Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Tom Hanks and I Have In Common

Think Tom Hanks, and the generation Y of us think Turner and Hooch. At least I do. Or Big. His acting skills aside, turns out ol' Tommy has a quirk or two up his sleeve. He was interviewed earlier this year, by I forget who, and spoke of his collection - typewriters. Apparently he has stored up over 150 of these marvellous machines. Portables, Manuals, Remington to Hermes to Czechoslovakian wonders. Until then I was naive enough to believe typewriters were all dull like the electrical late 80s Corona machine my cheap ass father bought me when I asked for a computer in the mid 90s. The thing barely printed, had none of the character of its predecessors, and looked like the front end of a '81 Audi. My father seemed to worry about the use of computer technology, and thought I'd spend my days chatting online to people across the world. Turns out he was right in the end.

Back to the beautiful beasts. Yes, folks typewriters come in mint green to grapefruit, small or large. Who would've guessed vintage typewriters are good for more than their glass keys, used to make those 'bracelets' hanging in the accessory store windows. Being the sort I am, dabbling in words here and there, I was, er, am enamoured. I needed to source a gold mine and naturally hit up search engines before finally settling on a beautiful Remington Model 5 Portable from Ebay. It cost more than I had anticipated (around $200) but it is in decent nick and it came from Australia (very important to me). So now my collection is under way.

The last collection I had was the peanut butter jar of erasers. I ate them all, which might explain why my digestive system completely hates me. Wait I told a lie. The last collection I had was letters from pen pals, who I'd find in the back of old Horse and Rider magazines. I kept the letters in an old cream and gold suitcase and opened them with a gold letter opener with a rose on it. I suppose you're meant to write back to pen pals, which could explain why I the collection never flourished. Hopefully this collection is more successful.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Australian Citizenship, Canada, And New York City

I’m off to New York Citeee, folks! That’s right, land of theatre, shopping, history and literature. I couldn’t be happier. Well, yes, I could, but that would be greedy. Besides I haven’t been too happy of late and this unexpected trip has me excited. Australia hangs over my life here in Canada and some days it’s hard to see the sun. But in seven mere sleeps I will be an official Australian Citizen! (Oh so many exclamation marks in this paragraph, apologies.)

I’m heading to Ottawa to complete the final leg of my Australian Citizen journey, after nearly nine years, and Canada is making it extra special. Apparently the Australian High Embassador will be hosting the ceremony at his official residence because the rare, upcoming pomp and circumstance is the largest Australian Citizen shindig Canada has seen. To celebrate all this multiculturalism I’m popping across the border to celebrate in New York City.

This will be my first visit, and with only a five days scheduled the clichéd Big Apple, I am frantically googling, querying friends on hot spots, and scanning Lonely Planet’s New York Encounter for anything ‘not-to-miss’ (A highly recommended publication – saved my life in Paris). Since my younger sister is accompanying me, and we were both raised by a mother who displays her Christmas spirit by leaving all the decorations up year round, we can’t wait to skate beneath the lit tree at Rockefeller Center and stroll along the streets gazing at Macy’s store-front windows.

Now, with the writing studio finished, I just have to complete my novel’s revision and pick out a book for the plane. Me thinks I’ll chose Robert Bolano’s 2666 or Meg Rosoff’s new novel The Bride’s Farewell.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Writing Studio Vs Writer

Ahh, let this be a lesson to all the fellow stationary-living writers out there: you are more than likely unfit. Do not attempt to build a writing studio out of straw unless you train beforehand. Possible exercises include: 25 squats a day for two months, 50 pushups a day for two months and vast cardiovascular training. Also do not plan on writing during the build. Deadlines will be forfeited.

Okay, warnings aside, I'm really happy about how the straw studio is progressing.

At the time this photo was taken it was September. Hot days lifting bales, but I loved it. Tying the bales was laborious and my muscles ached more than having H1N1 (I know, I have it). The floor was environmentally friendly, made of washed sand, poly, sleepers and rigid insulation. No heat escaping here!

Then Pa and Brady put their man muscles to use and helped raise the window bucks (notice the budding building lingo) and door thingy (note the lack of building lingo).

By the time we started raising the walls until we finished was about four days with two of us working until we couldn't lift a glass of water to our lips. But just look at how cute it is. And just imagine all the writing I'm going to complete in wonderful insolation. (At this point I thought the hard work was mostly over, oh the naivety!)

Then came the rain. Poly tarpage to the rescue.

Then disaster struck. My Morgan mare of 18 years, and my first horse, passed away due to colic that lasted 5 horrible days. Two weeks later our Thoroughbred mare erupted into hives. The culprit is believed to have grown in our upper paddock this spring.

The wire mesh goes on. Oh. My. God. This was hard work, and definitely a formidable foe. At this point it is October and we've had record-breaking cold temperatures, which meant the stucco had to be done asap, before it snowed. Also I do not recommend weed-whacking the inside walls (even with a mask) for asthmatics.

Inside is scratch-coated.

Other than some paint on the boards, the outside it done, and by golly it feels great.

The inside walls are in the process of being painted white (yeah, this is where the H1N1 hit). The black ceiling is yet to be tacked up and the floorboards still need to be laid. Then think of the finished bliss. Watching the snow peter down from the sky, settling on the pine branches, sipping hot cocoa with a cozy blanket, tapping on the ol' typewriter. Bliss indeed. More to come.