Category: black star

The perils of writing a book that can (but doesn’t always) mess with your head

You know that you’re dedicated ready to be committed when you’re writing a book and the following things happen. Things that don’t seem to perturb you, even though they should.

– you conduct all business from bed. Phone calls, emails, conference calls, interviews, reading coroners reports and court transcripts, skype sex or any sex for that matter.

– you realise that strawberry breaka’s are your poor man’s smack.

– you fly into a panic when there is no caffeine in the house.

– you think to yourself that the tiny spots of mould on those crumpets really aren’t that bad. You will just excise them with a knife, surgical style, as one would a melanoma.

– you don’t know what the weather is doing until you go to the BOM website.

– when midnight is ‘turning in early’.

– you feel guilty for reading fiction.

– you hold off on having a shower. For two days.

– you start writing a short story titled ‘Fuck you, you fucking fuck’, and end it there, because you’re happy you wrote anything at all.

– you write haiku for yourself.

– you begin to believe in astrology a little too much.

– you haven’t eaten vegetables in a week and look like you have scurvy.

– you go to the supermarket in your Ugg boots. While wearing your pyjama pants that you try to pass off as ‘leisure wear’.

I’m happy to say that this behaviour was when I was stuck in the hell that was ‘Jet’s Lore’ and that times have changed (aside from the supermarket in pj’s thing, because really – who gives a fuck in West End, anyway?)

These days I’m more than likely in the kitchen being a Vitaminx and blending all manner of veggies, clay and super greens into smithereens, drinking pots of tea, having early nights and early mornings, not watching t.v, trying my best to not eat wheat, but sometimes baked goods just make their way into my hands, mouth and belly … and though there are some days where I can barely breathe because of what I’m remembering and writing, I get out and about and cry in cafes instead of at my desk.

Apologies to Pear cafe and Blackstar, who had me as their poet in residence for six months; Avid Reader, Specialty Cup and that one place in Toowoomba where I lost my shit over brekkie last July on my solo sojourn to the Garden City. Blessed be that I had the Review section of The Australian to stuff in front of my face which I pretended to read so my fellow diners didn’t have to see my squished up crying and ‘looking-like-a-hog’ face. I’m very selective about where I do my public crying. It doesn’t happen often, and nor does private crying – about sadness, anyway. I cry often about joy and miracles and love and kindness. I weep for the magic that happens every day, because I did too much crying as a kid to lose any more tears over things that are sorrowful. Bring on the magic, I say and as Dallas Green affirms – ‘Bring me your love’ ♥

The climb

I dig getting parcels and such in the mail, and yesterday was an especially fruitful day. My friend and fellow poet, Derek Motion’s first collection of poetry arrived. ‘Lollyology’ has poems that have appeared in esteemed writing journals such as the ilk of Overland, The Best Australian Poems 2010 and Cordite Poetry Review, to name but a few. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a stunning début. And here’s where I say ‘go buy a copy’ [buy a copy!]

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Also in my mailbox was the latest edition of ‘Newswrite’ – the New South Wales Writers’ Centre magazine. I was asked by the lovely Kirsten Krauth to write about my café poet experience and it’s a sprawling double page spread I’m really proud of. Here is a glimpse of how it looks – nice, huh?

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And so that is my media tartage for this week, but not this month. Standby for a glossy magazine spread (gotta love that word) in one of Brisbane’s high-end publications. It’s all systems go at poetry central!

coffee house blues

Cuts a lonely figure against that hulk of a tree,

heel of his hand nursing the phone.

Face plaited with trouble,

he looks to the rubbish on the ground

where people have tried to pitch it into the branches

as though it means something – like those boots you see hanging from power lines.

 

He looks past me into the next minute,

as though he wants to launch himself into next year –

anywhere but here, this minute, this day, this week.

C.I.P – chapbook in progress

How do you choose from ten thousand words of poetry and prose that will be printed into a 36 page chapbook? #fuckyeahpoetrylearningcurve#

Dilemma/quandary/mission impossible.

Somewhere on my lounge room floor is a rug that I can only just see because my floor is covered in paper, index cards, books and serviettes which are bursting with words (and Birkenstocks – what?)

I have to mine through what I’ve written over the last five months and skim the cream of the crap. I mean crop 🙂 Oh, dear …

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Poetry Welfare month

At the beginning of Poetry Warfare month, a new and lovely friend with one of the strongest social consciences I’ve ever known, suggested I do a Poetry Welfare month for May. I connected with it faster than a New York minute because I’ve been wanting to reach out to my community on a grass-roots level, which is exactly what I did tonight. But more on that later.

Like all cities, Brisbane can be a lonely place, especially when you’re faced with financial and personal hardship and especially at night. In the dead of winter. West End and its surrounds is renowned for its hostels and care facilities to help the ‘have nots’. There are those who can give a little, and there are those who can give a lot. I can give a lot – I’m time rich, I connect with people who all walk different and often divergent paths and I have a passion for helping people. I’m interested in the nature and dynamics of community and yesterday I met up with Dave Andrews – a community man who just happens to look very much like Professor Dumbledore 🙂

I could espouse Dave’s work, but please click on this link to read about his inspiring and saint like work – http://www.daveandrews.com.au/bios.html#bio4.

So how did I come to meet Dave? I was writing poetry at Blackstar a few months back and I noticed that he was sitting and talking to a group of around fifteen people. Some were volunteers and others were there for a chat and a cuppa. I contacted Dave, met him yesterday and tonight I went to a gathering under the stars where people brought what seemed like a tonne of food to feed the people who not only need food in their bellies, but food for their souls in the form of human contact.

I met people who have been displaced and I hope I can give some loving kindness and compassion back to the people who need it most.

And so it’s Poetry Welfare month, which started off with a poetry ‘write in’ on Facebook. I was humbled by what people shared, both in public and private, and although I had no expectations, it far exceeded the goal of connecting people with poetry.

Words heal – read, heard, spoken and written. And so it goes … I will go to bed tonight, mindful and thankful that I have a bed to sleep in, warm clothes, shelter and food. Peace out.