender roles and well, I guess, feminism.

I bought pink fairy Barbies for xmas presents for children in Tasmania. Both parents apologised profusely with "it's not me, I did my best to discourage the pink!" and I'm sure they did. But what can you do? If you are also encouraging the individualism and the right to choose, then if a kid wants to love pink, don't they get the right to love pink?

It's like pink is the banned colour - if you're a boy and you love pink, it makes adults uncomfortable. If you're a girl and you love pink, people being to wonder if you are gonna want to be an individual or a ditsy blonde bimbo, jumping when the big buff man tells you how high.

When catsparx designed the Twelfth Planet Press logo for me, she did me several in different colours - pink, orange, blue and black. I looked at the pink one and thought "I can't have a pink logo in specfic! Noone will buy my books if the logo is pink!!" which promptly made me select the pink one and use it in such high rotation that when vodkandlime came to design the Roadkill/Siren Beat covers, she naturally did so in "your TPP colours".

Actually purple is my favourite colour. But I picked up the pink for TPP because of my kneejerk reaction that most readers in the field are male and therefore wouldn't buy a book with pink on it (and really since then, I guess I would argue that it's most readers only in science fiction, and that it would be most reviewers and critics are men, rather than most readers in specfic, the collective genre). It's sort of been my subversive reaction, in a way, to that thought. I'm a female editor and publisher, a lot of the team who help me produce the books are female, including layout, proofing and so on. It's an indie press owned and run by women. It's an indie press with editors who do not have a default white male viewpoint in the world and is a press actively looking to publish fiction that is not-of-the-norm. So branding our books with pink is consistent with that.

And of course, no one I know has even suggested in jest that they wouldn't buy my books because of the pink. The men who read and write for and support this press are not that kind of man. Which probably means the branding is still consistent.

We will have an ad in the Aurealis Awards booklet and it is almost all completely hot pink. When cassiphone saw it, she said to me, "I like it, it's girlie jones". I never really thought about what "girlie jones" was and whether that was what "I" am. I mean, I do wear pink sometimes, but I mostly don't. I don't have much pink in my life and I don't think it really is a colour I would associate with myself. But what I didn't like was the idea that in order for women to become equal and be "taken seriously" in the world or run presses or be leading and well known and loved authors, we had to drop the pink, or drop the girly, or drop the things that make us different from manly men.

My stance is that there is nothing wrong with pink and I am taking it back, redefining and owning it for the grrlpower girly girl colour that it is!

ETA: I just realised that when I was about 10 or 12, my parents redecorated our end of the house, and they did it major girly wallpaper - flowers, lots of pink and painted our cupboards pink and the floors were done in pink/purple lino. When I went through puberty and hit my angry feminist phase at about aged 15, I hated it. I reckon it's probably taken a good 10 years to get over that much pink. And now, I had totally forgotten how much I hated all that pink in my space (we weren't asked, either).


I can't tell if it feels better or worse

I'm desperately trying to stuff as much into the last remaining days of the year as is physically possible for me. I am about to rush off and see to the plumbing at home (ie oversee a plumber etc). I still vaguely thought I could book my car in for a service, get the carpets cleaned etc etc etc. But I also realise that the end of 2009 for me will be a I get on the plane on Weds at noon. So I just transferred over to my 2010 diary. Wow. That was interesting. Now I have written a to do list for all the things I really am not going to get done between now and tomorrow night. I put the to do list in for the first week I get back from hols.

It feels quite stressful to already have jobs to be done into next year. And yet, there is no real defining point between now and then. Just this ridiculous made up one - oh we must catch up before the new year! Why? Why??? Whats the difference between doing things madly this week or like over the next two weeks following? And why can't we catch up just cause we like each other? I dunno. I'm just at exploding head phase I spose.

And remember when I was wondering, ages ago, what would happen if you got all your things done? Or what if you did things ahead of time in a planned, organised fashion? Well I'm here to say that, as suspected, you find more things to do. And really maybe I had it right before - doing things at the last minute. Cause now, I do try and work ahead of things which means that because I have all the presents bought, I have the TPP things packed, I've sorted out my plane reading and the work plan for the next two weeks, now I am organising plumbing and fridge cleaning and dog clipping and and and.

And I think I feel more harried and stressed than the flying by the seat of my pants stuff.

Though admittedly, I am getting more things done and letting less people down

There's just always so frigging much more to do.


Time keeps on ticking, ticking

On the way home tonight, jonathanstrahan said to me, "48 hours and you'll be at Tansy's".

Holy crapoli!

I tried to pack this evening, figuring that would reduce the pressure on me tomorrow. Yeah, I know, it didn't happen, somehow I managed to fool myself into thinking that I would! I like the pressure, I guess. I did wrap about half of the remaining presents. The truth is, I'm terrified my bag is going to be too heavy and I don't know the best way to schlepp bottles of wine across the country. I dunno that I could pack the equivalent of 10kgs or so of books but anyway...

The plumber came this afternoon and fixed both toilets (yes the other was leaking too, different place). Loving the new plumber. He explained everything he did as he was doing it and was horrified at the mess that the last guy had left (as in the repair, not even getting to the mess that *I* had to clean up). He was appalled at the use of the wax - not waterproof and sticky to remove - and instead used some kind of malleable concrete substance that will harden over the course of 24 hours. I'm down with concrete as a solution. The whole thing took maybe 30 mins. Very little mess was made - just the material rather than toilet-water related. I did a 15 minute-ish clean up and showered and was out the door. I feel ok about it. Yay!

But I think we can close the door on this chapter.

Then I rushed out the door to pick up jonathanstrahan and we headed up to lyzbeth and russellbfarr's for drinks and general end of yearness. Highlights included seeing a bunch of people, turkish delight cocktails (I'm inspired to finally unpack and use my blender), the omg best tzatziki dip I ever had in my whole life (seriously total spiritual experience good) and um, some totally inappropriate jokes that people around me were unsure whether to laugh at or not. Bad black humour, bad.

I had a good time and it was nice to see everyone before I am off.

Tomorrow is my last day at work before 2010. Benji will move in with my parents for the holidays. I'll check in for my plane flight and pack. And ... eek!! before I blink I shall be on a smaller island than this one!!!