Thursday, December 11, 2008

A meme.

Smurched from Battblush's LJ. I'm not given to doing memes but this one took my fancy.

Take the first sentence from the first blog entry of the month for the past year:

January: The tragic deaths of three West Australian long haul truck drivers has caused an outpouring of grief here.

February: I hate cockroaches.

March: I'm a person, who when building a house thirty years ago, was blocked by government regulations from incorporating a rainwater tank.

April: I have just come in from doing a bit of hand watering.

May: All day the Western ravens have been hunting, swooping and calling from rooftops, lamp posts and trees around the area.

June: Yet another of my fellow Clarionites has a story published.

July: We got our gas and electricity bills this week, the first since Virgo moved out.

August: Jason Fischer, a Clarion South mate, has joined the Daily Cabal, and his flash fiction piece, Sweet Baby Honey, is here.

September: So Vladimir Putin was on hand when a tiger at a rare animal breeding centre "threatened" a group of television journalists.

October: As usual Spring is working its usual magic - make that pain.

November: It's been a while but real life has intervened and as there is nothing to do except keep on keeping on, today we have photos.

December: I've gained an emerging writer in residence place at Tom Collins House Writers Centre in 2009.

Make of that what you will.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Aurealis Awards 2008 Finalists

The shortlist for the Aurealis Awards is here and what a pleasure to see so many fine writers listed and, as a proud West Aussie, it's especially gratifying to see so many fellow Western Australians among them. There are lots of stories and novels I've read included in this list and they certainly deserve their nominations. Congratulations to all.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Indian Terror

It has taken me this long to get together some thoughts on the horrific events in Mumbai. That anyone for whatever reason could cause such carnage so callously still appalls me even after the events of September 11, the London bombings, the Madrid bombings, the Bali bombings and the list goes on. Attacks on the civilian population are not new, of course. We don't have to look far back to see the massacres and genocidal attacks in many parts of the world since WWII. They have been used by fanatical adherents of all sorts of beliefs, social, cultural and religious, for centuries. The difference now is that global communication means we all see it - and its immediate aftermath - as it happens.

I think we are making a serious error in dealing with terrorists because when we keep talking about them and reliving their crimes - except in trying them - we give power to them. By acknowledging them we let them puff themselves up into thinking they are not the vicious killers they truly are and sadly risk make them heroes to others of their kind. By saying that I don't mean to imply that my heart does not go out to those who have suffered in such attacks. It does but I think we can inadvertently give glamour to these murderers by making them news headlines long after the immediate impact of the event.

For a start we describe them as terrorists instead of calling them what they are - mass murderers. No human society approves of killing other human beings indiscriminately. While the justifications for taking a life vary from culture to culture, none allow for indiscriminate killing. Even in war there are rules as to who is fair game - bizarre though that sounds in a time when military officials talk about unintended casualties as collateral damage in an attempt to minimise and dehumanise these deaths.

Before the Bali bombers were executed recently they were constantly on television. The media had easy access to them and they basked in the publicity. Would that have been the case for any other group of mass murderers? I doubt it. Yes, their trial and appeal details should have been reported on but that should have been it. By allowing them this opportunity, three men, who murdered over two hundred innocent people going about their lawful business, gained a status which should never have been given them.

The truth about terrorists is that they do not believe anyone else has any rights. What they want is paramount and for them this is justifies anything they do. Of course, if we all behaved like this humanity would never have achieved what it has. Our greatest advances have been made by groups - often from very different backgrounds - working together. More, we rely on each other for our survival and although we may have different beliefs or ways of doing things, we can live together. All it needs is a degree of tolerance and mutual respect. Most of us can manage this but sadly that is what mass murderers like these - and all fanatics - lack.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Isn't so bad at the moment. Been working in the garden, ordered the new doors, got lots of quotes for lots of things, made lots of decisions, edited my latest story, and have a dog and a kitten for company. Today I will make the Christmas cake and the house will smell delicious. And that's all pretty good, I think.

Monday, December 01, 2008

And now I've a little news of my own.

I've gained an emerging writer in residence place at Tom Collins House Writers' Centre in 2009. I'm over the moon. To have all that writing time and the opportunity to mix with the fellow writers using the Writers' Centre is awesome.
I find the biggest problem with working from home is to not allow myself to be distracted by all those things that need doing. A pile of washing can be very demanding if you let it. Then there are all the interruptions like phone calls and people who come to the door. When you are at home you are fair game because you have nothing to do, no deadlines to meet or obligation to carry out - as far as outsiders are concerned that is. When I had the use of an empty unit for a month I was constantly amazed at how much I would achieve in a day.
Given we will be doing renovations to the house - relatively small scale but messy - over the next few months the need for quiet writing time and space is even more pressing. Since Tom Collins House is surrounded by parkland in the leafy Perth suburb of Swanbourne peace and quiet should be available in abundance. How lovely.