March 15th, 2012

(no subject)

The brain is an amazing thing. And my friends are - as so often - correct. My brain is relearning how to process vision and it's linking the processing to the rest of me. There's a correlation between how tired I am and how long I can spend doing things before I need to close my eyes. I can now do nearly 15 minutes on the computer at a stretch, and don't have to wait quite as long between sessions. I also want to sleep less (though when i get tired, it's a complete fatigue).

I still see things in my right eye - I will always see things in my right eye - but I'm getting used to it. This whole adjustment process will take a while, but I'm already at the stage where I can plan work (just off the computer, or in small, small segments). Things like proofreading are going to have to wait a while longer, but I've done a bit of research today. I find this immensely reassuring.

My eye tells me very clearly when it's done for a session. If I don't pay attention I get a bad headache. In fact, it's telling me now to get off the computer. Three paragraphs is obviously my visual limit today, when working on a white background. I'll be back later with your WHM guest for the day.

(no subject)

When I went to the library to collect stuff, I detoured via the greengrocer's. I walked out with 5 big peaches and 5 bags of Russian garlic. The garlic needed to be used immediately - it was cheap because it only had a little life left. I had too much salt. Now I have garlic slow-roasting in salt. I don't know if it will be a spread, part of a soup, or something else entirely, but it smells divine.

Women's History Month - Joanne Anderton

Ellis Rowan

It might seem strange for a fantasy, sci-fi and horror writer like myself to be inspired by a nineteenth century botanical artist, but (Marian) Ellis Rowan is just that kind of woman. Her art is beautiful, never ever forget that, but it's Ellis herself who has had, and continues to have, such an impact on me.

Ellis was passionate about her subject matter -- wildflowers, birds, and butterflies -- and went to great lengths to find them, and then painted them in exquisite detail. Even though much of the artistic establishment looked down their nose at her 'inferior' or 'vulgar' art, she held exhibitions all over the world, won medals and sold paintings -- Queen Victoria took three! After her husband's death she went on great adventures and risked her very wellbeing to follow her passion, trekking through Australia, New Zealand, the US and even New Guinea, discovering and painting new species as she went. She travelled rough, and I have always loved to imagine her in her Victorian get-up cutting a swathe through exotic forests, ever determined, always focused on her goal. And keep in mind she was in her 60s when she visited New Guinea!

For me, Ellis is a beacon. Her passion in the face of criticism, the adventurous spirit that took her outside of the notions of how we expect women, particularly older women, to behave. She was strong and she was brave. She also had a supportive husband, and suffered tragedies in his death, and the death of her son. That's the kind of strength I mean, to live through stuff like that, then pick up your paintbrush and go exploring.

The sad fact is that I've only come to know about Ellis Rowan relatively recently. I wish I could have learned about her when I studied art in high school. What an amazing role model for young, artistic women Ellis and her 'mere' wildflower paintings could be.

So she might not be a writer, but I have tried to take on Ellis Rowan's approach to creating art into my own writing. Create what you want to create, and be damned fearless about it. Don't sit still too long. And live your life, too.

Joanne Anderton lives in Sydney with her husband and too many pets. By day she is a mild-mannered marketing coordinator for an Australian book distributor. By night, weekends and lunchtimes she writes dark fantasy, science fiction and horror. Her short fiction has most recently appeared in Midnight Echo #6 and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Her debut novel, Debris (Book One the Veiled Worlds Series) was published by Angry Robot Books in 2011, and will be followed by Suited in 2012. Visit her online at: and on Twitter @joanneanderton