Topic archives: writing

On drawing David Malouf

On drawing David Malouf

June 3, 2010

Insomnia, writing a blog post, ABR philantropy, and making a picture with a lens, and then a pencil. . How to write a blog post I had an itch to write a post that would tie a knot in the thread connecting Thick of It, Modern Family, MasterChef, Jason Akermanis and ex-Minister David Campbell. But […]

David Foster Wallace’s all-over-the-paginalia (+ Mulcher break)

David Foster Wallace’s all-over-the-paginalia (+ Mulcher break)

May 11, 2010 2

+++ Away note: The Mulcher is away for a week, unplugged, off grid and off piste, up in the bright tropics, beneath umbrella clouds and the burning sun. Back Friday 21 May. Aloha la vista. +++ The late David Foster Wallace used to scrawl in (annotate) his books. We know because his library and papers […]

Peter Porter and the Tub of Poetry (II)

Peter Porter and the Tub of Poetry (II)

April 30, 2010 1

. I.M. Peter Porter 1929 – 2010 . I was flicking through Porter’s Afterburner (2004), his penultimate collection of poetry, and on the back page I came across this sketch above – he had read from the book at the State Library. (He had aged since I last drew him in 1990, blockier somehow, and […]

Peter Porter and the Trap of Words (I)

Peter Porter and the Trap of Words (I)

April 28, 2010 6

. I.M. Peter Porter 1929 – 2010 . Poetry is the art of constructing a trap of words – when tripped by its prey, a curious human, it triggers a rush of thought and feeling. Peter Porter was a master trapmaker. It was as a witless youth in the ’80s that I stumbled upon one […]

Gum leaves sickling… (a list for John)

Gum leaves sickling… (a list for John)

April 21, 2010

A list for John Gum leaves sickling to the ground, dry as piles of paper. The clock at Greenwich strikes. The mobile phone is chirruping. A picture file is opening. Silver aircraft – the stillness inside a journey. Between the covers, black swans on the wing. A long Guinness. Whites on the green. Numbers glowing, […]

Les Murray’s tongue

Les Murray’s tongue

April 9, 2010

. Apparently someone said Isn’t he right wing? when Les Murray’s name was mentioned. Oforgoodnesssakes! His politics are that of a Country Party (defunct) small c conservative mystic. Les Murray is a great poet. His poetry transcends all the rah rah boo hah of partisan reading. Last night Murray read some poems from his new […]

Better to have hearted and lost, than never to have hearted

Better to have hearted and lost, than never to have hearted

April 7, 2010

Inserting heart into the chill of a Venn diagram: mathematical, bureaucratic Venn becomes a Zen perception; lap dances slide into overlap chances; two bright notes coalesce into one dark tone. I heart this graphic. It’s by the designer Aaron Krauss from a little corner of his website. +++ Here is a musical co-relative, Everytime We […]

Brief lessons in history from the man in the wheelchair, Tony Judt

Brief lessons in history from the man in the wheelchair, Tony Judt

March 31, 2010 2

I have every intention of filling the vast empty spaces of my brain with useful stuff, like practical recipes and plant names. And pre-19th century music. And history. Esp history. But there is something about History as a subject that prompts the term ‘eye-glazing.’ Blame the teachers, of course. (As a writer remarked, she avoided […]

Your direct personal fate

March 26, 2010

Something for the last week of Lent: ___ ‘This world as you experience it is your direct personal fate.’ ___ The Dean’s December, Saul Bellow

Wordwatch: gay, or ssam and ssaf?

Wordwatch: gay, or ssam and ssaf?

March 18, 2010

Terms of engagement: ssam & ssaf: On a youth radio station the other day a woman being interviewed explained how her department did surveys among young folk about sexuality and homophobia – they never use the word “gay.” She didn’t say why but the clear implication was that it was too loaded. What they use […]

The eyebrows have it

The eyebrows have it

September 22, 2009 7

Quick, who are these six people? ____ Apparently, it’s all in the eyebrows. In an MIT study subjects were asked to identify celebrities by altered photos: without eyebrows, and without eyes. With eyebrows, but sans eyes, celebrities were recognised 60% of the time. With eyes but sans eyebrows, only 46% of the time. So, stop […]

If Sci-fi is a genre, then so is Literature

If Sci-fi is a genre, then so is Literature

September 8, 2009 2

Okay I’m not buying into the fight. (As Sophie Cunningham said, a few days ago: “When someone is clearly picking a fight, the temptation is just to ignore them.”) That’s the one over the Big Fat (1500 pages) Anthology of Australian Literature. But if you are interested in it, here are the links. The most […]

We are always really carrying a ladder, but it’s invisible

We are always really carrying a ladder, but it’s invisible

September 4, 2009 2

As it is officially spring one turns towards poetry, much as Moe of the Stooges turned towards slapstick: ‘Niagara Falls! … Slowly I turned … and step by step, inch by inch I walked up to him and I smashed him, I *&% him, I $#@ him, I ±@* him, and I knocked him down!’ […]

Shane Maloney: a leech on his readers

Shane Maloney: a leech on his readers

July 15, 2009

Mr Maloney, you make me weep *sob* and chortle *blush*. Some authors will do anythingto make you laugh, make you cry. For today, Maloney, author of the Murray Whelan comic caper series (think David Wenham), has written a modestly angry and witty response to the just released Too High Book Prices? Report (see previous posts) […]

Beauty and Harmony in a government report

Beauty and Harmony in a government report

July 15, 2009

The report – see previous post – let’s call it the Shoot Ourselves in the Cultural Foot Report, no no sorry, that’s shockingly biased. Let’s call it the Too High Book Prices? Report – a medium-long document of 240 pages (inc. five of references) written, naturally, in felicitatious bureaucratese. Eg: Books differ from many other […]

Dear Reviewer, ‘I will hate you till the day I die’

Dear Reviewer, ‘I will hate you till the day I die’

July 7, 2009 8

Celebrity schadenfreude* involving an author, and a philosopher at that, elevates it far above the midden material of a Britney or TomKat or Christian Bale fracas. The brow clash of Jonathan Franzen (high) and Oprah (lower middle) brought literary skirmishes into new media. (Martin Amis’ The Information moment in ’94 was a newspaper affair – […]

So you want to learn to write like Nam Le?

So you want to learn to write like Nam Le?

July 2, 2009

Or Raymond Carver, or Joyce Carol Oates, or Alice Sebold, or John Irving, or Richard Ford? They all attended a Creative Writing course. If you’d like to learn to write but aren’t sure about hanging with all the other wannabes, check out the New Yorker, which asks – at fascinating length – should creative writing […]

Tim Winton’s guest post

July 1, 2009 10

Yup, that’s all Winton below. Look, I was going to keep this post short, but the issue – the Productivity Commission report on “Copyright Restrictions on the Parallel Importation of Books”, in the hands of the government as of today – suffers from being crazy esoteric* while being indescribably crucial to whatever it is we […]