Archive for May, 2009


Posted: May 29, 2009 in Fly-By-Night

A wordle image of this poem can be found here.

Like most people, I occasionally Google myself. (Shut up.) Perhaps unlike most people, I habitually learn something I didn’t actually know, but probably should’ve done. Hence the following, quasi-belated links:

Running Deep, a short story;

The Nihilist Ice-Cream Parlour, another short story; and

An interview with Paul Collins, my publisher, in which (among other things) my book is mentioned.


Circa last midnight, I caught a taxi home. I was tired, but still happy to chat with the driver, a young Indian man with perfect English. The conversation went something like this: 

Driver: So, have you just finished work?

Me: No. I was meant to go to a philosophy talk with my husband, but the speaker never showed up, so everyone went to the pub. I’m a bit tired today, though, so I’ve decided to head home.

Driver: You’re married?

Me: Yes.

Driver: What country are you from?

Me: From here. I’m Australian.

Driver: Australian? You’re the first married Australian girl I’ve ever met. And you’re young. Here, it’s not common to be married young. Most married Australian women I meet are thirty, thirty-five.

Me: Yes, it can be like that. It’s funny, I don’t think my family thought I’d get married – I always said I wouldn’t. Actually, I married at a younger age than either my mother or grandmother.

Driver: [curious] But did they ask you to get married? I mean, did you choose your husband?

Me: [laughing] Yes. It was our choice. We weren’t engaged for long – we didn’t even have a ring, but my mother in law had some family rings she said I could choose from –

Driver: So your families approved? They met?

Me: Yes, they all get along. Everyone’s lovely.

Driver: [laughing] You’re very lucky. And your husband, he was a good choice? You like him?

Me: [laughing] Very much. Very happy with the choice.


Me: [after giving directions] I’m so tired today. But at least it’s my short week at work. I work part-time.

Driver:  Where do you work?

Me: For the government. I do administrative stuff.

Driver: Really? And you’re so young. How old are you? 

Me: Twenty-three.

Driver: You know, most Australian girls I see, they aren’t nice like you, they’re always loud and drink too much. But you’re married at twenty-three!

Me: And you?

Driver: Me? No, I’m twenty-three, too, I’m not married. For me, twenty-five, twenty-six – that’s a good age to get married. But, you know, like I said, it’s difficult with the Australian girls. My family is traditional.

Me: Yeah? I can understand that. Back in highschool, I went out with an Indian boy, but his family weren’t allowed to know about me. Then one day, we were hanging out at the shops, and his parents showed up early to pick him up, so I had to duck around the corner and hide. They were fine after that, I think, but we only went out for a few months, anyway.

Driver: [interested] Really? And do you still see him now? I mean, are you still friends?

Me: I guess so. We still have friends in common, we didn’t really break up on bad terms or anything –

Driver: [laughing] See, he was lucky with you. He should’ve married you!

Me: [laughing] Somehow, I don’t think that would’ve worked. It was highschool.

Driver: Fair enough, fair enough. But with the traditional families, it’s hard, you know?

Me: Yeah. Although another friend of mine married an Indian girl, and their families all get along. They’re a good couple.

Driver: He was Indian?

Me: No, he’s white. She’s Indian.

Driver: [wistfully] Ah, it’s easier for the Indian girls, though. They like the white skin, because it’s beautiful.

The following poem comes courtesy of e. e. cummings:


“Humanity i love you

because you would rather black the boots of

success than enquire whose soul dangles from his

watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both

parties and because you

unflinchingly applaud all

songs containing the words country home and

mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because

when you’re hard up you pawn your

intelligence to buy a drink and when

you’re flush pride keeps


you from the pawn shop and

because you are continually committing

nuisances but more

especially in your own house


Humanity i love you because you

are perpetually putting the secret of

life in your pants and forgetting

it’s there and sitting down


on it

and because you are

forever making poems in the lap

of death Humanity


i hate you”


The following  headlines come from a glance at today’s Time:


Why Rookie Lawyers Get $60,000 Paid Vacations

Russia to Gays: Get Back into the Closet

Spray-On Condoms: Still A Hard Sell

Holy Union: A Polish Monk’s Divine-Sex Guide

Zombies: Do They Exist?


Conclusion: My species is doomed. Weird, predictable, sad and doomed. And frequently absurd.

Firstly: Major spoiler alert!

Secondly: I am a sucker for trashy action/thriller/fantasy flicks, which perhaps explains why I exist in a state of near constant debt to the local video store for failing to return Hellboy or Journey to the Centre of the Earth on time.

Thirdly: The DaVinci Code was on TV the other week. In accordance with the aforesaid suckerishness, I’d seen it at the movies, but seeing as how the TV was already on, and the remote was all the way over there, and I was just mucking around on the laptop anyway, I ended up watching most of it again.

Which is why, last night, my husband and I shelled out something in the vicinity of fifty bucks to see Angels and Demons, no less than seventeen dollars of which paid for two medium drinks and a packet of peanut M&Ms. Out of morbid curiosity, I had the popcorn jockey, who looked about nine, explain the individual pricings to me in a slow voice. There should be some kind of Goddam law prohibing the sale of readily attainable junk at 200% markup, or maybe I just need a radioelectric shock collar that activates when I and my wallet come within a ten meter radius of the candybar, which, by the way, is a stupid American word that I resent using.


So, Angels and Demons. If you want to see Tom Hanks explaining why male statues in the Vatican have had their penises replaced with fig leaves, it’s really your best bet, although contrary to one review I read, there are no exploding priests. Which isn’t to say it’s dull: the plot moves along swiftly, there are several nice lines, the cast is well-picked and Ewan McGregor does a fantastic job as the Camerlengo. The physics is complete and utter rubbish, of course, and even had I not been able to tell for myself, it was confirmed by a friend whose father is a senior engineer at CERN. Fortunately, any attempts at scientific explanation take a backseat to Ayelet Zurer being anxious about battery life and hurrying a good deal. There’s a lot of exposition, but the run-time, though long, didn’t feel inappropriate, and as a nice touch, there were no strawmen among the religious characters.

The biggest problem comes from Dan Brown’s tendency to reuse the same twist. Thus, one can summarise both Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code as follows: The Superficially Good Guy Is Actually The Bad Guy, While The Superficially Bad Guy Is Really Just A Zealous Police Officer Trying To Do His Job. Which means, if you are even slightly cynical, that the entire film is spent waiting for Ewan McGregor to stop being helpful and start snarling – which, true to form, he eventually does. Though disappointed, I salvaged some cheering geekery from the notion of Obi-Wan Kenobi playing an essential Palpatine, wielding power through his benign visage and a Sith Lord’s talent for deception. My husband rolled his eyes and reminded me that not everything can or should be reduced to Star Wars, but in this instance, I begged to differ. 

Angels and Demons is not a bad film. Neither is it brilliant. Unless you’ve got a yen for the big screen, you’re probably better off waiting for DVD, but  if you go, you’ll at least  have something to talk about afterwards. And often, that’s the best part of any film.

Edge Piece

Posted: May 11, 2009 in Ink & Feather

When completing a jigsaw puzzle, most people start by searching the box for edge pieces, though not all of them are found straight away. The bigger the puzzle, the more likely that an errant edge or ten will slip the eye, lurking undiscovered until much later on. This can be particularly frustrating if, as often seems to be the case, a missing edge piece contains some crucial clue as to where an edgeless clump should go, or if it links two long chains together. Corners are particularly prized. And so on.

Currently, the process of fixing my new novel is very much like assembling a jigsaw, except that I’m also tasked with isolating and discarding false pieces. With roughly one hundred pages of scenes stuck in the wrong order, and after several confusing attempts at aligning them, I’ve been in desperate need of an edge piece: something to help contextualise the existing fragments and suggest how they link together. Yesterday, I finally found one. Glee!

1. My essays are done. Assuming they weren’t so piteous that I fail either subject, or that my other academic efforts don’t entirely suck, they represent my last ever university essays. Joy eternal, people. Joy eternal.

2. In accordance with the $900 tax bonus initiative of the Rudd Government, my Manna from Kevin has finally arrived. Oh, sweet federally-funded moolah, how I love thee!

3. The new Tamora Pierce book, Bloodhound, is completely awesome. I’ve always loved her writing, but she’s really outdone herself with the Beka Cooper series. Yay for well-plotted, well-scribed fantasy girl power YA excellence!

4. Today is Friday, meaning I can listen to Friday I’m In Love and Friday On My Mind with special emotive resonance.

5. I have no uni work this weekend! Huzzah!

6. My mother burned me the double CD soundtrack for The Boat That Rocked, which I’m now listening to. Viva la sixties rock!

7. It’s almost lunchtime.

8. Next Tuesday, I’ll find out the results of a short story contest I recently entered. Anticipation is a pleasant, tingly feeling.

9. My boss likes the geeky t-shirts I wear to work, and thinks they’re becoming progressively more eccentric. In a good way.

10. Life is sweet.

Apologies for the lack of blog this week. Essays for my final two uni subjects have reared their heads, necessitating that I actually Do Some Work. Shattersnipe ramblings will return to their regular schedule sometime in the following week.

Until then, here’s a kitty!