Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Book Shelf Doomsday

Not to sound selfish but if I lend you a book I want it back. I've lost so many books I've loved (for those are the only ones worth lending out) to friends who simply pass them on, keep them or let them loose into the ether. But I like my books. I love lending them out to other people. I love referencing them. I love looking at their spines and remembering their tales, since, let's face it, my memory is nearly non-existent. And I like the whole look of it. My two mighty Ikea bookshelves remind me I'm a writer, but also foremost a reader. But now my bookshelves face another blow. This time it is not a book-friendemy. It's me.

Since I originally hail from Canada there's always been speculation about heading back there, away from my cozy apartment here in St Kilda. I do not especially want to move. I've gotten to know a tad about Australia's publishing industry and love the independent publishers who serve the literary community well. Oh and those friends who buy me drinks and let me ramble on about whatever obsession tends to occupy my fancy that day, yes, I'll miss them dearly too. Alas, being in a relationship for nearly nine years requires sacrifice and my partner is pleading we move.

I've queried many shipping movers, requesting quotes to shift my belongings. I've already decided to sell everything but my art, 1/2 of my clothes, 1/4 of my linen, some momentos and my red mixing bowls. But my books? I don't think so, buster. Then another financial reality of being a full time writer struck - I'll have to, somehow someway, whittle my collection down to a mere box!

What do I get rid of? Classics is my main guess. They are easily replaceable, but even then I still doubt my capacity to contain my book collection to a solitary box. These are sad days ahead, my friends. It's like the Sophie's Choice of books. On the bright side, perhaps I'll convince Braden to stay here in melanoma land (so he has freckles and pale skin - slip, slop, slap, solved) or at the very least keep some of my lovelies here, stored up and dusty, so that when I come back (and indeed I will come back, family and everything) it will be like saying hello to a long lost friend, one who isn't on Facebook and doesn't keep in touch.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh the guilt

Lately the guilt of not writing a short story, or finishing the final *unpublished draft of my novel, or update this blog has taken me to Blue Town. That place writers know all too well. I often go through slumps where thoughts gather in my head but rarely make it on to paper. It's times like these I feel as though I'm that person at the party who say they 'want' to write a novel, well after they manage to find the time.

Although, I must say I have a barrel of excuses. I've been ill. Four lumbar punctures and a two day road trip to Queensland where my partner's mother is donating an unmatched kidney to her husband, has left me little energy, physical or creative. It's only the fourth such transplant done in Queensland. Fortunately all went well, except my aching, painful back, and for two weeks we had to devote our time to looking after his parents after they got out of hospital.

I haven't had time to read either! Oh my good intentions. I did read a quarter of Dave Eggers What is the What. And boy oh boy did the story, while at times repetitious, made the long drive and pale paddocks fly by. The story of Valentino Achak Deng combines nicely with Eggers writing. At times, as a writer, I often wondered what their process was, how all the detail was brought to life. It is obvious from the forward, some of the conversations and smaller points of 'the story' were embellished and thus meant publication as fiction. The larger, more important, facets of the story make it without a doubt some of the most compelling, humbling, honest, reading I have stumbled upon for a while. By the end of each chapter, all we wanted to do was read the next. We can't wait for the drive home.

Next, I will blog on one of my favourite humorous reads ever, Fanny Flagg's Daisy May and The Miracle Man.