Firstly, this is my 301st blog post! Wow! I completely missed the fact I’d hit three hundred when I published the last one. My first post here was 7 November 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago, although eight years is a pretty long time too.
I’ve done a lot of stuff in that time, completed NaNoWriMo eight times, self-published two books, co-written, co-produced and co-starred in two Melbourne Fringe Festival shows, left and started several jobs, become a life model and become heavily involved in running the Life Models’ Society.
My life is very different to what it was in 2011 when I started. We’re also approaching the end of another decade which has its own weird feelings associated with it.
As is my tradition, I take some time at the end of each year to reflect on the goals I set myself at the start of the year. I like to look at the things I’ve achieved the things I haven’t as a record of the evolution of my life over time.
Last year I published the following goals for 2019:
- Publish ‘Discovery of the Franklins’
- NaNoWriMo 2019
- Finish manuscript from NaNoWriMo 2018
- NaPoWriMo 2019
- Top Secret Project
- Wasted Monday performances
- Life Models’ Society Exhibition
- Life Models’ Society 30th anniversary
Maybe/if I have time:
- Self-publish one of my other manuscripts
- Finish/rework shorts story/novella
I have achieved several of these goals, I published my second novel, I completed NaNoWriMoand NaPoWriMo, I project managed a successful art competition and exhibition for the LMS and helped to organise a lot of events for the LMS thirtieth anniversary year. And I’ve kept up this blog.
A couple of these goals weren’t achieved. I went back to my NaNoWriMo manuscript from 2018 but haven’t completed it. I don’t know whether it has what’s necessary to be an interesting book. I may come back to it later but for the moment it’s on the back burner.
For my collaboration stuff, the sitcom and top secret projects were worked on at the start of the year, but have fallen away in the later part of the year. Wasted Monday has gained and lost a drummer this year and with it some motivation. Lu and I are still keen so hopefully next year will be a good one for us.
A couple of things I’ve done this year were not on the list: I finished a first draft of a manuscript that was not a NaNoWriMo project, I also submitted a manuscript to my editor with the aim of self-publishing my third novel next year. The editor has encouraged me to submit to publishers (once I’ve made the required changes) so that’s an exciting opportunity too. And I travelled to Morroco and Spain in October.
This is, of course, not counting any of the stuff I’ve done for my day job. The day job has been a pretty intense year, in a number of ways. We’ve had a couple of restructures, and a lot of changes in the teams. I look forward to a more settled year next year, but who knows, maybe there is more change to come.
Do you have an annual goal setting ritual? Do you believe in New Years’ resolutions? Next year is shaping up to be a pretty busy year for me, I’ll give you the full run down of goals in the New Years’ post. I hope you all have a safe, fun and restful holiday period and I’ll see you back here next year.
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 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.
Adventure, Art, Artist Date, Artists, Challenge, Destrends, doing stuff, Inspiration, life drawing, Life Modelling, Melbourne, Motivation, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Woland, Woland the Artist
I feel like haven’t blogged for a while (even though it’s only been a couple of weeks), perhaps it’s just a part of the cumulative guilt thing that I seem to have going on at the moment. I’ve recently been feeling incredibly busy and part of the reason for that is that I’ve been taking on new creative projects and meeting new people, and I guess I feel a bit like I have a lot of balls in the air and I’m really worried I’m going to drop one of them.
I’m sure that quite a lot of the stress I’m feeling about the new projects is misdirected stress about uni assessments which have been looming large for the last few weeks. Hopefully that source of tension will settle down soon, I’ve finished all the assessments two of my subjects, and the other two will be finished by this time next week (oh god, I have to write 4,200 words by then). But back to reason for my blog, I wanted to tell you all about my new projects! Writing things down makes them feel more real, right?
1. NaNoWriMo 2015
If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that for the last two years I’ve been involved in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to get a whole bunch of people together, both in person as part of local group activities and online as part of the NaNoWriMo global community, to encourage each other to commit to writing 50,000 words in November (they also run Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, but I haven’t participate in either of those sessions yet). It sounds like complete, unachievable insanity, but I’ve successfully completed the challenge the two times I’ve been involved, and I feel confident I can do it again this year.
My current working title for the novel is ‘We Can’t Have Nice Things’ and I’m using characters from a short story that I wrote a little while ago and expanding them into a longer work. The idea is that it will be dark – an exploration of the way people’s lives can go wrong. I’m thinking of it as an anti-romance, I don’t really know if it will work, but I’m going to give it my best shot!
2. I joined a band.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here before, but a while ago, on a whim, I bought a bass guitar. I’ve played it a bit here and there for the couple of years I’ve had it, but I never really prioritised it. Then I met Seth at a party and he asked if I wanted to be in his band, and I thought, why not? And now I’m in a band. That was about six weeks ago. The line-up is still being worked out, and we’re really still trying to find our feet, but I feel really good, conceptually, about being in a band. Since joining the band, I’ve been out to see a bit more local live music and I’ve met some fantastic people, in particular the boys from The Destrends, who are not only phenomenal musicians and performers but also super amazing human beings. I hope to continue getting out to gigs and meeting people in the music industry and really immersing myself in a culture I never felt part of before.
3. and 4. Drawing and Photographing
There are also two other things I’ve been spending time one, but they’re not really taking up as much time/brain space as the novel and the band so I’ll mush them together into one paragraph. Firstly there’s drawing. I’ve been life modelling with the Life Model Society for all of this year and I’ve been meeting fantastic artists at every group I’ve worked with. Meeting these talented people and seeing the beauty they can produce has inspired me to spend more time on drawing. I’ve been to a couple of life drawing classes, the results of which I’ve put on my Instagram account, they need some work, but I think there’s a solid foundation of ‘looking vaguely human’ in there. The second thing is a couple of friends of mine, Woland and Gabrielle, who have appeared in this blog before, have been doing some really outstanding off-the-wall performance art at local events in the last couple of months, and I have been privileged to act as their stills photographer for these performances. It has been challenging, not just artistically, but personally, as their art pushes boundaries in all the best ways, you can watch their latest performance, ‘A Mermaid’s Tale’ here, but I should probably put a (fake) blood trigger and NSFW warning on it, just to be safe.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. I hope I’ll be able to spend some more time on this blog over the summer, without the constant demands of university I hope I’ll have a bit more space in my brain for this, and I’ll have to bring you updates on all the amazing creative adventures I’m having! Every day I’m grateful to the people in my life who encourage and support me in my meandering search for a meaningful and fulfilling life, and every day I am rewarded with what I create, and with what people around me create, and I know that I wouldn’t go back to where I was three years ago for anything!
Adventure, Art, Canon 1100D, Challenge, drawings, Flanigan Lane, Inspiration, Laneways, life drawing, Melbourne, Melbourne Laneways, Motivation, Nurturing yourself, Photo Essay, Photography, Self Esteem, street art, Writing, Writing101
During my adventure on Sunday in the laneways of Melbourne, I came across something that looked like discarded drawings. In a laneway near the law district which was a weird combination of old and new, on the cobbled street next to a big blue skip, was a large, forlorn looking piece of paper. When I first saw it, I thought it was just rubbish, but then I realised it was very white.
As I walked up to the paper I saw, in the fold, a half-hidden charcoal sketch of a nude figure. I wanted to know why someone would have thrown it away, and looked around for other clues. Further down the laneway, where I assume the wind had taken them, were other pages of drawings. I couldn’t have told you exactly why, but these pages, lying dead in an alley, filled me with an intense feeling of melancholy. Someone out there had hated their own work so much that they’d discarded it. They had hated themselves so much that they couldn’t bear the reminder of what they saw as their own inadequacy.
Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic. It’s just as likely that this artist didn’t care about the drawings. Maybe they were doing a life drawing class with their partner, or a friend, and didn’t have any room in their heart for the scribblings that they made. It’s almost as sad to think of people who don’t have room for art – people who are too busy, or who just aren’t paying attention. I suppose it reminds me of the person I used to be when I didn’t have time to work on my art, at time when I discarded my work, didn’t value it, or nurture it. I remember how sad I was, how there was a deep wound inside me that I didn’t even realise was there. Occasionally I look at my life now and think about how stressful it is, or how far away from my goals I am, or how I’m a bit lonely, or sad, or whatever, but sometimes I remember where I came from. How distant that person who started on this path seems. Now when I’m sad I know it. When I feel something I can really feel it. Before I didn’t even know I was unhappy, I thought that this was as good as it gets.
There is no way that an artist can keep everything that they produce, of course there will always be a selection process going on, there must be in order to grow. I do it with my writing all the time, get half way through some ill-formed concept and decide it’s never going to work, but it really reminded me that sometimes you can’t see the value in your own work and we have to be gentler with ourselves sometimes.