Monday, December 15, 2008


I have no emotional energy for him right now. He needs something from me. He needs me to keep him moving forward by slow increments. He needs me to put him in the world and he is resisting me at every turn. He wants me to find a time when it will just be him and me in a house at the beach where I can find his voice and I will do this sometime, but I have no time for it now. I get nothing back. I need input. I need to be filled up with all of the emotions that have washed pale in me. I cling to the last little scrap of passion but even this may be taken. I can't read. I long for images. I flick through big thick books with glossy prints but I want the smell of oil paint. I want the taste of linseed oil on my fingers. After this thing called christmas I will clear a small corner of my head for this book, but until then I will paint.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

with his one hand

with his one hand Evan can turn the wheel, adjust it just a little at a time, negotiating the highways almost imperceptable curve to the right. His body remembers this. Open road, the easy lean back in the drivers seat. The sound of the radio turned down too low to hear anything but a rattle of distant voices. Pared back. That is what he likes about driving, this cut down to nothing but a road and a view that changes just to keep things interesting, and the clamour of this thoughts relaxing into the room that the open road has made for them.

There is a pedal fitted to the accelerator that makes it just a small stretch for the break. He tests it now, bunny-hopping a little and the thing works fine. He is safe. Or not. It makes no difference. He might have died and that was fine. He is alive and that is fine too. He turns the radio up, letting the wheel slip free, feeling the car drag slightly towards the shoulder as he does so. There is a roar of laughter and a chatter of voices, too muddled together for him to untangle one from another. It barely matters. They are happy, they are laughing, everything is fine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

always time for art

so if I have no head space for words I will always have time for art. These pictures leaped out of the internet and shouted to become useful to my brain book. Here's what they wordlessly say to me...

when will I get time for this blog?

2009 is looking better...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Christopher suggested a course in poetry and suddenly it made sense to me. It didn't make sense because I wanted to write poetry. It made sense because of all the novellists I love how have honed their skills using poetry. I suggested that we three, the band of K/Chris's pool our resources and get someone to give us a short course. Or we could join on-line and meet together for beer and to discuss it.

I don't read poetry, but when CC suggested the idea he said "I want to know when to press the return button," and suddenly it made sense. I want to learn to pare my sentenses back to bare bones. I want to know how to contain all the emotive potential in a scatter of words. Imagine if my brain book could be simple but poetic.

Maybe I will just read poetry as a side project. Maybe we will still meet for beers, Chris Chris and Kris and discuss the construction of the things. I must suggest it.

In the meantime, Christmas in Retail Land is seriously cramping my writing style.

Monday, December 8, 2008


a little exercise in structure.

I am going to cook my boy a lovely dinner tonight, and as he is the queen of structure, I am going to use the tool at hand and get him to talk it all through with me. I will take notes. I will get scenes mapped out and at the end of it all I will be a little closer, because I have no focus at the moment and it all blurs into the same thing and I am writing myself into a tight little circle.

All this tonight in exhange for a meal.

a little each day

Just a little each day. This was the plan and so here I am thinking about the brain for a stolen moment. I am thinking about a scene where he endures some theatre/art/workshop day with a facilitator in her early twenties talking to everyone as if they are so excited to be involved in a group process with other brain damaged participants. I see him watching the speechless people straining past their paralyzed cheeks, drooling onto their best shirts, dragging their dead legs through a getting to know you game. I see him starting with the best intentions and then moving from disabled shakespere to his driving lesson. I see him driving and driving and seeing a sign leading him out of Brisbane. He ignores his instructors suggestion to turn back. He drives on. He wants to drive forever. He is not coming back. He decides that he will go.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Road Trip

Perhaps I should just get into the road trip, the moving forward. My habit is always to have my characters in stasis. They sit in a room or they walk alone in dark places, wandering about their daily grind. I have trouble puting them in motion. This is what I need for my character in this instance. I should get him onto the road as soon as possible. Driving on. In action we will find he comes out of himself I will learn more about him.

As soon as I get some head space I will take him out onto the road. My road trip. There he will find himself.

Friday, December 5, 2008


So this blog about my brain book has been sidetracked by my other work that is so imminent and urgent. I sold my first story to the US market and it went up on yesterday. I also got a contract from Text Publishing today. I have entered a new playing field. Along with this comes some stumbling blocks. My first review on was a harsh and completely unkind one. Reviews. I forgot about reviews. It makes me wonder about my book and its publication and the reader feedback. I have had to endure two very nasty reader comments on my furiousvagina blog. One of them I have saved and I come back to it ocasionally. I wonder why this man (it is always a man) has decided to have his own voice heard without having anything particularly interesting to say. It is the same on nerve. I am hoping that some of my regular readers will log on to nerve and balance up this very abrupt comment with something a bit more interesting.

I don't mind criticism. This is the point I would like to make clear. If you do not like my work, and you have a reason not to like it, then that is completely valid and I will be happy to hear and learn from your comments. It is the thoughtless chatter that I object to.

I should of course not bother reading the reader feedback. Like reviews in a magazine they can wear away at your soul.

When I am writing this new book, this embryonic thing, it is dangerous to expose it's barely formed underbelly to the possibility of mean and pointless feedback. I should hide it away as most writers do untill I am ready to unleash it. But this is not the point of the thing. The point is to watch a writer find her way through a book from beginning to end. The point is to interract with my audience and learn from them. I remember when I used to make television documentaries. I could always tell what was wrong with the thing when I brought it to an audience to view. Almost before I had pressed play I would thing - I need to cut that scene, or it is too long in the set up, or The charater is not likeable enough.

I want your reader comments. I want to know what you think of me. But I don't want someone to write - take this pointless crap off the internet, beause it is not pointless. Even the bad writing is not pointless. There is always a reason for everything I write and I hope that you, my audience will see and understand this.

I also kind of hope that you will log in to and go to personal essays and leave something more intelligent than what is there at the moment...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


So I'm trying to kid myself that I have enough energy for this now. When I have spent a day feeling insecure and judged and never good enough, when I asked, have I become more arrogant? when I should have asked, have I become more paranoid? When I looked without touching, yet again. When I was snapped at just because I am not liked. When I have found a thread on the memoir that I need to follow. When I have a publisher and a deadline for that and I feel like I may have a stroke of my own just like a method actor, method writing as it were. When I can't finish a sentence let alone a thought. When I meet an author who is calm and so lovely and so personable and I think, I will never be like that. When I check the mailbox three times to see if the contract has arrived. When I think, what if I have made a mistake, what if it has all been some terrible joke? What if they have changed their minds and I am back to where I was. When I still have no kitchen to cook in even though it looks like I do. When my neck grits as if there is sand in it, and my back is the back of a woman my own age or older when I forget sometimes and imagine I am as young and full of potential as my friends. When I don't know why anyone has time for me at the moment when I am so scattered and so incapable of even writing a blog post for the brain book.

So there won't be a blog post today. So you will have to wait till I have more head space. So I hope that I will come back to it soon, but this is the Christmas rush and I am about to be stabbed to death by one fellow staff member or another unless I get it together or wear armour under my new frock.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I had this idea about interstitial bits added into the brain book. This was all about the landscape of the mind. Originally I wanted to write an epic novel that was set in the landscape of the brain. The first third of the book would be when our character was still in a coma. The brain stem would begin the book. He would be reduced to basic functions, eat, defecate, sexual urges. We would see his life unfolding through these most basic of brain-stem activities. My book in my head was large and discriptive and rose up out of the brain stem to higher brain functions. The book followed the different areas of the brain and each section would be related to each area of the book. This was my dream. It still sounds like a great plan at this stage, but I wonder if I would want to read such an epic book. I like stories that are simple with few characters and an emotional core that is solid. I like simple things that are a clear and easy journey with challenging characters that I grow fond of by slow increments. This is the kindof story I like to read, therefore this strange and imaginary world of the brain my remain in my head.

It won't hurt to write some of it anyway occassionally, just for fun. But I may not do anything with it and it seems that this book will be a simple and strong narrative about a man taking a journey away from all he knows that will bring him closer to knowing about the ones he has left behind.


Must keep writing this incredibly humbling difficult new book. Must not relax into arrogant wankerdom. Must keep working on this hard and levelling difficult thing. Must stay honest...