Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do I look good in this blazer?

Man the shed has been busy. I think I have been the most industrious I've been in months. See what a week of sleeping and overeating can do.

Besides powering through paid work, I am 2122 words into my Australian Women’s Weekly Penguin Short Story Comp entry piece. I know this is dangerous to say out loud; akin to telling people you’ve gone on a diet then having to face them six weeks later when you've actually gained wait but, what the hell! I seriously have no intention of winning this thing. I am just really pleased to have got cracking on something. It makes such a difference. I do believe I will finish this thing.

I have been listening on MP3 to Marisha Pessl’s book, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Holy Moly. This woman has more literary references than I’ve had glasses of chardonnay. (See /

The Washington Post described the book thus: ‘Constructing the novel as if it were the core curriculum for a literature survey course, complete with a final exam, Pessl gives each chapter the title of a classic literary work to which the episode's events have a sly connection: Chapter 6, "Brave New World," describes the first day of a new school year, while in Chapter 11, "Moby-Dick," a large man drowns in a swimming pool … Along the way, there are thousands of references to books and movies both real and imagined, as well as an assortment of pen-and-ink drawings. The book's young narrator, Blue van Meer, has a cross-referencing mania … Pessl is a vivacious writer who's figured out how to be brainy without being pedantic.’ The Post goes on to say: ‘But hunkering down for 514 pages of frantic literary exhibitionism turns into a weary business for the reader, who after much patient effort deserves to feel something stronger than appreciation for a lot of clever name-dropping and a rush of metaphors.’

Now you see this might be why this particular book makes a good audio example. Sure I don’t get the visual aids but, as I was watering Uncle Ian's garden in the north wind today for AN HOUR it made a wonderful distraction. This is not a book I could tackle under the doona covers. I would give up by page 20 most likely. But, walking the local oval? Bring it on.

God I love books. I am also fascinated by new writers. Recently, while pulling apart an old newspaper for the kitty litter tray I was distracted by a photo of Katharine Hepburn in an education section of The Age (bad journo, should have kept date and page reference). It was by a lass called Alexandra Patrikios and was about the modern teenage girl’s (desperate) search for role models. Do you know this chick is in year 11 in Ballarat???? How does one get the opp the write for ‘the paper’? Apparently, doing a quick google, she did work experience at the Green Guide last year. What a ripper.

I too held Ms Hepburn up as an icon when a youngster. In fact, living in my first share flat in East St Kilda I had a number of books and images of the legend around my room. And, dare I say, I might have fashioned a bit of a hairstyle in her honour.

Alexandra debates the problem facing modern girlies – to be Carrie Bradshaw versus (wait for this one, my favourite fear ridden topic) ‘myspace/facebook/ - or not to be.

It was a reasoned, nice written piece. Who cares! I am just so joyful that the girl in the street gets the chance to do this kind of writing in a public forum. I don’t think anyone even mentioned The Age when I was at secondary school but, then again, I persist that I was away the day that geography was taught. Hence I could not point out Sweden or Seddon on a map to you. I am just awed at the opps some kids have these days. Maybe I will go back to school – high school – and start my career all over. I wouldn’t even bitch about wearing a blazer now.


Dreamweaver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dreamweaver said...

Lovely use of the word, 'hence'.


Alex Patrikios said...

Hello - it's the now Year 12 Ballaratian girl, Alex Patrikios. I'll confess, my stint at The Age for work experience was, ironically enough, a product of my mother's small town connections, and in a kind of inverted way, my humble origins have come in handy. I'll admit, I got an egotistical buzz from reading your post, which I stumbled upon when I was trying to find that piece on the internet for an extra copy. Your comments were really interesting to read, and the fact that my article was saved from the kitty litter (if only for a moment!) has to be the best reader response ever.

All the best,