Thursday, August 18, 2011

A start stop blog.

I haven't been on here in almost a year.

Sure, I've lurked on Blogger reading the profiles of others , but I didn't know what I wanted to say!

The problem with blogging is the longer you stay away, the harder it is to start again.

So the one line recap of what's happened in many months :

While  I have been under the radar - I have worked, travelled, moved and read a tonne. I've even written, although not a lot.

Some of my reading highlights include:

The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler.

I have developed this intense interest in urban planning and I found this book conveys such a strong message about the perils of suburban sprawl. The book is incredibly engaging and witty in presenting its message about building sustainable, people friendly communities.

The book is non fiction but not at all daunting to those that don't have a strong background in architecture or urban planning. 

Suburban Nation: The rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andre Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck

The authors of this book are credited with spearheading a movement called ' New Urbanism'. This movement focuses on the development of traditional neighbourhoods with mixed usage spaces ( such as commerical and residental) and housing for all social classes within the same area. 

Both books offer sharp criticism of suburban, homogeneous sprawl and highlight the difficulties associated with changing the city planning system.

My own country, Australia, has also gone down a sprawling path with bloated cities too large to be effectively serviced by public transport and rising social isolation. It is great to finally see alternatives to this model.

On a lighter note.

I picked up a copy of The Curious Incident with a Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

It's one of those books I kept saying I would read and then finally got around to it. The book is a joy to read as it presents such a unique perspective. Haddon has offered a very rare insight into the lives of those suffering from autism.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Write something/ anything!

I´ve just finished my contract in the bush and now I am back in the city. Life in the last few weeks of work was insanely busy. Of course, writing became the innocent victim, mowed down by the other commitments.

The wheels turn slowly when they´ve been left out in the elements for a while and today I´ve been looking over my notes and it all seems a bit rusted.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Uluru/Ayers Rock

As I eluded to with a picture in a previous post, I visited Uluru not long ago. My parents had actually arranged the trip for me without me knowing. I am quite an independent person and sometimes find it difficult accepting gifts from others, but I was quite happy to receive this one. I boarded a bus at 5.45am packed full of French tourists and set off.  The centre of Australia lays flat on either side of the road for nearly the whole 500 kilometres there.

As you approach, it sits alone in the landscape.

Ayers Rock is the world´s largest. Like an iceberg, only a fraction its entirety is above the surface. Geological activity millions of years ago thrusted Ayers Rock out of the ground and it twisted on its way up.

It´s very important to the local Aboriginal community whose camp is not far from the rock. Visitors are not allowed to visit their camp which is a shame because, for the most part, no Aboriginal people were to be seen.

It has been raining over the last couple of weeks and the water slowly runs off the drop down these cuts in the side.  The colours make it look silver, as if it is mercury.

A pretty cool erosion pattern.

Are they are set of lips? I am not sure..

Everyone was trying hard to avoid the tree. It was the only thing around of any decent height. I thought I would add it for good measure as this shot was taken kilometres away from the rock.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A thousand little bridges.

Writing continues as my time here in the desert is coming to a close. It has been the wettest year for the last twenty years here. 75 mm of rain was all the land could capture last year. This year it is well over 600mm.

Rivers continues to flow down into our giant lake system. The lakes which are normally dry are covered in a thick layer of salt. Water makes its way quickly through the soft desert dirt into the system. These desolate salt pans explode into life with birds, flowers and even frogs.  I feel very lucky to have seen the desert at its best.

The work in progress is running its own course, albeit riddled with switchbacks and falling boulders. I have core sections of the story written. They stand like volcanic islands in the Pacific, shooting out of the ocean. From the top of one, you can see the others sitting in a chain. What I need now is a thousand little bridges to connect them all together. Also,  I see my subplot sit underneath them like a continental shelf. If only I could jolt it up.

My story is written from a third person/ omnipotent perspective.   I chose this style because I wanted to move between characters, particularly the lead, the love interest and the antagonist. What I have discovered, however, is that my work is dialogue driven.  Characters come into a space, they converse and then they move on and reflect.  This gives me the impression that the story is progressing really slowly. The dialogue acts more as a tightrope across the islands rather than a bridge. Also, the story is set in a small rural town and there seems to be a lot of getting into and out of cars and the drinking in bar. Characters can only drive around and drink so much before that in itself becomes a story!

What I need right now is a real model. Sadly, most of the books I’ve really enjoyed reading are first person narratives.  I didn´t think I could confidently pull this story off in that style.
I would value any recommendations of books written in the third person/omnipotent perspective. I also wouldn’t mind a couple of Golden Gates to connect my islands if you could spare them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pictures of Orange, Blue and Red.

 In an effort to quash the overthink I went into the desert.  
The sky went for a billion miles over my head and orange rock erupted from the earth.

I took a moment of solice down by a waterhole.
In the shade with my eyes closed, I imagined I was in another place.
 Drops trickled down cracks and over ridges even though it hadn't rained for weeks.
Time means nothing to this place.
To sit on a rock that shot up from the ground millions of years ago,
 where people have scooped their hands into pool to drink for thousands of years,
made me feel so small and insignificant.

As the sun tracked across the sky, I got talking to a group of French travellers.
We joked and laughed.
They invited me to stay with them next time I go to  Paris.
We drank champagne and looked out at a setting sun.
I couldn't help thinking that time will be sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Over the overthink.

My mind times a million more overpasses.

I started planning this post long after midnight. Talk about overthinking.

Only two more months and then I am finished out here. I can go back to our place in the city.  This long distance relationship has worked quite well as times, but lately it feels like a disaster.  For me, disasters equal overthinks.

Key stumbling blocks:


I want to go away this Christmas. The other doesn´t have the time. I want to work overseas again. The other doesn´t have the career opportunities to do it.


My work opportunities are somewhat limited in Adelaide. The other works for a good company with good prospects. I am ready to branch out somewhere new, meet new people etc.. The other needs to stay in our city for career development. The other seems happy with a limited number of friends.

It looks bleak, but at the end of the day I want to continue this relationship.  We get on very well together and I haven´t felt this way before. Right now I am unsure of how to balance these issues.

I'm looking at short term contracts overseas (like the China post). I hope that this is enough to let me travel a little but not be away too long. The question is whether this is just a Band Aid solution.

How long can a long distance relationship be?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When the river runs

The rain came and everyone was happy. The desert flowers sprang to life and the land laid a carpet of green. Then the rain went quickly, as it tends to do in the desert. The sky went back to the lightest of blues and high thin cloud skitted across it.

Now the rain is back. It has rained everyday this week and it will continue to do so until the end of the week. The Finke river normally sits on the land as an empty shell. Now it is filled with waterholes and seabirds.

These trees sit in the middle of a sandy creekbed. Water has surrounded them and now they are islands.