Abysmal Weather and Bodacious Bloggers…

May 18, 2010 at 2:09 am (Uncategorized)

The most horrendous weather today, although very cosy-making if, like me, you don’t have to leave the house…I must say, diabolical downpours are when working from home really comes into its own. I’m delighted not to have to go out there and brave that deluge, especially because I’m someone who really wears the weather. I know people who glide through the most hideous wet as though safely encased in the Pope-mobile or Wonder Woman’s invisible plane – how else to explain the way they arrive at their destination dry, composed, nary a hair out of place, when I am guaranteed to be bedraggled beyond recognition (there’s a recalcitrant child screaming out on the footpath as her father valiantly attempts to make this filthy day fun – I hear you, sweetheart, I do)? I need industrial mudguards on my jeans, for a start, because I always end up with a spectacular spray of mud right up the back of my legs, quite as though I’ve been trekking in the highlands of Papua New Guinea instead of walking to the shops for a carton of milk. And then there’s the farcical umbrella situation. I have a slapstick talent for this contest of wills that invariably sees me lose – it’s like the wind, that bitch, changes the very second she sees me coming. The overall effect is that I look to have escaped from somewhere, in a hurry, and without my medication.

Yes, I think I’ll just stay in today.

I sent off that short story and my Penguin Scholarship application yesterday (although the early signs weren’t good: the clutch of papers kept trying to escape… by the time I got down to the Post Office, only one side of the envelope was still intact, the other three had entirely opened up, as if inviting my MS sample to make a break for it), so that’s two tasks off the desktop. And then I dragged myself back into my MS for the rest of the day and night… it is very slow going this time around. I have really struggled for motivation. But once I’m in there, in that world, it’s okay, and I do just get on with it. It’s just that I have been finding it increasingly difficult crossing that threshold in the first place. It’s actually the main reason I entered the Penguin thing: I need the kick up the arse. If I do advance through to the shortlist, I think I have to provide the full MS (the first 50 pages went off yesterday), so I had better get a wriggle on. Yesterday was a good, solid, productive day, and today is going to be the same, I’ve decided, so it seems to be working already. There’s really nothing like a bit of pressure to put the bomb beneath my bum.

Two other things happened yesterday. First, my copy of the US Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition 2010 arrived. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago after a long, despairing conversation with my North American writer friend L. She’s absolutely convinced I write like an American, that my narrative voice is much more suited to American tastes, and that I’m totally wasting my time in Australia. It’s not that I particularly agree with her assessment, because I am Australian, and  I live and write in Australia, so how can any of that be, but it did make me wonder – not for the first time, as long-time readers of this blog may recall – if there may be value in shopping the MS to an agent based somewhere other than here. At the very least, it would be an interesting experiment. Plus I guess it’s not an entirely insane notion that my long obsession with America and with contemporary American literature has had some sort of impact on my own writing… it isn’t something I have consciously cultivated in any way, but the idea that this preoccupation with the States and its writers has influenced me is not a big stretch at all. So maybe there’s something in it, and maybe it’s worth exploring. But first I have to finish the redraft – all else is beside the point.

Second, lovely Priya at The Plumbean Project has passed on a second blog award to me, the Bodacious Blogging Book Reviewers award. Thank you, Priya, you really have been a delightful addition to my virtual-becomes-actual blogosphere friendships. For those of you presently unacquainted with this vivacious island girl, I warmly suggest you stroll over to Hawaii and prepare yourself for a serious dose of sunshine.

Okay, the last five books I read…

I’m currently reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith, but if that doesn’t count then…

Dark Roots, by Cate Kennedy

Point Omega, by Don DeLillo

The Essence of the Thing, by Madeleine St John

The Ice Age by Kisten Reed

And I guess it was a dead heat between Dancing Backwards, by Salley Vickers; An Experiment in Love, by Hilary Mantel; and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.

Of these, I’m yet to write any sort of review on the Smith (for the obvious reason that I’ve not finished), the DeLillo (which I plan to reread and reflect upon further), or the Kennedy (which I think I’ll review once I’ve read her novel The World Beneath), but the rest you all know about already, so there’s not much left to do but nominate five Bodacious Blogging Book Reviewers of my own…

Litlove at Tales from the Reading Room, because even though she’s having a blogging break, she is still the book reviewer par excellence.

Lilian at A Novelist’s Mind

Grad at The Curious Reader

Pete at Couchtrip

David at Quotidian Vicissitudes

And warmest thanks again to the gorgeous-inside-and-out  Priya at The Plumbean Project for sprinkling some of her magic dust on this cold and dreary autumn day!



  1. Norwichrocks said,

    Loving the idea of wearing the weather – that sums me up, too. “You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards” has been a recurring refrain throughout my life. And, let’s face it, when it rains like it does here in Sydney – i.e. a Biblical deluge – its almost impossible not to arrive at one’s destination soaked to the knees and with an artfully backcombed ‘do’.

  2. plumbean said,

    you are so sweet and so very very welcome! australian or american markets will love you. you write beautifully!

  3. litlove said,

    Ooh it’s the best bit about bad weather – being able to stay tucked up in a safe haven. Enjoy! And thank you for the mention – I am so touched to be part of your list and I AM just on holiday! xoxox

  4. Lilian Nattel said,

    Thank you, Di! I love the idea of being a Bodacious Blogging Book Reviewer.

  5. Grad said,

    Publish here! Publish here! Go West, Young Woman! Err…okay, you go North first…over the Tropic of Capricorn, the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. When you get to 30 degrees north latitude, turn left and go straight. That should take you over China and the norhern tip of Africa. Just stay on that course, and you’ll run right into Jacksonville, FL. When you get to Jacksonville, take Interstate Highway 95 North, straight into Savannah. I’ll be waiting to meet you and Llewie with a cool libation (a Shirley Temple for you and a real drink for him). And I love being Bodacious! I’m verklempt, thank you.

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