Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Word Wednesday: Word Wars

So this is a little phenomenon was introduced to me by some dear writer friends of mine whom I met during a writing class run by Francesca Lia Block (a class I highly reccommend taking if you are either a fan, a writer or both, seeing as it has almost completely changed my life!). I haven't been part of a word war for quite a while, we've all been rather busy with work and life and an exciting new project which I can't say too much about right now. Nothing like a little healty mystery to get the curiosity cogs a-turning.

For me the exercise of Word Wars has been indespensible in unplugging writers block and pulling me out of countless plot slumps/cliche character dialogue dilemmas, and you don't even need a group of people to do it (although it does make it a bit more fun!)

But how does it work?

Well first you set your time limit; I suggest a small one to get warmed up, say 7 mins.
And then you write. You write for 7 minutes with no pauses, no coffee breaks, no deleting or editing. You just write until that time goes off, and then step back and have a look what you've created! It may be a little messy or rambling, there may be a lot of spelling mistakes. But I am almost certain that you will unearth from that 7 minutes of unobstructed creatvitiy the perfect sentence, an idea that breaths real life into your story, or that vital plot twist that has eluded you for so long.

I love word warring with other people, and yet as much as I would love to be sitting in a room with all these wonderful women writing on candy coloured vintage typewriters, me living in the opposite hemisphere means we have to word war by facebook chat. But group writing is great because  you can compare word counts to see who the "winner" is, share your final sentences, and there's always an endless amount of good vibes and encouragement.
However, it also feels good to war with yourself,especially if you're feeling like you're in a bit of a writer's funk, to throw up some ideas without the left side of your brain getting in the way. You can even set yourself word limit goals, and then aim to beat them.

Here's one I prepared earlier! And when I say earlier, I literally mean about 15 mins earlier

Word War #1
Word Count: 255

I don’t know where to start; I thought I did, but when you’re given an infinite amount of possibilities the ideas come and then they go like stars; you reach out to grab a hold of one, but then you realise that it died a long long time ago. I want to talk with someone who knows a lot about astronomy, who can teach me how to read the stars, how to see the future in them. Does the fact that I can see the big dipper even when the sky is laden with smog mean that my life will always be exciting? Or that it will just go up and down and soon I won’t be able to handle it, I’ll just wish for some mundane day to wash my hair paint my toenails and take out the garbage. I might even go down to the post office, send a letter to my grandmother who I was supposed to visit this weekend but I can’t because I  have to wash my hair and paint my toenails and take out the garbage. I’ll go and see her next week though, if I’m not too busy.
The nebulas look the old women’s hair, pale pink and pastel purple spun fairyfloss; young girls want these colours now, they want old clothes too, or clothes in old styles stiched only weeks ago by children who work like old women, children without childhoods, only needles and thread and a dream that they could one day wear a dress without sweat stains.

It's far from perfect, but theres some stuff in there I can work with, maybe even the bud of a new story! Go on. I dare you to give it a go.

Happy Word Wednesday everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

National Geographic Scans

I love National Geographic Magazines. I love reading about far off places I have never visited, about their history, about what might happen to them and all the organisms that live there in the future. But most of all I love looking at the photographs. These photographs were scanned from a bunch of National Geographic's published in the eighties and ninties, that I bought from an op shop for 50 cents a piece. Looking at them now I wish I had written down the places and the issues they were from, silly me. 

Another thing I like to do with my old National Geographic is cut up the pictures (after I've scanned them into my computer), and make collages out of them. I've only done two so far, but I'd like to make more, once I've got some more issues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Word Wednesdays: Diatom

So I liked the idea of posting a piece of writing every week, but I've run out "Letter's From South America". So I decided that instead, I'm going to start a new project called Word Wednesday's, and post a poem, a prose exceprt, or a piece of flash fiction, whichever tickles my fancy! 

Here's my first entry, hot off the press! Enjoy! 

I am a microscopic organism
with glass bones
I am all splintered slivers, symmetrically embedded
smaller than the crystalline ice that
clings to the world
as the morning breaks over the mountains
shatters the darkness
with the dawn 

They found me, swimming in the mouth
of a drowned socialite
I clung to the lipstick smudged
bleeding at the edges
such a bright slash, such a pretty
colour, for me to wear
for my debut beneath
the microscope
It was I who caught the killer, the lover
pickled in cheap whisky and even cheaper
my sisters hiding underneath his fingernails

I am the design your architects
strive for
pure, unobstructed symmetry
a body so unique, it transcends the rules
of beauty
my structure is my own, my optimum
needs not compassion, meets no human expectations
and feels no need to
the weight of humanity cannot break
these thin glass bones

If I were to up and leave this planet
(and the way you’re treating it, I’m thinking I might have to)
you would not breathe, you would not live
or love again
because I make one quarter of
the whole world’s oxygen
but to you it one of your countless clich├ęs
words as hollow as my silica skeleton
I will love you until the end of time
you won’t live to see the end of time
but I will

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Photo Quest: Melanie Kristy

So my friend Melanie has started this brilliant series called Photo Quest. It's about the fun of a good old fashioned scavenger hunt, getting out and taking photos in the real world, and living in the moment.

Here's my first entry :)

Something blue 

Something to represent February

Some sort of living plant/greeness

A guilty pleasure

A fire hydrant 

Head over to her blog if you would like to check it out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bye Baby Bunting - DIY

The other day I decided to exercise my craft muscle, so here's a fun tutorial to make a bunting! I've used mine to spruce up my desk a little bit, but they're also good for walls, maket stalls, book cases and so on.

This is my craft box! It's a lot like Mary Poppin's carpet bag, except that it's mainly full of free postcards, buttons, and scraps of fabric. Oh, and glue! No lamps though.

So out of my craft box, I have these Fat Quarters! Fat quaters are always fun to use because it's a bit of a chance game as to whether you get good patterns or not. It also forces you to work a bit harder to turn ones you wouldn't normal go for into something pretty. That, and I'm always looking for ways to use up discarded fabric.

I used Pink and White Bunting Fabric Ribbon from Typo as the base, because I like the idea of the two tringle patterns mirroring each other. Double Bunting! It's almost as cool as a double rainbow.

Measure the ribbon into a denomination devisible by the width you want for the top of your flag template. For example, I meausred out 150cm of tape...

...and so I have made the width along the top of my flags will be 5cm long. I then measured 7cm down from the halfway point, and connected the two sides at the tip to make an icoseles triangle paper template. This makes for quite a small triangle, you can make the template larger for a sparser design (and you'll spend less time cutting out triangles too!).

Once you've made you're template, you can start cutting out your triangles! It's a good idea to lay them out along the ribbon before you glue them down, to check if the numbers are right, and that you like the colour scheme! If something isn't working for you, change it! Don't be afraid to be a bit of a perfectionist when crafting.

Having said that, I don't mind if things turn out a little off kilter when doing DIY. Sometimes happy accidents can make your project all the more unique and, well, you! 

 Once you've figured out your sequence, glue your flags down to the ribbon. You don't need fancy craft glue for this project; I used my trusty supermarket glue stick! I decided to glue my flags from behind the ribbon so that you could still see the bunting pattern, but gluing them on top works just as well. 

Tadah! You're brand new bunting is complete, and ready to be hung!

Happy crafting!


So I've been tripping out on this colour recently. I've always loved the colour green, but lately this pastel mint green seems to be my favourite variation of the hue.

Does anyone know where/ if I can get chalkboard paint in this colour?  If you do I shall grant you three wishes!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Letters From South America #5

In the audience of Grecian marble statues that stand apart not only through their bright whiteness, but also their unlikeness to any real people, we move from room to room. All of them are filled with photographic windows into other peoples lives, lives that seem so much more real, and people with deep lines carved into their faces, fear in their eyes and heavy hearts; some with love, others with hate. They stand fast in empty rooms, coloured paint peeling green and blue flakes like snow from the walls. You can read photographs as a timeline; follow them like lines in the faces of the old defiant women, women who lately have been worn away from the picture by a revolution. You can trace their disappearance frame by frame, until all that remains is an empty chair and a single light bulb that does little to illuminate, even after all this technology and time. New wars are still conducted with the same old dance steps, and the resolution never changes, because you cannot change something that doesn’t exist. The walls of the wet streets are painted in commemoration of one of many revolutions that occurred fifty years before the photograph was taken, yet the sentiment of struggle remains the same, ingrained into this new generation. It bleeds out of the blank faces that will forever be most effected by war; the poor. Anger will breed quicker when nurtured in the nest of poverty, a violence born from an already festering sense of unrest.
Yet when the world is plunged into great darkness, colour will be our saving grace, so we must be brave enough to shine our light on it and not shy away. 

And now there is you. There are so many things that have happened since you have been away, but I will not be an exhibitionist and publish them on the internet, I will keep them here for you if you decide to return. When you were here, sometimes I had to untangle myself from you, from your love, from our sublimed existence; I needed to stand apart from you and inhabit the body of the observer. When I looked at you with distant eyes, unclouded by memory or prejudice, it reminded me of how much I loved you. Then everything would be just fine, but I needed you to be able to give me that time, or my internal self would crumble and I would forget my maiden name. You would have ceased to love me, because I would have ceased to be me. I would be nothing more than an extension of you, a phantom limb, an annexed piece of your soul in a pencil skirt and 4 inch heels. I still can’t wear heels.  So I suppose this is where we differ, it is our point of deviation; you believe that love will set us free, and I do not.
But now, I just wish that you would come home. I have stories to tell you, too.

St Kilda Festival 2012

So yesterday, lovely and I trekked all the way from east to south for the annual St Kilda Festival Sunday. It was not our first St Kilda Fest together, but this year had the potential of being particularly enjoyable, thanks to the wonderful hospitality of dear Kat, friend and resident of Fitzroy St. It certainly made a difference having a base so close to the festivities, to have some drinks and to hide from the rain! Thanks Kat :)

I love walking the streets of St Kilda during St Kilda Festival, there’s such a broad range of activities on that it brings out all sorts of people; hippies mingling with hipsters, street performers chatting to families, and even North siders making an effort to cross over to the beachside suburb. Festival Sunday doesn't judge!
You can buy silk happy pants, silver jewellery, happy herbs (the legal kind, although I'm sure you could get some of the illegal variety if you so desired), and deep fried spirals made from potato, if you can be bothered waiting in line. I couldn't, but everyone seemed to have them, and they looked delicious!

Another great thing about St Kilda festival is all the free shows they have on. We managed to get to four different acts throughout the day, all of which were very impressive in their own right.

Owl Eyes
I've written about Owl Eyes before, so I'll keep this short and sweet. All I can say is that Brooke is now completely in her element, her dancing is just as adorable as ever, and if the two new songs she previewed are anything to go by, I can't wait for her to release her first album! The rain came down pretty much as soon as we made it to her stage, but she seemed to be enjoying it, and I've always been a fan of a good dance in the rain!

Busby Marou

This was a such a lovely set, despite the fact that the rain meant it had to be cut short by 15 minutes. However, by the time they started the afternoon sun had decided to show up, and became the perfect complement to the warm hazey feeling created by the music. And man,can they play a mean guitar/ ukulele!
Most notable songs were of course Biding My Time, and Girls Just Want To Have Fun, a triple J's Like A Version inspired cover, but my favourite moment was neither of those in fact. It was the final song, Underlying Message, at the beginning of which a light shower began to fall, dusting the stage and crowd with a sprinkle of sunlit raindrops. Given that the first line of the chorus to that song is "Don't you love it when the rain falls down upon your face,"  it was one of the moments that could really only be perfectly orchestrated by fate.

I only knew one song by this fledgling band, but I was so impressed with it that I dragged Lovely back to the garden stage to see them. I found them to be a very enthusiastic live act, and although the songs in the middle of the set seemed to blend in to sound a little too similar, the harmonies of the two female leads were as seamless and ethereal live as they are recorded, which is what drew me to them in the first place. Most people didn't seem to be too impressed that one of the leads was urging the rain to start falling again, but I wouldn't have minded to be honest. Rain is lovely to dance in, even if it makes your clothes a little soggy and your hair a little messy afterwards. Highlight was of course Villages, the aforementioned song that had got my attention, which they, of course, played last.

Miami Horror DJs

The last act of the night, the Miami Horror DJs commanded the attention of everyone who had stuck it out past dinner time. This was nothing more than a party set, which at that point in the night was just what we needed, good dancing music and good vibes all round. I'm not the biggest 'house music' enthusiast, in that I really have to be in the mood to enjoy it, but thankfully I was in this instance. And they did play a great remix of I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I have to give them props for that too.

There was also some dancing at the George on Fitzroy St, both before and after the DJ set, and Coneheads for dinner, which can make any day a good one. On the whole I enjoyed St Kilda Festival Sunday immensely, and I highly recommend you to go only next year if you have the chance! Now excuse me while I go and try to patch up my dancing shoes...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So, Do You Come Here Often?

So this afternoon I decided to take a leaf out of young Weetzie's book, and took myself on a date.

It began with a  wander down Gertrude St, a peruse through my favourite second hand book/record store, and visit to the Rearview Gallery to see Minna Gilligan's exhibition. Man it was difficult to find, thank goodness for google maps!!

Recognise the style? You might if you're a regular reader of Rookie! I was so excited to find out that many of the collages featured in this amazing publication were made in my very own backyard. Yay Minna! Yay Melbourne!

These last four pictures feature work from Georgina Glanville, who also makes some pretty neat mixed media collages as well. The exhibition runs until Friday the 24th, so if you're heading down Smith Street way, go check it out. The gallery is small, and well hidden, in fact it kinda looks like somebody's garage from the outside. But then I guess that's Collingwood for you.

I finished my date with a coffee at thousand pound bend, before heading off to meet a friend at the Suzuki Night Market. I highly reccomend taking the time to treat yourself to a little one on one with someone you might miss and often choose to neglect; yourself!! It could do you a world of good, and might even get those creative juices flowing again.

Where's your favourite place to go on a date with you? I'd love to know, maybe
I'll get there myself one day :)
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