Archive for October, 2010


Images of literary tattoos have been circulating around the ‘net for a while now, but I was very taken by this one (lifted from this article) . After re-reading ‘The Dharma Bums’ recently I am feeling a little jaded over the whole beatnik thing, but this remains one of my favourite passages in literature – especially when you hear it read aloud by Kerouac himself.

(Photograph: Tess Adamski’s Jack Kerouac tattoo, by Thor at Yonge Street Tattoos)

More images of literary tattoos can be found here.

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Art at home

At my house today. They were all titled and priced.

I blame the parents :-)

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I was working on a three-part post about writing (you got part 1) but I won a place on a writing course so will be developing some of my ideas further there.

In the meantime, I found this today and loved it to bits. Multi-level work is so good no matter how its done. Or perhaps simple things just amuse simple minds :-)

Banksy – lifted from Wooster Collective

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Writing about writing

I have read a few articles recently that have got me thinking about the process of writing for busy parents (but mainly mothers). If this sentence makes you groan you should probably stop here. However, each article struck a chord with me.

Firstly there was this article about where we write and something I succumb to often..”I will write when…” Actually this is a pretty common thing, often in the form of “I will be happy when…” I see it as the ultimate procrastination.

“He’d known a man…who spent his retirement building the studio of his dreams. His whole life he’d wanted to write and paint, and now he would have the time to do it. As soon as the studio was finished…

What happened? I asked.

He died before it was finished, my father said. Never wrote a thing.”

That’s a HUGE lesson. I write at my kitchen table, and while I dream of having an office , or even an alcove, like where I started to write this blog, I don’t really need it. Working from the hub of home has its distractions though. I find when faced by a deadline, my shower suddenly needs scrubbed out or the curtains need washed. As the article’s author says, escape to a library is one way to work.

Leading on from this, I came across another relevant article  where “a novelist and Times critic offers tips on how to write the book you’ve had in your head while not losing your mind or forgetting your family’s needs.” The author, Mary McNamara, makes a great point “Laptops are the modern woman’s equivalent of Virginia Woolf’s famous room — they can turn any room you’re in into your own.” Case and point, last school holidays I found myself with a tight deadline, editing an essay at the children’s playground ‘Chipmunks’. She writes “So, much of “The Starlet” was written on soccer fields, gymnasium bleachers and during choir rehearsals.” As you can imagine, I immediately recognised this. I did a heaps of reading and research for a Joanna Margaret Paul essay while I watched my daughter play Saturday morning cricket.*

It makes me wonder, if the dream of the room of one’s own is that relevant any more. I think more important is income. “Woolf notes that women have been kept from writing because of their relative poverty, and financial freedom will bring women the freedom to write”. The above two articles are quite middle class, and make assumptions along these lines.

Of course it’s not just women with these issues. I really enjoyed this older interview with JG Ballard in the Paris Review, although if I started a writing session with a slug of whiskey I’d never get anything done. I am particularly fond of this quote “Actually, the suburbs are far more sinister places than most city dwellers imagine.” I have personally found this to be VERY true. If you are looking for an excellent local example, try reading Janet Frame’s ‘The Carpathians’

I feel lucky I am able to write at all, although it’s difficult at times and worked in and around family. My dream of time and space and … stillness to write, would be a relative luxury. These are things I try to keep in mind.

And here is a room of one’s own (of sorts) – not always a good thing [click for larger picture]

Van Gogh’s Room 1973-1974, painted wood, film projection, 213.3  x 365.7 x 914.4 cm, Art Gallery of Ontario

*Note: Doing this does not exactly endear you to other cricketing parents.

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