We’ve entered the realm of Christmas parties and end-of-year celebrations. I had my work party last Wednesday – good chicken, disappointing dessert, my poetry group end-of-year do today and my writing group Christmas party tomorrow!
As we’ve done in the past, the poetry group visited the Ian Potter Centre at the National Gallery of Victoria to view the works in the hope of inspiring something poetic.
I spent some time sitting in front of these three works by Petrina Hicks: Fertile (2010), Into the abyss (2011), and Melo malo (2019).
Then I stood looking at this work, Force (1950-54), by Roger Kemp.
Finally I sat with this impressive sculpture, Hippolyta and the Amazons defeating Theseus (1933), by Jean Broome-Norton.
I wrote the bones of three ekphastic poems today. It’s more poetry than I’ve written in a long time, since I’ve been mainly working on prose. I hope to post some of the poems here on this blog once I get them polished up.
All the artists at the Ian Potter Centre are Australian, and all the works I viewed were in the free collection part of the gallery.
I can highly recommend hanging out in galleries with notebooks and writing whatever comes to mind. Take yourself on a date, or go with friends. You never know what might come of it.
Yesterday, November 28, 2019 I won NaNoWriMo for the eighth time. I’m proud of myself, but having done it before it doesn’t feel like such a big deal anymore. I’m ready to take a bit of a break from my story, but I have two more days of November to try to get some words down.
I won’t give away too much, but the story is a paranormal thriller with a romance subplot. Once it’s done it should be a stand-alone novel; about 80k words I expect.
I frequently feel I put off starting work on creative projects; on the days I don’t have to go in to my day job, I don’t start my NaNoWriMo words until well into the afternoon. I’m very good at distracting myself by watching Netflix, or shows on the various other streaming platforms (there are so many now!). I try to procrastinate productively, by doing other jobs on my list, but it doesn’t remove the feeling I’m wasting time. Perhaps one day, when I’m a grown up, I won’t do it anymore.
Now NaNoWriMo is done can get back to planning to release a new book early next year, and I have already started writing a show for the Melbourne Fringe Festival next year.
I can’t wind down just yet, I still have an exhibition opening for the Life Models’ Society Inaugural Art Competition on December 17 before I can start slacking off. I hope to see some of you there.
I’m sure you’re all aware that one of my jobs is modelling for art classes and drawing groups. I’m also heavily involved in the running of an organisation called the Life Models’ Society – a collective of models who advocate for better pay and condition for life models.
The LMS has been around for thirty years, as of 2019. We, the LMS Committee, decided as part of the anniversary year we would run an art competition. The idea is to generate more work for our models; the full competition rules are here.
It’s open to anyone in Melbourne, but you have to have made the work this year and feature an LMS model as the subject.
This is a fantastic opportunity to promote art and life modelling in Melbourne. We will be hosting the accompanying exhibition at Gasworks Arts Park in Albert Park in December. It’s probably the biggest event I’ve ever organised – much bigger in scale, budget, etc. than the book launch I hosted earlier in the year.
I’m really relishing the challenge of managing the working group, and approaching sponsors, judges, artists and models to participate. It’s taking up a fair bit of my non-work time.
I’ve been working on a novel manuscript as well, and I’m now over 52k words into a book I didn’t write as part of NaNoWriMo. After all the input I’ve had from my writing groups over the years, I think this story is one of the most polished and interesting I’ve written and I haven’t even finished the first draft!
I look forward to seeing how the competition all works out, and for the skills I’m developing in the events management arena. I’ll keep you all informed on how this progresses.
I sit, headphones on, but no music playing
I can listen to things around me without attracting attention
The woman next to me on a phone call, the two men across
the way watching some code of football. Rugby I’d guess
based on the city I’m in. Slow revelation of meaning through
poetry has never been my strong suit. I don’t do well at
layering. I tend to put my subtexts into the main text.
If you were teaching my work, it would be easy for the
students. Although perhaps, as Judith Wright said,
I didn’t write that in there. Of course, the postmodernists
don’t care about the author so I suppose what I do
doesn’t really matter
The lighting is dulled, outside it’s dark, but like a casino
they don’t want too much reality seeping into an airport
People with different body clocks, different destinations
different languages, all want to sit, alone, protected from
other passengers by their books/laptops/phones/ear buds
There is half an hour until I head home
away from one family and back to another
I have created a life and a home – a settled little
nest. Friends have flown to create new nests with
new lives and young lives in tow. No one to greet me
at the airport this time, just long-term parking and
the promise of sleep in my very own bed.
I made it through the challenge of NaPoWriMo again for April 2019!
It is always a struggle to feel that my poems are any good when I do this challenge, I seem to churn out so much rubbish, but as with NaNoWriMo, the point is quantity over quality.
I will have to set aside some time to revise and review the poems I’ve written this month, although I did publish one poem here and one poem on a couple of Facebook groups for life modelling. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
The art studio
A room full of nude bodies
Holding perfectly still
The sound of one voice
And scratching on paper
The knowledge that in a few
Minutes we break to eat
Working to create great art
Together sharing our vulnerability
It was written on the last day of the challenge, close to midnight, after a full day of work at the day job, followed by a four hour life-model training session. I am not particularly good at drawing, but the act of performing as a model to be drawn has been something I’ve enjoyed for over five years.
The Life Models’ Society is having an art competition at the end of the year. I’m helping to organise it and we’re finalising details now but I may even submit a work to the competition. I’ve been thinking about something like a charcoal drawing, perhaps several figures all together, with my poems about life drawing printed on transparency over the top. I think it could look quite good – obviously dependent on the quality of the drawing(s) I manage to produce.
I spent a little less than a week over Easter with my beautiful friend Cathy and her family in New Zealand. It’s been difficult the last few years as a number of my close friends have moved away from Melbourne. It’s not the same as having them here, but knowing I can pop over and visit and have their love and warmth on tap 24 hours a day is a great comfort.
My next projects are going back to some of my incomplete prose manuscripts; I wrote 1500 words in one today despite my procrastination!
Thank you to all my friends, family and supporters – I wouldn’t be here without you, and I hope that I support you in return. Big love.
after ‘The American Dream’, by Brett Whiteley
The brain is a machine
susceptible to corruption
working away on incomplete
The bird builds a nest
fills it with eggs, potential life
feeds the young on instinct
Green and yellow earth
flow down to meet the sea
intuition and reason fight
The blue ocean continues
insensitive to the logic, the imagination
of the painter who tries
to capture it
The red light of alarm, a dream
we wake from sweating
trying to make sense of the message
sent from the void
The coming storm, the enticing nude
the death of intellect as we
exchange emotion for distraction
and stop thinking.
Today I attended the end of year gathering with my poetry group. We get together in an inspiring place, today it was the National Gallery of Victoria at Federation Square, and we write, if we’re inspired, or sit and ponder, if we’re not inspired. Then we have lunch.
I went through the George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley exhibition. I’ve always like Whiteley’s work; it speaks to be somehow. I didn’t care for Baldessin. I didn’t actively dislike his work, but I didn’t like it either. Except for these pears.
I wrote an ekphrastic poem, while looking at Whiteley’s ‘The American Dream’ mural. I’ll post it next week after I’ve had a chance to revise it.
For now I’m just going to leave you with this teaser: I’m planning to self publish my second novel in February. The exact date is still TBC as I have a lot of work to do to get it ready, but I’ll have a cover to show you in the next few weeks and then I’ll be able to announce the release date.
It’s a relatively short novel, around 50k words. I’m feeling good about it, which is a bit of a weird feeling for me; most of the time I don’t think very highly of my work.
I’ve also started thinking about my New Year’s goals. Each year I’ve written myself a to-do list and I sometimes get stuff done, and sometimes don’t. I’ll be posting a new list and a wrap up of last year in January. I feel like I’ve come quite a long way recently and I’m sure I have a lot of room to grow and develop too. I’m looking forward to it.
I haven’t been writing much, nor blogging, because I’ve been frantically preparing for my second Melbourne Fringe Festival Show, Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World.
We open on Monday night, we’ve done one dress rehearsal in the venue which was both exciting and terrifying. It’s all coming together but there are a few little niggles to iron out as is always the case with opening a new show.
We’d love to see you there, it’s going to be a great, silly, peculiar, over the top show. Happy Fringe!
I’m excited to announce that tickets for this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival are now available to purchase!
Our show, Fleur and Alexandra are Out of This World will be playing at The Butterfly Club 17, 19-23 September 2018.
Get in before 25 August for the early bird tickets. There are limited seats so please don’t miss out.
We can’t wait to see you all there!