March 16th, 2012

(no subject)

Today's eye improvements were rudely interrupted by the weather. I did get some catching up of paperwork done before I realised that there were storms on the way, but now I'm back to working at the computer in dribs and drabs. They're longer dribs and drabs than they ere, still, which means to the outside world it looks as if I'm doing stuff. To the inside world, well, it's still one minute on to every ten minutes off.

I made my tomato soup, which turned out to have garlic and spinach and artichoke hearts as well as the tomato. As always when I make soup, I no longer want to eat it. If I still don't want to eat it tomorrow, it will make an excellent spaghetti sauce, so all is well. And I still have a bowl of very soft slow-cooked garlic cloves in my refrigerator waiting for further thought.

The eye clinic phoned and I'm to be at the hospital at 12.30 pm on Monday.

And really, that's everything, because I keep wimping out and resting. It's a very slow week, from that point of view. Thank goodness it's also Women's History Month and my wonderful blog guests continue to give me marvellous stuff. This means that my life is quiet, but you don't have to be bored (but if you want to be bored, then go ahead - I'm generous that way.)

I'm not falling as far behind with my study as I might. This is because I had planned to check out a couple of DVDs soon anyhow - I've brought that check forward and put the book work off til next week.

Early on, I needed to sort out the relationship between SF time travel narratives and the one I was writing. I read a lot of time travel books and saw some movies. I made a note to myself that some of this would need to be revisited after I'd done my first draft of the novel, just to check that I wasn't being daft. So that's been done. I didn't need to see everything - just a bit of Star Trek and a bit of Quantum leap. I made mental notes on what I needed to compare. And I'm fine, and it's done. Although if more time travel narrative magically appeared for watching on my DVD, I would not say no.

The other thing I need to look at is science documentaries. When I was checking popular narratives from this (not for the dissertation at all - mainly so that I didn't contradict popular science narratives without really good cause) I realised I'd have to do a bit of that again after the basic novel was written. So that's today and possibly some of tomorrow.

After that I must see Game of Thrones (ah, the agony!) for Martin uses popular spec fic narratives that bring in the Middle Ages. I know for certain I'm in conflict with these. I want to be able to articulate to myself how I am, and why. This may or may not appear during the dissertation, but it's important I do it. And that's the rest of the weekend, for Conor kindly let me borrow his copy. I also have the latest book from Conor, but reading that must wait.

None of this is core research, but it all helps me make sure my perspectives are where they need to be. And it means I don't lose track of where I am and get into the fug of doctoral depression, which is dreadfully easy to do at this stage, even when one doesn't have eye problems. And - biggest 'and' of all, need capitals - the TV is less harsh on my funky eye than the computer and I can walk away from it any time I need to without losing a second. it may not be nearly as central as the highly technical stuff I was supposed to be doing this week, but it advances things. For this I am very happy.

And, in other not-quite-news, I'm going to a quiz night tonight.

Women's History Month - today's guest blogger, Laura E. Goodin

When I was invited to participate in Gillian's Women's History Month celebration, I was both honored and dismayed. Should I write about all the jaw-droppingly remarkable women writers, Australian or otherwise, whom I've had the privilege to meet in the course of my own career as a writer? Should I pick a trailblazer like Mary Shelley, who had few or no examples to guide her as she pushed – nay, burst – the boundaries of speculative fiction? Should I, in a moment of horrifying hubris, write about myself?

No. In this post, I want to celebrate all the women writers, all over Australia, who wait for the quiet moments when their kids are out with their friends and their partners are off playing cricket, the moments when they can finally take a breath and work on their novels, their plays, their poems, their memoirs. I want to celebrate the girls in high-school English classes who dare to write something utterly unlike what their friends are writing, what they worry they're supposed to write, and thereby find themselves through the joy of artistic risk. I want to celebrate the women who, like me, were called to write early on, but, for one reason or another, wandered away for years or decades before finding their way back. The little girls who scrawl stories about their stuffed toys. The university students who gasp at the beauty of a poem shouted to a crowd, then go home and write their own. The girls who perform their own plays to each other in the garage. The reporters who swallow their own fear and shyness, their own worry that they are not being "feminine", to find out and write the truth. The academics who search for treasure to bring back for the rest of us.

These women and girls may never publish, let alone win prizes. Some will, of course. But most love their writing in a way completely apart from personal gain. They gather the electricity of words within them, letting the charge build up until it flows from their very heart, and the words come out. That kind of energy, that kind of love, is a gift to the world. Even if we never read her words, every woman who writes is giving us a gift. And I thank her.

Laura E. Goodin's stories have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US, and the UK, her plays have been produced in Australia and the UK, and her poetry has been performed internationally. She lives on the NSW South Coast with her husband and daughter, and in her spare time tries to be as much like Xena, Warrior Princess, as possible. You can find links to some of her work at

(no subject)

I spent a fine evening at the Conservation Foundation quiz night. Lots of questions about lizards and trees. The trophy (which we didn't win) was made from a remnant tree that had been pruned under a tree management plan (you needed to know that).

We were next to the bushwalker table and well away from the table of politicians. The Speaker (of the Assembly ie local) was auctioned off to the highest bidding table because apparently he is good at these quiz nights.

My big question is "Why are so many blokes who work on environmental type things called Bruce?" I've met two Bruces this week. Both very nice, and both working in this sort of area.

My question of the day is (courtesy of the Conservation Foundation, of course) "What kinds of eucalypts are native to Canberra and are food for koalas?"