Dawn Chorus

Tags

, , ,

A cry rang out in the night
‘Damn it to Hades,’ he said, hopping
Ares had stubbed his toe on the
corner of the four-poster bed

The god of war, all powerful
in some situations, but still fallible
in the half-light of the
very early morning

Aphrodite raised her golden head from the
pillow, ‘why don’t use a light, my darling?
You know how clumsy you are.’
Sighing, she laid her head back down

The heavenly goddess dreamed of a bed
partner who does not snore quite so loudly
or exclaim in pain every time he shuffles
to the privy in the night. Even gods

suffer from small bladders. Eros wandered
past the door, on his way home from a
party, and heard the conversation for the
seventh time, at least.

In his bedroom, Eros flicked his mesh shirt
into the laundry basket and peeled off
his leather pants, before admiring his sweat
slicked body in the mirror.

Vanity was a weakness of his, perhaps
lustiness for himself also. A toilet
flushed down the hall, another cry
rang out as Ares kicked the bed again.

Maintenance

Tags

, ,

I’ve been trying to come up with a blog post for about three weeks and so far, nothing good has come to mind, so I thought I would talk about maintenance.

Maintenance is the not at all sexy stuff we do to keep things running – it’s brushing your teeth, or eating healthy or exercising (for the body), cleaning the toilet or mopping the floors, it’s practicing scales and exercises (for music), it’s showing up to write even if you don’t feel like it.

There is an argument to be made that motivation follows action, and not the other way around. One must start doing something to feel like doing it. In a way it helps, because you don’t have to wait until you feel like something to get started, but it also means I have to start before I even feel like it, which can be hard sometimes, especially if things are tough for any reason.

This week I’ve worked on my manuscript a couple of times, I’ve done piano practice most days, I’ve done yoga or a walk or the gym and in most cases I didn’t feel like it. I’m not sure if it’s winter inertia, or I’m having a particularly low energy week, but life feels hard. Getting up for work when it’s under 10˚ C is probably not helping.

Is being an adult progressively adding more maintenance tasks to your list to feel vaguely normal? In my memory I didn’t worry so much about stuff when I was younger, but maybe I’m misremembering. I feel much less fun and spontaneous – my back pain, and ankle injury and the whole pandemic thing didn’t help with that either. Maybe I’ll get back to feeling spontaneous. Maybe I’ll want to create more, rather than relying on starting an activity and hoping I’ll get into it once I’ve begun.

I had coffee with a former work colleague earlier today, though more correctly my former boss, and we had a lovely chat about life, the universe and everything (with a long detour to cults started because I recently read the Book of Revelation and wow, was that a trip, I digress). As I went back to my car to head to my exercise physiology appointment, I found I had a parking ticket. I was in a zone where I had to pay for a ticket, but I had misread the sign and assumed it was two-hour free parking, not two-hour paid parking. I was annoyed because it’s another in a long line of expenses (let’s not even get into the cost of vegetables or petrol at the moment) I have and it would have been avoidable if I’d been more careful about reading the sign. The annoyance spread through the rest of the day, something I feel might not have happened when I was younger.

I guess I’m worried I’m becoming boring and curmudgeonly and I’m not even that old! On the other hand, the world has objectively been through a very bad last couple of years, so perhaps I should give myself a bit more time to get over the trauma (and ongoing stress) of the COVID-years.

I’ve had this blog for over a decade, and I have been posting semi-regularly to it so I think I can say I’m maintaining it. Here’s to trying to find more joy in maintenance.

Houndstooth: a book launch

Tags

, , , , ,

I’ve been a bit quiet here on the blog, not for any reason apart from life getting the better of my time, including starting a new day job.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the book launch for my friend and poet, John Lowe’s collection Houndstooth. It was held at Brighton Library, a bit of a trek for me but worth it, and attended by around thirty people, friends, family, fellow writers.

I know John from my poetry group, I’ve workshopped various poems with him for several years, and have enjoyed the opportunity to give and receive feedback.

John was introduced by Chris Ringrose, a poet, academic, and member of our group. His insight were helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the poetry in the collection.

I decided to mask, even though it’s not required. I go out into the world a lot more these days, I still wear my mask most of the time in large groups and in shops.

It’s too early to claim that we’re back to a pre-plague way of life, and we need to keep safe as we need to but it’s so lovely to be able to go out, to support the arts, especially the work of people I know.

Poetry and travel

Tags

, , , ,

For the last thirty days I have been participating in the NaPoWriMo challenge. I have undertaken this challenge the last few years, and have found it valuable if not always easy.

This year I followed the prompts for each day, all except for the final day as I’m up in Sydney visiting a friend and didn’t have access to the poetry books at home to do a cento. Also, a cento seemed like a lot of work choosing lines from other poems to collate into a new one.

It has been strange travelling in this COVID-conscious world. The daily case numbers in Sydney are comparable to Melbourne, but mask wearing up here is much less common than at home. I guess we’re all still a bit traumatised after our two long lockdowns.

It was strange thinking about getting on a plane to come up here, but once I was there waiting to board it seemed normal. Most people were masked in the terminal, maybe 75%, and they were very clear on the plane that masks were mandatory. It was fully booked, so I wasn’t used to being so close to so many people, but I coped.

I’ve written a few good poems as part of this year’s NaPoWriMo challenge, and a few that might not make the cut. I’m sure you’ll see a few on this blog in the coming months and maybe in the next poetry chapbook I release (no dates for that, it’s still in the concept phase).

I hope you’re all doing well in the change of seasons; the weather has been varied to say the least. At least up here in Sydney I don’t need to worry so much whether I have a jacket and umbrella with me.

I sing a song

Tags

, , , , ,

I sing a song to pass the time
all the hours from waking to sleep

I sing a song of seduction
to flirt and flutter when speaking is too hard

I sing a song to comfort myself
for company through the lonely stretches

I sing a song of righteous indignation
for courage to challenge injustice in the world

I sing a song of lament
for everything lost and dying

I sing a song of exhaustion
for every time I fought the same battles

I sing a song of solidarity
for all my siblings in all our struggles

I will sing a song of new beginnings
and promise, to a new world we create together.

Endings and Beginnings

Tags

, , , , , , ,

April is my poetry writing month, as I undertake the Na/GloPoWriMo a month-long poetry challenge initiated by Maureen Thorson on the model of NaNoWriMo. Each day Maureen presents a prompt, relating to content, or form, or sometimes both.

I have written poetry since I was an angsty teen, some of my previous work still exists on my old website, as well as in my chapbook, Smells Like Teen Angst, but I often don’t make time for it, outside of April. I’m a member of a poetry workshop/collective, and I have been workshopping poems from last year’s NaPoWriMo all the way up to the start of this year’s challenge.

I’m heading out to the northwest of Melbourne to a writers’ retreat on the weekend. I’m looking forward to the stimulation and to the potential networking opportunities. I hope that I can get value from the content, as I haven’t worked with the organisers before. If nothing else, I will try to enjoy a weekend in the country. Maybe they will have a big bath that I can relax in, or a piano.

In my life outside of writing, I’ve resigned from my day job and will be starting a new day job after Easter. I’ve been working for the same organisation for almost six years, and it feels very strange preparing to leave it now. A lot has changed over that time; I’ve had three different managers, and we’ve been moved around departments a number of times, but a lot has stayed the same too. I won’t go into too many details, but I’m both excited and a little nervous about the new role. It’s with a similar organisation doing a similar job, hopefully with some more seniority.

Many of my colleagues have expressed their gratitude for the work I do, a couple have said I can’t leave, which I assume means something similar. The relationships I’ve forged with the people there have been the highlight, and one of the reasons I’ve been able to stay on so long. I’m sorry to leave the organisation, there will be a bit of messiness in the transition to a new person in my role, but I hope they’ll be able to structure things in a way that benefits everyone.

April seems to be a time for beginnings and endings. Closing one door allows another to open, I’m feeling pumped to find out what’s on the other side of this one. I might even be inspired to put up one of my daily poems too.

Smells Like Teen Angst

Tags

, , , , , ,

In honour of the release of my two new novels next Monday I’ve dug through one of my first websites for the dreadful poetry of my teens.

I have created a chapbook featuring a collection of ten of my best (or worst) poems.

You can download a copy of the new collection here.

Be warned, these poems are exactly the level of ‘good’ you would expect from a goth teen.

I hope you’ve all preordered your ebook copies of my two new Barrett novels, Sins of the Father and The Mother’s Fault, print copies will be available from next week.

Why would you do that?

Tags

, , ,

TL;DR don’t touch people you don’t know.

This is a story of something that happened to me today. A cautionary tale. It has left me quite shaken and I want to share the experience with the world for two reasons: if you are the recipient of this kind of behaviour, know that you are not obliged to be okay with it. More importantly, if you do this sort of thing, please take some time to rethink your choices.

I am currently single, as a result I am on several dating apps, with mixed success. I had been chatting to a fellow, Joe (not his real name), for a few weeks on and off. He suggested we meet for lunch, and I suggested a cute pub/cafe in Brunswick Street.

I arrived first and sat at a table outside in the shade. I sent him a message on the app to say that I had a table and would see him shortly.

Hands come across my vision – someone behind me is covering my eyes and I’m startled. A face comes into my view from behind my left shoulder, the face of Joe.

I’m literally speechless. I don’t know Joe from a bar of soap and he decided to surprise me from behind before we’d even said hello. Even now, typing this, my cortisol and adrenaline are spiking.

Once I recover my ability to speak, I say that wasn’t okay. That sneaking up on someone is really threatening. That I need a moment to process. He says he’s sorry, and feels like a bit of an idiot. What I want to say is ‘good, so you should’, but I keep that to myself.

For a brief moment, I considered laughing it off but I felt nauseous and shakey. My eyes were darting around looking for threats. I’m sure all the colour drained from my face. I had to be true to my experience and I was incredibly unsettled. I did not want to be anywhere near this person, and any romantic notions were gone. I say I’m going to have to reschedule and leave. As I walk away my legs are jelly. My heart is pounding and I am both frightened and furious.

I do not, for a moment, believe Joe had bad intentions. I’m sure he thought this would be a funny meet cute, and that, like a romantic comedy, I would giggle and think it was great. But I didn’t.

What I learned from this interaction is that Joe thinks his need to ‘make an entrance’ or ‘seem spontaneous’ trumps my right to feel safe, and my right to bodily autonomy. That he has no concept of personal space or why it might be important.

And then there’s the fact he put his hands on my face IN A PANDEMIC. We are all social distancing, and avoiding hugs so get you can certainly your germy hands off me!

It took me fifteen minutes, pacing around Fitzroy, on the phone to a friend to calm down enough to have eat (since I fled the place I was supposed to have lunch). My hands still shook around the chopsticks.

I don’t think this person will take the time to consider how his actions affected me. He has sent a message since which reads as though he’s chalking it up to ‘not a good match’, which is definitely true, but not the whole story. I’m fucking furious that Joe has upset me in this way, and that he doesn’t appear to have any idea that he is at fault. I hope he reads this and is ashamed enough to change his behaviour in future. Not cool Joe. So not cool.

Barrett Women Series: Pre-order your ebook Now

Tags

, , , ,

This is just a quick update. My new novels will be available in exactly one month from today and I can now share links to the ebooks for pre-order.

Book 1: Sins of the Father universal link, or Amazon link.

Book 2: The Mother’s Faulth universal link or Amazon link.

Paperback copies are still in progress, but will also be available from 28 Feburary 2022.

Barrett Women Series: Cover Reveal

Tags

, ,

I’m very excited to share with you the cover art for my two new novels: Sins of the Father, and The Mother’s Fault.

These novels follow two generations of Barrett Women: Janine and Chloe. They can be read in any order, or individually.

A reader discretion warning is in place both novels, they each deal with dark themes. Unlike my previous releases, these are not romance novels, and deal largely with dysfunctional romantic and familial relationships.

Massive thank you to Charmaine who does my covers, you are a wizard at interpreting what I want and make it into an image.

Every choice can change you for better. Or worse.

Sins of the Father

Janine Barrett is like every other fifteen-year-old—she knows it all. When her father passes away, and she’s stuck with her vindictive mother, and a shameful secret; it’s time to break out on her own.

But surviving life as an adult—juggling schoolwork, a household, and a boyfriend—is a lot harder than she thought. And that’s only the beginning.

What will she sacrifice to have it all and prove her mother wrong?

Follow Janine’s journey as she grows up from a naïve, rebellious teen in 1980s Melbourne.

The Mother’s Fault

Chloe Barrett had a tough childhood, but she’s determined not to let it limit her future. She’s got a good job, a couple of close friends, and a decent boyfriend.  

She pulled herself up out of a dark childhood with an unreliable mother and her unpredictable boyfriends, but has Chloe done enough to overcome her brutal childhood and become a happy, fulfilled adult?  

Follow Chloe as she tries to work out if she’s managed to catch the right kind of man this time and build her perfect life, in spite of her mother’s faults.  

Both titles will be ready for purchase on 28 February 2022, pre-order links to follow.