Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal. Show all posts

Dec 31, 2012

The year in review 2012

So, 2012 hey.  shot_1353378031218

Well I supposed that we part on pretty good terms, there’s a bit of work I have done this year that I am proud of.

I continued submitting interviews for Galactic Chat which has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of being involved with the speculative fiction community.

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat–18 Nina D'Aleo

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat meets Joe Abercrombie

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat 16 Rowena Cory Daniells

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat 15: Tor Roxburgh

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat 14–Trudi Canavan

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat 13 – Deborah Kalin

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat interviews Kate Forsyth

Adventures of a Bookonaut: Galactic Chat 11: Helen Lowe

I launched my own more general genre podcast, imaginatively titled: Adventures of a Bookonaut: Adventures of a Bookonaut Podcast Ep 1.  This was to enable me to stretch my interviewing outside the purview of Galactic Chat, to pay some attention to areas I don’t see being covered in the community.

I published somewhere in the vicinity of 465 posts,  64 of which were reviews. Which hopefully means I provided you, dear readers, with some quality, up to the minute, news and views.

I attended my first ever national convention, Melbourne’s Continuum 8 where I met tons of fantastic writers, fans and readers and realised that I am perhaps getting too old to stay in a backpackers.

I was nominated for two Ditmar awards, one individual, one joint with the Galactic Chat crew.

Continuum 8–There and back again (Part 1)
Continuum 8 There and Back Again (Parte the Seconde)
Continuum 8 There and Back Again (Troisième partie)
Continuum 8 There and Back Again (partie 4)

I attended a workshop with the wonderful Lisa L Hannett which resulted in me writing, completing and submitting my first serious speculative fiction work since 1990.  It also resulted in my joining a group of talented writers (many of whose skills astound me) and making new writing friends in my home state.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the Australian Women Writers challenge which, although I officially completed the 10 books and reviews for the Franklin Tastic level sometime before mid year,I kept going ending up with 32 read and 31 reviewed.

So all said, I can’t really have expected more out of this year.  2012 was pretty good. 

Thanks to all readers commenters and friends its been wonderful.

Note: Bonus points if you can identify the skull pictured above.

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Nov 19, 2012

Immortalised in the Comic medium

olivwAs part of her blog anniversary Holly Kench over at Confessions of a Stuffed Olive ran a competition.

Entrants had to relate their most embarrassing and awkward moment.  The winner would get one of Holly’s fantastic minimalist comic strips as a prize, to immortalise their embarrassment.

And I, dear reader, did win.


The Spanakopita and the Spare Pair of Undies

Warning: You opinion of me may drop or alternatively you may wet yourself laughing.  I recommend not drinking and reading at the keyboard.

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Nov 12, 2012

Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

A break in your usual reading and a topic that is neither pleasant or in line with this blog’s purview.  I rarely comment on religious issues anymore but I can’t not pass comment on this topic.

I beg your indulgence dear reader and hope to stir within you some feeling that will lead to action.

I am an ex-Roman catholic, the church’s behaviour in regards to the abuse of children was not a consideration in my leaving, though on reflection perhaps it should have been.

Though never the victim of abuse, the church allowed myself and other students to come into close proximity of a known abuser, my junior high school Principal, Brother John Dyson. If you want to disgust yourself with the lack care displayed by the Church Officers (some of whom I knew ) for students and the callous disregard for the congregation, let alone the victims, go to Broken Rites a victim advocacy site.

What’s really got my fired up is the response to the calls for a Royal Commission into the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). When I refer to the RCC I am talking about the clergy.

But where to start, because the level of pressure being brought to bear seems to have have flushed a number of powerful people out who if not defending the church are certainly not acting with any great urgency or concern.

Who’s Calling for a Royal Commission:

  1. Victims groups like Broken Rites representing those who feel they can put themselves through the pain of standing up in court and reliving the experience(source).
  2. Police like Detective Chief Inspector Fox (source) and his open letter here
  3. Many others over a number of years
  4. The general community, fed up with hearing about the abuse and nothing being done.

What’s sparked it off this time?

  • An inquiry in Victorian where it appears some children in church care may have been raped and  murdered and the crime covered up.
  • Detective Chief Inspector Fox’s open letter to Premier Barry O’Farrell that have sparked an inquiry in NSW.

The Response

And this is where it gets sinister and you have to be careful not reach for the tinfoil hat.  Cardinal Pell has claimed that an apology is sufficient (for those whose cases that have been dealt with by that internal process that forces claimants to waive other rights) and that an inquiry into just the church is targeting his organisation disproportionately. That a commission should have a wider purview, that they are in essence not the only offenders.

Really! I mean REALLY!

Sounds reasonable to begin with.  I mean abuse occurs in every strata of society, in state organisations and in private, in families.  But the difference is that there is mounting evidence that the church exacerbates the problem by creating a safe haven for abusers, and providing them with more victims.

But Pell’s callous disregard aside, his pointing the finger at other unnamed institutions and the calls for a widening of scope give me cause for concern because other powerful figures seem to be echoing them.

Widen the scope and you do to things

1) dissipate the ire of the community and make the problem seem too big to handle(the public has a short memory/attention span)

2) you increase the time, staff i.e. costs

The RCC doesn’t want this inquiry. The want to ride out this scandal like every other one.

But I expect that from Pell and the RCC.

These sentiments were parroted by Liberal MP Joe Hockey a staunch catholic -  almost as if he were running a party line.

Hockey felt a royal commission was “ridiculous” that the problem was wider than the catholic church ( I see him making no other moves to tackle the problem though).  He also decided to speak for victims saying that he knew people who had been abused and they wouldn’t want to be put through the pain(source).

I’m sorry but the I have friends who are >Insert demographic here< and they agree with my view is a much over used rhetorical device. Speak only for yourself Mr Hockey.

Listening to Victims speak for themselves or via advocacy services you get a different picture(source). 

Labor Front Bencher and apparently a non Practising Catholic Bill Shorten, just wasn’t sure that a Royal Commission was the right thing to do. Saying that it wouldn't fix the faults.

Please! Fix the faults? 

One hopes that there’s no abuse currently underway, a royal commission is about determining culpability and gaining Justice.  If abuse and cover up is known to be on going, well…I just don’t know what to say.

Other politicians like opposition front bencher David Johnston raised the issue of expense and effect on the victims. Mitch Fifield said one denomination shouldn’t be singled out.(source)

To which I say, the RCC is not being targeted because its a Christian denomination, it’s being targeted because their appears to be substantial evidence that the institution is/has been involved in the abuse, alleged murder and of children and its subsequent cover up.


Damn the bloody expense.  Doing nothing will be more expensive in the long run – over 40 suicides in Victoria have been linked to clergy sexual abuse.  Think not only of lost lives and mental anguish of those left behind but of lost potential and lost productivity.

The victims, let’s hear them speak for themselves.

The Prime Minister seems non committal, one has to wonder what pressures the RCC can bring to bear on an atheist Prime minister when she can’t act to redress crimes committed against our most vulnerable.

Those that don’t want the inquiry, want to ride out the commotion knowing that we will all have other worries. Those that prevaricate over the decision need to be told in no uncertain terms that the Australian populace expect something to be done.  We need to give victims the confidence that should they have to give evidence and be cross examined that the pain will be worth it.

Thankfully there appear to be a number of back benchers, Greens and independents willing to push for action.  There’s also a petition being put forward by Lawyer Josh Bornstein, Catherine Deveny, Fr. Bob McGuire.

Please consider signing it.

Sep 25, 2012

This writer’s life update

seanandSome astute and attentive readers (hi Mum and Dad) may remember that I attended the Short Story course run by the wonderful Lisa L Hannett over the past fortnight.


Though the early mornings ( I had a three hour drive to the course) and the bad nights sleep due to excitement had me zombie-fied by the end of the day.

This Saturday gone was the last of the workshop days and really the business end of things.  Lisa had the delightful task of critiquing seventeen short stories in the space of two weeks.  While the rest of us were broken into groups and had to read and critique the 4 other members work.

I realised two things:

1) A writer really needs this sort of experience /methodology built into their writing.

2) There are some damn fine talented writers out there and some stories I want to see published.

My group consisted of people who had; previously had flash fiction published, had plays published and performed, were being mentored by a well known Australian novelist.

So no pressure right?

My story attracted some really good critiques from Lisa and the group and now I just have to glue my bum to the seat and get on with the task of really shaping this story into something that I will be proud of.

The other benefit was meeting likeminded people with diverse reading and life experience and making connections.

Thanks to the SA Writer’s Centre and Lisa Hannett for putting on the course.

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Sep 17, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Tomorrow sees the beginning of the last week of my contract as part-time teacher librarian, it’s bittersweet in some respects.  I have enjoyed the job, the school and the kids but it’s the end of term and I am feeling tired. 
Next term sees my return to the relief teaching pool.  Not a fact I greet with any great joy. If you remember the shite that you heaped on relief teachers when you were at school, things haven’t changed.
Actually  they have, I never called a relief teacher the names I’ve been called. 
It’s a job that requires a certain amount emotional distance (for self preservation’s sake) from the students that you have to simultaneously watch over/engage/attempt to teach all without the usual benefit of being a cornerstone of their lives.
You get the constant passive aggressive conflict mixed with the occasional “ F*ck of you c*nt” thrown in just to keep things interesting.
Frankly, if shovelling shit paid as much as relief teaching I’d happily wade knee deep through crap.
But with endings come new beginnings.
I finished the rough draft of short story Saturday for the workshop with Lisa Hannett  that I mentioned here. It will be critiqued by Lisa and my peers in the course this week. 
It may not seem like much, especially for some of my readers who are experienced authors and short story writers, but it’s the first decent work of fiction I have completed to draft 1 stage since 1990. Frankly everyone could tell me its shite and I’d be happy just to have proven to myself that I could do it again. 
Thankfully, having passed it out to an Alpha reader who is not related to me, and who has some pretty good story cred herself, it came back with some good constructive criticism and a suggestion to polish it up and consider submitting it for publication.
So despite the creative soul baring that I am going to engage in at the weekend I am feeling a little excited, the holidays and a bottle of red might also have something to do with that.
The end of the contract also means that I am likely to have more time to review and interview and I feel like I’d like to ramp things up.  I already have some interviews pencilled in for Galactic Chat.  But I want to do more.  So I have some ideas that are kicking around in the brain pan.

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