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Still summer

by in Latest News on 23 February, 2015 with 0 Comments

It's February. It's summer. It's hot - and I'm happy. I love this weather, even the 40 degree days. But then, that doesn't mean that I'm anti the cold weather. In fact, I really enjoy the minus 30 weather of Siberia in mid-winter, or the Arctic Circle, when there's almost total night. Am I just a creature of extremes? Or do I lack discrimination? Maybe both.

So summer is rolling on, and I seem to have done very little new writing. The hectic socialising of the Christmas two months meant of little - let's be accurate - NO spare time, with non-stop house guests, and months of housewife/hostess activities. It wasn't writer's block I was experiencing, but it was Writer Deprivation. It's amazing that I actually did manage to write two poems in amongst all that cooking/washing/ironing ...  But so good now to be getting back to my desk and writing again.

The two Studio reviews of Passion Play appeared in the latest issue of the journal, and gave me great joy. They are both now on the 'reviews' pages of the the Passion Playsection of this web site, if you'd like to share my pleasure in them. I suggested to someone that I'd like them on my tombstone; she pointed out tersely that I'd need a mausoleum to fit them. Too true. 

My other main activity at present is preparing for the publication of Bystanders - the new book Wakefield Press is releasing in May, ready for the June 4 launch by Lynn Arnold. I hope very much that all friends and anyone interested will come to that event at the West Torrens Council Library Auditorium  - but do let me know if you'd like to join us, just for catering numbers. I'm interested to see responses to this new book - my sixth, but the first full length prose publication. Up to now, my published fiction has all been shorter pieces, mainly short stories. At least my non-poetry-reading friends are feeling great relief about the new book ...  Strange, that!

It's hard to believe that two months have slipped by since I last posted on this web site, but Christmas has come and gone with its nine weeks of non-stop house guests. Lovely to have them all, as offspring came from interstate and other friends from overseas, and the months went by in a seemingless endless stream of meals cooked and washing and ironing, but oh so exhausting. I can see why my writing life has languished in the morass of living. Maybe a holiday from writing wasn''t a bad idea, no matter how frustrating. But now this other life resumes ...

Flowers & Forebears has had a great response. So many people buying multiple copies to send as small gifts or in lieu of Christmas cards. I had two re-printings done by Ginninderra Press and am once more almost out of stock. What a great idea of Stephen Matthews and Brenda Eldridge to create this series of Pocket Poets, and how good for the poetry world to establish a whole new reading audience through these small non-threatening volumes. Check out the sample poems that I am about to put on this web site, and you'll see why I say that flowers have a wonderful power to evoke memories.

Meanwhile, enough publications of my poetry have reached my mail box during these two months to keep me on track. Poems published in the last two months in magazines like The Mozzie, Tamba, Poetry Matters, InDaily Poets' Corner, Poetry Monash, have all reassured me that there is a writing public out there that I can connect with, and lovely incidents like the lady who came to me in tears after a poetry reading in the Adelaide Hills to say how much she had been moved by my poem. It's moments like  these that keep me writing when frustration sets in.

I'm waiting eagerly for the next edition of the journal Studio to arrive  - I've seen an advance copy of the two reviews of Passion Play that it will contain, and they are heart-warming. I definitely will post a link to these when they come. Meanwhile I'm working hard on organising for the publication and promotion of my next book, the sixth, to be released by Wakefield for a June 4 launch. More of this in another post on this page.

When I look at this 'News' page, it's a horrible reminder of how fast time passes. The last entry is dated August, and it's now three months later. True, we were overseas for almost two months of that time, and both the Irish and the German weeks were splendid. Totally different! Ireland was mainly a bus tour, hosted by the well-known Celtic singer from Melbourne, Maria Forde, whose passion for Irish music and the homeland of her forefathers made this trip a real delight. Our most articulate bus driver, Oliver, proved a mine of information on Irish history and proved to be a raconteur par excellence! The combination of unbelievably spectacular scenery, good weather, and many nights of music making in warm and friendly Irish pubs made for a very happy trip. (And yes, I did write a 'poem a day' - and have come back from this tour too with a swag of memories captured in verse.)


The German weeks were equally good in a very different way. Travel by train the length and breadth of Germany was quite an experience in itself ... you try manipulating heavy cases up the steep narrow steps of German regional trains! But the warmth of welcome and wonderful hospitality of our friends and relatives in towns all over the country made this time also a very happy experience. Perhaps the best moment for me was sitting in the warm golden light of a small chocolate/cake cafe in the main street of Oberammergau while outside in the grey afternoon snowflakes fell lightly. Magic!

Then it was home and back into work! Straight on with preparation of the Bystanders book for release next May, while meanwhile I found myself part of the very innovative Ginninderra Press series of publications: little Pocket Poet books, each one featuring twenty pages of poetry chosen by writers who have published books with this small boutique publishing house. I found that I had many poems written over the years about flowers and their power to evoke memories - so was born my book in the series, called Flowers & Forebears, released this week. Most of them poems which recollect my grandparents, parents, significant others, memories conjured up by the flowers of the title.  Samples and more about this book will be featured elsewhere in this website in the next few days. And yes, you will be able to order copies from the last page, as usual.

So it's been a very busy time, and the influx of Christmas house guests is almost on me. I love it.