Things that bug me.

One of the things that get up my nose is having to re-boot/program/download (pick the correct technical term) my computer, because blinking Microsoft won’t let me open it. They stick a big warning sign on the screen telling me I can’t open up, because there’s some technical problem. When you click the “Tell me the problem” button, they say there’s no problem but they lie: THEY’RE THE PROBLEM! There’s no way to get rid of the darn thing, so we start all over again. I lose email contacts, I lose favourite games, I lose my STUFF. Dagnab the blighters! I’m getting really irritated with public figures who misquote other public figures and the false information gets picked up by the media and before you know it, the general public have the wrong end of the stick and everyone’s getting worried and annoyed and… aaarrrrrgggghhhhhhhh!!!!! BLINKIN’ POLITICS! I’m sick and tired of skinny women moaning on and on and on about – oooh they’ve stacked on the weight over Christmas, and they’ve got to lose at least 5 kgs and they just hate being soooo fat – and all the while they’re running their smarmy eyes up and down my obese (yet lovable) body with condemnation dripping out of their eyeballs. I’m fat, you’re rude; DEAL WITH IT! I’m extremely irriated by the people who (in their cars) whip out of a side street in front of you or jump lanes, cutting you off, because they’re in such a hurry to get somewhere. Then, as soon as they’ve shoved their way into the traffic, they SLOW DOWN! Note to spammers: I’m fed up with you pretending to post a friendly message on this blog, when all you’re really trying to do is advertise your own. Or to get me to download filthy pictures. Or you want me to sign up to a weight loss program. GRRR! It’s rude, it’s time-wasting, it’s a pain in the butt. You might as well not bother, because I shall keep hitting the “TRASH IT” button, so don’t waste my time or yours. And, no, I haven’t heard from the agent yet. sigh. I know there are enormous problems and tragedies in this world which make these little nuisances pale into insignificance. Nevertheless, they’re a thorn in the flesh, a weariness in the bones and just darn IRRITATING! Ahhhhh…that feels a lot better. Thanks for...

Read More

Water World revisited

There have been numerous Aussie floods in my life-time, although I’ve never been in one. However, I’ve never before seen so much of Australia under water at the same time: 3/4s of Queensland, a good chunk of New South Wales, 1/3 of Victoria, the north-east corner of Tasmania, the Riverland and South-East (Coonawarra) of South Australia, and Western Australia just before Christmas. Even Broken Hill, out in the middle of the desert, has had flash-flooding! (If you’ve ever been there, you’d understand my astonishment.) I’ve been having flashbacks to Costner’s Water World. Lord help us when the snow in the Northern Hemisphere finally melts. I just hope gravity doesn’t suck it all down here. When I heard the harrowing stories of children being ripped from their parents’ arms; people sitting on cars as they rush downstream, and complete houses being swept away, I found myself overwhelmed with anguish for complete strangers. Several times I heard the comment that watching the TV coverage of the floods was similar to watching the 9/11 footage. That’s true. There was that same sense of communal grief and horror, and desire to help. I am so proud of my fellow Aussies in the way they’ve responded to the disaster. So many put themselves at risk to save others. Complete strangers from the high ground went into the flooded area to help people evacuate. Volunteers lined up with gum-boots on, carrying buckets and shovels, keen to help clean-up. Tow-truck drivers, without anyone asking them to, spent days pulling out buried cars. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters drove in from other cities, to offer their expertise… I could go on and on. Our leaders have been outstanding in the way they’ve been a calm and compassionate presence: 2-hourly updates from an exhausted state premier; visits to evacuation centres and flooded streets by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition; federal Members of Parliament wading through flood-waters to help families save precious belongings… Everyone chipping in together to help out their mates and strangers in need. Most impressive was the immediate response of the State Emergency Service, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the police, the military, churches and community groups. Efficient, effective, empathetic and simply fabulous. In the midst of life’s darkest hours we can still find things to be thankful for: benevolent and effective government, loving family and friends, the kindness of strangers… These floods have shown us that our society is still a strong, healthy, generous and compassionate community. (For a while there I had my doubts.) And, when all is taken from us, in one enormous whoosh of water, we rediscover that love, family and friendship are the only treasures worth hanging on to. So, give your loved ones a hug and a kiss today, and tell them how precious they...

Read More

Tap tap tappity tap.

So, it’s January 8 and already it feels as if Christmas and New Year never happened. All that cleaning, planning, shopping, wrapping and anticipation and…blrrp!… it’s back to the same-old-same-old. (That’s right: still nothing from the agent.) I was right back into ‘busy’ mode two days into 2011. I had 4 books to read and review, and clients’ manuscripts waiting to be editted. It’s a little frustrating fixing up other people’s mss, that have already been accepted by a publisher, when mine is still searching for a home but what can you do?! I’m getting fairly steady work from a local publisher and it’s nice to have the income. Even though I still don’t earn enough to have to pay tax, I even applied for an ABN this year. According to the govt’s guidelines I fit into the category: Professional Artist. Woo hoo! My own YA novel is still missing the last 1/3. At the moment the hero’s in a depressed state: his best mate’s damaged both emotionally and physically, he’s lost all hope of escape, and he’s being nagged by the camels and dragons to ‘cheer up’. He’s doing his best, but it all seems hopeless. The worst of it is his author keeps getting other work to do and seems happy to let him sit and rot. The truth is she doesn’t know how to get him out of there, either, but…ssh!…don’t tell him. I got a buzz getting my copy of Wet Ink, and seeing my little story, The Snow Goose, there in black and white. I let my neighbours read it and they’re now a little worried about me. Mrs Neighbour put the story down, looked at me with a little frown puckering her eyebrows and said, ‘You’re sick!’ It’s enough to warm the cockles of my heart. Meanwhile, back at the keyboard, tap tap tapping away. Can’t give up now. I have clients to help, books to review and a small lost boy to rescue and bring home. To quote the cricketing legend, Bill Wotsizname: It’s all happening...

Read More

A brand new year!

2011 is now 11 hours old. Awww…just a baby. But, already it’s covered in scars and has a nasty cough. People are still being tortured for their faith, or ethnicity, or for living on land that other people want. Young people are still being convinced that blowing themselves up will somehow help convert others to their religion, or achieve some sort of greater good. Techonology is taking us into the realm of science fiction at a speed faster than light, and is even threatening to race ahead of imagination itself, but the majority of the world’s population is still without a safe water supply, or enough food for their family, or even a decent toilet. Meanwhile, those of us who have the education; who have enough food, clothing and a decent place to live; who have an income and money to spare, spend our time using the internet to inform the world that we’re going to go to bed, or that we had our dog shampooed. We seem fascinated by ‘celebrity’ and accord those who are famous – because they’re rich or in the public eye – with far more wisdom and authority than any of them deserve. Why is it that practically everyone has heard of Paris Hilton but hardly anyone knows Liu Xiaobo**? (Okay, I confess, I had to look him up, too.) Things are sadly out of whack, people! On the up-side, there are some wonderful people who are doing some amazing things. They’re building homes for the poor; they’re building schools in disadvantaged areas; they’re helping the poor find sustainable ways to create reliable income; they’re providing accessible medical care in remote rural areas… I’m in awe of all those self-less, generous, sacrificial saints who give their time and money and health to help others. God bless you all. You’re the people who make this world livable and give us hope. Here we are with a brand new year ahead of us. What are we going to do and be in it? Are we going to be users and takers, or givers and healers? Are we going to add to the darkness, or are we going to light a candle or two? In the words of the great philosopher, Eeyore: A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference. I hope 2011 is kind to you and yours, and that you will be kind to it. **Liu Xiaobo: awarded the 2010 Nobel peace prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in...

Read More