I can’t very well leave you floating in the Tales of Turd Town, can I – a bum note if ever I’ve heard one (okay, I’ll stop now) – so I thought I’d have a Darkling Brag instead. Remember when Darkling JB took out the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Award earlier this year for her story ‘The Geometry Lesson’? Well, the award is administered through Queensland’s Griffith University, and the university’s very highly regarded literary quarterly, The Griffith Review, has accepted JB’s story for inclusion in its second annual fiction edition – that’s right, baby! Bring on the dancing girls!
While the collection will be on sale in November, the launch party for this special edition of TGR is the last Saturday night of October, at the Readings store in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton. JB and Jenny, the Victorian Darklings, will spend the evening rubbing shoulders with publishing luminaries as well as some of the other contributing authors – schmoozing, in other words, hopefully with a white wine in JB’s hand and a red one in Jenny’s. Go get ‘em, ladies – the countdown is ON!
It’s all very exciting – a piece of Darkling fiction is officially making it into print (Jenny’s novel Wasp Season was published B.D., you see) – and the name is Barrile, people, Jewelene Barrile.
Much less thrilling was yesterday’s peculiar experience of realising I had been unceremoniously “unfriended” on Facebook (although it is deeply disturbing that neither Word nor WordPress has reacted with an angry red line beneath what has to be one of the most atrocious linguistic skid marks of modern English). At first I almost laughed, because it just seemed so extraordinarily childish, and then I felt enormously sad for the friend who’s unfriended me, and finally I did start to feel a little offended. I wish it were a juicy story worth repeating, but it’s really not. In fact, I don’t even know what the hell I did wrong, except to tell this friend – whom I’ve known for 21 years – that I was worried about him, and thought there had to be a reason for the huge mood-swing Llew and I witnessed when last we were all together, after which our friend was really rude to both of us. As well as expressing concern for him, I did say I wasn’t accustomed to being treated in such a manner, and that I wasn’t interested in becoming accustomed to it, either, so no doubt that’s where I’ve come unstuck, even though I emphasised my sense that it meant something else was going on, and could we help in any way? Apparently not.
As for a blogging break over the babymoon, well, I think I’ll take one. I’d like to come back to the keyboard feeling inspired and revivified, and I don’t think that’ll happen if I continue blogging throughout the fortnight we’re taking off. The thing is, despite declarations and intentions to the contrary, I really haven’t had the heart to face my MS since not making the Varuna Penguin shortlist. Yes, still. I haven’t felt all the really horrible, depressing feelings about it since the very first days of the announcement – that all dims pretty briskly these days, thank Christ – but I have been left with a residual… um… I don’t even know what to call it. I suppose it’s an aversion of sorts, but I’m not so averse as to avoid thinking about it or writing notes about it, both of which I’ve done since without breaking into hives. I don’t know… I just feel really… flat. Yes, that’s probably closest. I think that rejection, at this point, genuinely deflated me, and I’ve felt flat as a tack about the MS ever since. I haven’t managed to reinflate my enthusiasm to the point of actually going in there again. I’ve taken the run up to it several times now, only to skid to an abrupt and inelegant halt. So how does one put the stuffing back in…? Well, I don’t know. I’ve tried, I’m trying, because I need stuffing, I can’t move without it, but it’s proving difficult to plump myself up again.
I think the worst aspect from a production point of view is the unfortunate side effect of not feeling well stuffed enough for any fiction writing at all (with the exception of that 2,000-word burst a few weeks back, during which I threw down a new character and a new scenario like a woman possessed). So not only have I not had the confidence to return to my full draft, I also haven’t had the confidence required to shrug my shoulders, leave it, and turn my attention to the incomplete one or the barely begun one instead. I just haven’t had any confidence for anything at all.
Not that confidence is the right word either. Even when the writing is going well, confidence is not what I feel. There can be enthusiasm, happiness, excitement, curiosity, a sense of wonder about where writing comes from – plenty of positive, propulsive sensations – but confidence is never one of them. So to say I’ve ‘lost confidence,’ well, that’s incorrect. I think it’s much more accurate to admit I’ve simply lost heart. And I don’t feel terrible about it, or really anything at all. I think that’s part of the problem. When I think about my fiction writing, I just feel a bit empty, unstuffed as well as ‘unfriended,’ and I haven’t managed to top myself up. That’s all (shrugs). I’ll get there eventually. I’ve been busy in the meantime, busy with freelance work, busy with the Varuna Monthly Feature, busy with matters on the home front in preparation for Baby J… as long as I’m still reading and writing, and I’m always doing that, I don’t think there’s any real cause for alarm. But in the interests of restuffing myself, I hereby declare a Babymoon Blogging Break. I hope you all have a wonderful fortnight-and-a-half, and I’ll be back in business (or bidniz, which my NZ friend C says and which makes me laugh) Wednesday 6 October. See you then!